Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Land of Confusion


Don’t eat carbs, eat every 2-3 hours, don’t snack, eat every 5-6 hours, don’t eat fruit, eat fruit, coffee is bad, coffee is good for your brain…

There is so much conflicting information when it comes to diet. How is a girl to know what to eat?  The simple truth is : you already know.

For years and years  we have followed the experts and let them tell us what to eat and when. Each time we decide to get “back on track” we find the latest diet bestseller and decide that this time we will succeed. Then we don’t, only to cycle through it all again and again.

First you need to start with what foods you like. Yes I am totally serious! Grab a cup of coffee and sit down with a pen and paper and write down what you like to eat. Even the “bad” stuff.  The next step is to figure out when you are hungry. For instance, some people are not very hungry in the morning, so a small breakfast is good for them.  Just make sure that the small meal is packed with nutrition.  A small bowl of oatmeal with a little brown sugar and some crushed almonds on top OR an egg and a piece of whole grain toast.

Then there is lunch. I prefer a warm lunch, usually leftovers from the night before OR I make a big pot of soup early in the week and I’ll eat that all week. A sandwich is a great choice for those on the go, but make that sandwich at home rather than depending on a deli to do it. Make it a little healthier by putting some dark green lettuce (not iceberg) or some sliced radishes on it.

Play with your food. YES!  Play with it and let your kids try new things…if you have never had a radish EVER then buy some and slice them really thin and use it on that sandwich or salad. Just a side note for the parents: forcing kids to eat an entire plate of food is never a good idea. Having to taste something that is on their plate is.  Everyone knows someone that has bad memories connected to a food that was forced upon them. We want our kids to grow up with a healthy relationship to food. Let them choose what’s for dinner once a week. Have them pick a grain, vegetable and protein. Have them join in on some of these decisions and it takes some of the stress off of you.

Take the time to think about your day. If you notice by the afternoon that there hasn’t been any veggies in your meals so far, make sure to have some at dinner. If you already know in the morning that you are going out for dinner and will undoubtedly order your favorite spinach&artichoke cheesy dip, then eat smart throughout the day- lots of veggies, some lean protein, you get the picture.

We know that polishing down a entire pizza is not healthy. But if you enjoy pizza, have a slice with some salad OR that delicious antipasto.  It is all about balance, isn’t it? Truth be told, the more healthy foods that you incorporate into your day, the less room you will have for the unhealthy stuff. Keep it simple, but keep it fun.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Joy to the world



I love cookies. I mean, I REALLY love cookies.

Baking them. Smelling them. EATING them.

So what does a cookie junkie do when she is found to be gluten AND egg sensitive? Well, she obsesses with making the best damn gluten and egg free cookies she can. Each batch is a success when the Sweet Lovin’ Man of the House approves of the completed cookie, but ALSO when he can’t tell that they may/or may not be gluten free. This can be quite a challenge.

I have to admit that although this particular recipe was based on the flavor of a candy bar (Almond Joy to be exact), the Hubby had no part in tasting. I never knew he didn’t like coconut.  I love that I am still learning new things about him after all this time. That put the tasting part on myself and my 7 year old daughter, Sarah. She accepted her mission and did quite well. I have found my partner in cookie crime.

As I type, the house smells amazing, kind of like a warm coconut breeze with a short wave of dark chocolate. (I DID just make 9 dozen of these little babies for a cookie exchange tomorrow.)

Be in the moment – enjoy your treats! Even better, enjoy those treats with some great friends! 


Makes 12


1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed (or flax meal) mixed with 3 Tbs hot water, let sit for 5-10 minutes

1 1/3 Cups grated sweetened coconut

½ Cup evaporated cane juice

3 Tbsp. brown rice flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pure vanilla OR almond extract

12 almonds

½ dark chocolate bar (I used Lindt 70% cocoa Smooth Dark)


1. Preheat oven to 325®.

2. In a bowl, mix coconut, evaporated cane juice, brown rice flour, salt, flax gel and extract until combined.

3. Using a cookie scoop (Tb size), form 12 round cookies and place onto lightly greased cookie sheet.

4. Place cookies in preheated oven and bake 10- 15 minutes until golden.

5. Remove from baking sheet and place on rack to cool.

6. Boil a small amount of water in a pot on the stove and place a glass dish that fits tightly onto the pot (as a double boiler). Break the chocolate into pieces and place into the glass bowl. Turn off the stove and stir the chocolate until melted. Drop an almond into the chocolate and using a small spoon coat the almond with the chocolate and then, using the spoon again, lift the almond out of the bowl and place onto a cookie, pushing it slightly into the cookie. Pour an extra spoonful of chocolate onto the cookie and cool completely.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Don’t gain that holiday weight


Healthy December Tips

  1. You don’t have to overhaul your entire pantry—small changes can make a big difference the next time you step on that scale, EVEN during the holidays ! Throw some wheat germ or ground flaxseed into your pancake mix. Add lots of veggies to your homemade pizza.
  2. Drink water!! In between meals and snacks water is the best and easiest way to hydrate your body. (Have you ever taken a look at the ingredients on those sports drink bottles? Ew.. I don’t even know what the heck some of that is!)
  3. Take some sugar out of your morning coffee if you know you will be indulging in sweets later on in the day.
  4. Snack on healthy little tidbits such as almonds, walnuts, celery, carrots or fresh fruit.
  5. Chew your food well. Digestion begins the second you start chewing, help your body along and you might just notice you eat less too.
  6. December is a fantastic time to get back to the gym. Yep, I said it. Most people who have fallen off the fitness wagon think about January and the New Year. But think about this…the gym is generally not crazy in December and you can use the next 21 days to form a perfectly good habit. January is crazy time at any gym. It can be discouraging trying to get back in the swing of things when the treadmills are all taken or you have to wait 20 minutes for a weight machine.
  7. December is chock full of office parties, home parties, and people just meeting up for a drink. Eat a snack/small meal before going to your shindig. Then when you get there, you can feel free to enjoy a cocktail and good conversation with a friend, network with colleagues, or just relax and the food floating around on fancy dishes won’t be the focus.
  8. Start you day with a vitamin packed smoothie. Grab your blender and chuck some frozen fruit, water, ice, a wee bit of plain yogurt and maybe a even a kale leaf or two and put turn it on!  People who start their morning this way tend to continue making healthy choices for themselves throughout the day.

Finally, one of the best things that you can do for yourself is to be surrounded by people who are supportive of your choices. Make friends at the gym.  Talk about healthy recipes with your family, even the kids.  Do one active thing each day to get your body moving.  Hire a health coach who can support you in figuring out what your health and fitness goals are.  Enjoy December and don’t put off your health until January 1. Begin it NOW.

Friday, December 2, 2011

simple gifts


The stores are crazy.  Everyone is stressed trying to find that perfect gift.  Maybe it’s because I grew up with a very crafty momma, but I love making gifts!  A plate of a loved one’s favorite cookies OR a basket of fresh, organic fruit. Seriously, have you seen the face of someone who feels completely understood and loved? Priceless.

Recently while visiting my brother in Georgia, we had dinner at the The Crab Shack. Great food AND the kids got to see some alligators. Fun place for the whole family!  At the sinks they had some really cool salt scrub to get the crabby-fishy smell of your hands (and to keep them touchy soft too!!) Once in the gift shop I noticed a jar of this stuff was $25.  No, I’m not cheap, but I screamed out “I can make this!”  The Hubby hustled me out before I embarrassed him too much.  When we got home a few days later I got to work in the kitchen, intent on making the most delicious smelling scrub I could. And I did.


Yummy-Easy-Hand Scrub

  • 1/3 C kosher salt
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 12 drops of grapefruit essential oil

Mix together and use any glass container you may have already have OR run your booty out to the dollar store and buy a little dish.

Give it away or keep it for yourself..

You can use a superfine OR larger grain sugar, almond oil would be nice, then just nix the essential oil. OR if your giftee loves a certain scent, make it just for them! Sit back and feel the love!


A few other ideas for simple homemade gifts:

  • basket of favorite fresh fruit (seriously, think about the person you’re buying for – don’t buy pears if they hate pears.)
  • favorite childhood story, of yours OR theirs (not homemade, but simple and loving memories still the same)
  • their favorite tea or coffee


When someone receives a gift that is truly personalized for them and their likes it is truly amazing how that feeds your relationship with them. Feeling heard and understood is so powerful and that is the most gracious gift that you can give to anyone.

Happy shopping and keep it simple.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Muffins (gluten-egg-dairy free)

I just revamped one of my recipes yet again. I had really wanted to try to evaporated cane juice instead of processed, white sugar. I was able to cut it down from 1 Cup of sugar to 3/4 Cup of evaporated cane juice AND my sweet tooth has missed nothing! I made a batch of these to take down to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, but now I am thinking that I better pack them in the back of the minivan so that I am not tempted to eat them all on the 13 hour drive.

be thankful, be loving, and be in the moment


Mini Pumpkin Muffin Yummies

About 32 muffins

1 1/4 C gluten free flour blend of your choice ** see below
2 tsps baking powder (gluten free)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xatham gum
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
3/4 C evaporated cane juice
2 Tb ground flaxseed mixed with 4 1/2 Tb water( let sit for a few minutes before adding ) this is how you make flaxseed "eggs"
1 1/2 C canned pumpkin
2 tsps vanilla (gluten free)
1/3 C melted organic virgin coconut oil

Prepare mini muffin pans by using small muffin liners.
Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, xantham gum, and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk together the evaporated cane juice, flaxseed "eggs", pumpkin, vanilla, and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Spoon into prepared mini muffin liners. Bake until toothpick comes clean and springy to the touch., approx 15-18 minutes.
Let cool completely on a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Delicious!!


Now, because I love my treats, I think I am going to blend together some cream cheese and crystalized ginger for the frosting. Of course that part is not dairy free, but the dairy free part is really for my daughter who has a milk allergy. Feel free to make it your own!


** Gluten free flour blend I used was this

1 1/2 C brown rice flour, 1 1/2 C potato starch, 1 C tapioca starch

Friday, November 18, 2011

grateful goodies

Thanksgiving is one week away.  The meal planning is in full swing, the food has begun to be purchased. It is all about the food, isn't it?  I am not here to take that away from you OR to make you feel guilty about it.  It IS the feast, the football, but also....the family & friends.

I am lucky enough this year to be able to travel with my husband and children to visit my brother whom we don't get to see enough. Perhaps it is because I study nutrition, or because I have food allergies/sensitivities, or because I have prioritized the time with family, but food is taking the second seat here for us this year. Now, this doesn't mean we don't eat well. Focus on quality, not quantity. The glass of wine I enjoy the most, the piece of turkey that is the juiciest, my favorite stuffing (yes, even the gluten-intolerant can have it all).  And dessert....not sure yet what I will make, but I will enjoy every last morsel, and perhaps even a second helping if I desire.

But, of the entire day, the thing that feeds us the most is those relationships. Some can drain us. Some uplift us. Some, we don't get enough of.  My suggestion for the holiday would be this: 
be in the moment.

Sit and really listen to what people say.  There is a lesson to be learned, even with those that test our patience. Settle down and play a game with the kids. Help in the kitchen.  And yes, sit on the couch for a while and watch a football game. 

After the table has been cleared, if you have filled up on those around you, you just might find that your stomach doesn't ache, your head is not foggy, and your spirit is rejuvenated.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Habitual Nourishment

How does this quote make you feel?

"Eating is such a necessary function and should be a positive experience"
Sloane Miller, author of  allergic girl
Breaking Free article

When was the last time that someone you know said something like "Ugh, I feel so fat, I need to diet."
OR "I can't eat that, I cannot wait to be done with this diet."

The definition of diet being a) food and drink regularly provided or consumed...... b) habitual nourishment.   Myself? I tend to favor the second meaning. I disagree with people who say that eating should just be something you do, not something you enjoy. If we need to eat to live, then why not enjoy it?

What else feeds you? 
Your relationships- are they loving or toxic? 
Your career- do you love what you do OR do you dread waking up each day? 
Yes, I know there are some people who are going to want to kick me right now, but exercise. What do you do to move your body?  If you are not enjoying your current workout plan, then perhaps it is not the right fit for you.
Then there is spirituality. I am not specifically speaking about religion. For some people it is just that connection with something outside of themselves. Many people enjoy the support they have within their church and the community surrounding it.  For others it is their love of the NY Yankees or whatever team they are passionate about.  It is the little rituals or habits that feed our "soul", or what you choose to call it.

Enjoying your food does not mean overindulgence. Treating yourself to a high quality, home cooked meal with loving people around you is one of the best things you can do for yourself.  Taking the time to cook dinner with love and healthy ingredients is nourishing.  Don't feel bad when you treat yourself.  Sit and enjoy it. Be in the moment. How will you treat yourself today?

Friday, November 11, 2011

what the heck is a health coach?

Friday, November 11, 2011

what the heck is a health coach?

So the big question lately has been "Gina, what are you studying?" Well, simply enough, I study nutrition. There are so many diets out there and so many people. EVERYONE is different and so are our food needs and likes. Some people thoroughly enjoy a good steak, others physically cannot stomach it. We all have different careers, our day's have so many different elements to them that handing someone the same printout of a "meal plan" just doesn't work anymore.

A Holistic Health Coach, which is what I am working toward, takes all aspects of life and partners with clients to identify & overcome the hurdles that prevent someone from living a great life. The word "holistic' can be confusing to some, I get that. Holistic, meaning "relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts" as according to the good old Merriam Webster dictionary. Health would come from a balance of all the sides of a person: physical, emotional and even spiritual. Your home life, career, how you spend your spare time are ultimately as important as the food you eat. It's what feeds us.
Your coach is your partner. There's got to be a trust there. Your coach is your sounding board, you will probably never feel as heard or understood as you do with your coach. When someone truly listens to you, they can then help you get to the heart of the issues that are holding you back from where you want to be with your health.
What could you accomplish today if you had that kind of support?