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.

Want to Keep the Pounds Off???

  1. Consume low-energy, fiber rich foods such as non starchy vegetables to establish a satiation for a longer period of time.
  2. Exercise 30 - 60 minutes a day, drink at least 6 cups water, and sleep at least 6 hours a night
  3. Make daily sacrifices such as limiting the amount of milk in your cereal or limiting that extra tsp of sugar in your tea cup add up.
  4. Avoid fad diets and yo-yo dieting.
  5. Eat when you are hungry, drink when you are thirsty. This sounds easy but it is very easy to get these mixed up.
  6. Try low-fat, lean, or light food options. Fat-free is not recommended for 2 reasons: a. often times fat-free foods are loaded with extra preservatives which you don't need, b. we need fat to use some vitamins.
  7. Avoid fried foods.
  8. Eat red meat once in a while. Marbeling in meat is a high source of saturated fat.
  9. Drink alcohol moderately. Cocktails, mixed drinks, and beer are loaded with excess calories. If you must, drink light beer.
  10. Cut down on salt!! This is a big one. Packaged foods are the biggest culprit, even the boxes marked low-fat or light. Salt is a preservative! Look for sodium or potassium salts on labels. Check out for guidelines on salt intake.
  11. Choose fruit when you crave something sweet. However, if there is birthday cake in the room, have a small piece instead of denying yourself a slice. This will satisfy the urge and reduce overeating later.
  12. Aerobic activity should be done at moderate-intensity. At this pace, you may breathe harder and find it more difficult to hold a conversation. Being physically active at this intensity 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day (to maintain health) or up to 60 minutes a day (to lose weight) will help keep you healthy.
  13. Strength training will help you lose fat and build muscle. You really don't need more than 20-30 minutes a day, 2-3 times a week to get its benefits. You might not see a change on the scale but I promise you will feel it in your clothes. For instance, 5 lbs muscle takes up less space than 5 lbs fat. Keep in mind rest days! These are just as important as your training days.
  14. Listen to your body! Your body will tell you when you are hungry and when you are full. Sometimes we tune out these cues especially when we are watching tv while eating, skipping meals, or clean your plate even though you are full.
  15. Keep in mind that: calories and portion sizes count and strive to develop habits that can last a lifetime and avoid those that will only help you lose weight.

Portion Distortion

Over the years, the concept of portion control in America is blurred. More bang for your buck is how they sell it. Super size coffee, burgers, fries, soda pop, beer, pasta, name it and it exists. Are you really getting your money's worth? Your waistline might disagree.

Check out the following link: and download PORTION DISTORTION I and PORTION DISTORTION II to find out of how today's portions compare with portion sizes 20 years ago. Here you will also learn how much exercise you need to burn off the extra calories from today's portion sizes.

The results will shock you!!!

Know Your Numbers!

Ever wonder what your ideal weight is or how much calories you need in a day? Read below to find out more. It's important to know your numbers!

Body Mass Index (BMI)
- This is the most common measure of obesity by an individual's weight relative to height. It is a broad indicator but does not take into account muscle mass.
- To calculate your BMI and figure out what the numbers mean, check out this link:
Ideal Weight?
- Unfortunately for most of us, reaching one's ideal weight is close to impossible. However, give yourself a break and try to stay within 5-10 lbs of your ideal weight.
- To calculate your ideal weight:
  • males (106 lbs for the first 5' and 6 lbs for each inch over 5') +/- 10% for frame size
  • famales (100 lbs for the first 5' and 5 lbs for each inch over 5') +/- 10% for frame size
How many calories do you need?
- Men and woman have very different needs. In order to figure out this number, you need to first calculate how many calories you will need throughout the day when you are at rest. This means, how many calories will you need to stay alive (pump heart, breathe, digest food, blink eyes, think, and all other involuntary activities). This is called BASAL ENERGY EXPENDITURE or BEE.
- To calculate your BEE:
  • Men: 66.47 +13.75 (weight) + 5(height) - 6.75 (age)
  • Females: 655.1 + 9.56 (weight) + 1.85 (height) - 4.68 (age)
  • Please note weight is measured in kg, height is measured in cm
After you have figured out this number, you will need to include the calories you will need to carry out voluntary activities as well as involuntary ones. If you are confined to bed, multiply your answer from above by 1.2. If you are out of bed but still sick, multiply by 1.3. If you are an average, healthy individual, multiply by 1.5. The number you arrive at is the amount of calories you need in one day!
Daily Caloric Needs for Weight Loss:
- Calculate your daily caloric needs and then subtract 500 from it. This will ensure healthy weight loss of about 1 pound per week (1 lb = 3500 calories)
Daily Caloric Needs for Weight Gain:
- Calculate your daily caloric needs and add 500 to the number. This will ensure weight gain of one pound per week.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Power of H2O!

Water, is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water! Nothing can be a substitute for it. From the tap, from the bottle, from the springs...which ever way you prefer it, drink as much as you can when you can!

Why Water?
1. Nothing quenches thirst like water. If you think you are hungry, most of the time you are just thirsty. Try it.
2. Water acts like a vehicle for water soluble vitamins, B's & C
3. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% water
4. Drinking water enhances fat loss
5. Drinking water can combat ailments and can even reduce the risk of chronic disease including cancer
6. It helps you look younger: drinking water hydrates your skin
7. All chemical reactions in the body must occur in the presence of water
8. Water helps cushion and lube your joints and muscles
9. Water helps you stay regular
10. Your body needs water to regulate body temperature

I suppose the list could go on and on.

How Much Should You Have in a Day?
Sometimes it may be difficult to drink enough water in the day if you are busy but if you keep a bottle with you at all times, you can get your daily needs in. On average, an adult male/female should consume 2.1-2.3 L per day (approx 8 cups). Total water consumed includes all water consumed in beverages, food, and drinking water. However, nothing is a substitute for plain old water!

Carbonation in soda (even diet soda) can irritate the stomach. The body can only fix itself the only way it knows how. Calcium is pulled from the blood to neutralize the acid from the soda. The blood repletes the loss of calcium by pulling it from your bones!!!

100% fruit juice is good but keep it to a minimum. Get your vitamins and minerals from the fruit or vegetable itself.