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!

Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Time to Get Moving America!

This post is dedicated to a guy who we consider a part of our family, and with it I ask you to send out wishes his way for a speedy and healthy recovery.  

Recently, a tragedy struck our family. Someone who has spent most of his life being active, playing basketball, running and enjoying being able to use his body will face a challenge to re-learn how to do some of these things in a new way as a result of severe injury. Although things will never be the same, without a doubt, we know that he will make a strong recovery due to his love for being physically active and spirited will to overcome struggles. My message to you today, is to appreciate your body and all that it does for you, just as he has always done. If you find it hard to exercise after a mentally and emotionally exhausting day at work or school or even caring for your little ones, think about the importance of maintaining the strength and awesome ability that is your body. As you've heard before, "if you don't use it, you lose it" - get moving, get motivated, and don't wait until it's too late to appreciate your body.   

Food for Thought: Here is a guest post by Terri Graham, Master's level ACE certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Author, Speaker, Owner: The Metabolic Treatment Center in Orange County, California.  

I think a lot of this has to do with mindset. Just look at the number of people in rehabilitative facilities who fight like mad to 'exercise'. They'll give anything just to move again, let alone walk. They go to great lengths, including being tethered to a bicycle so they can peddle or literally hung in a sling from the ceiling just to 'walk' on the treadmill. Christopher Reeves used to 'exercise' (assisted of course) for hours on end six days per week. As a quadriplegic who couldn't even breath on his own was he technically 'healthy' enough? Doubtful. But what he did have was a desire to exercise, a dogged determination, and a motivated 'can-do, 'mind-over-matter' attitude. Look at all of the para-athletes and amputees who find a way to move their bodies with both purpose and joy despite their very real physical limitations. Without intending judgment towards anyone, it is almost shameful in this country the number of perfectly able bodied people who don't exercise or who cop to excuses for not exercising. I'm sorry, but if a quadriplegic can exercise daily, so can ANY of the rest of us. I would say that unless someone were in a coma they would have an excuse, but guess what? Even comatose patients in good facilities are exercised weekly by trained staff who come in and move their limbs for them. There are a multitude of adaptive exercises that can accommodate and benefit just about anyone. And not exercising is so detrimental to lean body mass (especially bone) it is quite literally the equivalent of going to the moon. Having seen for myself soldiers returning from war with missing limbs who cannot wait to start PTing (exercising) again and training to get back to their original military duty (including jumping out of airplanes) I now know for a fact that to exercise or not is a CHOICE! I bet a great many of those people who think they can't exercise or who say they hate to exercise would have an entirely different attitude if they were suddenly confined to a wheelchair or lost their leg due to an accident. Shameful and sad that we often don't appreciate our opportunities (including to exercise) until they are taken away from us for real instead of just in our minds.

Clear or Confusing? The New 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

This morning the new 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released. Before reading it, I was quietly hoping that this time there would be new strategies to educate America on eating right. My fingers were crossed for key messages that clearly communicated: eat at least 25 grams of fiber, slow down when eating, move your body and find activities you enjoy, consume more plants and less meat, replace red meat with fish at least two times a week, and drink fewer sodas. The new guidelines focus a lot on calorie balance, but my biggest question is how people can be expected to know how many calories is right for them? Also - if you're a seasoned "Not On A Diet" reader, you hopefully realize by now, that the quality and contents of your foods can make a bigger mark on your health than just counting calories. I wish the USDA 2010 guidelines would more clearly help Americans focus on eating whole foods from the ground. If a person starts focusing just on calorie balance, they might think the 100 calorie pack of Oreo's out of the vending machine is a perfect snack to cut calories, when in truth that will just make a person hungrier and want to eat more. For suggestions and guidance on what you can do to eat well and feed your family right - please find a local Registered Dietitian in your zip code by going to www.eatright.org and search for a professional. An RD will help translate the new 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines in a way that makes sense for you.

It's hard to tell by reading the new guidelines what is better: A 100-calorie pack of cookies? or a 200 calorie snack made with whole grains and nuts? I think you know the answer, but not everyone might. That's my concern. 

Here are the 2010 Guidelines for you to download and read yourself. For the Summary and Key Messages - click on the Executive Summary, third bullet down on the top left side. (Even that was hard to find!)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reasons to Eat Your Omega-3 Fats



Omega-3 and Arrhythmias
Omega-3s seem to have a stabilizing effect on the heart. They can lower heart rate and reduce the risk of life-threatening arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythms. Several common sources of omega-3s are shown here: fish, walnuts, broccoli, and edamame, green soy beans that are often steamed and served in the pod.

Omega-3s can lower your level of triglycerides, a type of blood fat that’s linked to heart disease. Triglycerides collect in the bloodstream and in the body's fat cells (seen here). Unfortunately, omega-3s increase cholesterol – both the “good” (HDL) and “bad” (LDL) kind. People with high triglycerides should consult with their doctors before taking omega-3. Eating more omega-3-rich fish is generally safe.

Omega-3 and High Blood Pressure
There’s strong evidence that omega-3s lower blood pressure. The effect is small, though. If you have high blood pressure, eating fish could be helpful along with other dietary changes and medications, as recommended by your doctor. One strategy is to replace red meat with fish during some meals. But it’s best to avoid salty fish, such as smoked salmon

Omega-3 and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Studies suggest omega-3s can reduce symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. A diet high in omega-3s may also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Omega-3 and Depression
Omega-3 fatty acids may help smooth out mood disorders and make antidepressants more effective. However, results of studies have been mixed so far. Countries with higher levels of omega-3 in the typical diet have lower levels of depression. Although more studies are needed, the evidence so far is promising.

Omega-3: Catch of the Day
The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish, though some varieties deliver a higher dose than others. Top choices are salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings a week of fish, which is 3.5 ounces of cooked fish or ¾ cup of flaked fish.

Dangers of Contaminated Fish
For most people, mercury in fish is not a health concern. But the FDA has this advice for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children:
Limit albacore tuna to 6 ounces/week.
Limit fish lower in mercury to 12 ounces/week.
Avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish.

Omega-3 for Vegetarians
If you don’t eat fish or fish oil, you can get a dose of DHA from algae supplements. Algae that is commercially grown is generally considered safe, though blue-green algae in the wild can contain toxins. Vegetarians also can get the ALA version of omega-3 from foods such as canola oil, flaxseed, walnuts, broccoli, and spinach – or products fortified with omega-3s.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cilantro Chile Turkey Burgers and Rainbow Salad

You might know that feeling of just wanting to sink your teeth into a hot, juicy, burger and it always tastes best when it's grilled right in your own backyard. Here's a simple recipe I came up with that has now become our favorite burger recipe to make at home for bar-b-ques or weeknight dinners. 

Cilantro Chile Turkey Burgers
Makes 5 Burgers

1.25 lb ground lean turkey breast
1 4 oz can diced green chilies
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 tsp chipotle crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp cumin
salt and pepper
Whole wheat hamburger buns

Directions: With clean hands, combine all above ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Divide the turkey mixture into 6 even parts and form patties by rolling then patting the mix between your palms.  Heat grill on medium. Before placing burgers on the grill, spray lightly with canola cooking spray to prevent sticking.  Grill on medium until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side. 

 While the burgers are grilling, assemble the  
Corn Cucumber Chile Relish:

Start with 1 jar of tomato-less corn and chile salsa from Trader Joe's. Dice 1/3 of an English cucumber into small pieces. Mix together the juice of one lime, 2 tbsp chopped cilantro, half the jar of salsa and the chopped cucumber. You can't get much simpler than that!

On a toasted whole wheat bun, add burger, a slice of tomato and top it off with a mound of  corn cucumber relish.

I served up our burgers with this colorful and delish Rainbow Salad. It's a spinach and arugula salad which is high in antioxidants from the blueberries, Vitamin C from the spinach and satsumas and topped with a bit of creamy goat cheese. Here's how: Fill 2/3 of a large bowl with organic baby spinach, arugula or both. Top with 1/2 cup blueberries, sections from 1 or 2 satsuma tangerines, 1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles and drizzle with 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.


In about 30 minutes, you have a lean, high protein turkey burger that is exploding with flavor from the fresh cilantro, smoky cumin and mild spicy chiles. The bright and slightly sweet corn relish is also great on top of a salad the next day, or in a pita with black beans and tomatoes. Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Treatment for Charity Event!

If you live in the South Bay, come get a treatment at ProWellness and all donations go to benefit the Best Buddies Program. Here's what Best Buddies is all about:

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). You can learn more and get involved at www.bestbuddies.org.

We'd love to see you there! I'll be providing personalized nutrition consults and other services to chose from include medical massage, acupuncture or cold laser therapy. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Perfect Make-ahead snack: Ginger-Edamame Dip

Who's Hungry? You know that time of day when you just need a great, satisfying snack? And you know that resolution you set to eat well and get in more veggies and fiber? Well this is the perfect thing to make ahead and have ready to snack on. I blended up this delicious Edamame-Ginger Dip from Eating Well and it made a big batch. Here's what our snack plate looked like served with cucumber slices, fresh green beans and carrots. Other good veggies I'd suggest are cauliflower, bell peppers and celery. Yum-o!

Take 15 minutes and whip this up. You'll enjoy it as a nice alternative to hummus or guacamole and feel good about what your snacking on. When you click on the recipe link (above) you'll also find the nutritional info per serving, which I love about getting recipes from EatingWell.com.  Healthy eating needs to taste good or your seriously missing out on the whole point!  Here's a quote from Johnny about what he thinks of this dip... "mmmmm... soooo goood....crunch crunch..."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cold Beaches and Spicy Bloody Marys!

I was lucky enough to spend the last days of 2010 and the first of 2011 at one of the quietest, most refreshing and magical places I've been to in a very long time, Rockaway Beach at the Oregon coast. It was the first time Johnny had ever seen the difference between a Southern California beach and the majestic coastline waters of the Pacific Northwest. It never topped more than a frigid 34 degrees most of the time, but there were a few unforgettable things about those 3 days that I wanted to share with my followers who take inspiration from the little things in life:

On the drive out from Portland, about a two hour drive in snowy weather... we went from cloudy and gray weather, to snowy and icy, to sunny and clear!

I had to stop and show Johnny the Tillamook Cheese Factory,  known for making famously great cheese and ice cream from "Happy Cows". These folks really know how to do dairy, and a lot of it! I'll be doing another post soon about our factory tour- there's a lot to see.

The first unforgettable happening was... the sun! We awoke on day one to gorgeous, sunny skies and with hot coffee in hand, took a chilly walk on the beach. Here are some snaps you can rarely catch on a winter morning in Oregon:

The town of Rockaway is small with one main drag. I fell in love with an old, empty restaurant... (just the perfect place to start my own good food shop, right?!) I needed to capture that moment in time too. The peeling, white painted letters read Chicken and Dumplings. Ultimate comfort food. Happiness.


Upon finishing our cold, windy walk we needed to warm up! But since we'd already had our morning java, what better can you do then go for a gourmet bloody mary? Jimmilea and Dad brought her favorite mix, Lyle Style Bloody Mary Mix - the best stuff ever! With some quality potato vodka, Lyle mix, carrot, celery, olive, tomato, horseradish, and a jumbo prawn... life just got a little better. Let me show you just how much:

Dad and I ready to dive in! 
And here's the label and Nutrition Facts for Lyle Style mix, made in Lyle, WA. For a bloody mary mix this is definitely low sodium. FYI for all of us, sodium intake should be less than 2300 mg/day or less than 1500 mg/day if you have high blood pressure.  Generally speaking, you don't want to be drinking your sodium so if you can go low on the salt and high on flavor - great! I swear, you can't even taste that it's low sodium which is even better.

It is available in Mild or Spicy, only 20 calories per serving

Extra bonus: Provides 35% of your Daily Vitamin C
Considering many popular brands of bloody mary mix contain around 1200-1500 mg of sodium per serving, 340 mg for 4 oz or 680 mg for 8 oz is quite low. 

Happy New Year! We started 2011 off with a hike up Nea-kah-nee Mountain and were rewarded with stunning views and even got to see a pod of whales out in the big blue. What a treat!

And to finish off the trip, we stopped at a small seafood bar in Wheeler, the Sea Shack, in a town so small you might miss it if you blink. We enjoyed frosty microbrews and piping hot clam chowder. The best part was the view from the back deck. Driving back we saw, for real... the Green Flash! The sun disappearing beyond the ocean horizon and for a second or two it became a bright green ball of light. It was stunning. We'll just consider that to be a sign of good luck to come this year.

This trip was a reminder that there is so much life beyond the work, stress, traffic, and business we tend to be consumed with these days. Perhaps is was the fresh air that did it for me. Keep in mind that your health is a concert of self care; from eating right and exercising, to minimizing stress, and striving for balance. Don't aim for perfection, aim to be mindful and learn from your experiences. There's no room for dieting with those goals in mind. Wishing you all a happy year - full of love, hope, and good food!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

16 Principles to Lose Weight Without Dieting

Sumner’s 16 PRINCIPLES to lose weight WITHOUT DIETING

  1. Keep your body well-fueled so it can burn consistently all day. Eat every 3-4 hours and avoid going long periods of time between meals.
  2. Each time you eat try to chose a combination of carbohydrate (fiber) with Protein or a Healthy fat
  3. Don’t deprive yourself! If you want something - have it in moderation
  4. Eat mindfully - pay attention to what and how much you are eating
  5. Eat slowly - give your stomach time to send the message to your brain that you’ve had enough
  6. If you forget to eat, keep small snacks handy and set an alarm on your phone or computer
  7. Stay hydrated. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day!
  8. Get a water bottle that you love - you’re more likely to bring it with you
  9. Consume at least 25-35 grams of naturally occurring fiber daily
  10.  Include healthy fats in your meals and snacks - fat helps trigger satiety, even from smaller   portions
  11.  Smart snacking is wise, but mindless grazing can add up very quickly!
  12.  Don’t show up to the party on an empty stomach, you’re much more likely to over-eat.
  13.  Avoid drinking your calories on a regular basis
  14.  Never feel guilty about a food choice. If you aren’t proud of a behavior, immediately start taking steps for change
  15.  Keep a food record in the beginning to see what your habits and patterns are. Learning about yourself is very important information for success
  16. Move every day, often - find something to do that makes you happy!