Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reality Check

This is where we're going to tie the knot!

So, apparently there is a limit to what I can do while staying sane and well myself.

Sorry for those empty promises about all those fun articles I was going to post this month. I have been working hard on the new site behind the scenes, but I'm just not there yet.

I assure you I will be back in full effect in mid-September, with tons of *new* changes.

We'll make the move to the *new* site.

I'll be a *newly* married lady.

I'll be doing some *new* giveaways  (that's right, I just got approached for my first official cross-promotional partnership from a cookware company! If that doesn't put me on the map, I don't know what does!)

It's going to be great.

In the meantime, I'm gonna go get married.

Have a happy, healthy rest of your summer!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Let's Make a Meal!

So, here is the thing. I love food, and I cook often, but I am not really "a cook".

I have some friends that are just amazing to watch in the kitchen. Calm, graceful, effortless.

I am more like a hurricane.

Food flies everywhere. Heaps of dishes get used. And on more than one occasion... things break.

(Lucky for me, B and I have a rule that when one person cooks, the other has to clean up! )

Lately I have been attempting to follow recipes, but more often than not I am more preparing food rather than cooking it. When I say prepare I don't mean that I take out a frozen meal from the freezer and zap it up in a microwave... But more that I just take basic healthy ingredients and make a delicious simple meal out of them. I guess what I mean is that it's not very involved...

That being said, I've gotten pretty good at this style of cooking and I've been making some yummy things lately.

I often take pictures of what I make. Why?

a. Food is so beautiful!

b. I always imagine posting the pics on the 'ol blog.

And yet, I actually have rarely posted these pictures. I'm not sure why... I suppose there is something very personal about food and it makes me feel a little vulnerable!

But lately I've been getting a lot of questions about what and how I eat, and I think we all need some inspiration from time to time. The nice thing is that all of this food is really easy to make. I know it is, because I made it, and as I said above, I'm not exactly the next Wolfgang Puck.

So, here it goes...

Sprouted grain toast with mashed sardines and avocado

Heirloom tomato with buffalo mozzerella & basil, olive oil, S & P

Mixed berry crumble

Sprouts for the salad in the next photo

B has named this the "vital salad" because you feel so alive after eating it!Chopped cabbage, mixed sprouts, toasted peanuts

Tofu, summer squash, and brown rice with pesto over spicy greens

Garden picnic (mozz & tom salad, sliced purple carrots, shredded salad (made by shastine) of zuchini, cucumber & basil, plus some foccacia I picked up at the farmers market

Messy scramble with tomato, shredded collard greens & pecoino

Steamed veggies over greens with side of toast with goat cheese

Tamari marinated tofu over greens with corn on cob

Salad I made for Brian's birthday: lettuce, potato, corn, feta, chopped herbs & scapes

Ok... I think you get the idea.
I eat a lot of salad, I know. I do eat meat,, fish, etc. Though I guess I cook mostly vegetarian.

I hope some of these pics inspire you to believe that you don't have to be a cook to make a great meal.

What have you been eating lately?
If you want to know more about any of the meals/dishes pictured above, drop me a line in the comments section and I'll post those recipes in a few days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Long Lost Me

Hello Hello!!!

Let's tear down these cobwebs, dust off the chairs, and sit down for a chat!

I feel the urge to apologize for disappearing for so long, but I really needed the time away and am working on not apologizing for taking care of my needs.

That being said, I can say that I have really missed writing this blog and am excited to be back right now!

It's been a fun-filled few weeks. I spent some time with my family in Cape Cod and B and I  finalized a lot of the wedding preparations. The big day is Septmeber 5th! Planning has actually been a really fun, creative process, with just a peppering of emotional breakdowns, so I think I am doing pretty good!

In addition to wedding planning, I have been busy expanding my wellness coaching practice.

I am very exited to report that soon in wellness is going to be packing it's bags and venturing to a new virtual home!  The new blog will be integrated with my web page, so it will be a one stop shop! I  will send along all the important details soon. And don't worry, for those of you that get email updates about new blog posts, you won't have to do a thing.

In other exciting developments.... I have a new office space. This picture doesn't exactly capture it, it's actually bigger than it looks,  but it gives you an idea.

I've been seeing clients there for about a month and it feels amazing. Very zen. It's really helped to have a home for my practice. It helps me to separate work from life, and carve out time for work and for relaxation, which I've needed.

So, this was just a quick hello to "get back on the horse".  I promise to be posting more frequently in the next few weeks.

Here's a sneak peak at some upcoming posts that I am already working on:

1. What I've been Eating: I've been collecting pictures and recipes from recent meals that I've made and will share very soon.

2. The Big Move! My first post from the new site.

3. Another edition of Cart & Soul

Stay tuned...

Going in...  would love to hear what's new and exciting for you! Make sure to leave a comment with an update...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How are you?

How are you?

Lately I have been thinking that how one answers this question might actually impact one's state of being, rather than simply reporting on it.

I work a few days a week at a public high school in Brooklyn. Many of the teachers have been there for 10, 20 plus years, and well, let's just say they slant towards the burnt out end of the spectrum. Often when I happen to cross a teacher in the hall or in the bathroom, I will say, "How are you?"  Here is a sampling of some of the responses I get:

"I'm here."

"Still standing."

"Terrible, stressed, angry and living for summer, if you must know"

Not such uplifting answers.

These days, my own answer to this question has been, "I'm soooo busy." And then I usually sigh and nod my head in a way that says, "yeah, it's tough."

Waah Waaaaa.  (think debbie downer noise)

Now, it is true that I am very busy right now. Busy to the point of being overwhelmed.

And it's also true that the teachers I work with are very stressed, and some days they really are just hanging on by a thread.

But during the small "how are you's" of the day, what is most beneficial for us to focus on? The drama, struggles and obstacles? Or the greater mission that all the work is moving towards?

I realized for myself at least, that every time I say, "I am sooo busy", I am just reinforcing the idea that my life is totally overwhelming right now. When actually this is an incredible time in my life, and I am so happy that I am busy because all the busy is towards such positive, wonderful things. Or, since lately I have been trying to simplify my life and become less busy, this answer just makes me feel like a failure.

I am not suggesting that we deny what we feel, or that we not share it with others. It can be very healing to commiserate with others and share our struggles. But I think we can all agree that it is so much easier to focus on what's wrong in life rather than on what's right.

Using the "how are you?'s" of your day to reflect on some of the things that are going well seems a worthy exercise.

Think of the profound impact it could have to focus on the positive for a few moments peppered throughout the day!

That which we focus is on, is what will grow. 

I'm going to give it a try this week. Join me? If this seems impossible to you, head over to the blog Zen Habits for a more in depth tutorial
Or check out this girl for inspiration:

Imagine starting your morning out like that!

OK, so here it goes.

So, Nora, how are you?

"Great! I am having a great time planning my wedding and being creative with the details. Last night I painted the walls of my new office space which marks an incredible milestone in my life and in my wellness coaching practice, and I am finishing up my work at the high-school which has been really rewarding."

That feels so much better!  Honestly. I think I could feel my brain sigh and relax and say, "I'm doing good" rather than the constriction and tension I feel after saying "I am so busy".

Your turn.

How are you?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to give a good massage.

Remember massages?

I'm not talking Swedish or shiatsu here, but the personal ones that came during the awkward early stages of romance. I.e. college.

You start dating someone special.
You like him.
You think he likes you.

And then... "the massage".  That's how you know it's getting serious.

At the end of your date he would say, "How about I give you a massage?" As if this offer wasn't as presumptuous as saying, "Let's go to bed together". When, of course, in reality, that was exactly what was being said.

Though, as the confident boundaried woman that I am, I think there were a few times when I allowed the massage, said thanks, and then went on my way. Suckers.

It's pretty excruciating to remember those awkward times. But awkward or not, getting a free massage was pretty awesome.

Plus, massages are really good for you. Stress relieving, detoxifying, etc.

Nowadays, massage usually means one of three things for me:

  1. I am indulging in a rare treat and am lying on a table in a professional masseuse's room
  2. B is giving me a 5 minute foot rub, which turns into 11 minutes after I beg and whine for more
  3. I am preparing dinner.

Preparing dinner?!


Herewith, a recipe for "massaged" kale:

In this recipe you eat the kale raw, which allows you access to all the nutrients and enzymes that get killed in the cooking process, making this recipe super healthy.

The important part of this recipe is the salt, which, as it gets massaged into the kale, helps to break down the cell walls and release it's water making it tender and easy to chew.

Raw Kale Salad with Oranges (Photo & recipe from Elana's Pantry)

1 bunch kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
1 orange, peeled and sliced

   1. Chop the kale into thin ribbons
   2. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
   3. Massage the kale with your hands to soften it, then allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes
   4. Add the lime juice, vinegar, onion and orange
   5. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes
   6. Serve

There are a lot of variations to this salad. I find just olive oil and lemon juice (plus Salt & Pep) to be delicious.
Last week I tossed leftovers of the salad in with some cold brown rice and it was delicious!

Now go give a massage. But remember, 99% of massages lead to something more...  So take caution.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two glasses of wine

OK, so some of you have been noticing that I haven't been posting as often as I used to.
The thing is, I am really, really, super-duper busy. Like, knot in stomach, piles of paper, accidentally double booking appointments, taking the train in the wrong direction kind of busy.

The kind of busy where something's gotta give. And lately that something has been this blog. I started this blog because I love thinking about wellness - nutrition, yummy food, yoga, relaxation, what have you, and I felt truly inspired to share these thoughts with the world. But lately, with everything else that has been going on, it can feel a bit like a homework assignment that hangs over my head and causes me stress. Sort of ironic, huh?

I've had thoughts of transitioning to more of a monthly newsletter format. But I got some incredible feedback from last weeks post about yoga/self-limiting thoughts, that inspired me to keep up with more regular postings. They may be shorter than in the past, and at times I may skip a week of posting.

Just letting ya' know.

So the other day, I was feeling massively overwhelmed when I got a "forward" from my friend Naomi. It was exactly what I needed to remember in the moment, and thought I would pass it on to you.

Two Glasses of Wine:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine...

 A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.
Of course, the sand filled up everything else He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things; your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."
"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff."

 "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room
for the things that are important to you."

 "Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope.
There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented.

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

I never turn down the suggestion to go have a glass of wine with a friend.... So with this as inspiration I am going to sign off and go do exactly that.


Taking in IN:

What are the golf balls in your life?

The pebbles?

The sand....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Upward Facing

I am pretty into yoga. I try to take about 3 classes a week and have been practicing for a while.

I love yoga. To me it's like therapy and exercise rolled into one. For those of you that are curious, I go to Prema Yoga and take class with Lesley. I've been going to Lesley's classes for years now. She is a great teacher. She plays amazing music and designs challenging, sweaty, inspiring classes. She manages to set a tone that both encourages you to strive, and leaves room for self-nurturing.

My favorite spot in the room is the front left corner. I like to be by the two windows in the corner of the room. I love looking outside when I am practicing. There is a large tree right outside the window that inspires me to stay grounded. The playground across the street reminds me to be light and have fun with my practice.

OK, so far this descriptions of my yoga experience sounds pretty la di da, right? Balance, playfulness, peace...I'm sure that you are imagining that I am one of those people that is always blissed out in yoga, welcoming each pose as I effortlessly bend my body into various contortions.

Yeah, not so much. I am lucky enough to have had some pretty ecstatic yoga experiences, but more often than not, this is what is going on in my mind during yoga class:

Class Begins:

Ok... focus Nora.
    Hm. My body feel heavy today. I feel slugglish.
I'm not really in the mood for this.

Tired already. 
                          I bet no one else is struggling like this.
Ahh child's pose, can I just stay here the rest of the class?
      I'm so lazy. No one else is taking a break.
I really wish class was over.
                         What time is it anyways?
                                          More effort.
Do I look funny in this posture. I feel funny.
I think my butt is sticking out.
OK, come back. Focus on your breath.
                                    Ow, this hurts. I wish I was more flexible.
                   I used to be so flexible.
Everyone else is so flexible.
        I wish I was skinnier.
I bet I could do this pose better if I was skinnier.
Stop it Nora.
                        Stop being so mean to yourself.
     Wow, this class is hard. I am so tired.
I bet everyone else is totally blissed out right now.
                                   I'm the only one in my head.

Class dismissed.

In summary: everyone is better than me at yoga, no one else struggles, everyone else is blissful, while I am trapped in my mind.

So, here's what happened the other day that I felt was so important that I wanted to share all of this with you.

Last Friday I had an appointment to make immediately after my 4:30 yoga class so instead of my normal spot at the front of the room I put my mat in the back of the room so I could quickly grab my things and get out the door as fast as possible once class was over.

Well, from this new vantage point something amazing happened. From this position I could actually see what other people were doing, rather than just getting to imagine it. And what did I see? I saw people doing yoga. There were beautiful postures and some not so beautiful postures. There were people with great stamina, but there were many who needed to pause or take a break. Some people looked kind of goofy. Some lost their balance.

It was only while watching my peers do yoga that I even realized that all those thoughts that were usually in my head were totally self-created. I mean think about it. I am normally in the front of the room where I can't even see anybody!

The point is not that I am better at yoga than I thought, or that other people are worse, or anything really having to do with yoga. The point is that this experience helped me see that my mind was filled to the brim with self-limiting beliefs.  These beliefs colored what I saw.

Some people believe that we create our own realities.  Like life is a dream.  {Think Matrix}.  The sun, the flowers, the traffic jams, the jobs, the relationships, the conflicts, and the joys are our own creation. I'm not sure where I stand on that.  But what I do believe with total confidence is that we shape our reality by how we perceive it.   And how we perceive it is a direct reflection of inner beliefs about our selves, the world, and how we fit into the world.

A year ago, regardless of where I laid my mat down in the room, I think I would have seen a room full of people that were better than me. However, this past year I have been doing so much work on myself, challenging all of those pesky beliefs that tell me I am not good enough, smart enough, _____ enough.  I am finally ready to see the truth. The truth is that I am human, as are all the other yogis in my class (and everyone else in the world) and that as humans we are each perfect and imperfect in our own special little ways.

My self-critical thoughts will probably never go away. What will change, what has changed,  is my ability to see these thoughts as false, shrug them off, and get back to the business of living my life, enjoying the moment, striving for growth, and trying to keep my balance.

Taking it IN: Do you struggle with thoughts of not being _______________ enough? What will it take for you to challenge that belief?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Relaxation Revolution

Dear readers,

Oy! I am so sorry for disappearing on you like that. I feel like a bad friend who fell off the face of the earth for a few weeks. No calls. No emails.

What happened?

Well I went on vacation. A delicious, luxurious, tropical vacation complete with pina coladas, snorkeling and sun-bathing.

I had every intention of writing a blog post while away, but yeah... that didn't happen. Somewhere in between reading Twilight New Moon (I can't believe I am admitting to that publicly), taking a nap, and working on my tan,writing a blog post just somehow slipped my mind. 

We all know that relaxing feels good and is fun. But I think we forget that it is actually important for our overall health and well-being.

From a physiological perspective, eliciting the relaxation response has tons of positive effects on the body. Things like: raising serotonin levels, boosting your immune system, stabilizing blood sugar levels, improving your digestions and sleep, and much more.

To illustrate the positive effects that relaxation can have on a person, I would like to refer to one of the best films of all-time, Pretty Woman.

Operating under the safe assumption that you have all seen that movie, remember how the Richard Gere character is this workaholic and has really bad insomnia? And then Julia Roberts comes along, and she gets him to loosen up and they go on a picnic and he puts his bare feet in the grass and they read books and snuggle? And then that night, what happens? I think the quote goes, "He sleeps..."

As you know, I have a pretty holistic approach to health. It's not just about the absence of illness. Our sleep habits, stress levels, and mood, all play an important role in our well-being. Something like 70% of all doctors' visits are for the treatment of conditions that are stress-related.

Given the prevalence of stress these days, relaxing becomes a revolutionary act.  Every day, our stressors come at us with an army of worries and, most days, we let that army defeat us. 

Relaxing is not just relaxing.  It is a conscious decision to say NO to the tide that we usually let just take us.  If we can pull this off, even for an hour, it's a miracle, let alone a revolution, and we are saying to ourselves:  I am too important not to relax.  I am bigger than my anxieties.  I am under my own control.  The revolution is self-belief, faith, perseverance, and optimism.

I encourage you to take time out of your day, each and every day, to do something that is either relaxing or fun. Put it on your to-do list. And try to find outlets that go beyond TV and alcohol. Something that is more of the feet-in-the-grass variety.

Take a walk just for the hell of it. Leave your cell phone behind.
Sit on a bench in a park.
Play with a baby.
Practice a random act of kindness.
Take a dance class.
Jump on a trampoline.
Have a night in that is totally "unplugged".

Unwind. Unfurl. Simplify. Revolt!

It will do your body good.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

An education.

I started my nutrition and coaching practice because I love working with people and helping them reach their goals to live a healthier, happier life.

However, I quickly realized that as I build my practice, working with people is really only half of what I do. The other half is getting the word out there about what I do.  In simpler terms: marketing.

The idea of selling myself sends shivers up my spine. I immediately associate marketing with sleazy men, in shiny suits, with a glimmer of mischief in their eye as they slickly coerce me to buy something I don't really need.

In some cases, this is not far from the truth.

But if that's what marketing is,  then where does that leave me? I have a service to offer that I believe in, and I could sit in my apartment hoping that the gods bring clients my way, but that could take a little while...and I have bills to pay, and beyond that, I really love this work and I want to be doing even more of it!

So, I have been trying to open my heart and perspective into the world of marketing. The other day I was reading Seth Godin's blog and he said something that caused a major shift for me. He suggested adjusting your perspective on marketing form selling other people on what you do to... to educating people on what you do.

This minor change in words caused a major shift for me in how it feels to put myself out there. I don't need to put on an act or a show. I don't need to be anyone other than myself. I don't need to launch into an immediate sales pitch. I simply need to be myself, have a human interaction with people, and when appropriate, educate them on what I do.

I tested the strategy out the other night at a networking even sponsored by 85 Broads. I went alone, and it was intimidating at first, but a glass of prosecco helped me on my way. I ended up having 5 meaningful conversations with women (it was a women-only event) and in 2/5 of these conversations, the women said something along the lines of, "How amazing! I was just looking for a nutrition coach!" and they may just sign up to work with me. How's that for synchronicity.

On this blog I often hesitate to "sell" myself, but in light of these new found realizations, I thought I would switch the perspective and educate all you out there on what I do and some of the exciting things I am up to.

So, here it goes:

What I do:

I work with people, one on one or in small groups, to help them reach their nutrition and wellness goals. Some clients want to lose weight. Others want to make a switch in their diets and start eating healthier foods but don't know where to start.

In general, I don't believe in diets. Yeah, diets lead to weight-loss, but unless you keep that diet up forever, chances are you are going to gain that weight back. So I work with people to make simple sustainable changes: Adding in more veggies and water, learning how to food shop and create meal plans for the week, stress management techniques to ward off cravings and impulsive eating, etc.

Perhaps the most important aspect of my work is the emotional. Most people out there know what they should be doing. What they don't know is why they are not doing it! I help people answer that question. And I find that in answering it, everything else starts to fall into place.

It's pretty amazing work! Much deeper and more trans-formative than calorie counting.

What I'm up to these days: (in addition to working one-on-one clients)

I am really excited to announce that I am now the principal provider of nutrition support for the Fit 4 Life VIP Slim-down Program!

Here are some words from Emil, the founder of Fit 4 Life, about the Slim-Down Program:

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to fitness or a fitness nut, you’ll love the challenge of our supportive, results-based Slim Down Program.  We’ll be there rooting for you every step of the way on the journey to meet your fitness goals.

    * Lose the weight and keep it off!
    * Look and feel amazing in your clothes
    * Feel more balanced
    * Have more energy

Move at your own pace in 60-minute morning and evening classes that offer a perfect combination of fun, variety, and fat burning. In our small classes you will experience a mix of resistance training, ab work, fitness games, kickboxing, and cardio. Many of our clients have been with us for several years thanks to the great results they’ve seen.

Fit 4 Life is a fitness organization here in Brooklyn doing really great work. I've had a chance to see a few of their classes in action. They are dynamic, demanding, fun, sweaty, move-it-and-lose-it type classes. Plus, when the weather gets nice, (and it is SO nice here in NYC right now), class moves outside to Fort Greene Park!

Now, when you sign up for the VIP Slim-Down Program it includes one session a month with yours truly!

Work your butt off + transform your diet = smokin' hot YOU!

Check out the Fit 4 Life website for details and to sign up.

Oh, and Emil and I also have a potential Bridal Booty Camp type thing in the works as well! And yes, it was inspired by my own, shall we say, interest (read: trying so hard to not spiral into negative, self-loathing, bad body image days of yore), in toning things up for my own big day.

Stay tuned for details.

Other happenings?

I am really excited to be partnering with The Re-defining Diet on this tele-seminar specifically for Parents of children who struggle with weight and food.

I had a great conversation with Sarah (one of the founders) the other day. We have such a similar approach and diet philosophy.

The topic of this call is so important. Parents often don't realize the deep impact their words can have. Many of the adult women I counsel still nurse wounds from little comments that parents, teachers, or family members made to them about their weight when they were in their tween/teen years.

This is a tele-seminar, so you can participate no matter where you are in the country! Please contact me if you want further information

Remember a few weeks ago when I ranted and raved about the training I gave to after-school providers on nutrition and kids? Well they asked me back to do another one! And this time I get double the amount of time which means I can go so much deeper with the topic and include lots of activities and demonstrations.  It's a "train the trainer" model which means all these directors will be taking the information back to their sites and running their own training. And the ripples keep rippling...


There is a bunch more to report on... I have a new website in the works, a partnership with a yoga teacher, and other workshops to report on, but I fear your "education" is rambling on at this point... so I'll save these for future posts.

So, enough about me.

What do you think of me?

Haha. No...

My question to you, is: What do you have to be proud of right now? How does it feel to share it with others? If the answer is uncomfortable... go a bit deeper with yourself and find out why. Remember, people won't know all the great stuff you are up to unless you tell them. And most likely, they will benefit from having learned about it.

My challenge to you is to post about a recent accomplishment  in the comments section below.... Quit moaning and just do it. 

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cart & Soul

One of the reasons I love working with people on their diet is because I think examining what and how we eat is a great tool for self-exploration. What do our food choices say about our relationship to ourselves? Do we see eating as an act of self-love or simply a means to an end?

Through studying our relationship to food, and making changes to our diet, we can begin to understand and heal areas within us that may be wounded or self-limiting.  When we eat foods that are healthy and nourishing, we get the message that we are worthy and deserving. 

Last week I shared my interest in peeking into people's shopping carts, and hinted that this week's post would satisfy said curiosity. I shared that part of this interest is simply wanting to learn about new and different foods, and looking to others is a great way of doing this. The other part of my interest has more to do with what I have written about above.

What does studying a person's super-market cart tell us about who they are as a person?

From that question, I came up with the the idea for Cart & Soul (credit to B for name), where I will be going into different super-markets around the city and interviewing people about what's in their shopping cart and who they are as a person!

I have to tell you. Walking into Whole Foods and looking for someone to approach for this post was truly terrifying. Imagine walking up to a total stranger and asking to take a picture of their shopping cart! I felt like a total idiot. Not to mention it felt really stalkerish walking up and down the aisles staring at people and their carts... assessing whether they would be open to an interview or threaten to call security on me.  

To my surprise, the first woman I approached was totally game! I hadn't planned out my questions ahead of time, and just let the conversation take it's course. I'd love to hear your thoughts/reactions/ideas for future Cart & Soul posts in the comments section below!

Cart & Soul

Name: Tamara
Age: 37
Market: Whole Foods - Union Square

in. Wellness: When I approached you it looked like you were very carefully scrutinizing two different brands of rice cakes. It's clear you are a conscientious shopper!

Tamara: Laughs. Yeah, I try.

in. Wellness: How would you describe your approach to shopping?

Tamara: Well, I live in the Bronx, and it's pretty hard to find healthy food up there. I usually buy my basics close to home and then come to Whole Foods for all the specialty - low salt this - soy that - type things.

in. Wellness: So eating well is important to you.

Tamara: It is. It gets expensive though! I actually just started working with a nutritionist. We're going to try and see if I have a wheat allergy.

in. Wellness: Uh oh, are you on the dreaded elimination diet? (elimination diets are where you cut out foods that are common allergens: dairy, wheat, soy, etc. for about 10 days and then slowly start adding those foods back in and see how you react to them)

Tamara:  Not yet... but we're going to start soon and I know it's gonna be hard.

in. Wellness:  What do you do for a living?

Tamara: I'm actually in graudate school for social work.

in. Wellness: No way! I'm a social worker too and my fiance just got accepted for next year (Go B!) What do you want to do with the degree?

Tamara: Actually I think I want to go to law school after this. Laughs.

in. Wellness:  Burnt out already?

Tamara: Laughs. No, I want to combine them. I think the two degrees really support each other.

in. Wellness: Are you a native New Yorker?

Tamara: No, I grew up in California. But I've been here for about ten years.

in. Wellness:  Any delicious family recipes that you want to share with us?

Tamara: Family recipes? Hmm. All I can think of is salad!

in. Wellness: Sounds healthy. We're you raised eating healthy foods?

Tamara: I was, but more by default. We grew up very poor, but because we were in Califonia, fruits and vegetables were pretty much the cheapest foods, so that's what we ate.

in. Wellness:  So tell us about what we're seeing in your cart.

Tamara: Well not much right now, I'm not done shopping yet! I've got my frozen veggies... cuz I'm lazy... soy cheese and soy yogurt because I'm cutting out dairy...

in. Wellness:  Are any of the ingredients in here for a certain dish that you are known for?

Tamara: I make an amazing burrito.

in. Wellness:  So what's the secret to a perfect burrito?

Tamara: Well you can't really go wrong with a burrito. I just throw as much crap in it as I can... meaning veggies, soy cheese, etc, Oh, and lots of salsa. Gotta keep things spicy.

Thanks for sharing your cart with us Tamara!

So, what do we learn about Tamara from peeking into her cart? 

Clearly Tamara is passionate about eating healthy and is willing to work with a nutritionist, travel far from home to food shop, and do the hard work to determine which foods best serve her body. 

Tamara's food choices indicate that food is mostly a means to an end right now.  And how can it not be while in graduate school. Her priorities: fast, healthy and yummy.

Tamara admitted to me that she didn't always eat healthy in her twenties and early thirties. Interesting how now her body is leading her back to the healthful diet she grew up with. I found it particularly interesting how growing up Tamara ate healthy out of necessity, and now eating healthy is a cost burden. And of course, in. Wellness must point out, when talking about food it's next to impossible to not talk about home. 

Where to next, readers?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things.

When you go food shopping do you ever steal peeks into other people's carts, curious to see what they are buying?

I am super excited for next week's post because it's going to satisfy exactly this curiosity.

Peeking into other people's carts can be really educational. When I first decided I wanted to start to eat more healthfully, I would walk into the super market or health food store and feel totally overwhelmed. There are so many interesting and bizarre vegetables and products out there, it's hard to know where to begin. Sometimes I would steal a peek at someone else's cart just for some inspiration and a place to start.

This practice, plus learning from friends and of course reading lots of articles on food and health has helped me develop a solid list of go-to healthy products that I really adore. We're talking about the fun stuff here. The goodies that are beyond the grains, beans, veggies, etc.

One of my favorite parts of the 1st annual in. Wellness shake off, was the opportunity to introduce some of these foods to other people.

For a bit of a tropical escape, on one night I greeted the Shake Off girls with a young coconut for each of them!

Coconut water, which can only be found in Young Coconuts, has loads of nutrients, potassium and electrolytes. It's sweet and has a slightly almondy taste, and is low in calories. It's totally natural and has been dubbed "nature's sports drink". These days  pre-packaged Coconut Water has become quite a thing and can be found at many regular supermarkets and foods stores. It's a good option, but nothing compares to the real thing. Depending on where you live, finding a real young coconut may be tricky. Health food stores are a good place to start. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on a coconut (by the way, you need to look for the smooth variety not the hairy ones - they don't have the water in them), then the trick becomes how the heck do you open them? Click on this link for a good tutorial. It's tricky and a little scary at first, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that hard. Some juice bars carry coconuts as well, so ask around!

OK, here some of my other favorite things:

I've been boderline obsessed with Sardines lately. Mashed up on to a piece of hearty grain bread (toasted) with avocado... a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon... I'm sorry, but there is nothing better.

Sardines are a super food. These little fishies are very low in mercury, have heaps of Omega 3's and anti-oxidants, and are a great source of Vitamin D, which many Americans are deficient in (especially during this interminable winter). Oh, they also have calcium... iron....B vitamins... just eat 'em. Look for ones that are wild caught (farm raised fish are far less nutritional and are doused with antibiotics).  You can also put them in salads. They're a great alternative to tuna.

Next up we have my favorite vinegars: Apple Cider & Brown Rice:

Apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used as a folk remedy to cure all sorts of ailments, plus is believed to help with weight loss. Some new research indicates it does have positive benefits in the treatment of diabetes, heart disease, and weight loss. (*note these are preliminary studies and more research is needed). I don't know much about it, but on a recent Oprah show Dr. Oz stated that apple cider vinegar can actually help to lower the glycemic index of your food (the glycemic index (GI) measures a foods impact on blood sugar levels. Foods that break down quickly into glucose in the blood have high GI, where as foods that take longer to break down have low GI)

Plus, it's just super yummy and great on salads.

I sometimes make a potent health drink out of it - 1 full glass of water, two tablespoons vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of Agave nectar to sweeten it. B thinks it tastes and smells disgusting, but I actually really like it.

Brown Rice vinegar is another great option (not for the health drink). Make sure to buy one that isn't loaded with salt, sugar and/or corn syrup.

Rice vinegar really changed my life. It's my go-to vinegar for salads or I sprinkle it with a little olive oil over some steamed greens and vegetables.

B is a peanut-butter-aholic. Not a bad thing, but you do need to be careful about what kind you buy and how you keep it. For a little while B and I had something we dubbed The Nut Butter Wars. I would buy raw almond butter one week, he would buy Skippy the next. Finally we compromised on this guy:


There should be a maximum of 2 ingredients in your peanut butter: peanuts & salt - or preferably just one - peanuts. No sugar. No added oils. And peanut butter should be refrigerated as it's prone to mold.

My newest obsession is with this:

Lacto-fermentation is what happens when the starches and sugars in vegetables and fruit convert to lactic acid by a friendly bacteria.

This process creates a tangy, delicious flavor. This is an ancient tradition done to preserve food, and it does much more than that:

“The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”"
Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, pg 89
(excerpt from 

It's great with some brown rice and veggies. I also like to put it on sandwiches.

Finally, I love salty crunchy snacks, so I usually pick up a package of some sort of brown rice crisp.

Ingredients: Brown rice, tamari, seaweed.

Not bad! A great substitute for chips and they come in lots of fun flavors.

For more shopping inspiration, stay tuned for next week's post... the 1st edition of Cart & Soul!

OK, so you're local health food store is on fire, you only have time to grab one thing, what is it?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ripple Effect

This morning I gave a workshop on the nutritional needs of children  for 10 directors of after-school programs around New York City.

I am feeling pretty inspired from it and thought I would share.

Part of what made today so cool, was that it brought together several of  my passions.

I have worked in the social work field in NYC for the past ten years. I care deeply about helping others. Especially those who lack access to resources. I have met some pretty incredible kids in my day. Kids who have tremendous potential, but can often fail to reach this potential because they lack the necessary support.

In my work, I have done my best to support these kids, believing in them and encouraging them.

My interest in health and wellness has been a more recent development for me. It  first arose out of a need to take better care of myself. I discovered how good it made me feel, and I have become passionate about helping others to do the same. Up to this point, this new branch of my career has been largely focused on working with private clients. Those that could afford to pay me for my services. However, I am now working to also integrate this passion with my work with children and non-profits.

A few weeks ago I did a workshop for non-profit professionals, supporting them to take better care of themselves, or risk burnout.

In today's presentation to the after-school directors, I got a glimpse at how I  had the chance to impact change on a broad variety of levels, and it was one of those rare moments where I could really feel that happening.

I started the presentation with some nutrition basics that could be applied to both adults and children. It quickly became clear that the directors in the room were really hungry for this information. To pass it on to the kids they serve, but also for themselves and their own health.

Most of the after-school sites represented today were in the Bronx. The Bronx has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the country, with something close to 24% of kids having a BMI (body mass index) that qualifies them as obese. The directors present today shared heart breaking stories of children struggling with their weight, in some cases suffering from the first signs of heart disease, and families unsure of what to do and how to help.

The problem is complex and could not hoped to be solved in a 2.5 hour presentation. My goal was simply to educate the participants and share some tools and strategies to make simple changes within their program and begin to educate the families that they serve.

I need to say, that this was a great group of participants. And because of that we were able to get a lot done and the training went really well.  As we closed, I had each participant share a commitment that they were ready to make. What they shared left me astounded. I didn't have a tape recorder (obviously, since I don't tend to walk around with one of those) so I'll have to try and  paraphrase some of the comments and hope you can feel how significant these commitments are:

"We get super sugary lemonade delivered to our site every week. The kids drink gallons of it. I am going to ask them to stop delivering it and switch to water."

"I am going to start by improving my own diet and eating more vegetables!"

"I am going to put copies of the handout, How to Engage Kids in Healthy Eating, by the parent sign-out sheet every day this week for parents to take home with them!" (I created the handout and disseminated it at the training)

"I am going to implement a Healthy Party Guideline at my program and use some of these creative healthy snacks, instead of ice cream parties."

"I am going to lead a workshop for my staff on the benefits of healthy eating, using some of the visuals that we saw today." (I did an exercise with them that showed how much fat is in fast food and how much sugar is in soda - I'll explain and offer the visuals in an upcoming post. It's disturbing to say the least.)

How awesome is all that! So much momentum! Efforts towards personal change... efforts to put greater thought into the foods and beverages offered to kids... commitment to educating families and staff...

When I stop to really think of how many lives are going to be touched, I feel thoroughly humbled.

Plus, I had been paid decently for my time!

In the "about me" section of this site, I write, " I am continually struck by the ripple effect of one individual striving for growth.".

Today, I felt like I was able to watch this ripple effect build in slow motion, so that I was able to see how the swell rises and falls and creates yet another ripple.

It provided me with some much needed rejuvenation of spirit, and I hope some of that spreads out to you too.

Ok... can't resist:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Notes from the sickie ward

I work three days a week as a Social Worker in a public high school here in Brooklyn.This past week was school vacation. Besides the simple joy of working with teenagers, the vacation schedule is one of the best aspects of working in a school.

I am sad to report that my precious vacation, with its promise of time to focus on my business and upcoming workshops, organize my home, do yoga, and gain a sense of total well-being, has been lost to endless hours of sniffling and groaning in bed.

The 5 Things I learned from Being Sick:

1. I don't like being sick.

2. Lost is a supremely addicting show.

3. B can be a wonderful caretaker. In my sickness, he also realized how little he goes food shopping and has vowed to do it more. 4 days of sickness = domestic bliss. Worth it!

4. Though natural remedies are normally my go-to, Nyquil is pretty freaking awesome.

5. Planning a wedding + too much time on my hands = addiction to Style Me Pretty blog = who am I?
Since I don't have the mental wherewithal to write a proper post this week, I thought I would share a few of the interesting articles I have come across in the past month or so:

1. Confused about what to eat? This post from Marion Nestle should clear things up.
2. I was so moved and inspired by this guest post by Mary Jaksch on the great blog Zen Habits.
3.  If you haven't read this NY Times article about  Cavemen in the City you must...

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any or all! Also welcome are your go-to remedies for treating a cold/sinus infections (I'm still not totally out of the woods . . .) . . .

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I have a set of Angel Cards that I keep in a pretty box by my bed. Angel cards are about the size of your pinky finger and have different angels on them representing feelings or concepts like Compassion, Release or Humor.

Each night before I go to sleep, I close my eyes and I reach my hand in to pull out a card.

Once you pick an angel card, the rest is up to you to interpret. The card could represent an area that you need to work or something you are doing well with. The card can also simply serve as a reminder to feel the particular sentiment that it represents.

I just like it as little magical thing to do at the end of my day. Something sweet before I drift off to sleep.

So, the other night I pulled the box over and rested it on my chest (this detail becomes important later) and chose a card: Flexibility is what I got. It didn't resonate with me particularly but I placed it on top of the box and put the box back on my dresser.

The next morning as I disrobed to get into the shower I saw something fall to the floor.

I looked closer, and saw it was this...

Somehow the Love card had snuck out of the box without my knowing and burrowed down into my PJs. What a great reminder that you can find love in the unlikeliest places! And just a few days shy of Valentines day.

I consider myself to be a very loving person, but when life gets busy it is easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget to really connect with love. Not just romantic love, but love love. Tenderness, appreciation, allowance, patience, support.  Love for others. Love for ourselves. Love for our bodies and minds.  Love for nature and our planet.

I know many people who despise Valentine's Day. I certainly have in years past. It can be a painful day whether you are in a relationship or single. That's largely because of our expectations about what the day should hold.

But I can't think of a concept that is further from love, than expectation. OK, I can think of some things further from love, like violence and stuff, but you know what I mean.

This Valentine's Day, rather than getting trapped in hopes, disappointments or expectations about how you should feel, or what your day should look like,  see if you can view it as a celebration of Love. Whatever that word means to you in your life right now. Cook a delicious dinner. Get a massage. Journal. Do something unexpected for someone - a partner or a friend.

Have some frickin' fun. This is LOVE we're talking about people. 

Like this story that my friend just shared with me:  Her boyfriend loves doing the NY Times crossword puzzle, so she went online and made a special crossword puzzle for him with all words and clues referencing their relationship (trips they had been on, etc.) Then she woke up early and got to the paper first and pasted the puzzle in for her boyfriend to discover later.

How cute is that?

My not quite as cute thing that I am doing for B is about to happen right now.

B always edits my posts before I send them. (So I am writing this now knowing that he will read it later tonight, and be surprised)  He is usually tired and would rather just relax, but he always rallies to support me.

So... I wanted to publicly thank him for his contributions to in. Wellness. And as my way of celebrating him, I am now going to post the picture of the 204 he bowled last Sunday. B is not normally a good bowler, so this was really exciting for him. He was in the zone and I was so proud of him and I love him!

So, go forth and be loving!

Here's an amazing video to send you off with. It was made by recording street musicians from around the world:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Burnout Prevention 101

So, it's 9:46pm. It's been a full day and a full week.

I met with a new client on Monday.

The Shake Off had it's finale on Tuesday night. (These women rocked it by the way. "I have a totally new morning routine!" said one participant about her new commitment to morning stretching. Others increased their exercise, gave their afternoon snack a makeover and carved out more time for creativity.)

Today I worked a full day with my teens, had a conference call in the afternoon,  and then scurried home to make a quick dinner before seeing evening clients.

Now weave wedding planning through all of this.

I am tired.

One of the several projects that I am working on right now is an exciting workshop to be held at Fit 4 Life on February 15th.

The title?

Burnout Prevention 101: A workshop for educators and non-profit professionals

I think it might be time to start listening to my own advice and stop burning the candle at both ends.

I am really excited about this workshop though, so I'll steal a few more minutes to tell you about it.

We have designed this workshop especially for teachers, administrators and non-profit professionals.

Having worked in the NYC school system and in non-profits for the past ten years, I know how tough this field is.

The problems are complex and often unsolvable.  The stress is high and the resources to help are few. Add to that that people who go into "caring professions" tend to put others needs before their own, and you have the recipe for burnout. In this field, the only way to last is by becoming an expert care-taker for yourself. You can only give fully to others, when you have taken care of yourself first.

In Burnout Prevention 101  I'm going to arm participants with valuable tools to increase energy, manage stress, and add more fun into the day. Participants will:
✔  Get easy to follow meal and snack recipes that will give energy all day long.
✔  Participate in a fun, stress melting fitness class.
✔  Discover the hidden causes of stress.
✔  Learn which common foods can actually exacerbate your stress.
✔  Learn the top 5 stress-reducing stretches for the workplace.
✔  Practice easy fool proof techniques to help you manage stress at work and at home.

For all the details and to register click HERE!

Please also feel free to contact me with any questions.

For those of you that can't attend, I promise to include little snippets from the workshop in future posts.

In the meantime, here are my top 5 ways to unwind after a stressful day:

5. Watch a fluffy TV program
4.  Cook a nice meal
3. Take a bath
2. Have a glass of wine (red, and in moderation of course)
1. Go to a yoga class or to the gym (especially the steam room!)

What are your top 5 ways? Post 'em as a comment so others can benefit from your wisdom.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hey There Sweet Stuff!

Ok, I am just going to come right out with it. This week's post is about sugar, and I am going to tell you not to eat so much of it. It tastes good, I know. I have as much of a sweet tooth as the next person. But this stuff is bad for you. Real bad. And the average American consumes 2-3 pounds of it a week. Pounds. Most likely, many of you out there are probably addicted to it.

How could you not be? Nowadays, it's in practically everything.

B went food shopping at Trader Joe's earlier this week. Like the thoughtful fiance that he is, he came home with many "health conscious" choices.

Like this bread:

Looks good. Honey sweetened! Honey is still a sugar but it has a slightly gentler effect on the body.

Well, if we flip the bread over and take a look at the ingredients...

Yup, there's honey in there, but there is also molasses... and I guess that wasn't sweet enough, because they added sugar as well!

Kinda misleading right?

If you look closely at most ingredient labels you are going to find sugar. Today's packaged foods are so processed and refined and full of chemicals that the only way to make them taste good is to load 'em up with sugar and salt, and lots of it.

So, why is sugar bad for you? Well for a lot of reasons.

It spikes your blood sugar. Sugar is already in it's simplest form (does not need to be broken down much) so it gets released immediately into the bloodstream. That's the high you get immediately after eating it. But we all know that what comes up, must come down. So then what happens? We don't like feeling down, so we go and get ourselves more sugar! And so on...

Sugar majorly messes with your insulin level. Insulin is responsible for getting food to your cells so it can get burned for energy. When your insulin is messed up you cells don't get the food they need, even though you have sufficiently eaten, so your brain gets the signal to eat even more!

Sugar is also known to suppress your immune system, lead to mood disturbances, and a whole host of other health complications.

For a really great, much more articulate and scientific explanation of all of this check out this video.

It's long (an hour and half), and pretty academic, so this is only for those of you who are really interested in this stuff, but I found it really worthwhile. (Thanks Leslie!)

For the rest of you, just believe me when I tell you that you want to watch your intake. I believe that artificial sweeteners are even worse, but we'll save that for another time.

So, you may be reading this and saying, yeah, I avoid sweets so I'm all good. But as we see from the bread, it's not as simple as that.

My recommendation to people is to be more ruthless about avoiding sugars in their "regular" food, like bread, pasta sauce, jam, instant oatmeal, etc. and save your sugar intake for the special things that make life sweet, like the occasional dessert.

How do you avoid all that processed food loaded with sugar and salt? Eat whole foods. Think veggies... meat... grains...

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Can I imagine it growing?
It is easy to picture a wheat field or an apple on a tree.  Tough to picture a field of marshmallows.  I know of no streams where one can scoop up a bucket of diet soda, no trees where one can pick fruit loops.

2. How many ingredients does it have?
A whole food has only one ingredient - itself.  No label of ingredients is necessary on simple foods like apples, salmon and wild rice.

3. What's been done to the food since it was harvested?
The less, the better.  Many foods we eat no longer resemble anything found in nature.  Stripped, refined, bleached, injected, hydrogenated, chemically treated, irradiated, and gassed; modern foods have literally had the life taken out of them.  Read the list of ingredients on the labels; if you can't pronounce it or can't imagine it growing, don't eat it.  If it is not something that you could possibly make in your kitchen or grow in a garden, be wary.

-From:  Feeding the Whole Family (third edition) by Cynthia Lair (Sasquatch Books, 2008)

Are there healthy foods that are not "whole"? Of course. Olive oil is processed, so is hummus, and many others. But thinking from a  "whole foods"  perspective is an easy and effective guide to helping you to start make healthy choices in your shopping and eating.

How does sugar make you feel? Is it hard for you to avoid?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Well, color me...

I made the picture above using Microsoft Paint. B is really into this dinasaur of a program for making art, so I decided to give it a try. This one was made about a year ago. It's funny because at the time I didn't think anything of it. But the other day B found it saved on his desktop and I said, "Whoa, that's pretty.  Who made that?" (yes, I was temporarily blinded and did not see my name scratched out in the corner)

I have always had some blockages around expressing myself creatively.

Maybe it has to do with the counselor at summer camp who, after hearing my rehearsal for a choral performance we were going to give for the parents, said to me, "you know, we all have different talents in life, and perhaps for the concert you should use your inside voice." 

And then there was the time when our art class was assigned a self-portrait assignment and mine came out looking more like a deranged sociopathic version of myself....

But, when I give myself the opportunity, I actually love to express myself artistically. I love seeing color spread itself on paper. I take great pleasure in expressing myself through fashion and home decorating. I like to make collages. I am a secret intepretive dancer.

Yet, increasingly in my adult life, I allow very little time for these modes of expression.

I realized that when you are younger, your life is set up to support you in expressing yourself in diverse ways. In school you have Art, English, sports, and even dance. However, as we get older, and discover our talents, we tend towards the same modes of expression and rarely challenge ourselves in this department. 

The other day I had an opprtunity to draw as a part of my work with teens and it was so amazing! Playing with color and form awakened foreign parts of my brain. It reminded me of how important it is to challenge myself to push into less-traversed territory.

So, I have a challenge for you in. wellness readers. I want you to try to express yourself today (or in the coming days) in a way that you don't usually... whether that means taking a dance class or painting a picture, or writing in a journal. If you are already an artist, perhaps you want to do something academic, or switch your medium, etc. The point is to try to stretch to express yourself in way you don't normally do. It may feel uncomfortable, and well, that's sort of the point! The challenge is to push through the discomfort and see what you find on the other side. You may be surprised.

As an added incentive, the first person to post a comment about what new form of expression they tried and what they discovered will receive these journals from the MoMa Store!

*** Update. Overnight, Kylie Larsson won the challenge! To make this fair to the email subscribers (who get the post this morning), anyone else who posts a comment today will be entered into a lottery to win another set of the journals!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eat your chips!

The other night I hosted the 1st night of the in. Wellness Shake off. An inspiring group of women gathered together and we shared our challenges in trying to live healthier. We laughed a lot, strategized together and set goals for the coming weeks. It was awesome! I'm sorry fellas, but there is just nothing better than a great group of women sharing with and supporting each other. There are still 3 more Tuesday's so if you are in NYC, reach out and let me know if you want to join in.

I had promised the ladies some snacks, so on Monday I headed off to the health food store to see what inspired me. I already knew I was going to make the tart I posted several weeks ago but I wanted some other fun treat as well. As I was walking down the snack aisle I noticed a group of women in a feeding frenzy as boxes of Kale Chips were being re-stocked on the shelf. These women were freaking out. Over kale!

But with good reason. Kale chips are actually really, really delicious. They are crispy and salty and have a unique way of almost melting in your mouth.  Plus, Kale is packed with Vitamins A, C &; K, and lots of cancer-preventing phytonutrients, so this is a highly nutritious snack.

Ok, so listen up because I am going to let you in on a secret, you don't need to elbow your way through flocks of women or spend $8  to get yourself some kale chips. They are actually very easy to make right at home, and a large head of kale shouldn't cost you more than $2.50.

Try this recipe, and see for yourself!

Sesame Kale Chips
1 head of kale
1 Tbl. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 Tbl. umeboshi Plum vinegar or rice vinegar
2 Tbl. sesame seeds (try to find unhulled)
Ground black pepper, to taste

If you prefer more simple ingredients, olive oil with salt and pepper does the trick! Or add parmesan, nutritional yeast or crushed red pepper…

1. Rinse kale leaves and shake dry. Tear leaves into chip-sized pieces (don't use the thick stems)
2. In a large bowl, combine kale pieces with oil, vinegar and sesame seeds. Mix.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. On two large cookie sheets, spread out kale leaves so they are mostly not overlapping.
4. Bake for about 7 minutes. Flip and move chips around to cook evenly. Bake another 7 minutes or so until crispy (but not burnt)
(adapted from recipe on

All dressed up
and ready to bake.

And... voila!


Want to learn the secret to weight loss success?
Come out to this event that I am doing with Fit 4 Life, Thursday Jan. 21st at 7:30pm. Plus, from 6:30-7:30 you can attend a complimentary Slim Down Fitness class! Email me if you would like to sign up or you can contact Fit 4 Life directly.