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!