About Me

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Technically speaking, I'm a dietitian, but I see myself as a listener, a motivator, coach and teacher of nutrition. I prefer to end a busy day with a glass of red wine while chopping vegetables. Lover of almost anything pickled and fresh baked scones just not at the same time. I'm happiest when I'm cooking for people I love. Why am I so into food? Because I KNOW how much eating well can change your life. What you eat every day is going to impact your body and your mind. It's a confusing world out there - full of diet and food advice that always leaves you feeling like it's that one next diet that's going to be the weight loss answer. Stop waiting for that magic diet, and begin to take one step at a time in the right direction. I'm here to help you on your life-long journey, there's no better time to start!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Eating Made Easy - Smoothie Mania!

Amelia Winslow of "Eating Made Easy - Food Solutions for Your Busy Life" has great recipes for healthy smoothies. I wanted to share them with you. Even if its cold outside you can re-fuel after a good workout or share one for an evening snack.

I love these smoothie recipes because they offer a nice balance of protein and carbohydrates without a big sugar bomb.  Smoothies are also a great way to eat on the go, get in your daily fruit, or have a healthy dessert!

Amelia's smoothies are  kind of like eating ice cream, only with fewer calories and more nutrients.  Below are some of her favorite smoothie recipes, but first, a few smoothie-making tips from Amelia:
  • Good places to find cheap frozen fruit: Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Costco.  Or freeze your own.
  • Use milk or milk substitutes as the liquid instead of juice, to keep your smoothies high in calcium and lower in sugar.
  • Use plain yogurt instead of flavored, to limit sugar.
  • Put the liquid & yogurt in the blender first, fresh fruit in second, and the frozen fruits in last, so your blender blends more easily.
  • If you’re blender struggles, use the “pulse” button, or stop it and shake the carafe around a little to loosen things up.  (Don’t stick a spoon in there, you’ll end up with injury or a big mess).
  • Think of a smoothie as a meal or part of a meal, not just a drink.  Smoothies are only nutritious if they’re not adding excess calories to your diet.
For all of the following smoothie recipes, simply blend the listed ingredients (put soft stuff in first) until you reach desired consistency.  These amounts are approximate.  No need to measure, just experiment to see what you like.

Peach Mango Smoothie
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup frozen peach slices (about 1/2 a large peach)
1/2 cup frozen mango cubes
splash of Amaretto (unless this is is for a kid)
a few toasted sliced almonds on top for garnish & crunch

Strawberry Banana Smoothie (shown above)
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 frozen banana
5-7 frozen strawberries
crushed or cubed ice to taste

Pina Colada Smoothie
1/3 cup Light coconut milk
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1/2 frozen banana
1 Tbsp shredded coconut (found in baking aisle)
squeeze of lime juice
cubed or crushed ice to taste

Vegan Berry Smoothie
1/2 cup silken tofu
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1 cup frozen mixed berries
1 Tbsp honey
crushed or cubed ice to taste

Ultimate Chocolate Smoothie
1/2 cup low-fat milk
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
6 oz container nonfat vanilla yogurt
1/2 banana
lots of ice

Banana Oat Smoothie
Find it here on Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food website.
(I use this recipe, only with a frozen banana and some ice).

Raspberry Lime Smoothie
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup limeade or lemonade
big squeeze fresh lime juice
1 cup frozen raspberries
cubed or crushed ice to taste

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You Can Cook Fish! 4 Easy Steps to a Delicious Omega-3-Rich Dinner

Wild pacific salmon is a great source of protein, polyunsaturated omega-3 fat, vitamin D, and selenium.  If you enjoy eating salmon and other fish, but feel a little uneasy about preparing it yourself at home, read on. Here is a quick and easy four-step game plan with very little to clean up when you're done. You will have perfectly cooked, flaky, and satisfying salmon in less than 20 minutes. 

Step 1: Buy a fresh, firm piece of fish. Preferably de-boned to avoid hazardous eating! Place it on a large piece of tin foil on a baking pan or dish. Previously frozen is OK too, just let it thaw in the refrigerator. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and thin slices of lemon on top. (Bonus Tip: Vitamin C helps absorb iron when you eat it at the same time!) with fresh thyme sprigs and salt and pepper to taste.  I love grabbing fresh thyme from the garden, but feel free to play around with any herbs, dried or fresh.

Step 3: Completely wrap up the fish inside the tin foil and into the oven it goes! Depending on thickness, cook for approximately 15 minutes, until fish is opaque and flaky. If you take it out, and its not quite cooked through, just wrap it back up and cook for another 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook it... you will end up with dry fish. You'll learn as you go how long it will take in your oven.

Step 4: Once your fish is cooked squeeze on a bit more fresh lemon, and serve with steamed asparagus, roasted red potatoes or wild rice sprinkled with fresh herbs.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Your body is a detox program: A Review of Kaeng Raeng

Thanks for asking what I think of the popular detox program, Kaeng Raeng:

 Let me start by saying I really don’t promote detox drinks or detox supplements for many reasons, but primarily because I feel that feeding the body “less toxic foods”in the first place is a better place to start. However, I am always committed to doing some honest investigating into any product before I make a statement about how I feel it stands up nutritionally. I understand and respect that everyone leads a unique lifestyle and I’m not here to judge a person’s choices be it food, drink or a detox formula. I did not try the product, but wrote my opinions based on information available on the website.

Whats in it:  Freeze-dried fruit with soybeans, fiber and some added sugar from cane juice.  Why not just blend some frozen berries with 1/2 cup of organic tofu, soymilk or yogurt and a couple tablespoons of ground flaxseed? They claim is has probiotics in it. Most live probiotic formulas need to stay refrigerated to maintain effectiveness, and there was nothing written about how many live probiotic strains are present in the freeze-dried powder formula. That raises a few questions in my mind.  You can eat some kefir or yogurt and get your daily dose of probiotics.

As I browsed the website, I have to be honest that right off the bat, I’m scared. The website has 3 levels of detox. They suggest you start at the beginner level... stating it’s “Our most gentle formula”. I worry about what is in the “Master” level for regular detoxers. In my opinion feeling your best shouldn’t put you through harsh or uncomfortable experiences. Also - might exercise be a little challenging when going through your detox? They recommend stretching and low impact weight training but don’t mention aerobic exercise.

It also stood out to me on the website they recommend to do a detox when you feel “fatigued, bloated, or just plain gross” from your usual diet. This is subjective and very vague. I would rather see someone make changes to their lifestyle to prevent feeling bad in the first place. There are really effective ways of improving energy, and removing excess fluid retention than a detox formula. What are these, you ask? Try drinking more water, reducing dietary sodium, drinking tea, exercising, and meeting nutrient needs with minimally processed, balanced meals, and sleeping.

There is nothing spectacular, or particularly “detoxifying” about this shake. In fact, you would be better off blending your own shake and saving your money. Most people won’t feel very satisfied just drinking liquid all day for a week. If a plan isn’t realistic or sustainable, it likely is not going to result in the kind of changes you might be looking for if you’re feeling low energy. 

The plan suggests 6 detox drinks a day which only provides 1200 calories - so sure it will promote weight loss, but is a recipe for rebound weight gain immediately after stopping the regimen! Keep in mind 1200 calories can be too low for a lot of people, putting them at risk for lean tissue loss. If someone were to do this every month, I would be concerned that they might cycle up and down with quick weight loss over the course of a week (fat, water and muscle weight) and then put on some rebound weight gain once normal eating is resumed. I also can’t ignore the possibility that a person might feel deprived on their detox and overeat, overindulge at the end of the week.

The bottom line: Eat a balanced, varied diet that includes fruits, veggies, protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, fish and flax. The best way to detox is to limit the amount of added sweeteners, refined sugars, saturated fat, alcohol and trans fat in your daily diet. Exercise, healthy sleep patterns and adequate nutrition will allow your body’s liver and kidneys to do all the detoxing you need.  We are fortunate to have bodies built to sustain all that we put them through for as long as they do.  Be good to yourself, eat well daily and move. You will be amazed at how great you can feel in just a few days once you turn to a lifestyle that promotes health. 

Thanks for asking! ;)  -Sumner

Friday, December 17, 2010

Healthy Holidays and Special Occasions - Healthy Holiday Survival Guide - Naturally Savvy: Your Guides to Natural, Organic & Green Living

Three cheers... the holidays are here! I teamed up with RockIt Body Pilates this holiday season for their first ever Holiday Fitness Challenge. It has been a blast keeping the members motivated and pumped up to stay fit through December and start the new year off on the right foot. Read on below for an article I wrote for NaturallySavvy.com; a Healthy Holiday Survival Guide! My number one tip for you this holiday season - stay present. Try not to worry about yesterday or tomorrow, but enjoy today and each moment for what it is. Enjoy your family and friends, time off from work, delicious holiday treats and some fresh winter air. I hope you enjoy these survival guide tips!

Healthy Holidays and Special Occasions - Healthy Holiday Survival Guide - Naturally Savvy: Your Guides to Natural, Organic & Green Living