Trainer’s Tip #8: Take a Daily Dose of Gratitude.


Trainer’s Tip #8:  Count your blessings instead of your hardships.

Not just tomorrow when you carve the turkey, but every day.  Too simplistic, you say?  Studies show that doing so will improve your level of happiness and your health.  They show that people who keep a gratitude journal exercise more regularly, take better care of themselves and are more optimistic about life.  Gratitude is a stress-buster and helps the immune system.

When your eyes open in the morning, or before they close at night, write down something you’re grateful for.  Or just think it in your head.  What do you take for granted?  What do you love about yourself?  Create positive mantras, and repeat them in your head while you work out.  “I’m strong.  I’m empowered.”

Try it.  You may be grateful you did.


Trainer’s Tip #7: Try the Assisted Pull-Up

assisted pull up

Trainer’s Tip of the Day #7:  Try the Assisted Pull-Up

If you like machines, but are pressed for time, don’t think you have to fit in every single one to get a full-body workout.  Focus on the machines that target large muscle groups of the upper and lower body.  These machines work the most muscles at once, giving you the most bang for your buck.  The assisted pull-up is of my favorite gym machines because it does just that.

This machine allows people who can’t lift their body weight (ie, most people) to recieve the benefits of the pull-up, which actively engages roughly 20 muscles.  Stabilizing muscles, such as those in your core, are also engaged.  I like to do a wide-grip pull-up on this machine, but you can also reverse your grip, with your palms facing toward you.

Trainer’s Tip of the Day #6: Ditch the Trendy Diet


Trainer’s Tip #6:  Ditch diets that cut out whole food groups.

I love this article, written by a registered dietitian, which expresses the downside of the Whole30 diet perfectly.  My favorite line:  “Any diet that bans nutritious whole grains like quinoa and millet, but allows you to survive exclusively off of bacon and Larabars, should make you question the legitimacy of its health claims.”

I know there’s disagreement here.  I know that some of these diets have helped people lose weight, and if they educate people about the health risks of eating too much sugar and processed foods, that’s all good.  But research shows that they are not the best way to get in shape, and stay in shape for the long haul.  Let’s look at the facts:

1.) Many of the pounds lost on fad diets are made of water.   Dehydrating yourself is not sustainable for the long term.

2) Weight lost is the result of drastic calorie reduction, not the elimination of so-called bad foods.  Furthermore, usually muscle is broken down and burned, not fat.  Less muscle=lower metabolism.

3)  When off the diet, studies show the weight comes back easily because people are unable to stick to the drastic eating regimen for the rest of their lives.  Hence, a lifetime of yo-yo dieting.

4) Many of these diets do not place importance on physical activity, which is necessary in maintaining a healthy weight and body composition.

5) Many of these diets are created by unqualified people who publish books that have little scientific weight to stand on.  Someone who has passed a test in nutrition is not a registered dietician.   What do the creators of the Paleo diet think about this bit of knowledge?  I’d be interested to know.



I hereby commit to posting extremely brief tidbits of useful wisdom, termed “Trainers Tips,” on a regular basis.  You may ponder, ignore, or do as you wish with them as you go about your day.

Info about what?  Well…fitness.  Exercise tips, motivational tips, nutrition tips, health and well-being tips.  Maybe mind-blowing, maybe obvious but perhaps overlooked.  Tips to help you in your quest to become the happiest, healthiest you ever, one day at a time.

How often?  Most days.  Okay, I may get super busy or lazy one day.  Or two.  Don’t hold it against me.

Where?  Here.  On this site.  And my Facebook page and google+ page.

Why?  Because they’re short and sweet and force me to post to my blog regularly.  And because I love helping my readers in any small way I can, of course.


Trainer’s Tip of the Day #5: Stand Up!


Trainer’s Tip #5: Stand up! (as opposed to sitting)

This one may seem a little obvious, but hear me out.  Sitting for long periods over the course of a day is hazardous to your health, even if you exercise regularly.  According to research, too much sitting likely increases your risk for metabolic syndrome and your risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

If you have a desk job, take frequent walk breaks.  Sit on a stability ball or push for a standing desk.  When you’re on the phone or eating lunch, stand up.  Pick the farthest parking spot on purpose.  Walk wherever you can.  Be more active in general.  Every little minute counts, and this cumulative effect can make a profound difference in your health and well-being.


Trainer’s Tip of The Day #4: Beware the “All or Nothing” Trap


Tip #4:  Forgo the “all or nothing” mindset.

By this, I mean, don’t obsess over calories consumed and calories burned when you’re trying to get in shape.  A continual state of anxiety over exercise and food is no way to live.  This doesn’t mean don’t pay attention at all to this.  But if you screw up and eat a cookie, don’t give up on it all.  One cookie is not going to derail the healthy lifestyle you’re trying to build.

And that, after all, is what matters most:  What you’re building in the long-term.  Not the cookie you ate today.  Too often when we screw up, we think “I messed up so I might as well eat this pizza too.  I’ll try again next time.”  But then next time keeps getting postponed, week after week, year after year.  My advice:  Follow the 80/20 rule.  Try to eat clean at least 80 percent of the time.  Studies show that if we feel too deprived when we’re trying to eat healthy, we don’t stick to it.  If you really want a cookie one day, eat the damn cookie.  Savor it.  And then move on.

I hereby commit to posting extremely brief tidbits of useful wisdom, termed “Trainers Tips,” on a regular basis.  You may ponder, ignore, or do as you wish with them as you go about your day.

Info about what?  Well…fitness.  Exercise tips, motivational tips, nutrition tips, health and well-being tips.  Maybe mind-blowing, maybe obvious but perhaps overlooked.  Tips to help you in your quest to become the happiest, healthiest you ever, one day at a time.

How often?  Most days.  Okay, I may get super busy or lazy one day.  Or two.  Don’t hold it against me.

Where?  Here.  On this site.  And my Facebook page and google+ page.

Why?  Because they’re short and sweet and force me to post to my blog regularly.  And because I love helping my readers in any small way I can, of course.

Trainer’s Tip of the Day #3: Give HIIT a Shot


Tip #3:  Try HIIT (high intensity interval training)

I’m not necessarily recommending that you kill yourself every day with Shaun T. and his Insanity workouts.  Those definitely aren’t for everyone.  But try adding intervals to your runs or strength workouts a couple of times a week.  It could be just the jolt you need to get better results.

HIIT is really hot right now in the fitness world.  And it’s one trend I actually do recommend trying.  Why?  There’s positive research to back it up.  Alternating heartrate-elevating intervals with recovery intervals burns fat faster, and helps you keep burning fat even after your workout.  You can add intervals to most types of exercise to fit your taste.

Learn more about it here.  Happy HIITing!

A 6 Minute Anywhere-Workout to do With Your Kids!

Busy moms and dads, listen up!  Can’t fit in your workout today?  Finding it hard to get the kiddos away from their screens?

Help your kids reach their recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous daily activity, and get your workout in too.  Do this short workout one, two, three times in one day.  Every minute adds up!

Remember to keep it light-hearted and fun.  Shut off the TV, move your couch (or step outside), and get moving!

Trainer’s Tip of The Day #2


Tip #2:  Eat a nice, big breakfast.

Recent studies show that making breakfast your biggest meal of the day promotes weight loss and reduces your risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.

I’m not giving you a license to pile on the syrupy pancakes and greasy sausage (sorry!).  Choose unprocessed foods like oatmeal, whole grains, eggs, lean meat, nuts, seeds, and of course, fruits and veggies.  A good low-sugar mix of protein, fiber and complex carbs will keep you full, and energized, longer.

A couple examples: two eggs with whole grain toast and avocado slices; low-sugar oatmeal or cereal with milk and fruit; a smoothie including things like plain yogurt, a banana, flax/chia seeds, kale…get creative!

I hereby commit to posting extremely brief tidbits of useful wisdom, termed “Trainers Tips,” on a regular basis.  You may ponder, ignore, or do as you wish with them as you go about your day.

Info about what?  Well…fitness.  Exercise tips, motivational tips, nutrition tips, health and well-being tips.  Maybe mind-blowing, maybe obvious but perhaps overlooked.  Tips to help you in your quest to become the happiest, healthiest you ever, one day at a time.

How often?  Most days.  Okay, I may get super busy or lazy one day.  Or two.  Don’t hold it against me.

Where?  Here.  On this site.  And my Facebook page and google+ page.

Why?  Because they’re short and sweet and force me to post to my blog regularly.  And because I love helping my readers in any small way I can, of course.

Trainer’s Tip of the Day #1

Young woman lifting weights, side view

Tip #1:

Lift heavy.

There’s your very first tip.  Try lifting heavy instead of light weights.  It doesn’t have to be part of every single workout.  But if you are a mostly cardio or light-weights kind of person, you need to try this.  You could see major results….a) because it will increase your metabolism and burn more fat, even after your workout…b) because it will increase your strength and improve your muscle composition, giving you a firm, lean look.  It will improve your overall health and well-being.  Go as heavy as you can for 8-12 reps.  If, after 12 reps, you feel you can go longer, try increasing the weight a bit more.  And ladies, you won’t bulk up.  You just won’t.  Bonus:  With less reps, your workouts will be shorter!

Today I hereby commit to posting extremely brief tidbits of useful wisdom, termed “Trainers Tips,” on a regular basis.  You may ponder, ignore, or do as you wish with them as you go about your day.

Info about what?  Well…fitness.  Exercise tips, motivational tips, nutrition tips, health and well-being tips.  Maybe mind-blowing, maybe obvious but perhaps overlooked.  Tips to help you in your quest to become the happiest, healthiest you ever, one day at a time.

How often?  Most days.  Okay, I may get super busy or lazy one day.  Or two.  Don’t hold it against me.

Where?  Here.  On this site.  And my Facebook page and google+ page.

Why?  Because they’re short and sweet and force me to post to my blog regularly.  And because I love helping my readers in any small way I can, of course.

Two Common Strength-Training Mistakes


A buddy tells you that during her last workout, she performed 100 crunches and 75 bent over dumbbell rows, in record time.  Impressive?  Well yes, you have to admire this person’s mental and physical stamina.

At the gym, you notice a guy going 100 miles an hour on the leg extension machine.  But is this the best way to train?

There’s good reason to say that the answer is no.

Performing 100 crunches may add strength to your abs, but I can think of many other core moves that are way more effective with way fewer reps, and target your total core, including your back.  And here’s a bonus:  Less reps mean less time working out.

If your goal is to burn fat and increase cardiovascular fitness, it’s very important to get the heart rate up, and there are plenty of good workouts that achieve this.  However, performing quick, excessive repetitions  greatly increases the likelihood that you’re sacrificing form and relying too much on momentum.  And if your form isn’t correct, not only isn’t the exercise very effective, it also isn’t real safe.  There must be good form, above all else.

Should you never lift to failure?  Well, I didn’t say that….Instead, try incorporating heavier resistance for fewer reps.  For instance, lift as much as you can for 8 to 10 reps with good form.   And perform those reps at a pace where you can focus on the muscles you’re working, making a mind-body connection. (Ladies, you won’t bulk up!)  If you’re a beginner at strength training, you may want to begin with a more moderate weight load for 15 reps, to start.

To sum up:  It’s great to want to ramp up the effectiveness and intensity of your workouts, but excessive reps aren’t necessary.  In fact, they are less effective and less safe.  Also, make sure your speed isn’t compromising good form.

No time to make dinner for the family? Start here.

roasted sweet potatoes

According to a new study from the CDC, one third of all children eat fast food, every day.

Parents, let’s change this statistic for the better.  Let’s make getting healthy, delicious food on the table for our kids a priority.  Cooking at home is possible, even when our lives our crazy.  Have them help you prepare it.  It just takes a little advance planning.  They are worth it, and so are you, by the way.

Do your kids swear they hate veggies?  They can taste delicious, it’s all in how you cook them.  Keep experimenting, and don’t give in.  The earlier you start them on healthy eating habits, the easier the whole process is.  So don’t wait another minute.

Take advantage of fall’s wonderful, colorful, nutritious root vegetables while they are still in season–Try oven-roasting root veggies.  Dice them up, add a few ingredients, and throw them in the oven, and that’s it!  You’ll be amazed at how good they taste!

Start out with sweet potatoes!  And, you won’t need butter, brown sugar or syrup to get that sweet, melt-in-your-mouth flavor.  Here’s my favorite way to do them:

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Peel and dice 2-3 sweet potatoes or yams (this, seriously, is the hardest part!).  Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet.  Drizzle with a couple tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and turn to coat.  Drizzle with a small amount of honey or agave nectar.  Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon.  Roast until edges are browned, turning over half way through.

It’s impressive how nutritious this dish is.  A medium sized sweet potato contains more than your daily requirement of vitamin A, nearly a third the vitamin C you need, almost 15 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake and 10 percent of the necessary potassium.  Not to mention, sweet potatoes contain an abundance of antioxidants and anti-imflammatory properties.  Plus, studies show that cinnamon and honey provide a variety of health benefits from insulin regulation (cinnamon) to disease prevention (honey).

For other healthy recipes to try with the whole family, check out these other posts:

Why Cardio Just Isn’t Enough!


So, you run?  Or maybe you walk, swim, bike, use the elliptical machine, or go to fitness classes every chance you get?  That’s awesome!  You make exercise a priority in your life.  Cardiovascular activity is a great foundation for helping you stay healthy and attaining/maintaining your optimal weight.  And, when it’s an activity you enjoy, it can truly feed your soul!

But if you think it’s enough, think again.  I’m not talking just in terms of your overall health, but also in terms of weight loss.  Yep, strength training, paired with cardio, will get you where you really want to be.  If you want to look better, feel better, do more, live longer, and live independently into old age, strength training is where it’s at.

Adults lose between five and seven pounds of muscle every decade after age 20.  Strength training helps prevent this muscle loss, and rebuilds what you may have lost.  So by the time you’re 60, 70, or 80, still having this muscle can help you maintain your quality of life, keep you active, and ward off disease.  In other words, you’ll feel years younger than you are.  It improves your balance and coordination, and can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent, which is huge as you get older.

In my experience, the most typical negative responses to the idea of strength training are:

A.  I’m not the “weight-lifting” type.  I’ve never lifted weights and I’ve done just fine.  Why start now?

B.  I don’t want to bulk up.  When I lift weights I bulk up. (What were you eating during the time you lifted these weights?)

C.  I don’t care about muscles.  I just want to be thinner.

Okay, I get it.  In fact, I used to be one of these people.  The idea of strength training immediately brought to mind visions of mammoth, grunting meat-heads bench pressing a gazillion pounds.  Just the idea is enough to send someone new away screaming.  The good news:  This is not what I’m recommending for you!

The other good news:  Ladies, you don’t have enough testosterone in your body to become one of these people, no matter how much you bench!  In fact, don’t bench at all if that’s not your thing.  Two or three times a week, do some push-ups, chair dips, squats, lunges…whatever suits you.  Tailor your routine to your taste.  Just make sure you’re working every major muscle group, and give each muscle group at least a day to rest in between workouts.

Here’s another biggie:  Adding a simple strength routine a few times a week increases your basal metabolic rate, or the amount of calories your body burns at rest.  It can boost your metabolism by as much as 15 percent.  The more muscle you have, the easier your body is able to burn the fat off on top of that muscle because you’re burning more calories, all the time.  Having an engine composed of more muscle as opposed to more fat requires more calories per day to just live.

Cardio exercise is great for burning calories, but won’t give you the body composition needed to make you a fat-burning machine.  Cardio doesn’t do much to build lean muscle at all, and too much cardio can sometimes cause muscle break down.  In addition, strength training helps keep the weight off for good, according to studies.

Don’t assume that just because someone is thin, he or she is healthy.  Thin people who have bodies composed of less muscle and more fat can be at increased risk for disease.  Studies have proven the many wellness benefits of strength training.  It can help with arthritis pain, increase bone density, improve glucose control among those with type 2 diabetes (in addition to a balanced diet), and so much more.  Besides, wouldn’t you rather be tight, toned and slim, rather than thin and floppy?

It’s win-win, all around.  Just 2-3 sets, 8-15 repetitions, 3 times per week, can reap major rewards for your well-being and physique, for the rest of your life.  So the question should be, perhaps, Why not start now?

Garden overflowing? Try this end-of-summer pasta.


If your veggie garden is currently spilling over with ripe, juicy tomatoes, shiny, plump eggplants and fragrant basil then this recipe is for you.  In addition, it’s tasty, healthy, and a perfect weeknight meal!

Important to note–

-I use less pasta and more veggies than I listed here to make the meal less carb-heavy.

-I used an organic poultry sausage here, but meat is optional in this dish.

-I only eat whole-grain pasta, and highly encourage you to try it if you haven’t.  If you absolutely can’t stand the taste, try a white pasta with extra fiber added.

Here’s what you need:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

optional:  3/4lb to 1lb chicken or poultry sausage, cooked and cut into chunks

2 medium eggplants, cut into small chunks (I peel the skin off)

1lb whole grain pasta of your choice

6 small or 3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into chunks

1 to 2 tsp. thinly sliced garlic

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh basil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the eggplant, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and stir occasionally until tender.
  2. Add pasta to boiling water and prepare as directed.  Add tomatoes and garlic to the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the meat, if desired.
  3. Drain and toss cooked pasta with the eggplant sauce and Parmesan.  Add additional seasoning if desired and garnish with basil.

One-Legged Traveling Plank

I love planks.  But if you can hold the plank position for two minutes or more, you need to step it up a notch.  Add some variations to the move.  The possibilities are endless!  Here’s one great example of a plank variation.  Try at least 8-12 reps on each leg.

A super-quick homemade dinner for a crazy weekday night


Last night was one of those crazy week day nights.  Before I knew it, it was 5:30, and the family was starving.  I hadn’t planned anything to eat that night.  On this type of night, I grab whatever is on hand and make it work.  I use veggies that need to get eaten, and meat that has recently been, or can quickly be, thawed.  I usually have chicken breast on hand for last-minute, throw-together dinners.

With the weather still yucky, the oven is still one of my favorites for quick meals.  Roasting produce and meat brings out their flavors without a lot of added fat and calories.  So last night, I threw some broccoli florets on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper, and into the oven they went.  Then, I took some chicken breast tenders, rolled them in crushed almonds, and threw them in.  (Crushed corn flakes also work well for a healthy chicken coating.)  Add seasonings to taste.

Note: I used foil here to line the baking sheets, but I usually use parchment paper.  Your dishes will come out practically clean!


Here they are after a short time in the oven.  Dinner is finished!


To add a healthy carb, I sliced up an organic, 100% whole wheat bread loaf to go with it.

So…before your reach for that take-out menu, think about what you have on hand.  Often you can have an oven-roasted, homemade dinner in minutes, with minimal effort.

Veggies are delicious when roasted!  Here’s what I did another night with carrots and brussels sprouts, tossed in olive oil/salt/pepper.  SOOO easy!






Proud of these ladies!

These two girls have been with me for a long time, and I’m very very proud of them!  They’ve been named as ‘Health Heroes’ this year by their work place, Thompson Health.


Feel Like Skipping Your Workout? Five Things To Tell Yourself.

motivation8I woke up to sub-zero temps this morning.  On days like this, sometimes the last thing I want to do is throw on my sports bra, jump into my freezing car and drive to the gym.  Or jump off my comfy couch and do burpees, for that matter.

We’ve all had that inner battle about working out, right?  Between being lazy or sticking to our schedule?  Well, instead of talking yourself out of your next workout, how about doing the opposite?  Next time you want to bail, tell yourself these 5 things…

1.  “I am going to feel AMAZING afterward, and for the rest of the day.”  Don’t focus how you feel now…Think about how you’ll feel AFTER your workout, and how it will affect the rest of your day.  That quote at the top of this article is soooo true.  When we miss scheduled workouts, we do regret it.  But when we exercise, it benefits us both physically and emotionally.  We have more energy, more optimism, we can think more clearly, and we’re all-around happier, more productive and more confident.

2.  “This is MY time to better myself, and I deserve it.”  Your workout time is a chance for you to be selfish, and to focus purely on YOU.  Schedule these precious moments into your calendar, keep them, and when you exercise, live completely in the moment.  Don’t focus on work, family obligations, future errands or what you’ll make for dinner–just you.  You can’t take care of others until you give yourself the attention you deserve.  Grow to crave and look forward to your regular “ME” time.  Make it an important part of your life.  It will reward you handsomely in the end!

3.  “Each time I do this, I inch closer and closer to my goal.”  We know that in health and fitness, consistency is key.  Day after day, each workout adds up.  The more you keep to your weekly workout schedule, the faster you’re going to lose weight, feel better, and fit better into your skinny jeans.  Take small steps each day, but think in terms of the big picture.  Keep your eye on the prize, and your mind on the reasons why you want to do this.  The real reasons.  Visualize yourself becoming stronger, more confident, and leaner with each new workout.

4. “I’ll just do a short, ___ minute workout.”  Two points here.  First, every minute counts.  So if you only muster up 10 minutes of workout time one day, it’s better then zero minutes.  And with all of the short, high-intensity workouts out there, you can find some pretty effective 10 minute workouts.  Secondly, it’s often the “getting there” that’s the biggest struggle.  Once we get to the gym and jump that mental hurdle, we may find that we are feeling pretty good, and end up going for 20, 30 or 40 minutes.  So tell yourself you’ll just do 10 or 20 minutes, and then see how you feel afterwards.  If you go longer, great.  If not, well, like I said…It’s better than nothing.

5.  “If I do this today, I’m going to reward myself by______.”  Yep.  Bribe yourself.   The only caveat: don’t do it with food.  Have that hot bubble bath.  Give yourself a manicure.  Read that novel that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand or watch that trashy reality show you secretly love.  Indulge yourself with a little more “me” time.  Set up a rewards system to get you off your butt.   You know yourself best.  Pick rewards that you’ll really love, and stick to the rules.  One of my favorites:  A “piggy” bank–Every time you don’t want to work out, but do anyway, put a set amount of money in a jar.  When when you’ve hit a fitness goal or filled the jar, spend the money on something you’ve pined for.  Works like a charm!


Eating Healthy At A Super Bowl Party–It Can Be Done!


Ah, the Super Bowl.  It ranks only behind Thanksgiving when it comes to calories consumed.  Complete with wings, burgers, pizzas, and dips, dips and more dips….It’s not the easiest event get through for someone who is trying to lose weight.  But, don’t despair.  It CAN be done.

~First, if you see any of these healthier options at your Super Bowl Party, go for them first to fill you up (instead of that gooey cheese dip):

guacamole (high in calories, so watch the portion)SONY DSC


fruits and veggies (of course)

pico de gallo (salsa)

Triscuits, (they are 100% whole wheat)

chili (esp. turkey or chicken chili)

turkey meatballs

bean dip (white bean, black bean)

popcorn (without heavy toppings)

homemade trail mix (watch the portion)

Limit tortilla chips to a small handful.

~Second, eat something before you arrive at a Super Bowl party.  You may think you need to save your calories for the party, but doing it that way will likely set you up for a bit of a binge.

~Bring your own healthier appetizer to share.  That ensures there will at least be ONE healthy option there.

~Don’t sit next to the food table.  Get a plate, eat it slowly, and don’t go near the food again until half time.

~Portion control, people!  If there’s something naughty that you really want to eat, have a little and really enjoy it.  Then move on.

~Limit alcohol.  It clouds your healthy-eating judgment.  Studies show that after a third drink, people are way more likely to abandon their healthy-eating goals.  Go for light beer and wine.  Stay away from sugary mixed drinks and ciders.  Bonus:  No hangovers at work on Monday!

Good Luck!

These are VEGGIES?? Three Scrumptious Ways To Eat Them.


BO-RING!  Is that what comes to mind when you think of vegetables?

Well, it doesn’t have to be that way!  Give them another chance…It could be that you just haven’t found ways to prepare them that suit your taste buds. Get adventurous.  Make mashed cauliflower “potatoes”!  Make spaghetti squash “pasta”!

Making that extra effort to fit them in your diet will pay off big-time.  You’ll feel better because your body will receive the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and ward off disease.  If you’re trying to lose weight, veggies literally “fill you up” for less calories.  Try to include produce with every meal.  It’s not as difficult as you think!  You may even grow to CRAVE them!

Here are three decadent recipes to get you started.  You’ll be amazed they’re even veggies!

mashed cauliflur

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets (about 6 to 7 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and then drain well and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add oil and reserved water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and purée until smooth. (Or, mash cauliflower with a potato masher). Season with salt and pepper and serve.



Makes 4 servings

about 6 cups cut broccoli
2 T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
6 tsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino-Romano or Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 450F. Trim broccoli stalks so pieces are close to the same length.

Toss broccoli with 2 T olive oil, and sprinkle with salt to taste.  Spray a large metal baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick spray.  Spread out broccoli pieces out on the baking sheet so they aren’t touching each other.

Roast broccoli until pieces are bright green and starting to get browned edges.

Toss broccoli with fresh lemon juice and then sprinkle with Pecorino-Romano or Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.


3. HOW TO PREPARE SPAGHETTI SQUASH (prepared, pictured at top)  That big round yellow thing isn’t as difficult to cook as you may think!


  1. Wash the squash and leave it wet. Microwave it for 5 minutes to help soften the skin (it’s still really hard).
  2. Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds.
  3. To Microwave: put squash halves cut side down in baking dish in 1/4 cup of water covered with plastic. Nuke it for 7-10 minutes.
  4. To Bake: put squash halves cut side down in baking dish in 1/4 cup of water and bake for 45 minutes covered with foil. Don’t let the water cook away. Check it and add more if needed.
  5. After it’s cooled slightly, scrape out the veggie strands with a fork and season with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and parmesan cheese or proceed with another spaghetti squash recipe


Don’t Be Duped By Detoxes!


Total body flushes…Weekend cleanses…3-day fasts…Sound familiar?  With the new year comes a fresh round of detox-mania.  But do these concoctions and weird diets work?  Do they really clear your liver, kidneys and colon of toxins?

No. Your liver, kidneys and colon do this naturally.  All they need from you is a balanced diet rich in produce to keep them functioning properly.  I know, I know…That’s not trendy or quick-fixey.  A produce-rich diet won’t lose you 10 pounds in a week like the detoxes claim (What they don’t tell you is that you’ll gain this water weight back later)…but it is the simple truth.

“There’s little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Indeed, the kidneys and liver effectively filter and eliminate most ingested toxins. The benefits from a detox diet may actually come from avoiding highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar,” said Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., a registered dietitian at the Mayo Clinic.


Fruits and veggies have the micro-nutrients and fiber we need to detoxify naturally, lose fat, and gain energy, vitality, and natural health.  Add healthy fats, lean protein and whole grains for a completely balanced diet.  The key here is unprocessed, or as close to nature as possible.  What about detox juices, you say?  While juices have nutritional benefit, they also have tons of sugar and calories without keeping you full.  They don’t provide you with the fiber you need…fiber that keeps you full and aids your digestive system.

Eating fresh, whole fruits and veggies is, in actuality, much easier and more pleasurable than downing that apple cider concoction.  And, it will get you started with new habits that can lead to real change, the kind that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Not a veggie fan?  Branch out!  You can roast, saute, grill, or just eat ’em raw!  Check out new options at the supermarket, find what produce you like, and come up with creative recipes to use it in, like this one.

Kale Rainbow Detox Salad

From Ambition Kitchen

From Ambitious Kitchen


For the salad:

  • 2 bunches kale (about 6-8 cups), de-steemed and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/2 avocado, diced

For the Vinaigrette:

  • Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, if desired to sweeten it up
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

From the kitchen of: Ambitious Kitchen