Are you setting joy-goals or lack-goals?

I have lists of goals.  There are six-month goals, one-month goals, 5-year goals, pie-in-the-sky goals, lots and lots of goals.  I’ve been doing this for a long time because I am a list-making fool.  And what I realized a couple of years ago was that the goals I actually achieved were joy-goals and the goals I fell short of were lack-goals.  And I am certain this holds true with most of you.  Let me explain:

A lack-goal begins with a self-critical thought

I don’t like my body.

The goal that is created from that thought is phrased like this:

I need to lose weight so I will go to the gym 4x a week.

Just reading those two sentences makes me feel restricted and small.  Yuck. Yet this is what most of us do.   And it does not work.

A little backstory on me:  I struggled with my weight during my 20’s.  I was heavier than my friends and while they could seemingly eat whatever they wanted, I could not.  I put myself on diets, I Jane Fonda-ed it up at home, I thought about food ALL THE TIME, and what did that get me?  Depressed.  Angry. My negative self-talk was LOUD and it was MEAN.  I had all kinds of goals like the one above and I never achieved a single one of them.  So what turned it all around for me?  When I had a joy-goal.

I made a list in 1998 of lifetime goals, things I wanted to learn or achieve or try,  (seriously, did I mention I love lists?) and #1 was “learn how to kick box”.  I moved to Los Angeles in 1999 and began training in the French art of kickboxing called Savate.  I loved it from day one.  I felt like a badass and it brought me so much happiness.  There was NEVER a question of missing a class or a “crap I really don’t want to go to the gym today” moment.  My kickboxing goal was created out of joy. And when I decided to fight for a spot on the American team for the 2000 Savate world championships, I weighed myself for the first time in months.  Guess what? I had lost weight.  Without even trying.  It wasn’t my motivation behind my goal.  And that made all the difference in the world.

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Joy-goals.  Try it out.

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal from The Willpower Instinct states, “Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control.”  So the next time you bemoan your failure to achieve a goal, stop a moment and investigate the source of that goal.  Is it coming from that negative, nasty place inside us all?  Or is it coming from your quiet, joyful place?

I bet I know the answer.

________________________________________________________________________


The recipe this week is from the Thug Kitchen Cookbook.  If you have never heard of these guys and swear words don’t offend you, I highly recommend you check them out!  They are devoted to a plant-based lifestyle and their recipes reflect their joy and passion.  Plus, they are irreverent, raunchy, and hilarious.  My favorite kind of people!

White Bean and Red Lentil Burgers

  • 1/3 cup red lentils
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups cooked white beans
  • ½ red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of your favorite no-salt, all-purpose seasoning blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Grated zest of ½ lime
  1. Combine the lentils and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let that all simmer until the lentils are soft and mushy and the water is mostly gone, about 10 minutes.  Drain away and extra water and let the lentils cool while you prep all the other shit.  (I warned you!)
  2. Mash the white beans in a large bowl and then add the lentils and the rest of the ingredients. If you find the mixture too wet to hold its shape, add some more breadcrumbs.  Shape that mix into patties (you know, burger size) and put them on an oiled baking sheet.  Chill that in the fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  3. Crank the oven to 400F when you’re ready to go. Coat the patties lightly with some cooking spray and bake them for about 30 minutes, flipping them over halfway.  You want them to be golden on both sides.  Serve them up with whatever the fuck you like on a burger and then go to town.

Questions? Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!

Eat well.

Coffee talk. Can we talk?

Please tell me someone got that reference.  I’m not the only person who watched SNL in the ‘90s, right??  Awesome.

 

So, coffee.  Coffee is one of those topics, at least in the nutrition world, that can get confusing.  Is it good for you or is it to be avoided like the plague?  I like to go to the science when I weigh in on a potentially divisive topic and I’ve got lots of it when it comes to coffee.

 

Back in May I attended Dr. Andrew Weil’s nutrition and health conference in Dallas, Texas.  It was filled with presentations by leading scientists in the field.  One such scientist was Dr. Frank Hu who is a professor of Nutrition & Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School.  He’s a really smart guy. Dr. Hu presented a study that caught my attention.

 

Hold on to your hats.  This is good stuff.  In the study they found that those who had increased their coffee intake by more than one cup a day over a four-year period had an 11% LOWER RISK of having type 2 diabetes.  Got that? That is HUGE!!  If they drank MORE coffee than they had been, they LOWERED their risk of diabetes.

 

That’s not all.  Participants who decreased their consumption by more than a cup a day were at a 17% GREATER RISK of having type 2 diabetes.  Let me say that again.  If they CUT their coffee intake, they RAISED their risk of Type 2 Diabetes.  Science graph:

 

Coffee

 

This was not the case for tea or for decaffeinated coffee, though.  Hmmm.  Wonder why?  Well one hypothesis Dr. Hu threw out during the presentation was that it could have something to do with the chlorogenic acid found in coffee which is a potent antioxidant.  Tea does not contain it, and through the decaffeination process, decaf coffee loses much of it.  Interesting, right?

 

Wait – there’s more!

 

Coffee drinkers also have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Yep.  That scary disease that is on the rise?  A study published in the Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease found that people who drank coffee have a 65% lower risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Now THAT is interesting information.  And the sweet spot in most of the studies I’ve looked at is 3-5 8-ounce cups of coffee PER DAY.  Not occasionally drinking coffee.  Drinking 3-5 cups of coffee every day.   Here’s your graph:

 

Coffee

 

Now, I want to be very clear.  I am NOT talking about this kind of “coffee”:

coffee

 

That is not coffee.  That is a milkshake, people.  Don’t fool yourselves.  If you buy a grande Carmel Flan Frappucino from Starbucks, you are drinking 390 calories and a whopping 60g of sugar.  60 grams!!!!!  That is 15 teaspoons of sugar.  15 teaspoons!  OF SUGAR!  So bad.  So, so bad.  Nope.  Not talking about that.  I’m talking about regular coffee.  Black with maybe some half & half or some whole milk or some almond milk.  That’s it.  Nothing else.

 

In case anyone is still reading, the recipe today is for Cold Brew Coffee.  Not really a recipe, more instructions.  Many possibilities abound on the Internet, but I purchased this contraption which cuts out many of the steps in some of the DIY-style methods.  Why Cold Brew Coffee?  This method extracts the wonderful flavor of the coffee bean without the bitter acids and fatty oils.  I love it.  Very smooth and refreshing.

Ready?  Here you go:

  1. Fill it with cold filtered water.
  2. Place fresh, coarsely ground coffee in the filter basket.
  3. Pour more cold filtered water over the grounds until the container is filled.
  4. Let it sit in your refrigerator from anywhere to 12-24 hours and, voila!  Coffee.

Now this coffee is concentrated, so it is meant to be diluted.  Drink this straight and you just may be up for days.  Not recommended.

If you have any questions or comments or have your own favorite cold brew recipe, I’d love to hear from you!

Eat well.

 

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The dreaded years are upon me…

I now have a teenager. I can’t believe it. It was inevitable, you may say, however I was hoping and praying something magical would happen and these years would never come. It appears Dumbledore was busy, so it happened. My son turned 13. Sigh.

Other than making me feel old – see Damn you, Father Time! if you missed that blog post – I feel slightly incredulous that my baby:

(seriously – how CUTE was he???) has turned into this:

Oh.my.god.

I can do this, right? Please mom, help me. Right. I mean, I really don’t have a choice in the matter and, all kidding aside, I have a good kid. I mean really good, above slightly-scary-picture notwithstanding.

On to some exciting news: my blog will be going high-tech in the near future. I have teamed up with an old friend, Simeon, to begin producing video blogs and segments. I’m so excited! We begin shooting it this week so I hope to send out our very first “issue” in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!


Frittatas. I love ’em and I make them at least once a week if not twice a week. I cook breakfast for some lucky clients and frittatas are definitely one of my most favorite things to make for them. They are easy, can be eaten hot OR cold, and there are endless varieties. You can go crazy with frittatas and just use whatever is in your refrigerator.

Here’s my basic blueprint:

  •  Start with onions. Always. Sauté them in olive oil. Garlic is optional.
  • Now you throw in your veggies. Kale? Chard? Spinach? Broccoli? Sweet potatoes? Rock on.
  • Once the veggies have cooked to your desired consistency, add your whipped eggs with salt and pepper. I generally use 8-10 eggs per frittata in either a 10-inch or 12-inch cast iron pan. This is also when you can add herbs. Parsley, sage, rosemary, I promise I won’t start singing Simon & Garfunkel.
  • Cook the eggs and this is the time to sprinkle cheese on top. I usually reach for either Parmesan or Goat’s cheese. Sometimes Gruyere, sometimes Asiago, but generally I choose Goat’s cheese as it puffs up in the oven and tastes yummy.
  • Put in the oven under the broiler and let it brown.
  •  

    Done! So easy and so delicious.  

    Be well.

    This is the only “food” I hate.

    I am in Dallas this week attending the 11th Annual Nutrition & Health Conference put on by Dr. Andrew Weil’s Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.  I am learning so much here, my brain is hurting.  But it’s a good kind of hurt!

    As a nutrition and health coach, my policy, as a rule, is that of bioindividuality.  One way of eating does not fit all.  One person’s diet will literally kill another, so there is very little I tell my clients they can’t eat.

    Except one thing.  Can you guess?

    Sugar.

    It’s the big baddie.  The one thing that many of these smart people here in Dallas are discussing is all the evidence (from well-researched, well-run scientific studies) that diets high in sugar or processed carbohydrates (same thing metabolically) lead to inflammation.  And inflammation is a major cause of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, some immune disorders – not to mention sugar’s obvious link to the surge in diabetes.  Yeah.  Just those little health issues…

    This picture is better:

     

     

    And as sugar intake has skyrocketed here in America, guess what else has?  Obesity.  There is a direct link between the amount of sugar consumed and the rates of obesity.  If you want to read more, click here.  It is truly fascinating stuff. So why did our sugar consumption skyrocket?  Well, there’s a couple of reasons.  (excuse me for a moment while I climb up on my soapbox)

    Governmental food subsidies and low-fat diet recommendations in the 1980’s.

    Let me explain.

    Crop subsidies have been around since the Great Depression, but until 1980 when the government began paying up to 1/3 of the farmers’ insurance premiums, few farmers participated.  And not all crops are offered this coverage.  Nope.  Guess which crop receives the MOST money?  King corn.  So what we found ourselves with was a surplus of corn.  And what can corn be made into?  

    Sugar.  High-fructose corn syrup, to be specific.  And in the ’80’s fat was the pariah and if it said low-fat or non-fat, we all bought it by the truckloads and thought we were eating “healthy”.  But when they took fat out, what did they replace it with?  Yep.

    sugar

    I’m going to climb down off of my soapbox for now, but there is A LOT more to be said on this topic.  A lot.  If you take away just one thing from this post, let it be this: sugar is poison and it is in everything.  Read labels and pay attention to what you, and your family, is eating.  It is the most important change you can make to your diet that will dramatically impact your health.

    Moving on!


    The recipe this week is for a grain I’m willing to bet not many of you have heard of or ever cooked with.  It’s called Teff and comes to us from Ethiopia.

     
    It is a tiny whole grain that has a nutty flavor.  The recipe comes from Heidi Swanson’s, Super Natural Cooking,. I highly recommend the cookbook for many reason, one of which is that Heidi and I went to high school together.  Westmont Warriors, baby!  The recipe is easy. very tasty, and pairs with just about anything.  I halved the recipe for my purposes as it makes quite a lot.

    Polenta-Style Teff Wedges

  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of fine-grain sea salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups of brown teff grains
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons melted clarified butter (Ghee) or extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  •  

    1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan, then stir in the 1 teaspoon of salt and the teff.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes, or until the teff is the consistency of a thick, spreadable porridge.  If it is too runny, it will spread right off the baking sheet.  Stir in the Parmesan and more salt to taste.
    3. Spread the teff polenta to a 1-inch thickness on the prepared baking sheet, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and preferably for a few hours.
    4. Prepare a large pan, preferably a cast-iron pan, over medium-hot heat.  As the pan warms, you will need to reduce the heat.  Using a knife or cookie-cutter to cut the chilled polenta into uniform wedges and brush each with a bit of the melted butter.  Grill for a few minutes on each side, then season with salt and pepper.

     

    If you liked this post, forward it to a friend, post it on your Facebook feed or tweet about it.  I’d appreciate it!

    Enjoy!

    Damn you, Father Time!

    As you may have guessed both by the title of this post and the picture above, I recently had a birthday.  Another year older.  Oh joy.  There are days when getting older makes me feel like this:

     

    And there are days when getting older feels like this:

     

     

    But mostly, I’m just happy.  Happy I made it another year.  Happy because I have amazing friends and family.  Happy because I have an awesome son who is about to turn 13.  (Seriously??  I almost have a teenager?? Again, not cool, Father Time.  Not cool.)  Happy because truly, I have a blessed life.

    Yeah, yeah.  Whatever.  All that aside, I do love to kick ‘ol Father Time in the teeth sometimes so I employ these 5 tips to turn back, even if only a little, the hands of time:


    TIP #1:  Exercise.  Yep.  I said it and you all know it’s true.  Exercising is just amazing for a plethora of reasons.  Plethora.  Seriously.  But this article came out in the NY Times last week and it states, “Exercise not only appears to keep skin younger, it may also even reverse skin aging in people who start exercising late in life”.  I mean, is that, like, one of the best sentences EVER??  I think so.  So get to it, people!

    TIP #2:  Drink water.  I’m all about easy, and drinking water is one of the quickest, most effective things you can do to boost your health, skin, brain function, the list goes on.  And because I like to back my position up – read this if you don’t believe me.

    TIP #3:  Eat your vegetables.  A lot.  As many as you can each and every day.  Preferably the green leafy variety, but really, I’m not picky.  Just eat them.  I don’t think I need to say more as the current kale-in-everything-we-eat mania has proven this point!

    TIP #4:  Breathe.  Deep, cleansing breaths using your diaphragm, not your lungs.  Stress is a killer and is associated with diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, the list continues and those are biggies.  Dr. Andrew Weil has a breathing exercise called 4-7-8 Breath that I assign to all of my clients.  Try it.  It’s easy and it’s effective.  See – all about easy over here!

    TIP #5:  Laugh every day.  Because this is your life.  So laugh and laugh often.  That’s the point of it all, in my opinion.  Experience joy each and every day.


    Get it?  Good.  Moving on to granola.  Why granola, you ask?

    Because I love it.  Love, love, love it.  And making homemade granola is easy and you will NEVER buy it from the store again once you taste this recipe.  I promise!

     

     

    I slightly adapted this recipe from a cookbook entitled, Whole Grain Mornings.  In it, you are given a blueprint for granola and encouraged to experiment.  Which I do every time I make it, but I am giving you what I think is the best combination I’ve come up with yet!

    Ingredients:

    • 3 cups organic rolled oats
    • 1 cup raw, organic almonds
    • 1 cups raw, organic cashews
    • 1/2 cup raw, organic pumpkin seeds
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (and I swear, this is key!)
    • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (because I LOVE cinnamon)
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup (grade B, please!)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup mixture of chopped dried cherries and cranberries
    •  
      Directions:

      1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line a 13 by 18-inch baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
      2. Mix the oats, nuts and seeds, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom together in a large bowl.  Stir to combine.  Add the oil, sweetener, and vanilla and stir again to combine fully
      3. Turn the granola out onto the prepared pan and spread in an even layer.  Bake until the mixture is light brown and fragrant, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 15 or 20 minutes to make sure the granola cooks evenly.
      4. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the pan.  Stir in the dried fruit.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks, but I promise, it won’t last that long!

      Try it and let me know what you think in the comments below.  Or post your favorite granola recipe and I will try yours out.  Like I said, love me some granola!

      If you liked this post, forward it to a friend, post it on your Facebook feed or tweet about it.  I’d appreciate it!

      Be well.

    Thrive.

    One of my personal heroes is Arianna Huffington.  I first became acquainted with her when I began listening to a show on public radio entitled, “Left, Right, and Center”.  This was many years ago.  I loved both Arianna’s intelligence and her humor.  I sought out her books and even went to a talk she gave and got her autograph.  Like I said, I’m a big fan!

    Recently I was lucky to hear her speak again at my school’s conference in New York and she was amazing.  Hysterically funny, (truly!) honest and insightful, she spoke on a subject close to my heart: wellness and how important a factor it is in living a truly successful life.  All of this can be found in her new book entitled, Thrive, which I highly recommend. (I love that word.  I really do.  However I really wish I didn’t hear Allison Janney saying it every time I read it or hear it. Damn you, Kaiser Permanente!)

    photo (3)

    No those aren’t bagels.  Those are doughnuts you see in the picture above.  However, you must have already guessed that these are NOT your every day, normal, deep-fried, full of sugar, possibly-the-worst-thing-you-can-eat, doughnuts.  These are, yes I’m going to say it, GOOD FOR YOU!!  And they taste yummy.  I got the recipe from an amazing cookbook I just bought entitled, The Oh She Glows Cookbook.  I highly recommend both the cookbook and the blog site, ohsheglows.com.

    The doughnuts are made using chia seeds which are one of my favorite “superfoods” on the market and well-deserving of that title.  And yes, they are these ch-ch-ch-chia seeds.  C’mon.  Admit it!  You totally just sang that in your head when you read the word, “chia”.  In addition to being a pet, chia seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein.  Because of chia seeds ability to slow down digestion, they are a powerful stabilizer for your blood sugar.  An easy way to incorporate them into your diet is to sprinkle them over your morning oatmeal or yogurt.  Or – make doughnuts!

    Out-the-Door Chia Power Doughnuts

    3/4 cup gluten-free oat flour
    1/2 cup chia seeds
    1 1/2 teaspoons fine-grain sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/3 cup pure maple syrup or other liquid sweetener
    1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Coconut Lemon Whipped Cream, for serving

    1.  Preheat the oven to 300 F.  Lightly grease a 6-cavity doughnut pan with oil.  Set aside.
    2.  In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, chia seeds, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
    3.  Add the maple syrup, milk, and vanilla and stir until combined.  The batter will be very runny, but this is normal.
    4.  Spoon the batter into the prepared doughnut pan, filling each cavity to the top.
    5.  Bake the doughnuts for 22 to 26 minutes, until firm to the touch.  A toothpick inserted into a doughnut should come out clean.
    6.  Cool the doughnuts in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then carefully invert the pan onto a cooling rack.  The doughnuts should pop right out.  Cool them completely on the rack.
    7.  Drizzle Coconut-Lemon Whipped cream over the top and enjoy.

    Coconut-Lemon Whipped Cream

    1 14 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons of liquid sweetener

    1.  Chill the container of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight or at least 9 to 10 hours.
    2.  One hour before preparing the whipped cream, chill a bowl in the freezer.
    3.  Scoop the chilled coconut milk into the bowl.
    4.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream until fluffy and smooth.  Add the lemon juice and sweetener and beat gently just to combine.
    5.  Cover the bowl and return the whipped cream to the fridge until ready to use.  It will firm when chilled and soften at room temperature.  The whipped cream will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

    Have fun!

    Be well.

    Oh. My. Strawberry.

    Before I get to my love for all things strawberry, I wanted to introduce you to a restaurant I recently ate at that I highly recommend.  It’s called Girasol and it is located in Studio City.  I read an article about the chef of Girasol, CJ Jacobson, and it caught my attention because he interned at Noma.  Noma is located in Copenhagen and is considered by many to be the best restaurant in the world.  Their philosophy is that of fresh, locally foraged food and Chef CJ has brought that sensibility back to Los Angeles, often featuring food he has found in the Angeles National Forest on the menu.  And that is just cool.  Try the Octopus Salad or the Whole Fried Red Snapper – you will thank me, I promise!

    Now.  Back to strawberries.

    In case you are unaware, it is STRAWBERRY SEASON!!  There are copious amounts of strawberries at all the Farmers Markets and sometimes my strawberry-lovin’ eyes cause me to buy way more than I can eat.  So I roast them.  Yep.  Roasted strawberries.  I’m telling you, if you have never tasted a roasted strawberry, prepare to have your world rocked.  They are, quite simply, the BOMB.  So good and so easy to make.

    STEP 1:  Buy strawberries. Organic please!  Those puppies are like sponges and just soak in any pesticides sprayed on them.  And those chemicals aren’t meant to be ingested by humans.  Just ask the workers who spray them about all the protective gear they wear when doing so.

    STEP 2:  Go home.  Turn the oven to 350 F.  Wash the berries and quarter them.

    STEP 3:  Mix them with two teaspoons of coconut oil.  Now, if you’re like me and really don’t like everything tasting like the tropics, I suggest using this kind:

     

    STEP 4:  Sprinkle the berries with a pinch of salt.
    STEP 5:  Spread them out on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  They are done when they’ve released their juices.
     
    STEP 6:  Let them cool and place them in a glass jar.  Done!

    You can put these on oatmeal, on your morning yogurt, or just grab a spoon and start eating.  They are divine!

    Be well.