Saturday, July 11, 2015



Any successful business has a business plan which consists of concrete (yet realistic) goals to aim for and assess periodically. Going about weight loss is serious business, yet too many of us go about our diet and exercise goals without a plan of action. This is one of the main reasons why long term success eludes many people.This series aims to help you achieve your goals once and for all. We will cover the following in 4 Lessons: 



Too many people are arbitrary and unrealistic about choosing a goal weight which sets us up for failure and disappointment.


Before you set a number it is very important to think about the following things:

Weight History: 

What is my lowest adult weight?  How did I achieve that weight? How long was I able to maintain that weight?  How difficult was it to achieve/maintain that weight?
The goal is to find a healthy weight that you feel good at, but one that allows for you to live in your reality, not on a reality TV show.


How much am I willing to manipulate my diet to weigh less? How much time am I able to devote to exercise, shopping and preparing my own food right now? Am I willing to CHANGE-permanently since this is not a temporary diet plan?


Am I ready to do this? What are the barriers I may encounter and how will I overcome those? MAKE A LIST OF WHAT WILL BE CHALLENGING TO YOU AND BRAINSTORM IDEAS ON HOW TO HANDLE THEM.

Example: I don’t have time to go to a gym or exercise right now.

Solution 1: Find ways of incorporating more activity into your day-to-day life (walking anywhere you can, using stairs, biking to work, exercising with your kids, making the most of weekends, trying early morning workouts)

Solution 2: If I can’t be as active as I want to be right now, I will have to be more focused on eating well to accomplish my goals.

Support System: 

Are my family, spouse, friends, co-workers supportive of my goals? Identify any persons who may (either deliberately or unintentionally) sabotage my goals.  Create a plan to address or avoid situations which may not be supportive.

Example: I go to the beach every weekend with my in-laws and the food they serve is not healthy.

Solution: Shop for healthy foods and bring them with you. Offer to cook for them. Be open about your goals to eat better and try to be contagious. Try to be more diligent about your food goals on weekdays since you know weekends will be more difficult. Use exercise to balance the extra calories-rent a bike and ride the board walk or go on a daily walk or run on the beach.


While it is never too soon or too late to start eating well and exercising-you may need to adjust your goals to be more realistic if there are circumstances or events which may make weight loss more challenging (vacations, holidays, family visits, moving, new job, new baby, etc).

Example: You want to lose weight before you go on vacation next month.

Solution: In the next post you will learn to calculate the realistic amount of weight you can lose in a month. DO try to get some momentum with eating well before you go. With those things “in place” it is easier to maintain weight during travel. It is difficult to start a new routine of eating better or exercise on vacation. Most people will do well to set a goal to maintain weight during vacation time. Keep in mind you will likely come back “bloated” from eating the different foods and weigh a few pounds more. The water weight should dissipate in a few days as you resume your normal hydration and eating habits.

NEXT UP.....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Grilled Poblano, Corn, and black bean salad

6 servings 


2 ears corn (husks removed)
4 scallions
1 red or orange bell pepper 
1 poblano pepper
1 avocado, diced 
1 can low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed 
2 TBS Olive oil 
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
3 TBS fresh lime juice 
1 tsp cumin 
Salt and fresh ground pepper


Preheat and oil grill to high heat 
Brush corn with a TBS of oil and Grill 10 min, turning until cooked with grill marks, cut kernels off 
Grill peppers 4-5 min turning until skin is charred, peel and course chop 
Grill onions a few minutes until softened and dice
Mix grilled vegetables with beans, cilantro, and diced avocado 
Mix Remaining TBS of oil, lime juice, and cumin and toss the salad 
Season with salt and pepper to taste

Cal 167
Fat 10 g
Sat fat 1.4 g
Mono fat 6.7 g
Protein 4.6 g
Carbs 18 g
Fiber 6 g
Cholesterol 0
Iron 1.4 mg
Sodium 75 mg
Calcium 38 mg 

Credit: Recipe Adapted from Cooking light 

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Tips for the Whole Season


Pick ONLY your favorite holiday treats

Use portion control 

Skip the stuff you can live without


"Do I really really love this or should I save my indulgence for another treat/time?"

"Is this an indulgence I can eat anytime outside the holidays?"


Relieves “holiday stress” 

Helps burn off those extra calories

Careful!! keep goals realistic during holidays when you have less time and don't beat yourself up about doing a little less.

SELF CHECK QUESTION: "How can I modify my workouts to make the most of the limited time I have?"

Damage Control for Parties

TIP 3: Eat!
  • Do not skip meals the day of a holiday party to “save up” you will end up bingeing at the party..Instead, eat smaller meals prior to leave a little room for those extra calories you will be eating during the party.
TIP 4: Alcohol Counts (sorry...)
  • One drink = 100-175 calories. 
  • Mixed drinks and cocktails may have several hundred more calories from the sugary mixers and the cream liqueurs they contain.
  • And here's the deal...egg nog IS dessert, okay?

STRATEGY: Try alternating an alcoholic 
drink with water or some no-cal beverage so you always have a cup in your hand and don't feel awkward or get handed another full glass of something.

TIP 5: It’s a Party! Try using your mouth more for TALKING than for chewing

  • Enjoy the party by socializing rather than bingeing at the buffet table.
  • Station yourself away from the food if you have a hard time not nibbling the whole time.

TIP 6: Find the good stuff

  • Opt for low calorie options
  • These will help fill you up with the fiber and water they contain leaving less room for the unhealthy options.

LOOK FOR: crudites, fruits, green salads, roasted vegetables, bean dip
TIP 7: Be a "healthy" party host
  • Now, before you call me crazy and imagine the family mutiny when you serve up your first "Tofurkey"...relax. I mean serve some healthy side dishes this year to create balance on the menu. Steamed veggies are a fresh taste next to that juicy steak and Martha Stewart's ridiculously good mac-n-cheese.
  • While I am not a fan of low fat stuff in general-using reduced fat ingredients in dips & sauces (where it won’t affect flavor) can offer a big reduction in calories
  • Serve water and unsweetened tea instead of sugary drinks-let the sugar come from the desserts!
  • Plan some activities to make it fun and not all about eating.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good for you? Bet you America makes a CHIP out of it!

We Americans have a special love for anything in "chip form" and seemingly a similar disdain for healthy foods- even though we all know we should be eating them.  Thankfully, the food manufacturers love to solve all of our nutrition woes, which is of course why we are all so fit and trim around here.

Nowadays, if you can name a healthy food that you couldn't pay many Americans to eat in its actual natural form (soy, legumes (AKA beans), kale and other dark leafy greens, quinoa, etc.) I will bet you a dollar that you can buy it as a CHIP. The only problem is that the dollar will probably only buy you about one of those healthy chips, since only rich people would consider paying $4-7 for 4-8 ounces of something called "Farmer Ted's Organic Sour Cream and Onion Flavored Kale and Amaranth Chips" or whatever.

I saw this in my local store last night so I am going to pick on this one, but I think you can pick up any of these products and make a similar comparison.
Get your whole grains in a chip, right?


Let's break it down...


DIPPIN' CHIPS 5 OUNCE BAG (fyi it looks HUGE with all the air in there) = $3.99 
That's about $.80/ounce wich may sound cheap but maybe when you think about it as $12.77 per pound you might change your mind (last time I checked you could buy Filet Mignon for less than that, and aren't plant-based grains supposed to be so much cheaper?).

$12.77 per pound
For a "healthy" chip:regular chip comparison, one can purchase a 10 ounce bag of Tostitos Whole Grain or regular variety corn chips for $3.28 (according to That's .33 cents per ounce or $5.24 per pound. 


1 oz serving of Dippin' Chips
Calories: 150
Fat: 8 grams
Sodium: 120 mg
Fiber: 2 grams 

First two ingredients (the most prevalent)
White corn, vegetable oil

Last three ingredients (least prevalent)
Amaranth, quinoa, teff

Nutritionally, alas still a chip.
First ingredient...good ol' corn.

1 oz serving of Tostitos Multigrain Scoops:
Calories: 140
Fat: 7 grams
Sodium: 110 mg
Fiber: 2 grams 

First ingredients: 
Corn, vegetable oil 

Remarkable how much like Dippin' Chips these are....
Hey, I like a chip as much as the next American, and this Super Bowl weekend we will eat more chips and salsa than on any other of the year. However, if you want to eat quinoa and kale, please go get some and make it and eat it and be healthy-because they ARE healthy foods. But when they come in a bag, I say let's call a chip "a chip"? 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Healthy Pozole de la Gringa

It is COOOOOLD!!! We need soups and stews in these parts to keep us warm. Check out my Magic Soup for another idea.

This one is my gringa version of  Pozole, which we call Hominy in Ingles (the same stuff they make grits out of...).

I make this when I have a few cups of chicken left on a roasted chicken that I want to use up.  Strip the meat, make the broth for this soup and then you add a few other things and you have a fabulous warm winter meal.

6 grams fiber
200 calories
17 grams protein
Good source of Iron and Vit C
Delicious--can't go wrong!


1 TBS Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, fine chopped
2 cloves garlic (minced) or about 1.5 tsp of jarred minced garlic
1 TBS Chili Powder
1 15.5 oz can of Plum Tomatoes
1 15.5 oz can White Hominy, drained and rinsed
4 cups Chicken Broth (low sodium or homemade)
1 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1 15.5 oz can Black Beans (Low Sodium), drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2-3 cups fully cooked Chicken (no skin), coursely chopped
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, fine chopped
Juice of 1 medium lime (about 2 tablespoons)

this is what you are looking for at the store...
in progress...


Heat stock pot or dutch oven with 1 tbs of olive oil
Cook onions over medium high heat until soft (a few minutes)
Add chili powder and garlic and cook for 30 seconds
Add broth, tomatoes, hominy, beans, corn, oregano
Bring to boil and turn down to simmer 15 minutes
Add chicken and warm through about a minute
Add lime and cilantro right before serving

30 minutes and dinner is served!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Magic Soup Revealed

Magic Soup Recipe!
I love this soup. My kids love this soup. Everybody loves this soup. This soup is good for you. I make this with my leftover roasted chicken-I use the carcass to make the broth and the left over pickins off the carcass for the chicken in the soup

Make it soon...

Soup PicIngredients
5 cups Chicken Broth (preferably homemade but if not, low sodium)
1 medium Onion, Chopped (about 3/4 cup)
4-5 carrots, sliced 1/4" thick
4-5 Celery Stalks, chopped 1/4" thick
2 medium Parsnips, Sliced (about 2 cups)
1 medium Butternut Squash peeled and cubed

8 oz chicken meat, diced

3 Baby Bok Choy, quartered
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped fine
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt (optional)
Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to taste)
Check out the awesome Nutrition!

4 grams of fiber
11 grams of lean protein
over twice your Vitamin A
2/3 of your day's worth of Vitamin C 
and that Bok Choy packs 10% of your calcium!


Chop and Prep All Ingredients.
Heat Broth in large dutch oven or pot.
Add onion, carrots, celery, parsnips. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Add butternut squash. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes more.
Add chicken, bok choy, salt and pepper. Simmer until bok choy softens, about 5 minutes.
Serve and sprinkle with fresh parsley (don't skip the parsley part-trust me it's worth it)

FOR KIDS YOU CAN ADD COOKED PASTA AND WATCH THEM EAT IT UP (Admittedly you might not want to not serve them the bok choy parts unless you chop it smaller it is scary for the young ones and somewhat fibrous)

Friday, August 3, 2012


Like fashion trends, diet trends recycle themselves every so often. Juicing is back en vogue and is touted not only as a great way to lose weight quickly and feel fabulous, but as a cure to incurable diseases. There are juice "fasts", "cleanses", "detoxes", "diets"...they're everywhere. So what's the real deal with this juice stuff? First, please beware of ANY diet or supplement which states it can cure a serious or life threatening disease, obviously if juicing could consistently do that then the disease would no longer exist.  That said, I completely understand anyone with a serious condition trying everything they can to manage or cure the condition.

So to juice or not to juice that is the question...

As with all things diet there are pros and cons. Let's go through them so you can make the call for yourself.



Putting a wide array of fruits and vegetables that you may not otherwise eat into a glass is obviously a pro and would provide concentrated vitamins and minerals probably better absorbed than in a supplement. I get stoked about anything that gets people to incorporate more plants into their diet.



While it is difficult to consume too many calories from whole fruits and vegetables, when we condense them into a juice glass and add that to our normal solid diet we are essentially adding unnecessary calories to our diet (unless you are underweight this is not ideal).  Even these calories from your new healthy juice habit can make you gain unwanted fat. Calories, indeed are still calories.

For example this beet, carrot, apple, ginger juice (which tastes fabulous by the way!) delivers 169 calories, more than that glass of wine you'd probably rather drink, more than a serving of greek yogurt or a handful of almonds. It also has almost 29 grams of natural sugar-about 7 teaspoons!
Those extra daily calories may have you gaining over 17 pounds in a year!

You may think you will eat less food naturally but unfortunately we actually have found that humans eat just as much, if not more when they consume liquid calories before or during a meal.

If you are set on juicing keep this in mind: generally speaking, fruits have more natural sugar and therefore more calories than vegetables so to keep calories in check when juicing use mostly vegetables (beets and carrots are an exception since they are also high in sugars). Celery is particularly low in calories/sugar and could be added to juice to "dilute" the calories.



On the other side of that spectrum if you take part in a juice fast or cleanse where all you are drinking is liquid juice, often the calories (and likely protein) are not substantial enough to sustain your metabolism or keep you from wanting to carjack the pizza delivery guy after a few days. Yes, you'll live to tell about it  if you make it through but what will you have gained? An empty colon, low glycogen stores, and a great story about how miserable you were without chewing for a week.  By the way, most of the weight you lost is water and unfortunately it will come back--quickly--when you start consuming an adequate diet again so don't get depressed about it-it's not your fault.



A juice fast, like any other very restrictive diet, not only provides structure (I am all about having a PLAN!) but by default it eliminates a lot of garbage in the diet which can't be bad.  But, just perhaps it's not the juice that is making you feel so wonderful but the fact that you aren't eating crap while chugging coffee by day and wine by night? It's a possibility, yes?



Some juicers extract all the pulp/solid elements of the produce and leave only the water, sugar, and some nutrients.  The fiber and other nutrients are discarded.  I do not recommend any juicer that doesn't completely utilize the produce you put in it.  But even if you have a juicer that includes the whole fruit or vegetable, do understand that the way your body will process these nutrients is quite different than if you eat these items intact.

Juicing is essentially "predigesting" these foods, in other words the juicer is doing the job that your mouth, teeth, and stomach would have done had you eaten the food.  Because this "liquid" food is ready for your small intestine (where we absorb most all our nutrition) and contains virtually no protein or fat (unless you put nuts, seeds, or protein powders in it) it leaves your stomach faster. This means these juices will come with a very high glycemic index. (Learn about how the glycemic index is used manage weight and diabetes HERE).  Thus, those on low-carb diets or with diabetes or metabolic syndrome would be advised to lay off the juice, even the vegetable juices.



I think even most juice advocates would agree that one cannot live on juice alone in the long term.  But sometimes we need something to get us out of that slump and into that healthy lifestyle we are always dreaming we will have someday when we don't have work, or kids, or stress, or bills....

Juice fasts offer a plan. They don't require thinking, they eliminate all the stuff we tend to overeat (bread, meat, etc) so we don't have to do the hardest thing ever-eat those things in MODERATION. So if doing a fast will help you kick the habit and gradually add back HEALTHY foods in moderation when it ends I suggest you stop reading this blog and get your butt to the market (okay...maybe finish reading if you want to be nice.)



It makes obvious sense to only use homegrown and/or certified organic produce to make your juice. By using conventionally grown produce you will be getting wonderfully concentrated pesticide and herbicide residues to fuel your body.  Unfortunately this is not always accessible or affordable for many people so I would advise against juicing if this is not possible.  There is a much lower ingestion of these potentially harmful chemicals when we consume the whole fruit or vegetable simply because we would eat smaller portions.


So, it's your call, but I think the main thing is balance-fresh juice can add produce and nutrients to your diet, but it can add unwanted calories, insulin spikes, and chemicals if you're not careful.  Juice fasts are very extreme and not physioligically necessary, but if one can help you get that healthy eating ball rolling then go for it, thankfully the human body is resilient enough to live through even the craziest diets for a stretch.