Sunday, November 11, 2012

Obesity and Personal Responsibility

Of course we are responsible for our own actions. It's one of the reasons we so easily feel guilt. and shame. There may be outside factors and influence of others in some situations that makes us feel we do not have control of our own actions, but I think for the most part we recognize that we have responsibility for ourselves. And when it appears we have failed - there rises the guilt and shame, we beat ourselves up about it and can end up in a terrible cycle of self-hatred - that we can't see until we've broken free of it.

When I was obese I felt a tremendous sense of failure and shame in relation to my weight. When you're over 300lbs you aren't fooling anyone into thinking you are thinner than you are, it's right there for people to see. It can feel like being on stage, being judged, ALL the time. I'd like to think that that was created in my own mind, but unfortunately now being on the other side of the fence I have witnessed too many times people who make comments about obese people, make assumptions, and judge them unfairly. How does anyone know that the person they see isn't working on losing weight and getting healthier - it's not like we walk around with before pictures pinned to us. And then the question goes back to - why does it matter what others think, it matters what WE think and feel about ourselves. And now we're back to the guilt and self-hatred. How do we break free?

Learning to let go of that guilt and shame, letting go of placing value of what others think of us - that is something that is SO hard for us to do. We learn at a young age to want to please our parents, to seek approval, to not disappoint. And it's something that I think everyone struggles with - it may not be about their weight, but everyone has something that comes up for them that makes them feel this way. Letting that go is something we need to work on every day. EVERY DAY. What freedom and peace there is when even a bit of it is found.

I was watching a really interesting video this morning that was shared on Facebook by one of my favorite healthy food small businesses - Good on Ya Bars. They shared a link to a video series produced by University of California called The Skinny on Obesity. The researchers commented that for years society has put it on overweight/obese people as a personal responsibility issue and that it's much greater than that - there are so many factors - obesity has existed for thousands of years, it's not new - but the quantity of the population with it has skyrocketed - not just due to personal responsibility but due to processed foods, the food supply and other factors. I whole-heartedly agree that obesity is so much more than personal responsibility. If more of us could let go of the guilt and shame created by feeling like we've failed with our 'personal responsibility', I really think that's when real change can happen for people. When you stop beating your head against the wall and giving up because you feel such guilt, have compassion for yourself, and look at what around you is also a factor in your being overweight or obese - that is when you empower yourself to succeed, that is when you gain confidence that will keep you going. Learn about the food around you and what will nourish your body, your habits and lifestyle, behaviors and relationships. Learn as a sense of discovery, not as a sense of guilt. Be excited about what you are learning, not beating yourself up for not knowing or doing in the past. Share it with others - it will empower you and you'll find support in that. Have compassion for yourself and you will find freedom in it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Healthy Herb Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)

We really don't eat potatoes too often here, so when I got a 2lb bag of them with our CSA share this past week along with some leeks, I took their suggestion of making potato leek soup. However I needed a non-dairy vegetarian version and wanted to keep it as healthy as I could. The result was a creamy flavorful soup that tastes as though it were a rich creamy higher fat laden variety, that I can still feel great about eating! The fact that it was made with fresh organic (and mostly local) ingredients made me even happier.

Healthy Herb Potato Leek Soup (Vegan)
6 servings (made about 10 cups)

  • 2 lbs potatoes (mine were small potatoes, possibly Yukon gold variety), chopped into 1 inch pieces, peel on
  • 6 small or 3 large leeks (wash well, only use bottom part-trim off green part), sliced
  • 3 small stalks celery heart with leaves, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 8 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 TB fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

  1. Wash and chop potatoes, leeks, celery.
  2. In a large pot on medium, heat olive oil. Add in leeks and saute about 3-4 minutes until softened. Watch heat that they are not browning (leeks are different than onions). Add in 1 cup of vegetable broth and stir. Simmer 3 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the vegetable broth to the pot, turn to high. Add in potatoes and celery, bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  4. Crush and chop garlic, chop fresh herbs. Add both to a small prep bowl along with salt. 
  5. When potatoes are ready, remove pot from heat and stir in garlic/herbs/salt mixture. In 2 batches ladle soup into your blender and blend to smooth consistency. (or you could use an immersion blender).
  6. Serve soup with freshly ground black pepper on top. Great to eat with a hearty crusty bread!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yoga Aid World Challenge

It's been so long since I've posted and I need to catch up with all that has been going on in life. SO many awesome things!

For now, I'll share the newest poster for the event that Thad and I are coordinating as local Community Ambassadors. We are so excited, it's coming together!

If you're local, please join us!

If you're not local, find out about an event near you, or help me reach my fundraising goal for Africa Yoga Project:


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Photos from the Mud Run

It took so long for them to get the photos up that they decided to just offer them up for free! Anyway, here's a few more photos from the day.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Who Am I?

There are events in our lives that we know will be memorable. I really didn’t think that today was going to be one of them. I wasn’t nervous, I knew I was in control of what I did or didn’t do, and I was determined to have fun. I never thought Mud Factor would be so symbolic. But it is, and maybe that’s why people are so drawn to the challenge. In a little over an hour you face fears, physical challenges, and a lot of mental ones. The finish line isn’t about your time, or even the race itself, but the accomplishment of having done it. I felt amazing! I could take on the world.

From the old white New Balance cross trainers that had served me so well through a year of weight loss in Jazzercise, to sharing it with a new-ish friend Stephanie who’s on her own journey, today was full of reflection for me of how far I’ve come. I wanted to run between obstacles when others were walking, I looked at a 10x20 flat obstacle on a hill as a challenge and went first, I got excited to head down face first the biggest slip and slide I’d ever seen.  I ran down ravines and then climbed back up the other side.  I swam in a murky creek 5 feet deep when I otherwise never go in water I can’t see the bottom of – because it was part of the challenge and damn it, I was doing it! Perhaps the biggest accomplishment I felt though was the last challenge – climbing a 15ft (or higher?!) cargo net rope wall at a 70 degree angle, going OVER the top and dropping down in 3 foot increments. I have a fear of heights, but somehow, the challenges leading up to it and the camaraderie of my team gave me the confidence I could do it. I also truly realized how much our fears are really just in our minds. Yoga has taught me this, but sometimes I think it’s when real life experiences that show you that truth happen, that you truly believe it in your heart.

Two years ago I never would have done this. Actually last year I probably wouldn’t have either. Three years ago I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me. There’s a reason why - I recently was at a yoga workshop and Zeina’s words have stuck in my mind - We aren’t the same people we were a year ago. Or a month ago, or last week.  How amazing we get to reinvent ourselves, decide who we want to be and create our futures, isn’t it?

At the end of the day, I sit here with a few bruises and a couple scrapes and a little sunburn on my face – still riding the high of the event. I intended to write this post and tell you all in detail about the obstacles, the tips I read before and what helped, getting hosed down and publicly stripping to my sports bra and yoga underwear, maybe talk about the ridiculous traffic jam on I-75 or the amazing salad I had afterwards at Uno’s. Perhaps tomorrow J

Before the Run
Muddy Post Run High

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nourish: Great Grains

Last Tuesday was the first meeting of Nourish – a healthy eating group I’m leading at Divine Yoga. We talked a little bit about what our goals were for eating healthier and what it meant for us. Then we moved onto our featured theme for June - grains. One of the activities we did was a game to identify the grain dry, and cooked. I gave everyone a list of 11 grains that I had prepared. Some were easier than others!



Red Quinoa


Spelt Berries




Hulled Barley

Pearled Barley

Wild Rice


Here are some of the recipes that were shared:

Blackberry Barley Breakfast Bake

Makes 6-9 servings


· 3 cups cooked hulled barley

· 2 large eggs, whisked

· ½ tsp ground cinnamon

· Pinch sea salt

· ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

· 1 tsp agave or honey

· ¼ cup chopped raw almonds

· ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

· 1 cup blackberries, cut in half


1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine all ingredients except blackberries in a large bowl.

3. Cut ½ cup blackberries in half and gently fold into mix.

4. Spread mixture in baking pan. Top with other ½ cup blackberries (also cut in half)

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until barley is set.

6. Cut into 6 or 9 squares. Eat alone or serve topped with yogurt


When cut into 9 squares: 158 calories, 5.6g fat, 41mg cholesterol, 44mg sodium, 157mg potassium, 24.3 carbs, 6.3g fiber, 1.4g sugar, 4.9g protein

When cut into 6 squares: 237 calories, 8.4g fat, 61mg cholesterol, 66mg sodium, 235mg potassium, 36.5g carbs, 9.5g fiber, 2.1g sugar, 7.3g protein


Back On Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad

By Angela Liddon (Oh She Glows)

Yield: 7.5-8 cups

Salad Ingredients:

1 cup dry wheat berries, cooked and drained

2 cups cooked navy beans (or cannellini beans)

1 English cucumber, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 large tomato, diced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 cup fresh parsley, diced with large stems removed

4 green onions, diced

Kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste (I used 2 tbsp)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp hot mustard (I used regular)

1 tbsp Tamari

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


1. In a medium bowl, soak the wheat berries overnight in cold water. The next day, drain the wheat berries and place in a medium sized pot, covered in 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour. Drain and cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the diced vegetables (cucumber, red pepper, tomato, minced garlic, parsley, green onions). Add in cooked and drained navy beans (or other bean of choice) and stir.

3. In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, Tamari, fresh lemon juice). Set aside.

4. When the wheat berries are ready, drain and rinse and then stir into the salad. Add the dressing just before serving and stir well. Now season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with additional parsley if desired.

5. Yield: 7.5-8 cups.


The Energy Millet Salad



· 1 cup dry millet

· 2 cups of vegetable stock or water with 1/2 tsp of salt (or up to 3 1/2 cups of liquid, read notes below)

· 1/2 cup of raisins

· 1/2 cup chopped almonds

· 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

· 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds

· 3 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds

· 1 cup of finely chopped parsley

· 2 Tbsp olive oil

· 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

· 1 Tbsp honey

· salt and pepper to taste

· Garnished with chopped pear and crumbled feta or goat cheese


1. In a medium sized pot, toast 1 cup of millet seeds over medium high heat until they start to pop and become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, add the raisins and cover. Allow the steam to continue cooking the millet for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a large salad bowl.

2. On a baking tray, combine all the nuts and seeds and toast in a 375 F oven until golden and fragrant. About 10 minutes.

3. Combine the millet, nuts and seeds together once they have cooled. Add the parsley.

4. For the salad dressing, combine the oil, vinegar and honey together and whisk until well blended. Add the dressing to the salad and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve with greens, chopped pear or apple and crumbled goat cheese or feta.

Note: If you’re new to cooking millet you may choose to start with 3 cups of stock and drain any extra liquid that remains, once the millet reaches the desired texture. I find that 2 cups works great, but I also allow the steam to finish the work for about 10 minutes after I remove it from the heat.

Makes 8 cups.  1 cup = 286 calories.


Mushroom & Onion Amaranth

Serves 4


· 1 onion, chopped

· 8oz mushrooms, chopped

· 1 TB olive oil

· Chopped fresh oregano

· 1 cup cooked amaranth

· Salt and pepper to taste


· Cook amaranth – 1:3 ratio, for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. Rinse if you have a very fine strainer

· Heat oil in skillet on medium heat and add in onions, sauté until starting to get translucent

· Add in mushrooms, mix well and sauté

· When mushrooms are cooked, add in cooked amaranth and chopped fresh oregano. Season with salt and pepper

Makes a great quick side dish!


Lentil Tabbouleh Salad


· 1 cup lentils

· 1 1/2 cup bulgur wheat

· 2 TB olive oil

· 2 TB lemon juice

· 2 TB red wine vinegar

· 1/2 TB honey

· 1 clove garlic, minced

· 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (I used a mix of curly and italian)

· 1 carrot, chopped small

· 1/2 small onion chopped (or 1/4 red onion)

· 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped

· 2 TB pine nuts (toasted if you have time)

· handful of spinach, roughly chopped

· sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


1. Place lentils in medium pot, fully covered in water. Cook, covered, over medium heat for 30 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

2. Place bulgur wheat in small pot with 1 cup water. Heat until simmering, then turn off heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and drain any excess water.

3. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic and vinegar. Set aside

4. In a medium bowl combine cooked lentils, bulgur, parsley, onion, carrot, cucumber, spinach. Drizzle oil mixture over salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper (and some Spike seasoning if you have it). Garnish with pine nuts.

5. Chill, covered at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

This recipe could be adapted according to what veggies you have on hand. Add in diced or cherry tomatoes or diced green pepper if you have them. 

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

by Whole Foods (recipes shared by Kelly)

Serves 8

Wheat berries are the mother grain from which pasta, bread and flour are derived. Little wheat berries pack a nutlike flavor and are pleasantly chewy. Use a crunchy, firm, sweet-tart apple (such as Granny Smith or Gala) for this salad. From The Whole Foods Market Cookbook


2 cups uncooked wheat berries
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 medium apples, cored and chopped
1 cup seedless raisins
1 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Put wheat berries into a large bowl, cover with at least 2 inches of water and set aside to let soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Drain well.
  2. Put 7 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add wheat berries, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 50 minutes, or until cooked through. (Wheat berries retain a firm, chewy texture when cooked.) Drain and set aside to let cool.
  3. Transfer wheat berries to a large bowl. Add walnuts, apples, raisins, parsley, vinegar, apple juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, olive oil and lemon juice and mix everything together thoroughly.

Per serving: 400 calories (140 from fat), 15g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 11g protein, 61g total carbohydrate (9g dietary fiber, 19g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium

Quinoa and Black Beans


1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
  2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,
  3. Stir frozen corn and scallions into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Nutrition Info

  • Calories: 158.0
  • Fat: 2.2g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.8g
  • Protein: 6.8g


And a few more favorite grain dishes I’ve made:


Next Month’s Nourish features a field trip to the South Lyon Farmer’s Market!

Wednesday, July 18th 4:30-6pm
Divine Yoga Company, South Lyon


Join us to talk about eating local, when to choose organic, questions to ask and look for at the Farmer’s Market, and storing fresh fruits and veggies. We’ll share ideas for cooking with vegetables that may be new to us, how to plan meals when shopping the farmer’s market and eating seasonally.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Yes, I swam in a lake

With so many things on my schedule these days, I really value the leisure time that I find. When it can be shared with Izzie and Thad, it's even better. Early this afternoon we grabbed a blanket and headed out to Trout Lake at Island Lake State Park. This lake is spring fed and you have to walk about 1/2 mile on a trail from the parking lot to get to it. There's no formal beach carved out. Those two things mean that it's a hidden gem! Not crowded, lots of little private sandy areas by the water, and beautiful clear water without seaweed.  

Growing up in Michigan we went out to the lake most weekends in the summer. Of course, going 'out to the lake' actually often meant going to Island Lake State Park (to Kent Lake beach) - which is now a quick 10 minute drive, practically in our backyard. This is our 8th summer back in Michigan and the first time I went swimming in the lake. Why? I like to see the bottom! I don't like dark water and slimy seaweed (although it's probably not technically sea-weed since it's a lake). I love the ocean, and no lake will ever take its place in my eyes, but I just may have a new favorite place to head out to on a summer afternoon!

The other great thing about this lake is that dogs are allowed. Technically they must be on leash, but everyone pretty much lets them off leash to swim in the lake. When she came back on land we kept her on leash. We've tried taking her before and she was skittish about the water, but today she ran right in! She was jumping around and then actually just started swimming where she couldn't touch - and seemed to really enjoy it! Thad and I had so much fun with her!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Downdawg Detroit

It could not have been a more perfect evening! Sunny skies, light breeze and 200+ Detroit area yogis practicing on the roof of the Madison Theatre Building. A bird's eye view of Ford Field, Comerica Park, the Fox Theatre and other Detroit landmarks. Vinyasa-ing to Eminem's Lose Yourself blasting from the speakers. Savasana with a view of the beautiful sky and a building kissed by sunset. Amazing!

The event was sponsored by Lululemon and led by Jonny Kest of Center for Yoga as a fundraiser for the Danialle Karmonos Work It Out nonprofit that brings yoga to Detroit schools to improve the health and wellness of kids in the city. How great to have an event bringing together yogis from studios across the Metro area, uniting as a greater community. You could feel the energy and hope for the city.

Thad and I went with Stephanie, Deb and Cheryl from Divine Yoga. What a fun evening!

Stephanie and I waiting in line (Deb and Thad in the reflection)

Stephanie, Deb, Cheryl, Thad, me on the roof!

Mat to Mat yogis in the D!

Thad & I


The most awesome Savasana, I had to open my eyes!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Asian Shrimp Salad Turnip Salad

Saturday I stopped at the Brighton Farmers' Market to see Stone Coop Farm, the local organic farm where we have a CSA share this year. Our shares don't start for a couple weeks so I wanted to pick up a few things. They have a fantastic salad mix and I also got some dinosaur kale and turnip greens. I was almost ready to pay when I saw some 'salad turnips'. I asked about them and apparently they are best eaten raw, no need to even peel. I'm all about trying something new, so they came home with me too!

After searching through a lot of blogs and recipes, I came across one to base my salad on, a "CSA Salad with lime ginger dressing". I made some changes and additions, so here's my version, which made a really wonderful lunch salad! I even brought one to work for a friend to enjoy too.

Asian Shrimp Salad Turnip Salad
serves 2-3



  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small thumb fresh ginger
  • Juice of 1 large lime (or about 3 TB)
  • 2 TB Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 TB toasted sesame oil (be specific on this, it has amazing flavor!)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • fresh mixed salad greens
  • 3 salad turnips (young turnips, you don't need to peel, just cut off root and greens), sliced thin and then chopped into strips with mandolin
  • 3 carrots sliced very thin with mandolin
  • 1/2 english cucumber sliced very thin with mandolin, then sliced in half
  • 3 TB black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 8 cooked, tail-off shrimp per serving


  1. Throw all dressing ingredients in blender or food processor and blend well.
  2. Slice and chop all veggies, mix with salad greens.
  3. Add in cooked quinoa, gently mix.
  4. Plate salad portions, drizzle with salad dressing, mix gently. 
  5. Sprinkle sesame seeds and add in shrimp on top.
  6. Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Snapshot of America

Airports are fascinating places to people watch. What a cross section of society! Detroit now boasts two nice newish terminals and I'm always impressed with the level of security and efficiency getting through. Unfortunately I'm not so impressed with the food selections. I pass by two sports bars, a McDonald's and a cheeburger cheeburger to find the Asian noodle sushi place closed. Why didnt i pack something?? So I ended up spending 20 minutes in the Caribou/newsstand store reading pkg labels. Why is it that everything is so big? Every trail mix bag had 3.5 to 6 servings. That means the avg person grabs it and eats 500-800 calories as airplane snack! I ended up with a soy iced chai (a treat), a cliff builders bar and organic dried mango (1 serving!). I'm currently surrounded by others waiting for the flight with their takeout bags from McDonald's. So sad! Don't even get me started on all the unnecessary moving sidewalks here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I set out earlier this year with a goal to train for and run a 5k. Well I surprised myself and my first race was Saturday - the South Lyon Book n Trilogy 10k!

I reflected on much of my weight loss journey during this event, in ways I never expected. Warm up before the race was led by Jazzercise (who I really credit as the activity that helped me lose most of the weight and made working out fun). Then as I passed the 5 mile mark (which took what seemed like forever, to the point I was wondering if I'd missed it!), I was inspired by a guy in his 50s, who had to be over 400lbs, walking the 5k route, long after others had finished - he kept going. I understand the determination and effort (as well as humility) it took for him to show up and do this event, and it propelled me on to the finish. And now looking to the future, I'm so excited about my path to become a certified health coach and work with people to help them create happier and healthier lives for themselves.

My total time was 1 hour 8 minutes! That worked out to an 11 minute mile. A good pace for me, better than both of my past longer runs, so I was happy.

I was also thrilled to be able to share this experience with Thad (who finished in an amazing 49 minutes!) and my friend Jobi, who has been so supportive of my running. It was their first 10k race too!

Thad and I, ready!

Me and Jobi before the race

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bike to Work Day

Today is National Bike to Work Day! I am proud to say that not only did I ride 9 miles each way today, but I also was responsible for making it a company wide event! Last week when I learned about the campaign I brought it up to our HR manager and asked about the status of the planned bike rack. She said it would be installed in time and suggested I send the note out to the company and see if others might like to join me. I put out the challenge and 10 other employees accepted (including our President)! We have about 55 employees on site, and not counting those who were out of town, that meant we had about 25% participation. Not bad! There is hope for future wellness related activities :)

I rode in with my neighbor Jobi, and two guys from work that live further away parked their cars at the office and rode out to meet us and ride in with us. What a fun way to start the day.  I actually found it to be incredibly relaxing and enjoyable - most of our path was on the Rail Trail which is really pretty. Lots of bunnies this morning and some beautiful wildflowers brought out a ton of butterflies this afternoon. I would definitely like to make this a regular thing, perhaps on Fridays!

I'm really enjoying my new job and the company. It's a great work environment. I even designed t-shirts for those who participated, as a prize from the company. I think this really helps to create a great team and positive environment where people enjoy their work and I'm happy to get to be a part of making it happen!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Salmon, Spinach, Zucchini, Feta Salad

Dinner tonight was delicious!! This recipe is going to go on the regular menu for sure. I actually made it over two days to save time after yoga class tonight. I grilled the salmon and pre-cooked the quinoa yesterday evening when I had time, then just reheated them before combining in this dish. That meant I got this on the table in 15 minutes tonight!

Salmon, Spinach, Zucchini, Feta Salad
serves 3


  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 2 TB canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 fillets grilled salmon


  1. Toast the walnuts in a skillet on med-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Heat 2 TB canola oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes, then add in garlic and zucchini. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Add to large bowl.
  3. Add cooked quinoa, baby spinach, and green onions to large bowl. Drizzle with 2 TB olive oil, 1 TB lemon juice, salt and pepper. (I used some Herbamare instead of salt). Sprinkle the parsley, combine gently.
  4. Add feta, combine gently. Serve on plates, top with chunks of salmon. Adjust seasoning to taste.

This recipe is slightly adapted from one found on the Tastespotting blog.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fruit Fast - Day 3

7am: Breakfast - smoothie with grapefruit, mango, a little coconut milk, 1 banana
10:30am Snack - 1 banana
12:00pm Lunch - same as yesterday! Strawberry Avocado Salad
3:00pm Snack - 1 cara cara orange
5:15pm Snack - smoothie with green apple, mango, a little coconut milk
7:45pm Snack - 2 clementines
9:00pm Dinner - Tomato and Watermelon Salad

Sounds like a strange combination, doesn't it? I actually went searching to find a recipe with Avocado and Watermelon, as it just sounded like those two might be able to go together. Well, I even found one with Tomatoes and Cucumber in it too! Thad really liked this recipe. I actually think I would have liked it better without the balsamic/oil dressing or with just a little lime juice instead.

Tomato and Watermelon Salad
serves 2


  • 2 medium tomatoes chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup watermelon, chopped into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 small avocados, diced
  • 1 TB mixed fresh herbs - I used basil and cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 1/2 TB olive oil
  • 1 1/2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, watermelon, avocado, herbs and coriander. Mix gently.
  2. Whisk olive oil and balsamic vinegar together, add salt and pepper
  3. Pour over salad, mix gently, serve!

Slightly adapted from this recipe on Epicurious

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fruit Fast - Day 2

Day 2 of the Fruit Fast and I'm still feeling pretty energized and not hungry.

7:30am Breakfast - smoothie with 1 cup frozen mango, 1 frozen banana, 6 fresh strawberries, water, 1 tsp coconut oil
11:00am Snack - 1 banana
12:30pm Lunch - Avocado Strawberry Fruit Salad mix of 1 avocado diced, 6 strawberries sliced, 3 cherry tomatoes diced, 8 red grapes, 1/2 red pepper diced, 1/2 orange pepper diced, 1 tsp lime juice, a little cayenne pepper and salt
2:00pm Snack - 2 clementines, handful red grapes
5:00pm Snack - smoothie with 1 frozen banana, handful of red grapes, 1 small green apple
8:45pm Dinner - raw zucchini noodles with avocado pesto - 1 zucchini, 1 avocado, garlic, olive oil, salt, basil
9:30pm Snack - frozen banana soft serve - 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, topped with unsweetened coconut shreds and a TB of goji berries

I really enjoyed my lunch! Here's the recipe, I adapted it from another I'd seen for Avocado Strawberry Salad stuffed in a red pepper.

Avocado Strawberry Fruit Salad
1 serving


  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 orange pepper, diced
  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • 3 cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 8 red grapes
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • dash cayenne pepper and salt to taste
  1. chop everything up, combine well and enjoy!

Dinner was delicious!! I suppose we stretched the fruit fast a bit to include some garlic and basil though. It was worth it. Still feeling light! This pesto was adapted from a recipe from

Raw Zucchini Pasta with Avocado Pesto
1 serving


  • 1 medium zucchini spiral sliced (you could use a vegetable peeler and make thin flat noodles if you dont have a spiral slicer.
  • 1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cherry tomatoes
  1. Place the garlic cloves, lemon juice and olive oil in food processor, process til smooth. 
  2. Add in the avocado, basil and salt, process til smooth and creamy. Add in water if too thick.
  3. Pour sauce onto noodles, garnish with chopped cherry tomatoes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Exciting News and Possibilities!

"Life is never static - we either grow or we die." - Baron Baptiste

My life has changed dramatically over the past 2 1/2 years and I couldn't be happier for it. Transformation is not a simple thing, but it is something we all have available to us inside, we just have to reveal it. Growth and change our necessary in our lives. And mine is continuing to evolve again.

As you probably know by now, I have a passion for nutrition and healthy living and enjoy sharing it with others all the time - I don't 'try' to - it just happens, perhaps because it comes from my true self. Whether it's through this blog or supporting friends online, or discussions with coworkers, friends at yoga, family, neighbors, or with the person behind me in line at the grocery store, it seems that I am always talking about healthy foods, recipes, fitness, stress, and how I changed my life.

For the past year I've been giving a lot of thought to what I want to do with this. Do I want to become a dietitian? I looked into where dietitians work (most often hospitals), and who they often work with (people who are sick and are being forced to change their diet). After years of trying one diet plan or another, some successful for some time, but all seeming to end, I know in my heart that diet change is not the whole picture. I believe whole heartedly that lifestyle change, and a personal shift are what we need in our lives in order to create lasting change and live our best selves healthfully. There's so much more to it than simple nutrition.

After months of contemplation around this, I've had several instances come up for me in my life where I felt like there was something telling me that I need to take a step (or perhaps jump in is the right answer?). I'm also now in a full time job that I enjoy and life has settled in a bit. We have new routines, new financial security, and in some ways I feel like normal life has found its way to me again. I enjoy time with friends, practicing yoga, and taking on new challenges such as running.  I'm looking forward to starting yoga teacher training in the Fall (that is not news). But still, what do I do with my passion and interest in nutrition and healthy living?

With the encouragement of a couple friends I looked into the Holistic Health Coach program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NY --- and have just enrolled in their 1 year program to become a certified Health Coach! IIN has been around for 20 years.  Their philosophy is in line with mine, teaching traditional nutrition philosophies with current health concepts to help people transform their lives. I'll be able to work with clients (both in person and remotely) on issues related to their health, nutrition and lifestyle to guide and support them in making sustainable changes and hopefully inspire them to find what works uniquely for them. This is the type of practice that I know I will enjoy and see myself being able to do this outside of my regular full time job. There are so many possibilities and I can't wait to get started!

40 Days Fruit Fast, Day 1

I know what you're thinking. She's gone off the deep end! No worries,I'm not doing a fruit fast for 40 Days! 40 Days to a Personal Revolution is the name of the program we are doing at Divine Yoga this Spring. Our studio is a Baptiste studio and the basis for this program is the book by Baron Baptiste, 40 Days to Personal Revolution: A Breakthrough Program to Radically Change Your Body and Awaken the Sacred Within Your Soul. Its focus is on a deep personal awareness through daily yoga practice, meditation, and diet, plus reading and excavation questions along with a weekly meeting. Some days have been more challenging than others to fit everything in. Definitely not doing so well with the meditation practice but have an awareness and intention to improve over the next few weeks.

We're about halfway through the 40 days and this week calls for a 3 day fruit fast/cleanse. I started mine today. We are to eat as close to fresh fruits and nothing else. Thad and I decided to make a few exceptions for ourselves with adding in herbs and small amount of spice. I also decided that it was important to listen to my body and added in the protein powder and creatine with my after run smoothie because of how I felt. Luckily a lot of things you might consider vegetables are actually fruit - eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber. I love fruit in any case, so hoping that this won't be too difficult for me. They suggest eating fruit frequently throughout the day to not become hungry and avoid spikes in blood sugar, and that's worked out well today for me.

Today's Food Diary

7:30am Pre-Run - 1 banana, 5 dried cherries
9:30am Post-Run - 1 banana
10:00am Breakfast - smoothie made with 1 frozen banana, 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cara cara orange, 1/2 TB coconut oil, 1 cup water (plus I added a scoop of protein powder and creatine for muscle recovery/building)
12:00pm Samples at Costco - 1 orange slice, 1 grapefruit slice, 1 cube watermelon
1:30pm Lunch - 1 avocado, 1 tomato, 1 red pepper, 1/3 english cucumber, 1 TB chopped cilantro, 1 dash cayenne pepper, 1 dash salt, 1 tsp lime juice. (diced everything and combined)
3:30pm Snack - 1/3 frozen banana, 4 strawberries, handful of raspberries with some water blended into a smoothie.
4:30pm Snack - 2 clementines
6:30pm Dinner - grilled eggplant, zucchini, cherry tomatoes and yellow bell peppers with sliced fresh tomato and a little basil, 1 clementine
8:00pm Snack (planned) - strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries with some unsweetened coconut flakes

I also wanted to share the recipe used for dinner, in case any fellow 40 Days participants are looking for creative ideas for meals.

Eggplant Zucchini Tomato Sandwiches
serves 2

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (I used some organic heirloom ones from Trader Joe's that were so pretty and yummy)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 fresh tomato, sliced thin (I used an organic tomato on the vine, also from Trader Joe's)
  • 4 leaves fresh basil
  • Herbamare Organic Herb Seasoning Salt,
  • olive oil spray  
  • fine sea salt

  1. Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. Lay out flat on a piece of waxed paper. Sprinkle salt liberally on each piece. Let sit for 30 minutes. Then with a paper towel, wipe off all the salt and the liquid that has come up, what this does is helps take the bitterness out of the eggplant.
  2. Slice zucchini into 1/2 inch slices on the diagonal.
  3. Thread cherry tomatoes onto a skewer
  4. Core and cut yellow bell pepper into 3 sections.
  5. Spray all veggies with olive oil spray lightly on both sides. Sprinkle lightly with Herbamare.
  6. On pre-heated grill, grill all veggies on both sides. You could also use a grill pan on the stovetop or roast on a baking sheet in the oven as well.
  7. Slice fresh tomato into thin 'sandwich' slices.
  8. Tear fresh basil into small pieces.
  9. Make your own veggie sandwiches! I layered eggplant and fresh tomato with a bit of basil for one that you see here. I also make one with the yellow pepper, zucchini and more eggplant, with the roasted cherry tomatoes smashed in between. Delicious!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Abstain or Moderate?

Saw this article this morning and thought some of you might find it insightful too. The theory is that you are either a moderator or an abstainer when it comes to eating. Upon reading it I've decided I probably am an abstainer in order to get results, but hope to become a moderator for life (is that even possible?). I wonder if some of my issues of the scale not moving are as simple as this philosophy. I was an abstainer when I was losing weight, so why do I think I can lose weight now as a moderator? Once I moved into being happy 'enough' with where my body was size/weight-wise, I started to subscribe to the moderator philosophy. People say it all the time, and I probably have as well - all things in moderation. In theory, I agree completely that that it is healthy to treat yourself in moderation, following healthy eating the majority of the time. However, I never followed that when I was losing all the weight! I just cut things out completely to not be tempted - and it worked for me. I so relate to the author of this article with her frozen yogurt treats :) If I have something I really like in the house, even if it's reasonably healthy treat like frozen yogurt or dark chocolate, I seem to find excuses to allow myself that treat, far too often, til it's gone. I justify it in my mind in some way. No, I'm not eating quantities or poor quality of these treats I would have 2 years ago, but that doesn't mean I still don't have an issue. Perhaps what I need to do is go back to my abstaining philosophy to get the scale moving again, for good. Food for thought today, in any case!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pineapple Quinoa Bowl

What to do when both of your pineapples ripen at the same time? In addition to a pineapple banana green smoothie this morning, I whipped up a pineapple quinoa dish for dinner. Yum!! It's basically a healthier version of a sweet and sour/teriyaki bowl.

Pineapple Quinoa Bowl
serves 4


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 3 TB soy sauce or bragg's liquid aminos
  • 1 1/2 TB Sesame Oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger (I didn't have any fresh, or else I would have used that)
  • 1 cup edamame (shelled)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups pineapple in small chunks
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • fresh ground pepper
  • cashews, toasted (optional)
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3 TB mirin
  • 1 TB soy sauce or Bragg's Liquid Aminos


  1. Puree 1 cup of pineapple in your blender with 1 cup water
  2. Add 1 cup quinoa to a small saucepan. Measure out 2 cups of the pineapple/water mixture. Add more water if necessary to reach 2 cups. Add in 3 TB soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes with lid on pan.
  3. Add 1 1/2 TB sesame oil to a wok or cast iron skillet on high heat. Add in garlic and green onions. Season with cayenne pepper and ground ginger (or add in 1 inch grated fresh ginger). Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Combine all veggies in pan and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with fresh ground pepper.
  5. Add quinoa into pan and stir well. Add in pineapple. Mix 3 TB mirin with 1 TB soy sauce/Bragg's Liquid Aminos and pour over mixture. Mix well until pineapple is heated through.
  6. Serve with toasted cashews or sesame seeds on top.