Friday, November 20, 2009

Real Women Have Curves

"We don’t need Afghan-style burquas to disappear as women. We disappear in reverse—by revamping and revealing our bodies to meet externally imposed visions of female beauty."
Source: Robin Gerber, author and motivational speaker

Ever look at yourself in the mirror and wonder what happened to your body as time flew by, since you've had your baby, since you've lost that last 10 lbs, since you just couldn't make it to the gym anymore? I have. As I approach my 30's, I find myself in steady state of wonder of how much my body has changed since I was 21 or what will change 10 years from now. While I pondered this thought, I finally got some sense of clarity. While we do need to preserve our bodies and fight for good health, we must always ask for grace for what the results of our efforts may be.

Some years ago, a group of friends and I were having a conversation about our dreams/wishes/hopes. The obvious ones: "I want to find a good husband, " or "I want to publish a novel," of course came up. A brief silence overtook the conversation shortly thereafter when one of the women said, "I just want to watch myself grow old and enjoy the process." While she may not have been the brightest one among the bunch, her words spoke of nothing but true wisdom. Just then, I realized that her words, like a warm blanket on a cold day, would be comforting when I look at myself in the mirror and I notice a new wrinkle, or a gray hair.

Today, the barrage of messages about thinness, dieting and beauty tells "ordinary" women that they are always in need of adjustment. We are encouraged to believe that the female body is an object to be perfected. The overwhelming presence of images on TV screens and magazines, billboards and music videos of painfully thin women with perfect noses, and wrinkle free skin means that real women’s bodies have become invisible. The saddest part of this is that many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by beauty industry's standards. This focus on beauty and desirability destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate we currently live in.

While America is a true culprit of this, the world has begun to share in this ugly habit. For instance, in India, skin bleaching is becoming more and more popular; "Bleach skin, increase sex appeal." In Brazil, fake breasts are the new trend. In Tehran, a large majority of women seek out the Michelangelo of Tehran for just the perfect nose. In Saudi Arabia and in Europe, the number of women/men who go under the knife for cosmetic improvement continues to grow.

While I do know that this entry might conflict with the fact that I am a dietitian and I constantly strive to make myself, my family, and my clients look and feel their best, it is also important to take a step back and realize what means the most. Yes, it is important to take care of your body, eat right, exercise, and strive for a better you, but, we must realize that there is beauty in decay...there is beauty in change, there is beauty in getting old....

Friday, August 7, 2009

Beat Ih Wife Like Ih Beat Di Conch (Caribbean Saying)

Ever wonder what lives inside those beautiful conch shells that decorate the waters of the Caribbean? Growing up in Belize, conch soup, conch ceviche, conch fritters, conch steak, and curry conch were a staple in my household. While my craving for conch has not diminished, it is quite hard to find in the US and relatively expensive when you find it. Don't let this be a detterent. I encourage you to try it when you get a chance. It is well worth the money.

Conch, pronounced konk, is known as the queen of the Caribbean who has no bones but sports a beautiful shell. It is one of a number of different species of medium-sized to large saltwater molluscs that have intricately designed, spirally constructed shells. They are abundantly found in the Indian and Pacific oceans. However, six species live in the greater Caribbean region, including the Queen Conch. They live on sandy bottoms among beds of sea grass in tropical warm waters.

When Columbus “discovered” the islands in 1492, he wrote of finding conch shells “as big as the head of a calf” off the coast of Cuba. He found them to be a good and hearty source of protein. I remember when I was child, we would spend our holiday on a small island off the coast of Belize. When we came across conch, we knew we had to have it. A hole was made at the top of the spiralled shell. This would release the tension and pressure inside the shell. Shortly after, the long and very slender animal would slip out of the shell. We were all given a chance to clean our prize which consisted mainly of pulling the transparent outer entrails and discarding that in the sea. Then, you would remove any brown outer covering on the meat. This then exposed a beautiful white fleshy chunk of meat that is best enjoyed then and there raw with a squeeze of lime. The saltiness from the water would add enough seasoning to the already perfect meat.

If you are to cook conch at home, you will definately need to tenderize the meat by pounding it or by grinding it in the food processor, depending on the recipe of choice. Even though it has no bones, without tenderizing the meat, you may very well think that it is purely bone. Conch can be prepared many different ways. I will provide you with 1 of my favorite recipes.

Jam's Conch Ceviche Belizean Style!
1/2 lb. Cleaned conch meat
1 Carrot
8 Lime/Lemons
1/4 c Olive juice
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 Cucumber
1 Onion
Handful cilantro
1/2 Habanero pepper (seeds and all)
2 large Tomatos

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Clean conch meat by removing all brown outer coverings. Cut the meat into small chunks. Dice carrot, cucumber, onion, cilantro, tomatoes and Habanero pepper (remove seeds if you like it hot, keep seeds if you want it extra extra hot, or eliminate if you don't like the heat). Pour boiling water over diced conch and let sit for 3-4 minutes. In the meantime, squeeze lemons or limes into a bowl. Add all vegetables. Drain conch, and add to the vegetable, citrus mixture. Add olive juice, salt and pepper to taste. Let this marinate in the fridge at least 1 hour before serving. Serve cold with beer and corn tortilla chips.

My mom makes the most amazing conch soup and curry conch ever! I will provide you with this recipe when I am able to convince her to share her secrets. :)

Nutrition Facts:
Based on 3.5 oz serving
Conch is an excellent source of protein.
3 1/2 oz. of raw conch yields 137 calories (pretty amazing)! Sodium content of conch hovers around 206 mg per 3 1/2 oz. Cholesterol is relatively low being 65mg cholesterol compared to other shellfish.

Conch is low in fat!

Conch is a good source of B vitamins but it is especially rich in folate. The levels of the minerals magnesium and selenium are also appreciable in conch.

Sharing the love

Paul made this salad last night and it was fabulous! Thought I would share the love...

Paul & Jam's Everything Salad
Serves 2-3.
2 Grilled boneless chicken breast sliced on a bias
2 Hard boiled eggs sliced
1 Large head of Romaine lettuce
2 oz. Greek OR French feta cheese OR a sprinkle of grated Edam Dutch cheese
Handful of fresh blueberries
1 Vine ripe tomato
Jam's homemade pomegranate dressing (please see below for recipe)

Season chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Grill on a hot plate until tender (approx 8 minutes per side on medium heat). Remove from heat and let the meat sit before slicing. Boil water. When water has come to a boil, add eggs and boil for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately immerse eggs in iced water. When eggs are cold, remove shells and slice thinly. Wash and dry romaine leaves. Chop the tomato. Layer ingredients starting with the lettuce leaves, tomato, eggs, blue berries, and cheese. Gently but firmly, slice chicken breasts against the grain on a bias. Arrange on top of salad. Drizzle Jam's homemade pomegranate dressing on top and enjoy.

Jam's Home-made Pomegranate Dressing
1.5 c pomegranate juice
2 cloves garlic minced into a paste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
juice of 1 lemon
Canola Oil

Bring juice to a boil and reduce to half. Cool the reduction. Mince garlic and add to reduction with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice. Very slowly add canola oil and whisk until an emulsion develops. I usually use equal oil to juice for this recipe. If the dressing is too sweet for your liking, add some water and continue to whisk.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


America is experiencing a sex crisis (sex starved maybe?). Ironically, it is also the country with the highest rate of obesity. Believe it or not, these two very different issues are tightly correlated. When individuals increase their body fat percentage, hormonal changes occur that directly impact one's sex drive. This inverse correlation also bears a heavy burden (no pun intended) on fertility. In men, sperm count diminishes and in women, ovulation is affected.

Making some changes in your diet can be the secret to a revitalized sex life. Note though that while some of the foods I mention below may not be the best thing for your libido, they may be good for you in many other ways. However, ALWAYS remember that moderation is key! Read on!

- Unfortunately, these guys diminish testosterone levels. While the effects are not particularly dramatic, be aware that if you want to get your groove on, skip the tomato soup. :(

- This very rich and fatty fruit stimulates testosterone production which does great things for your libido. I highly suggest you make a trip to the Thai restaurant to load up.
Vanilla Ice Cream
- If you are anything like me, only a few things are better than a scoop of vanilla ice cream with caramelized apples. Great news vanilla ice cream lovers, for once we are encouraged to eat a scoop of this great treat. The scent of vanilla alone has been found to get us all hot and bothered. It gets even better! The dairy in the ice cream offers calcium and phosphorus which helps build the libido and makes orgasms more powerful.

- Nothing makes a romantic dinner better than a bottle of wine, right? WRONG! While one glass of wine acts as a relaxant and can help put you in the mood, more than one glass will do just the opposite! Beware! Who has one glass of wine anyway?

- While we are encouraged to keep our red meat consumption to a minimum, note that eating a serving of red meat will actually increase levels of neurotransmitters and provides us with a healthy dose of zinc which heightens our sensitivity and boosts our libido.

- It is the one of the oldest aphrodisiacs known to man and with a hefty dose of vitamin E per serving, your sex hormones will be in full force.

- Yet another reason to support the theory that pomegranate is a super food. As we already know, it is loaded with tons of antioxidants that not only help prevent cancer but also keep the blood flowing through all parts of the body including our friends below.

Hot Peppers/Chillies
- Wrong! There is no research out there that supports the theory that hot peppers help increase the libido.

- While I know it is probably one of the top 10 most expensive spices out there, it is well worth the extra dollars. A pinch goes a long way! Not only is the depth of flavor and color spectacular and unlike any other spice, it does great things for your body. Research shows that saffron acts like a natural antidepressant and pain killer. This is already a great start to a steamy evening. It gets even better! Saffron is packed with a chemical component that makes your body more sensitive to touch.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Sounds cliche right? Well, cliche or not, the rumor is true! Strawberries are a great source of vitamin C--a natural libido booster. The chocolate is not just an extra treat for your taste buds. Chocolate (especially those with 60% cacao) helps release sex hormones into the blood stream. It's not just a gimmick.....promise.

- So I suppose you know the answer to this one. Not really! While oysters stimulate the release of minerals and amino acids that spark an immediate release of sex hormones into the bloodstream (especially for men), it is only effective if a man eats at least 50 oysters at one sitting. Let's not talk about the coma like feeling of fullness and bloating and what that does for your sex drive.

- This fruit has everything going for it. The potassium and vitamin B boost you get from each banana is enough to take a trip to the bedroom.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My New Favorite Snack/Breakfast

Try this when you get a chance. The flavors work so well together. Above all else, it is a very nutritious way to start your morning or end the day.

Honey dew melon cut into cubes
Drizzle of honey
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Handful of walnuts

Combine all ingredients and enjoy! sooo good. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Super Foods

The following foods below have been shown by research to be the solutions to many physical conditions. Did I mention that there are no significant side effects? What if I told you that they taste good and are readily available and affordable to anyone and are unprocessed? Take note that you don't need specific foods for specific ailments. A healthy diet which incorporates a variety of foods (including these superfoods) from a variety of sources can help you fight disease and maintain a healthy weight. Compliments of Ben Hewitt, please read below for more information.

Spinach: is the ultimate man food.
BENEFITS: sexual enhancement (increase bloodflow to the penis), heart healthy, bone builder, muscle growth, vision enhancement
RECOMMEND: Aim for 1 cup fresh spinach or ½ cup cooked per day
Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce
Make your salads with spinach; add spinach to scrambled eggs; drape it over pizza; mix it with marinara sauce and then microwave for an instant dip.

All beans are great but black beans are the best
BENEFITS: heart healthy, boosts brain power, muscle growth
RECOMMEND: daily ½-cup serving
SUBSTITUTES: Peas, lentils, and pinto, kidney, fava, and lima beans
FIT IT IN: Wrap black beans in a breakfast burrito; use both black beans and kidney beans in your chili; puree 1 cup black beans with ¼ cup olive oil and roasted garlic for a healthy dip; add favas, limas, or peas to pasta.

Yogurt: go for low fat or fat free yogurt when possible
BENEFITS: bone builder, increases beneficial bacteria in your body which boost immunity only if the lable says "live and active cultures", provide protection against cancer
RECOMMEND: 1 cup a day
Kefir, soy yogurt
FIT IT IN: Yogurt topped with blueberries, walnuts, flaxseed, and honey is the ultimate breakfast—or dessert. Plain low-fat yogurt is also a perfect base for creamy salad dressings and dips

Tomatoes: Red tomatoes (both fresh and processed) are the best
BENEFITS: Lycopene (the red pigment) can decrease risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk heart disease.
RECOMMEND: Approximately eight red cherry tomatoes or a glass of tomato juice
SUBSTITUTES: Red watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya, guava
FIT IT IN: Pile on the ketchup and Ragú; guzzle low-sodium V8 and gazpacho; double the amount of tomato paste called for in a recipe

BENEFITS: Carotenoids (the yellow/red/orange pigment) can reduce risk of various cancers, can reduce the risk and severity of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis
RECOMMEND: Aim for ½ cup a day
SUBSTITUTES: Sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow bell pepper, mango
Raw baby carrots, sliced raw yellow pepper, butternut squash soup, baked sweet potato, pumpkin pie, mango sorbet, carrot cake

fresh is best although frozen is good too BENEFITS: loaded with antioxidants and can therefore help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory loss; boost cardiovascular health.
RECOMMEND: 1 cup fresh blueberries a day, or ½ cup frozen or dried
SUBSTITUTES: Açai berries, purple grapes, prunes, raisins, strawberries
Blueberries maintain most of their power in dried, frozen, or jam form

BENEFITS: Richer source of omega-3s than salmon so very heart healthy, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine so great for immunity, loaded with half as much muscle-building protein as chicken.
RECOMMEND: A serving of walnuts—about 1 ounce (approx 7 nuts)
SUBSTITUTES: Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts
Sprinkle on top of salads; dice and add to pancake batter; spoon peanut butter into curries; grind and mix with olive oil to make a marinade for grilled fish or chicken

BENEFITS: packed with soluble fiber which lowers the risk of heart disease, lowers cholesterol, release of the sugar is slowed by the fiber thus is great for diabetics, high in protein and thus deliver muscle-building energy
RECOMMEND: 1/2 cup serving
Quinoa, flaxseed, wild rice
Eat granolas and cereals that have a fiber content of at least 5 grams per serving Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed on cereals, salads, and yogurt

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How to Avoid Another Nutrition Scam

I read this article on the NIH website and thought I would share it with you. There is no fool proof way of making sure that you will not be a victim of nutrition quakery and fraud. However, you can equip yourself with the tools necessary to avoid being a victim of such events.

Please click on the link below for more information:

Skinny Drinks

Yes, you can drink and still keep your figure. Now, this does not mean you can chug 6 of these drinks and expect to keep the bulge off. Be a social drinker not a bar fly :)

Skinny Girl Margarita on the Rocks

Bethenny Frankel

ounce(s) clear Tequila (Sauza or clear premium tequila) A splash of fresh lime juice A splash of Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
Combine all ingredients over a glass of ice. Garnish with a lime wedge and salt or sugar.

Girlish Figure (97 cal)
Cheri Loughlin

1-1/2 ounce Malibu Coconut Rum
4 ounces Light Cranberry Juice
Splash Diet Lemon-Lime Soda

Combine Malibu Coconut Rum and Light Cranberry Juice in a glass filled with ice. Add Diet Lemon-Lime Soda to top and garnish with a slice of lime.

Port Orange (91 cal)
Cheri Loughlin

1-1/2 ounce Sandeman Founder's Reserve Port
4 ounces Light Orange Juice

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake thoroughly. Strain into a brandy snifter and garnish with an orange slice.

OVAL Strawberry Sweetie (80 cal)
Cheri Loughlin

1 ounce Oval Vodka
4 strawberries, sliced
8 ounces Light Lemonade
1 packet Splenda

Muddle sliced strawberries, OVAL Vodka & Splenda in the bottom of a Collins glass. Fill glass with ice and add Light Lemonade. Tumble & serve with a lemon slice garnish.

Beefeater Berry (96 cal)
Cheri Loughlin

1 ounce Beefeater Gin
1 lime wedge
6 ounces Light Cranberry Juice

Muddle the lime wedge and Beefeater Gin in the bottom of a Collins glass. Fill glass with ice and add Light Cranberry Juice. Tumble and serve with a lime wedge garnish.

The Leblon Skinny Caipirinha
Cheri Loughlin

2 ounces Leblon Cachaca
1 packet Splenda or other artificial sweetener
1/2 Lime, cut in four pieces

In a shaker, muddle the lime pieces with the sweetener. Add ice. Pour the Leblon Cachaca over the ice. Shake vigorously and serve in a skinny highball glass. Garnish with a lime slice.

Irish Coffee (96 cal)

Cheri Loughlin/Samantha Harrigan

1-1/2 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey

1 cup black coffee

Splenda (to sweeten if you feel you need it)

Stir ingredients in a preheated mug and enjoy!

Cuba Libre (77 cal)
Cheri Loughlin/Samantha Herrigan

1-1/2 ounce Malibu Coconut Rum

6 ounces Diet Cola

Stir ingredients to combine in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

PJ Mimosa (71 cal)

Cheri Loughlin/Samantha Harrigan

1/2 glass Perrier Jouet Champagne

4 ounces light orange juice

Combine ingredients in a champagne flute and serve.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Emotional Eating

Food does more for us than feed our tummies. When you're sad have ice cream sundaes, when you accomplish something big, treat yourself to a earned it, when you're bored, have some Cheetos. Food has somehow found a way to satisfy or compliment our feelings. Our emotions trigger our eating and we eat for reasons other than to satisfy hunger. This is what experts call emotional eating.

This behavior is not natural and normal, it was learned and reinforced. When we were children and we were sad, nothing cheered us up better than a sweet treat. This behavior continued to be reinforced year after year until it became a normal behavior as adults. We never really learned how to deal with our emotions because we always felt better by "treating" it with a decadent dessert. We all eat for emotional reasons sometimes. But, when eating becomes the main way to manage emotions then it becomes a problem. Most of the time the foods that we choose to satisfy our emotional urges are not necessarily the healthiest choices. These extra calories (that your body often do not need) are stored as fat and will lead to weight gain. Excess weight gain can lead to being overweight or obese which lends itself to a whole new set of problems.

How to Tell if you are Eating Emotionally

Believe it or not, there is a big difference between emotional eating and eating because you are hungry.
1. Emotional eaters only eat when they are feeling strong emotions and it only happens above the neck. Emotional hunger happens suddenly while physical hunger occurs gradually. Physical hunger happens from the waist down. Your tummy rumbles and growls.

2. Emotional eaters eat especially when they are bored.

3. Emotional eaters eat to fill a void that is not related to being physically hungry per se. For instance, when you crave something in particular that no other food can satisfy the need, you are eating out of emotion and not because you are really hungry. If you were physically hungry, you would be open to other options.

4. When you continue eating even though you know you are satisfied, you are eating to satisfy an emotional need. When you eat because you are truly hungry, you are more likely to stop when you are full.

5. Emotional eating can leave behind feelings of guilt. It involves absent-minded eating. You may not notice that you've just eaten a whole bag of cookies.

Overcoming Emotional Eating

The first step to overcoming this problem is recognizing that there is a problem. Recognize what triggers this behavior. Write these down. Then, create a list of things that you can do to replace the emotional eating behavior. Go for a walk, drink a glass of water, etc. If these do not work, and you must eat, then choose a food that comforts you. Choose a comfort food that is healthy! If you insist that a healthy comfort food does not exist, then I strongly recommend that you divide your comfort food into small portions and only eat one small portion or only have a few bites then put it away. Be mindful of what you put into your mouth and remember that moderation is key. Last but not least, listen to your body!! It will never fail to tell you what it needs....the hardest part is listening to it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mango Salsa

I made this mango salsa today and it is to die for! Enjoy it over a pork roast, over salmon, in fish tacos....

Mango Salsa

1 mango (half ripe)
1 Tbsp cilantro finely chopped
1/2 of a small cucumber thinly sliced
1 jalapeno diced finely
lemon juice (fresh)

Combine all ingredients together and let sit for about 15 minutes before you serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

30 Minutes Doesn't Cut it Anymore

Seems like everyday there is a new study that voids pretty much what we learned yesterday. This is particularly true in the area of nutrition and fitness.

For the longest time, the American College of Sports Medicine recommended that if you are under 65 years, you should try to engage in moderately intense cardio exercises at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes each time. If you engage in any vigorously intense cardio exercises, they recommended 20 a mins a day, 3 days a week. This was said to help maintain a healthy weight and to prevent chronic disease. Now, there seems to be a slight change in recommendations.

Greater amounts of physical activity than currently recommended may be necessary to prevent people from gaining weight, and to help them lose weight and keep it off, according to updated guidelines issued by the American College of Sports Medicine. It is now recommended that to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity at least 5 times a week (averaging 300 minutes per week) may be necessary. The 30-minute recommendation, as mentioned above, is for the average healthy adult to maintain health and reduce the risk for chronic disease but not necessarily for weight management.

I guess it goes back to same old saying: Nothing worthwhile comes easy!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I read a very interesting article published in the Diet & Nutrition section of MSNBC online news website and I thought I should highlight a few very promising and exciting research in the world of nutrition.

Açaí Berry Extract FRAUD

Thought you should know that this, like many other Weight Loss Scams are just that...SCAMS! If you ever anticipate weight loss to be this easy, it will be your first step to failure.;_ylt=AiGbzaaXPs.sOkiu7yTqcnsazJV4?rn=3906861&cl=12619212&ch=4226720&src=news

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cooking Basics

I know for many people cooking doesn't come easy. As a matter of fact, for many of you, it is a chore and it's the the time of day you loathe. Maybe, it's because you just don't know the basics. Being comfortable in the kitchen is displayed best when you begin to experiment. I have decided to share with you some of my favorite flavor layers, tips, and basic techniques in the kitchen.
  1. There is no need to measure. Just "guestimate."
  2. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes, the best flavors are discovered by making mistakes in the kitchen.
  3. Take your time! If you are a slow cooker, start way in advance. No need to rush.
  4. Start with the most complicated and longer cooking foods first.
  5. If you are making a side of rice, make sure you start cooking it first.
  6. Always preheat the oven before you use it. Let the oven wait on you...not the other way around.
  7. Simple is best. There is no need to complicate cooking.
  8. The best meals have enough spice, heat, and sweetness.
How to Saute
  1. Make sure your pan is hot
  2. Use an extra wide pan
  3. Use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) alone or combine with butter. Normally, 2 turns around the pan of EVOO would be enough.
  4. To check if pan is hot enough, dip the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If bubbles form around the spoon immediately, it is ready. If the oil is smoking, the pan is too hot.
  5. Add the protein (meat, chicken). Spread out in an even layer. Do not touch. Turn heat to medium high. Turn after 3 minutes if in cubes. Turn after 4-5 minutes if whole.
  6. If you are using vegetables, keep heat medium high. If it begins to turn brown, turn the heat down.

How to Blanch
  1. Fill pot half way with water. Bring to boil. Add salt. Make sure to add salt after water has boiled. If you add it before, it will increase the boiling point of water and you will have to wait longer for it to boil.
  2. Add vegetables (e.g. broccoli, asparagus, etc.). Leave vegetables in for 30-60 seconds. Remove, drain. Serve.
  1. This is probably one of the mostly used techniques in cooking. It is the best way to lock in color and flavor. No body wants to eat white chicken, right?
  2. Heat EVOO and butter or just EVOO in a wide pan. Bring to smoking point. Add meat. Let it sit without touching it. Keep the heat high.
  3. Turn after 2-3 minutes. A nice brown color will appear. This will promote the best flavors.
  4. Continue to cook in liquid or in the oven.
Basics of stews
  1. Heat pan and Evoo. Add carrots, celery, and onion and sweat them on med-low heat for 3-5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove vegetables.
  2. Turn heat to high and add protein. Brown. Add sweat vegetables and other vegetables if desired.
  3. Layer flavors with water/wine/stock. Make sure it is enough liquid to cover vegetables/protein. Cover and bring to boil. Simmer for at least 30 minutes so that flavors can marry. If you are using a tough cut of meat, make sure to keep it on the fire for more than 30 minutes.
Basic Flavor Layers for Chicken
  1. Salt, pepper, thyme
  2. salt, pepper, thyme, garlic
  3. salt, lemon pepper
  4. Salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, oregano
  5. Soy sauce, pepper, pineapple juice, brown sugar or honey
Basic Flavor Layers for Beef
  1. Salt, pepper, pepper flakes
  2. Red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic
  3. Salt, pepper
  4. Red wine, salt, pepper, garlic
  5. Worchestershire sauce, pepper, salt
  6. Salt, pepper, pineapple juice, brown sugar
Basic Flavor Layers for Shrimp
  1. Salt, pepper
  2. Salt, pepper
  3. Salt, pepper, garlic, butter
  4. Salt, pepper, garlic, lemon, butter, parsley
Note: Add lemon or lime juice to the pan at the end of cooking time. Do not allow it to boil. If you do, it will turn bitter.

Best Ways to Cook Vegetables
  1. Blanch
  2. Steam
  3. Roast
  4. Grill
Basic Gravy
  1. Heat pan. Add EVOO and butter or just EVOO.
  2. Bring to smoking.
  3. Add protein and sear or saute.
  4. Remove protein.
  5. Bring heat up to high.
  6. Add a few turns around the pan of white wine or red wine. This might cause a flame. Be careful. Turn heat to medium high. With a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add twice as much stock or water. Simmer. Add salt/pepper to taste.
  8. At the end, add a small pat of butter to make it shiny.

Basic Thickening Agents
  1. Flour and water. Add 2 Tbsp of flour and add water until it looks like milk. Make sure to mix well to get rid of all the lumps.
  2. Add to simmering liquids such as gravies and mix.
  3. The same can be applied by using cornstarch and water.
  4. Do not add lemon or lime juice when you are thickening gravies. It will not thicken. Add the citrus when thickening has been completed.

Guilt Free Dessert Recipes

If you are like me, you'll know that at the end of a long day and a nice dinner, there is always room for something sweet. Most desserts out there are either: high in fat & calories, low in fat and high in sugar, or sugar free and high in fat. How can we get our fix without jeopardizing our efforts of the day? Try these recipes below and you too can beat the system. They are some of my favorites that I have collected from great chefs over the years. Happy Cooking!

Yogurt and Fruit Parfait (approx 200 calories per serving)
Jamel Drake
Yields 1 serving

1 cup fat-free vanilla flavored yogurt
1 Tbsp fat free whipped cream
15-10 chopped berries
Sprinkle of granola

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Blueberry Coffee Cake (210 calories per square)
Ellie Krieger

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or plain whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries

Cream butter and sugar together. Add one egg at a time to make sure they are well incorporated. Add vanilla and mix well. Then, incorporate non-fat plain yogurt. Mix well and set aside. In another bowl, mix all purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, salt together. Add dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in 2 stages. Mix well to incorporate and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine white sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon.

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray. Add 1/2 of the cake batter to the pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle 1/2 of the nutty crumb mixture and a cup of fresh blueberries on top of the first layer of cake batter. Add the rest of batter and spread evenly. Add the rest of the crumb mixture on top. Bake 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Cool, unmold, and cut into 12 even squares. Enjoy!

Poached Pears (260 calories per pear)
Ellie Krieger

Yields 4 servings

2 cups dry red wine
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
3 1-inch strips orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
4 ripe pears

In a saucepan, combine wine, sugar, orange juice, zest, cinnamon stick and cloves. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Peel pears in the meantime making sure to leave the stem intact. Slice 1/2-inch off the bottom of the pears to create a flat bottom. Gently place pears in poaching liquid, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes to ensure even color, until pears are cooked but still firm. Remove saucepan from flame, uncover and cool with pears upright. Once cool, cover and chill in refrigerator at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours, turning occasionally, if desired. Gently remove pears from liquid and allow to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, reduce liquid by about half over a medium-high flame for 15 minutes, until liquid is thicker and slightly syrupy. Remove from flame and let liquid come to room temperature. Drizzle each pear with 2 tablespoons syrup and serve.

Pumpkin Flan (100 calories per flan)
Ellie Krieger
Yields 8 servings

2/3 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup solid-pack pumpkin

Spray 8 (4 oz) ramikins lightly with cooking spray. Arrange ramekins inside a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and forms a medium-brown caramel, about 7 minutes. Working quickly, transfer 2 teaspoons of the caramel to each of the ramekins, swirling as soon as you spoon in the caramel (it will harden quickly). Set aside.

Combine milk and evaporated milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm. Reduce heat to a low simmer and keep milk warm. Meanwhile, bring about 4 cups water to a boil and keep hot. Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Fold pumpkin into egg mixture. Then fold into evaporated milk. Divide filling among ramekins, then place baking sheet in oven. Pour hot water into baking pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until flan is just set. Let cool. Place a dessert plate on top of each ramekin and invert; flan should slide out, and syrup should flow onto sides of the dish.

Fresh Raspberry Mousse Almond Crumb Cake (250 calories per serving)
Fitness Magazine

Yields 8 servings

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces (1/2 package) light cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup raspberry jam or preserves (preferably seedless)
3/4 cup (3 1/2 ounces) fresh raspberries (optional)
3 tablespoons (5/8 ounce) sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or potato masher or knife until crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup for later use.

Add yogurt, vanilla and almond extracts, egg, baking powder, and baking soda to mixture. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed until blended. Pour into 8-inch-round nonstick baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese and jam; beat at low speed until blended. Spread evenly over batter. Top with reserved flour mixture, sprinkling of raspberries (optional) and almonds.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until edges are browned and center is nearly set. Cool on a rack. Refrigerate 3 hours, or until well chilled. Cut into 8 wedges.

Guilt Free Double Chocolate Brownies (111 calories per brownie)
Fitness Magazine

Yields 16 brownies

tablespoons butter
cup granulated sugar
cup cold water
teaspoon vanilla
cup all-purpose flour
cup unsweetened cocoa powder
teaspoon baking powder
cup mini semisweet chocolate pieces
teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat the bottom of a 9-x-9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. In a medium saucepan, melt butter; remove from heat. Stir in sugar, water, and vanilla. Mix in flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder until combined. Add chocolate pieces. Pour batter into pan; bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

How to Read a Food Label

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has prepared a web page for the public to learn how to read a food label. I encourage you to take advantage of this powerful tool. Learning the ins and outs of the food label will help you make quick, informative, and better food choices. Please follow the link below for more information.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dining out Tips

Tired of leaving a restaurant and feeling like you've just wasted your entire week at the gym? If you follow my tips, you will still enjoy your dining experience out and feel great when you leave.

  1. Order from the appetizer menu and order a side salad. Ask them to put the dressing on the side.
  2. Drink a glass of milk, water, or have a serving of low-fat/fat free yogurt before you leave the house to go to the restaurant.
  3. Ask for a doggy bag at the beginning of the meal. Cut your portion in half and take it home. Being a part of the clean your plate club is over rated.
  4. Share an entree with a friend.
  5. Always ask for your poultry to be cooked the following ways: steamed, poached, roasted, broiled, boiled, grilled, or baked.
  6. If you are a beef eater, choose lean cuts like flank or loin.
  7. Ask for your side entrees to be broiled or roasted instead of fried.
  8. Beware of the buzz words creamy, buttered, au-gratin, breaded, alfredo, battered, or gravy. These pack a heavy punch in calories.
  9. If you must have the 3 layered chocolate cake, ask for extra spoons so your friends can help you out.
  10. Drink lots of water during your meal.
  11. Avoid the bread bowl on the table. If you must, moderation is key!
  12. If you know you will go out to eat tonight, eat smaller meals that normal throughout the day but make sure you are not famished so that by the time dinner time comes along, you suck it up like a sieve.
  13. If you feel you might over eat the hors d'oeuvres, don't sit near them!
  14. Choose mineral water or diet instead of alcoholic beverages, or at least alternate them slowly.
  15. Eat slowly.
  16. Try to eat the same portion as you would at home.
  17. Choose fish or poultry when you can.
  18. Order your baked potato plain. Ask for the extras on the side. Use sparingly.
  19. Keep the ground rules of nutrition in mind. Eat a variety of foods in moderate amounts, limit the amount of fat you eat, and be mindful of the amount of salt.
  20. Keep in mind that an average fast food meal can run as high as 1000 calories or more.
  21. If you are having fast food for one meal, let your other meals that day contain healthier foods, like fruits/vegetables.
  22. Limit bacon and sausage.
  23. Watch out for words like jumbo, giant, deluxe, biggie-sized, super-sized. Order regular or junior size instead.
  24. Skip the croissant or biscuit. Eat your sandwich on a bun, bread, or English muffin.
  25. Salads can carry alot of calories. It's all in the dressing.
  26. Potato and macaroni salads are loaded with fat.
  27. Pizza can be a good fast food choice. Go for thin crust always with vegetable toppings. Limit 1-2 slices.
  28. Watch out for traps. Fat free muffins are normally loaded with sugar. Skinless fried chicken can have as much fat as regular. Chinese food may seem like a healthy choice, but many foods are deep fried, high in fat and sodium.
  29. Turkey is healthier than ham.

Portion Sizes

I apologize for being MIA these past days. I've been crazy busy. Anyhow, I received emails from a few friends with suggestions for topics to blog about. So, here is the first one!

Portion Sizes

  1. Cooked pasta or oatmeal = 1/3- 1/2 cup
  2. Bread = 1 slice
  3. Crackers = 6 squares
  4. Bagel = 1/2 whole
  5. Pancakes = 1 (4 inches across, 1/4 inch thick)
  6. Pita = 1/2 of a 6 inch whole
  7. Corn or flour tortilla (6 inch across) = 1
  8. Couscous = 1/3 cup
  9. Cooked rice = 1/3 cup
  10. Grits = 1/2 cup
  11. Baked beans = 1/3 cup
  12. Corn kernels = 1/2 cup
  13. Corn on the cob = 1/2 large
  14. Plantain = 1/2 cup
  15. Potato baked with skin = 1/4 large (3 ozs)
  16. Mashed potato = 1/2 cup
  17. Hummus = 1/3 cup
  18. Snack chips (potato or tortilla) = 9-13 pieces
  19. Dried fruit = 1/4 cup
  20. Mixed berries, cherries, or cubed cantelope = 1 cup
  21. 100% fruit juice = 1/2 cup
  22. Pear, or banana = 1 small
  23. Apple or orange = 1 small (about the size of a tennis ball)
  24. Cooked carrots = 1/2 cup
  25. Raw leafy vegetables = 2 cups
  26. Raw vegetables, chopped = 1 cup
  27. Chopped, cooked or canned vegetables = 1/2 cup
  28. Grapes = 17 count
  29. Low-fat cheddar cheese = 2 oz or the size of 2 dominoes
  30. Low-fat or fat free milk or yogurt = 1 cup
  31. Part-skim mozarella cheese = 1 1/2 oz or about 1/3 cup shredded
  32. Cooked fish or chicken breast = 3 oz or the size of a deck of cards
  33. Cooked lean meat = 1 1/2 oz (half of a deck of cards)
  34. Cooked beans or lentils = 1/2 cup or about the size of an ice cream scoop
  35. Egg = 1 medium
  36. Angel food cake = 2 oz (about 1/12 cake)
  37. Brownie small, unfrosted = 2 inch square
  38. Cake frosted = 2 inch square
  39. Doughnut, glazed = 3 3/4 inch across (2 oz)
  40. Fruit spread = 1 1/2 Tbsp
  41. Honey = 1 Tbsp
  42. Ice cream = 1/2 cup
  43. Jam or jelly regular = 1 Tbsp
  44. Spaghetti sauce or pasta sauce, canned = 1/2 cup
Use a smaller plate every time u eat and drink a glass of water at each meal....I promise, you will be better able to control your portions.

All in moderation

Portion control is a useful tool to help you maintain a healthy weight. If you replace high calorie foods with low calorie ones (fruits/vegetables), you'll get the nutrients you need, feel satisfied and reduce the number of calories you consume.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Happy RD Day!

Happy RD Day to all registered dietitians! Celebrating 40 years of the RD credential!

The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has been invited –- representing all members of our Association -– to ring the Opening Bell for the NASDAQ stock exchange, the largest electronic equities exchange in the United States, on Thursday, March 12, in recognition of National Nutrition Month and Registered Dietitian Day. The president of the ADA will be joined by a number of ADA members who live in the New York area, and he will deliver some short remarks prior to officially starting the NASADAQ trading day.

The president of the American Dietetic Association will talk about the great work members of the ADA do in health care, foodservice operations, worksite wellness programs, client and patient counseling, scientific research and more. He will highlight our members’ involvement in National Nutrition Month activities throughout the country; and he will promote Registered Dietitian Day, recognizing RDs’ contributions in workplaces and communities and our dedication to optimizing the nation’s health through food and nutrition.

The NASDAQ Opening Bell ceremony is broadcast live at 9:15 a.m. Eastern Time on CNBC and C-SPAN, and on NASDAQ’s Web site at:
The ceremony is broadcast live and is not archived, so it is important to watch it in real time.

The ceremony is also broadcast on video screens in Times Square; ADA’s name and logo will be on NASDAQ’s Times Square tower all day Thursday with the message “The Stock Exchange Welcomes the American Dietetic Association.”

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Keep Healthy During These Economically Hard Times

These days it seems like our hopes and dreams for fitness/health are slipping away and even harder to attain. During these economically hard times, we have more time but less money. Fast food seems like a decent option: it's fast, easy, convenient, and most important, CHEAP--but not at the expense of our waistlines. The truth is, staying fit during these times is not impossible. With a little bit of ingenuity and minimal effort, your body will thank you.

  • Farmer's markets are a great find. Produce is cheaper especially since you don't have to pay for extra overhead as you would at a supermarket
  • Choose fruits/vegetables in season
  • Buy in bulk especially non-perishables and meat. You pay less per pound each time and storage is not a hassle. Portion bulk packages into freezer bags for easy thawing/cooking. Remember to avoid buying meat that is already season. They are usually way more expensive. Season it yourself!
  • Look out for sales. We don't realize how much money you can save by looking out for sales. Coupons are a great way to take advantage of good deals. Coupon Suzy, I have found, is quite helpful.
  • Keep the pasta/rice/potato to a reasonable portion. Not because they are cheap means they should make up most of your plate. Try frozen/canned (low-sodium) vegetable options for a good side if you simply can't afford fresh.
  • The truth of the matter is, eating fresh foods is not as expensive as you think. Try buying produce by the bag instead of individually. You will always get a better price.
  • Plan your meals for the week and try to incorporate similar fresh ingredients in another meal for that week.
  • Buy less processed foods and your bill will go down! For instance, instead of buying parboiled boxed rice, buy bags of raw rice.
  • Buy store brands when appropriate. Usually, they are just as good and cost way less.
  • There is no need to go to Starbucks for coffee! Make it yourself! (trust me, this is not a sin... smile). Not only will you save yourself money but you control the calories!
  • Sometimes, replace the meat in your meals with other protein foods such as eggs or beans
  • Filter your own tap water! Not only will you save money but you will be help save the environment.
  • Instead of buying 100 calorie snacks, buy a big bag and portion it yourself in a baggie
  • Experiment in the kitchen and make a date out of it rather than eating out!
Physical Activity
  • Take advantage of the extra time on your hands if you are unemployed and get moving!
  • Walk to the grocery store if it's not too far away
  • Park as far as you can from your destination
  • Climb the stairs for 15 minutes during your lunch break (you can burn up to 150 calories in 15 minutes)
  • Avoid the elevators and take the stairs. Burn calories, not electricity!
  • Walk, walk, walk and enjoy nature. Mix it up with a little jogging here and there
  • Do laundry lifts! I know this sounds funny but I promise your arms will thank you. Hold the basket above your head, lift and lower.
  • While your doing dishes, do some calf raises. Step to your toes and down again. Repeat.
  • Put on your favorite music and dance in your living room with your hubby or by yourself.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A wonderful woman and a very special friend has been very gracious to share her recipe for home-made Granola. Ginny and her husband, Dave, were like a second parents to me when I lived in Miami. Having dinner, lunch, or just a cup of coffee and something decadent at their house was always a special treat. She asked that I try this recipe before I post it but I am positive that you will not be disappointed.

A pinch of that here and a dash of that there and voila....

Ginny's Home-Made Granola

3 Cups Oats - not instant - old fashion

brown sugar - 1/4 c. or more

honey - 1/4 cup or more




sesame seeds

sunflower seeds

1/4 c. vegetable oil


pinch of salt

Mix all the above ingredients and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool on the counter top. Do not cool in the oven. Enjoy as a snack, over yogurt, fruits and over milk.

The Drakes' Famous Mussel Recipe

My husband and I came up with this recipe on a sunny summer afternoon. We discovered that this was one of the best meals we'd ever come up with. Enjoy!

1. Dice 1/2 onion, 1 roma tomato, 4 large cloves garlic, 1/2 t dried oregano, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp salt.

2. Melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in an extra large skillet that has a cover.

3. Add the diced vegetables to the pan at med-low heat & let them sweat for about 2-3 minutes.

4. Crank the heat up to high and when the pan is hot, add 1.25 cup white wine (it does not have to be an expensive bottle of just want the acidity from the wine and the flavor). If you'd drink it, then it's good to use.

5. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to med-low. Let that simmer for about 2-3 minutes with the cover on.

6. Add the mussels and coat them with the sauce. (i usually include 15 mussels per person if the mussels are small).

7. Cover the pan and turn the heat to med-low. Simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the mussels open. Remember that some of them may not open if you don't have enough room in the pan so if you mix them up they may open. If not, discard them.

8. Remove the mussels from the pan into a large bowl and keep the sauce on medium low heat for at least 3 more minutes to concentrate the flavor.

9. Taste the sauce. You may need to add more salt if the mussels did not provide enough of its own.

10. Pour the sauce over the mussels and serve!. Make sure to dip the mussels in the sauce when u eat it! It is fantabulous!

11. ENJOY with some french bread for dipping!

This meal is low in fat, high in protein, and very satisfying!

Get Moving During Pregnancy

For most women, weight gain during pregnancy can be a major source of stress for the expecting mother. Will I gain too much weight? Should I watch what I eat? Will I keep the weight on after delivery? Did You Know that the percentage of women considered overweight and obese before pregnancy soared 47 percent between 1993 and 2003. Being overweight/obese prior to pregnancy can put you and your baby at risk for complications: gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, c-sections, preterm birth, still birth, defects, etc. Experts mention that the best way to reduce these risks is to achieve a healthy weight before conceiving. If that's not possible, the next best thing is avoiding excess weight gain during pregnancy.

Simply put, good nutrition and being physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.

How much total weight should I gain?

The amount of weight you should gain depends on your weight before pregnancy.

  • 25-37 pounds if you were a healthy weight before pregnancy.
  • 28-40 pounds if you were underweight before pregnancy.
  • 15-25 pounds if you were overweight before pregnancy.

At what rate should I gain weight during my pregnancy?

How much you should gain depends on your weight before you were pregnant and how far along you are.

  • Healthy weight before pregnancy:
    • 3-5 pounds during the first trimester
    • Approximately 1-2 pounds per week in the second trimester
    • Approximately 1-2 pounds per week in the third trimester
  • Underweight before pregnancy:
    • 5-6 pounds or more in your first trimester; this also can depend on how underweight you were before pregnancy & your health care provider's recommendations
    • 1-2 pounds per week in the second and third trimesters
  • Overweight before pregnancy:
    • Approximately 1-2 pounds in the first trimester
    • Approximately 1 pound per week during the last six months

To get a scientifically sound approach to eating right during pregnancy visit
The United States Department of Agriculture recently launched an addition to its Web site called “MyPyramid Plan for Moms.” This interactive tool provides individualized nutrition guidance to meet the needs of expectant and new moms alike.

The MyPyramid Plan for Moms also includes recommendations for pregnancy and breast feeding. This tool provides a convenient and free educational resource to help women who are pregnant or breast feeding understand their needs and make wise food choices.

For your convenience, I have highlighted a few nutrition tips to help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy:
  • Eat five to six small, frequent meals every day.
  • Keep snacks on hand: nuts, dried fruit, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, and yogurt.
  • Spread peanut butter on toast, crackers, or fruit/vegetables. One tablespoon of creamy peanut butter will provide about 100 calories and seven grams of protein.
  • Add nonfat powdered milk to foods such as mashed potatoes and hot cereal.
  • Use salt in moderation. It makes you retain water.
  • Avoid eating at fast food restaurants. Food is loaded with salt and saturated fats.
  • Use fat in moderation.
  • You may have a craving for sugar. Keep this to a minimum.
  • Use 1% or non-fat milk whenever possible.
  • NEVER diet during pregnancy!
  • If you are gaining weight too fast, cut back on the calories you are currently eating.
    • The best way to eat fewer calories is by decreasing the amount of “extras” you are eating. “Extras” are added sugars and solid fats in foods like pop, desserts, fried foods, cheese, whole milk, and fatty meats. Choose low-fat, fat-free, unsweetened. They have fewer “extras.”
If you follow a regular exercise plan prior to your pregnancy, you should be able to continue the plan to some degree throughout your pregnancy. Exercise does not increase your risk for a miscarriage.
  • If you are just starting an exercise program to help manage weight gain during pregnancy, start very slowly. Talk to your health care provider to see if this is advisable.
  • Do not over exert yourself. Do what you can. Your body will give you signals that it is time to reduce the intensity of your workouts. Never exercise to the point of exhaustion.
  • Wear comfortable footwear that gives enough ankle and arch support. Even though your footwear might be very helpful, avoid any steep terrains while running or riding. At this point, you have a higher right of getting a sprain.
  • Take frequent breaks, and drink plenty of fluids during exercise.
  • Avoid exercising in hot weather.
  • Weight training is good. However, focus on strengthening your abdominal and upper body areas. Avoid doing movements that strain your lower back.
  • During the 2nd & 3rd trimesters, avoid exercise that involves lying flat on your back.
  • Include relaxation and stretching before and after your sessions.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In the Words of Celia Cruz


Ever wonder how much sugar you are consuming? To highlight a few...
  • 16 oz Soda Pop = 14 tsp
  • 16 oz Orange Fanta = 18 tsp
  • 16 oz Cran-Apple Minute Maid = 16 tsp

To calculate how much sugar is in your beverage/food item, first turn to the nutrition label and locate the (g) sugar per serving. Next do the following calculation: (g) sugar X number servings in the container ÷ 4. This will total how many tsp sugar are in your beverage/food item.

You will be amazed!

How to be a Centenarian

Think you can hold up your end of the bargain?

What is Normal Eating?

This is one of my favorite definitions of normal eating. Please enjoy!

Normal Eating

-- Ellyn Satter, R.D., A.C.S.W.

Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it—not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.

Copyright © 2009 by Ellyn Satter. Published at For more about eating competence (and for research backing up this advice), see Ellyn Satter’s Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook, Kelcy Press, 2008. Also see to purchase books and to review other resources.

Quick, Simple Snack Ideas

Nutty Bagelana Treat
1/2 bagel of your choice spread with 2 Tbsp of crunchy peanut butter
1 banana
100% fruit juice
Cut on bagel in half. Eat one half. Spread with 2 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter. Warm in microwave. Peel one banana. Cut one half of fruit into circles and place on top of the peanut butter. Wash it down with 6 ozs. fruit juice.

Vanilla Fruit Heaven
6 oz. light vanilla yogurt
1/2 palmful frozen raspberries
1/2 palmful crused cereal
Open one 6 oz tub of the yogurt and scoop it into a small bowl. Add raspberries and cereal. Enjoy!
Mediterranean Delight
Store bought hummus spread on a whole wheat pita
Baby carrots
Raspberry flavored Crystal Light on the Go packets diluted in a 16 oz bottle of water
Spread 2-3 Tbsp hummus on 1 small whole wheat pita. Cut into squares. Enjoy some baby carrots on the side for some texture. Empty one packet of Crystal Light on the Go into a 16 oz bottle of water.

Apricot and Bleu Cheese
Dried apricots
Bleu cheese
Add a pinch of blue cheese on top of each dried apricot. Enjoy!

Home-Made Trail Mix
2 handfuls pretzels or breakfast cereal (Cheerios, Chex)
1 handful nuts
1 handful dried fruit
Mix together and enjoy!

The Skinny on Fads!

The criticisms of the following diets are based on science and research.

  • The body goes into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state associated with chronic starvation. Ketone bodies (metabolites of fats) become the preferred source of energy. These build up in the blood and convert to acetone. Ketones are excreted in the urine (which is the main job of the kidneys) and through one's breath. Excess ketones strain the kidneys and may starve the brain of glucose.
  • The diet is not sustainable over a lifetime. Weight gain most likely occurs once the person stops the diet.
  • The diet is very expensive to maintain.
  • High protein, low-carbohydrate diets have been found to increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Excess acid produced from high protein in the diet leaches calcium from the bones and may cause osteoporosis.
  • The major weight loss seen in the initial phase of the diet is due mainly to loss of water and glycogen, NOT FAT, as is advocated in the diet which can lead to dehydration and increased fat retention.

The Zone:
  • Too much protein in the diet promotes excess acid which leaches calcium from the bones and may cause osteoporosis.
  • This diet may cause excess strain on kidneys.
  • The diet is high in fat and cholesterol and low in fiber which may be conducive to high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
  • The diet is low in antioxidant foods.
  • Essential nutrients may be lacking in the diet.

South Beach Diet:
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Eating excessive pre-packaged foods are usually high in sodium which can lead to hypertension and water retention over time.
  • The studies that validate the diet plan were conducted by the creator of the diet and by Kraft foods (creators of the pre-packaged meals that can be eaten while on the diet); therefore, the data collected is questionable.
Very Low Calorie Diets:
  • Individuals with a BMI under 30 use this diet to lose weight without medical supervision which can be very dangerous.
  • Lethargy, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gall bladder disease may occur.
  • It is not a balanced diet.
  • Antioxidants are excluded from the diet.
  • Good nutrition from 800 kcal per day is not likely.
  • The diet is not sustainable over a long-term period.
  • Weight gain is likely after the diet ends.
Raw Food Diets:
  • Very harsh and restrictive
  • Not balanced
  • Compounds in certain foods like kidney beans and potatoes requires cooking to remove natural toxins.
  • Raw food advocates who are vegetarian must pay special attention to protein and vitamin B-12
  • Research that advocates this diet is not based on scientific methodology.
  • Nutrients from certain foods are not usable in some foods unless it is cooked; e.g., lycopene in tomatoes and beta carotene in carrots.
  • Advocates argue that non-humans do not exhibit degenerative diseases because they do not cook their food. Therefore, if humans would not cook food, they would not contract these diseases either. THIS IS FALSE!
  • Lower bone density, erosion of the enamel, bad breath, osteoporosis, secondary to leached calcium from the bone have been found to be side effects.