Wednesday, December 31, 2014

-Let 2015 Be Your Year of Personal Growth-

Tomorrow Starts 2015! Some of us may be spending  tonight dancing, others may be having romantic dinners and some may be relaxing while they count down to the new year. No matter what your plans are, there is one thing we all have in common... New Year's Resolutions. Tomorrow marks the day so many Americans start a healthier lifestyle, join a gym or take the first step towards a goal.

How many years have you or someone you know began strong and determined to fulfill their resolution in January but by May the idea is long forgotten? The gyms are packed in January, but by summer only the regular exercisers are left. 

Make 2015 different! With these five simple tips below, keep your resolution and make 2015 the year of self-improvement!

1. Keep it Simple!
-Stating that you are going to look like a super model, "never" eating out again, or  be completely fluent in Spanish by December 2015 will set you up for failure. Making larger than reality statements will leave you feeling discouraged by March.  
-Along the lines of keep your resolution simple, pick 1 or 2 attainable goals and focus on them. The trap I always fall into is  making a HUGE list of things I want to do this year, I start them all and in the end realize I bitten off more than I can chew. 
-Be specific with your resolution and allow for some flexibility. State that you will "limit" your eating out will allow for wiggle room to enjoy a best friend's birthday or celebrate a raise at your job without feeling like you have already failed.

2. Plan Multiple Milestones in Your Resolution
-Sit down today and think about milestones you want to meet and when you want to meet them. Having a whole year outline set for you now, will keep you on track all year long!
-If your goal is to lose the 20lbs of baby weight by next December, don't try to tackle all 20lbs now. Instead, set healthy reasonable goals. Example: losing three pounds by March 1st and another 3 pounds by Mother's Day. Having check points throughout the year will get you re-fired up this Summer, and help you keep your goal all year.

3. Set Reminders
-Most people think about resolutions in Janurary... but have long forgot them by August. Along with tip #2 in making your resolution a multiple step goal.. set reminders NOW to remind you LATER of your resolution. 
-Having checkpoints throughout the year that will pop up on your phone, computer or written on your calendar will remind you of the resolution you are trying to attain this year. 

4. Do it for you and let everyone know!
-Your 2015 resolution should be something you want to achieve! Be sure that you want this resolution; it is for your personal growth and no one else.The partner system can be a double edged sword. Partners can begin together in January, but by May your partner could have fallen of the wagon. You may then decide to quit yourself because "you don't want to do it alone" or "we will try together again next year." Remember this is YOUR 2015
-With that said resolutions aren't a secret and you should be proud to share yours with friends and family. This way they all know what your goal is, can keep you accountable and cheer you on!

5. Don't let one bad day/week/month ruin your year!!!
-2015 is 12 full months. If you have a stressful March and forget about your resolution, don't give up there!! Life happens, unexpected things come up, but that does not have to ruin your overall goal. The reminders you set yourself in Tip #3 should pop up and remind you to not give up. If you need to start over just do it then!  

Prepare for 2015 now... Enjoy tonight... 
Let tomorrow begin your journey!
Pop the Champagne and make 2015 one for the books!


Sunday, December 28, 2014

What is Crispy and Crunchy But Not Fried?

 Baked Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 Bag of Crinkle Cut Sweet Potato Sticks
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • Seasonings of your choice (I used a Tuscany Blend)

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Line a baking sheet with tin foil, or coat with non-stick spray
- In a small bowl mix up egg
- Mix panko crumbs and seasoning on a plate
-Dip sweet potato sticks in egg  then roll in panko crumbs
-Place prepared sweet potato sticks onto the baking sheet
-Bake for 25-35 minutes until crispy
-Serve with organic no sugar added ketchup

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Reindeer Droppings

Dark Chocolate Trail Bites

  • 1 Bag of Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • Mix of nuts, seeds, cranberries

-Create a double boiler out of pot of hot water and glass bowl
-Cover baking sheets with parchment paper
-Melt dark chocolate morsels over the boiling water
-Dab quarter size melted chocolate onto the parchment paper
-Sprinkle on nuts, seeds, cranberries 
-Cool in refrigerator for 45 min
-Enjoy a simple healthier treat, bring to holiday parties, or package as gifts

  • Dark Chocolate may help with lowering blood pressure, preventing blood clots, and improve overall circulation in the body. It has also been thought to help with cognitive function due to increased blood flow to the brain.  The increase in blood flow as well as flavinoids in dark chocolate has been thought to help prevent insulin resistance (the mechanism of Type 2 Diabetes). Dark chocolate is also low glycemic index and thus does not cause a large spike in blood sugar as opposed to other sweets.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Creamy Without The Cow

"Creamy" Cauliflower and Radish Soup

  • 1 head of cauliflower chopped
  • 1 bag of radishes chopped
  • 1 32oz container of  Low Sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt, pepper, olive oil to taste

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-Sprinkle vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper
-Roast vegetables for 30 minutes
-Place vegetables in a large pot and add in broth
-Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to simmer
-Blend in blender or with an immersion blender until smooth

Monday, December 15, 2014

*Helpful Hints for Eating Healthy During the Holidays*

Grandma's pie...My Aunt's cheesy potatoes... It's the Holidays...My diet starts January 1st

Yes the holidays are a time of year that is meant to spend with family and friends, but it is not a hallpass from your health. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that on average adults will gain one pound over the holiday season. While that doesn't sound "too bad," adults have been shown that they never lose this pound and over the years these pounds just keep adding up.  This report was also done on adults who are are a healthy weight; adults who are overweight gain up to five pounds over the holidays. 
Remember Toe Socks?! hehe
I know I have always fallen into the trap of celebration eating and indulging on foods around the holidays... birthdays... vacations... residency interviews... really any excuse I can come up with! 

Cookies, cakes, candy and cocktails.....
Dinners, appetizers, desserts.......

These "cheat meals" were my excuses to eat things I knew that are not the healthiest options, and when I started thinking about it.... these meals were way more frequent than just one day a year with my extended family. When I read that my habits can lead to a one pound weight gain throughout my adult years, I quickly started researching tips to help prevent this from happening, and here they are!

Tips for eating healthy during the holidays:

Have a plan in place to help you enjoy and not overindulge over the holidays: before going into a holiday season think about the big picture. Is there one dish you look forward to the entire year? Make sure this dish is the one you indulge on in a reasonable portion. 

-Check out the party before jumping into food: grab a nonalcoholic drink or chew a piece of gum and mingle with friends and family. Survey the food during this time and think of which items are healthier options or the one indulgent item 

-Be picky! Enjoy the foods that are only made at the holidays, pick that one dish to indulge in and savor it in a reasonable portion. Skip on things that aren't you favorite or can be enjoyed during the rest of the year. It's easy to think that you must try everything.... you don't!! 

-No Skipping Meals: People who try to skip eating all day before a party to "save up their calories" end up overeating once they get to the party. Be sure to continue a regular routine of eating meals to prevent from being starving and in front of a buffet. Try having a high protein breakfast to keep you full, then a normal lunch and a healthy snack (apple and peanut butter or a small salad) before the party.

-Limit Alcohol: Alcohol has the effects to lower our self control and I think we have all had a few drinks.... then ate an entire pizza at 3am. Limiting alcohol will only help you feel better the next day, stay hydrated, and not overeat. Set yourself a limit before entering any occasion... Tell yourself "I will sip on two drinks." Another tip is to alternate alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic ones, this will cut your calories from drinks in half and help you stay hydrated. 

-Skip on appetizers: most are full of fat and calories without satisfying your appetite. Try having  a healthy snack before the party instead, or if you do have an appetizer for for fresh fruit or veggies or a small handful of nuts

-Eat Slowly and wait between seconds: Your body is not programmed to know immediately when you are full. Some have stated it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that it is full.  This is why when you sit down with a full plate, eat quickly, and get seconds.... then a few minutes later you feel so full you're sick to your stomach. Take the time to talk with friends and family while you eat. Wait about 15-20 minutes before you decide on seconds, this will give your body time to tell you if it is full or not.

Monday, December 8, 2014

It's Not a Yetti.... It's a Sas-SQUASH!

Spaghetti Squash with Spicy Red Sauce

  • 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 6 ounce can of Tomato Paste
  • 1 15 ounce can of Fire roasted Tomatoes
  • 3 Tbls Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbls Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbl cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbl crushed red peppers
  • 3 Tbl minced garlic

-Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds
-Sprinkle squash with olive oil and black pepper
-Bake in microwave for 6 minutes or until tender
-Create "noodles" by scrapping the squash with a fork

Spicy Red Sauce:
-Mix tomato paste, roasted tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, peppers and garlic over medium heat
-Stir occasionally
-Once heated, fold into squash "noodles" and enjoy

-For additional protein: add in lean ground beef or meatballs

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Apple doesn't Fall Far From the Pie

Baked Apples

  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 pre-made pie crust
  • 1 Tbl Apple Pie Spice
  • 2 Tbls Honey
  • 1/2 Lemon 

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees

-Slice off tops of apples

-Scoop out the inside of the apples with a spoon

-Dice the apple tops and insides

-In a bowl, mix apples with apple pie spice and honey 

-Juice 1/2 lemon over the apple mixture, this prevents the apples from browning 

-Spoon mixture into apples

-Sprinkle apple pie spice over pie crust, cut pie crust into fourths, then into strips

-Lay strips of dough on top of apples in lattice pattern

-Place apples in a baking dish 

-Bake for 25 minutes until crust is golden brown

-Enjoy these baked apples as a healthier alternative to traditional apple pie during the holidays!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kid's Edition

Kids Corner

Brain Food

Which brain does your kid have?

· Food is your body’s energy!
· Feed your body healthy foods for brain power and muscle power that help kids learn in school and run at recess
 · Meals should include colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy for strong bones and lean protein
· Don’t just eat one type of food, variety is best
· Encourage kids to try every food once before deciding if they like it or not!

The Food Groups

· Vegetables: find fun ways to enjoy vegetables!  Make this food group  a large portion of every meal. Avoid potatoes. French fries are not a vegetable!
· Fruits: fresh fruits or frozen fruits are very good brain fuel! Enjoy a moderate amount of fruits at eat meal. If your kid is craving a sweet… don't give them cakes or cookies and instead try some berries and cool whip. Avoid drinking fruit juices because they are full of sugar!
· Proteins: Enjoy meats that are grilled, peanut butter, nuts, eggs. Proteins are what your child's body needs to feel full and grow strong. Avoid fried meats!
· Grains: Eat whole grains, brown rice, whole grain toast, whole grain cereal. Avoid white rice, white bread and crackers!
· Dairy: Ice cream is not healthy dairy!! Instead, drink low fat milk, low fat cheese and Greek yogurt
· Fats/Sweets: This food group should be limited as much as possible!

Get Moving

· Exercise and being active helps strengthen bones and build muscles, and helps students get better grades in school!
· Exercise is not work, it is having fun at recess or playing games  with friends!
· Running, playing baseball, dancing, riding bikes, walking the dog are all fun ways to exercise
· Your kid's goal is to be active for at least an hour a day!
· Limit “Screen time” (video-games, TV, Phone) to 2 hours a day
 · Always be sure your child is drinking water when running around
· Don’t over-do any exercises
· Take breaks if they are feeling too tired
· Be sure to encourage stretching after exercise

Parents Information

· Childhood obesity is  a serious health concern in America
· About 15% of children  ages 6-19 are overweight
· In the last decades the number of obese children has doubled, and the number of obese teens has tripled
· This rapid increase in obese and overweight children in America is thought to be  due to decreased activity in children, increased “screen time,” and increased eating processed foods.
· Processed foods have increased calories, fats, and sugars
· Fast food and eating out is also thought to contribute to childhood obesity
· Try setting the goal to not eat out for a month, plan healthy home cooked meals . 
Help your child get active by running around with them, teach them sports or take a long walk!


pictures from

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Today's Forecast: Rainy with a Chance of Curry

Cauliflower Curry

  • 2 cups Cauliflower Chopped
  • 1 15oz can of Chickpeas
  • 2 Cups Spinach
  • 2 cups Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 1 Sweet Potato Chopped
  • 2 cups Coconut Milk
  • 2 tbls Minced Garlic
  • 2 tbls Curry Powder
  • 2 tbls Olive Oil
  • 1 tbl Cayenne Pepper
  • 1tbl Ginger

-Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat
-Saute onions, garlic and ginger for 5-7 minutes
-Combine onions along with all ingredients (except spinach) into crock-pot 
-Heat mixture in crock-pot  on high for four hours or on low for 6 hours
-Stir curry occasionally
-Before serving, fold in spinach and heat thoroughly
-Enjoy alone or over brown rice

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How is your diet linked to breast cancer?

As many people know, October is national breast cancer awareness month.  With pink ribbons all around it is hard for me to ignore the fact that a person's diet is affecting their risk for developing breast cancer as well as affecting the long term survival of those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Research has shown a low incidence of Breast cancer in cultures where the diet is mostly plant based. Immigrants who have abandoned their diets of soy, rice and vegetables and adapted the Western diet of meat, diary and fat have an increase in the incidence of Breast cancer.

There has been theories that folate (in fruits and vegetables) may be protective against Breast cancer. The increase in body fat is known to increase circulating estrogens in the body and overall increase the risk of breast cancer. Diet also plays a role in the age menarchy begins in women, thus increasing the years of estrogen exposure and increasing overall breast cancer risk. With this said, how can a healthy women decrease her risk of breast cancer through her diet

Reducing Breast Cancer risk with diet:

Limit the cosmos ladies
  • Maintain a healthy body weight: Both a Women’s health initiative and Swedish Mammography cohort studies have shown a link of Breast cancer and obesity

  • Reduce/eliminate Alcohol: alcohol drinking has a direct increase of Breast Cancer. This may be due to the effects alcohol has on sex hormone levels Limit drinks to 1 glass of wine or one beer a day. This may be due to the effects alcohol has on sex hormone levels

  • Reduce Meat: higher intakes of red meat (more than 5-7 servings/week compared to 3/week or greater than 2oz/day) may be associated with increased Breast Cancer. High intake of any processed meats may be linked with increased Breast Cancer

  • Reduce Fat: Increased dietary fat (40% of daily calories) especially from dairy, red meat, and saturated fat can increase risk of Breast Cancer.

Pink fruits and veggies- YUM
  • Increase Fiber: Fiber interrupts the circulation of estrogens in the body. High fiber, low fat diets decrease the overall estrogen in the body. Fiber also decreases blood sugars and lowers Diabetes risks which also decreases breast cancer risk.

  • Increase Fruits, Vegetables, legumes: they have folic acid, fiber, isoflavones and lignans that all help the body fight off breast cancer

In Summary, eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and limited in fat,meat, dairy and alcohol has been shown to decrease breast cancer risks.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Have your lasagna... and eat it too

Zucchini Lasagna

  • 2 zucchini
  • 4 hot Italian sausages
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
  • 4 cups of fat free mozzarella cheese
  • Sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • Salt and black pepper

-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
-Lightly grease bottom of 9x13 pan with olive oil
-Slice zucchinis lengthwise into thin slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Brown sausage and add 2 Tablespoons minced garlic and crushed red pepper
-Stir in tomato sauce, let simmer on medium heat
-Combine egg and ricotta in a small bowl and set aside
-Assemble the lasagna: spread 1/2 the meat sauce into the bottom of the pan, layer half of the zucchini slices, 1/2 the ricotta mixture and 1/2 the mozzarella. Repeat this layering
-Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese and cover with foil
-Bake for 45 minutes, Remove the foil
-Raise the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 additional minutes
-Let lasagna stand for 5 minutes before enjoying

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It looks like sugar....It is sweet like sugar... it's NOT sugar!

 It looks like sugar.....It is sweet like sugar..... it must be sugar?! 


The American Heart Association recommends only eating 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, but on average Americans eat over 19 teaspoons of added sugar daily.  This increased sugar intake has caused an array of health issues in our country including obesity and diabetes. 

How is sugar used in our bodies?
To put it simply, carbohydrates and sugars are made up of glucose. Glucose is the main energy unit used by cells in the body.  Insulin is a hormone that is used as the body’s  “key” to unlock the cells ability to absorb glucose.  

How is sugar linked to diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is abnormally high due to the pancreas not producing enough insulin or your body not able to use the insulin made by the pancreas. 

How is sugar linked to obesity?
If you eat more sugar than your body needs for fuel, your body stores the extra sugar as fat.  Fat cells are always willing to take up more sugar and grow in size.

The rise in the obesity and diabetic  populations has also increased the number of artificial sweeteners available in the United States, most of which were not FDA approved when they were discovered. Where do these seemingly "magical" sweet zero calorie substances come from?! Below is a breakdown of various sugar substitutes.

Sugar: A simple carbohydrate. 1 teaspoon is about 15 calories.

 Agave Nectar:  Syrup that is made from the agave plant that is 1.5 times sweeter than sugar. This is a natural alternative to sugar and the lower glycemix index than sugar will help prevent the spikes in blood sugar. 1 teaspoon has 20 calories. Although there is a lower glycemic index on agave nectar, there are slightly more calories than sugar so weight gain can be seen with excessive consumption.

Stevia: Extracted from the stevia rebaudiana plant. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and can have a licorice taste. 1 teaspoon is 0 calories.  The body breaks stevia down into stevioside that is furhter broken own into glucose and steviol. The glucose produced is used by bacteria in the gut and it not absorbed by the body. Steviol is excreted from the body. Stevia has not been proven to be safe to ingest during pregnancy

Saccharin (Sweet N' Low): Chemical compound that is 350 times sweeter than sugar, and can have a bitter taste. Oldest artificial sweetener discovered in 1879 at Johns Hopkins. 1 teaspoon is 0 calories.  Not digested by the body. Saccharin has not been proven to be safe to ingest during pregnancy.

Sucralose (Splenda): Chemically modified sugar that is 600 times sweeter that sugar.  The compound is not broken down by the body and is excreted whole. It was discovered in 1976 in Europe as a potential insecticide. 1 teaspoon contains about 2-4 calories due to the fillers added to the pure sucralose.There has been some animal studies showing sucralose can decrease the good bacteria in the gut, altering the gut pH and ultimately lead to weight gain.

Aspartame (Equal): Chemical compound that was first discovered in 1965.  It is 200 times sweeter than sugar.  The compound is broken down by the body and some of the end products include methanol, which can lead to toxicity, formaldehyde and formic acid. Aspartame can also cause headaches, migraines and bloating. There is also a link to aspartame causing kidney function decline.

With all of this said, my own personal view is to avoid any artificial sweeteners. I once was "that girl" who drank 2-3 diet cokes a day and would rush to McDonalds for their fountain diet coke (those of you who drink diet coke, know exactly what I am talking about when I mention McDonalds Diet Coke), but at the same time I also was the girl who had more frequent headaches, fatigue, and overall "crappy" feeling.  Once I quit artificial sweeteners (fat free yogurt that tasted like sugary strawberries and sugar free lattes that were sweeter than the real thing) I felt better. That's not to say I don't occasionally mix a "stevia in the raw" into my coffee from time to time, but artificial sweeteners are no longer part of my daily diet.

For those who are diabetic and still want to enjoy that piece of birthday cake or piece of pumpkin pie without spiking your glucose through the roof, these artificial sweeteners were discovered for you, so enjoy them (in moderation)!
For those who are overweight, do not rely on diet coke or these sweeteners to "loose weight," not only do these sweeteners not help change lifestyle habits (like my personal struggle to control my sweet tooth) but there have been studies that suggest that individuals who ingest "diet" or "artificially sweetened" things actually eat more calories throughout the day.