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July 28, 2005

Garganelli with Prosciutto and Arugula

In the mood for some alfresco dining? Experience Italian healthful eating! This easy garganelli recipe captures the essence of the Emilia-Romagna area of Italy and uses many ingredients indigenous to the region: pasta, Parma prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, fresh tomatoes and arugula. But, if you want to be really authentic, you can make your own pasta, too!

(Makes 4 cups)

    4 ounces thinly-sliced prosciutto
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    2 tablespoons cognac
    2 tomatoes, chopped
    1 cup torn arugula
    2 cups dry pasta such as Garganelli, Ziti or Penne
    1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese

Remove visible fat from the prosciutto and cut in matchstick sized pieces. In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add prosciutto and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until slightly crispy.

Heat cognac in a separate small pan, add to proscuitto and flame if you like (take care when igniting!). Stir and cook a few seconds. Add chopped tomatoes and continue cooking over low heat until tomatoes are soft.

In the meantime cook pasta according to package directions, drain.

Add pasta, Parmesan cheese and arugula to the proscuitto mixture. Stir and heat through. Garnish with a few fresh chopped arugula leaves and serve immediately.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Posted by Laura on July 28, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

Health at Every Size

At Green Mountain, we’ve said that diets don’t work since 1973 when Thelma first founded us.  We’ve also said that hating your body and yourself because of your size is highly counterproductive.  And that eating, not starving, is critical to taking care of yourself (seems common sense, but how many of us have lost sight of that fact at times?).  And that moving your body should feel good and be fun – not be something you do at a pace or intensity that will create the most weight loss possible.

That’s why it’s so refreshing to see this philosophy starting to really take hold in the larger world.  One piece of evidence for that:  Last week, the e-newsletter from Medscape – one of the web’s largest sites for education of health professionals – led with a piece titled “Health at Every Size: Toward a New Paradigm of Weight and Health.” 

Take the time to read it, then consider taking a copy to your doctor, nutritionist or other member of your healthcare team.  Hopefully, they’ll already be in sync with the philosophy.  But if not, you’ll be helping spread the word; coming from Medscape adds credibility that might spur even the most weight- and diet-focused health professional to take a second look.

Health at Every Size: Toward a New Paradigm of Weight and Health
Posted 07/12/2005
Jon Robison, PhD, MS

Promoting weight loss through exercise, dietary restriction, and behavior modification rarely succeeds. It often results in cycles of weight loss and gain, with the potential for serious physical and psychological health risks, and contributes to body hatred, dangerous eating disorders, and exercise addiction.[1,2] Yet we believe that if we continue to use the same approaches, we will somehow obtain different results. Indeed, this is the definition of insanity put forth by Alcoholics Anonymous.

There is, however, an exciting, effective, alternative approach to this problem. It is called Health At Every Size (HAES). The basic conceptual framework of this approach includes acceptance of the:

  • Natural diversity in body shape and size
  • Ineffectiveness and dangers of dieting for weight loss
  • Importance of relaxed eating in response to internal body cues
  • Critical contribution of social, emotional, and spiritual as well as physical factors to health and happiness.

The Table contrasts the underlying assumptions of traditional weight management approaches with those of HAES.[3]

What Is a Healthy Weight?

The HAES philosophy promotes the concept that an appropriate, healthy weight for an individual cannot be determined by the numbers on a scale, by a height/weight chart, or by calculating body mass index or body fat percentages. Rather, HAES defines a "healthy weight" as the weight at which a person settles as they move toward a more fulfilling and meaningful lifestyle. This includes, but is not limited to, eating according to internally directed signals of hunger, appetite, and satiety and participating in reasonable and sustainable levels of physical activity.

Although research and experience have clearly demonstrated that focusing on weight loss as a primary goal is most likely to produce weight cycling and, over time, increased weight,[4-9] the HAES approach certainly does not suggest that all people are currently at a weight that is the most healthy for their circumstances. What it strongly purports, however, is that movement toward a healthier lifestyle over time will produce a healthy weight for that person.

It is important to understand that removing the focus on weight does not imply ignoring health risks and medical problems. When heavy persons present with medical problems, HAES suggests that health professionals offer the same approaches that they would for a thin person presenting with similar problems. In the case of a thin person with essential hypertension, for example, conventional wisdom suggests dietary changes, increases in aerobic physical activity, and stress management followed by medication if necessary. Yet a heavy person presenting with the same diagnosis is told to lose weight, regardless of all that is known about the most likely consequences of this recommendation.

Healthier at Every Weight

The HAES approach supports a "holistic" view of health that promotes feeling good about oneself; eating well in a natural, relaxed way; and being comfortably active.[10] The following list outlines the major foci for helping people with eating and weight-related struggles from the HAES perspective[3]:

  • Self-acceptance: affirmation and reinforcement of human beauty and worth, regardless of differences in weight, physical size, and shape;
  • Physical activity: support for increasing social, pleasure-based movement for enjoyment and enhanced quality of life; and
  • Normalized eating: support for discarding externally imposed rules and regimens for eating and attaining a more peaceful relationship with food by relearning to eat in response to physiologic hunger and fullness cues.

The overarching goal for health professionals is to help people live healthier, more fulfilling lives by caring for their bodies they presently have.

Health at Every Size: Major Components

HAES offers an effective, compassionate alternative to the failures of traditional approaches. There is a significant body of literature that clearly demonstrates that most so called weight-related problems can be treated effectively with little if any weight loss.[11-13] Even in type 2 diabetes, blood glucose can be normalized without weight loss even when the patient remains markedly obese by traditional medical standards. This finding is further strengthened by the growing body of research showing that obese individuals who are active and fit have lower mortality rates than normal-weight persons who are inactive and unfit.[14-16] Finally, recent research shows that the HAES approach is clearly superior to state-of-the-art, behavioral weight-loss intervention for improving the long-term health of obese participants.[17,18]

Although HAES may not always help make people thinner, by embracing this new approach we can help people of all sizes to be healthier. By not promoting weight loss as a primary goal, we can prevent future generations of children, women, and men from developing eating problems, loathing their bodies, engaging in risky weight-loss strategies, and dying to be thin.


  1. Gaesser GA. Big Fat Lies. Carlsbad, Calif: Gurze Books; 2002.
  2. Campos P. The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession With Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. New York: Gotham Books; 2004.
  3. Robison JI. Weight, health & culture: shifting the paradigm for alternative healthcare. Alternative Health Practitioner. 1999;5:1-25.
  4. Field AE, Austin SB, Taylor CB, et al. Relation between dieting and weight change among preadolescents and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2003;112:900-906. Abstract
  5. Field AE, Wing RR, Manson JE, Spiegelman DL, Willett WC. Relationship of a large weight loss to long-term weight change among young and middle-aged US women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2001;24:1113-1121.
  6. Stice E, Cameron RP, Killen JD, Hayward C, Taylor CB. Naturalistic weight-reduction efforts prospectively growth in relative weight and onset of obesity among female adolescents. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1999;67:967-974. Abstract
  7. Bild DE, Sholinsky P, Smith DE, Lewis CE, Hardin JM, Burke GL. Correlates and predictors of weight gain in young adults: the CARDIA study. Int J Obes Relat Disord. 1996;20:47-55.
  8. Coakley EH, Rimm EB, Colditz G, Kawachi I, Willett W. Predictors of weight change in men: results from The Health Professionals Follow-up Study. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998;22:89-96. Abstract
  9. Korkeila M, Rissanen A, Kaprio J, Sorensen TIA, Koskenvuo M. Weight-loss attempts and risk of major weight gain: a prospective study in Finnish adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70:965-975. Abstract
  10. Lyons P, Burgard D. Great Shape: The First Fitness Guide for Large Women. Lincoln, Neb; Universe Press; 2000.
  11. Tremblay A, Despres JP, Maheux J, et al. Normalization of the metabolic profile in obese women by exercise and a low fat diet. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991;23:1326-1331. Abstract
  12. Barnard RJ, Jung T, Inkeles SB. Diet and exercise in the treatment of non insulin dependent diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1994;17:1469-1472. Abstract
  13. Blankenhorn DH, Johnson RL, Mack WJ, El Zein HA, Vailas LI. The influence of diet on the appearance of new lesions in human coronary arteries. JAMA. 1990;263:1646-1652. Abstract
  14. Barlow CE, Kohl HW, Gibbons LW, Blair SN. Physical fitness, mortality and obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995;19(suppl4):S41-S44.
  15. Church TS, Cheng YJ, Earnest CP, et al. Exercise capacity and body composition as predictors of mortality among men with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:83-88. Abstract
  16. Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Janssen I, Ross R, Blair SN. Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and mortality: impact of cardiorespiratory fitness. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:391-397. Abstract
  17. Bacon L, Keim NL, Van Loan MD, et al. Evaluating a "non-diet" wellness intervention for improvement of metabolic fitness, psychological well-being and eating and activity behaviors. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002;26:854-865. Abstract
  18. Bacon L, Stern JS, Van Loan MD, Keim NL. Size acceptance and intuitive eating improves health for obese female chronic dieters. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005. Accepted for publication.

Jon Robison, PhD, MS, Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; Co-Editor, Health at Every Size -- the journal. Email: [email protected]

Disclosure: Jon Robison, PhD, MS, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Medscape General Medicine.  2005;7(3) ©2005 Medscape

Posted by Marsha on July 27, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 26, 2005

A Modest Proposal

This is a really hard post to write because I am FURIOUS!

I read an article in the Seattle Times by David B. Caruso of the Associated Press titled New York City health staff may start to track diabetics. 

It describes the idea kicking around the minds that comprise the NYC Board of Health -- collect reports on laboratory samples that do not show the patient to have good diabetes control. Identify those bad patients that are costing all of us billions. Without asking or notification to the patient.

Once identified….well what then? Jail time (let’s call it a “health intervention”) – going to “camp” to control their diet, make them exercise regularly and force feed them their medication?

The Board of Health will be voting soon on this “Modest Proposal.” It’s obvious that, like the “war on obesity” being waged by the CDC et al through fairy tale statistics, there’s really not enough diseases left to go around – without inventing new diseases, wars, or epidemics, how’s a little ol’ public “health” agency to stay solvent? Invent the crisis of the month, and terrify everyone about what they aren't doing right, and how their kids will never live to see their 30th birthday.

The real crisis is the lack of access to well-trained, thoughtful, intelligent and compassionate health care providers. Since when did healing a patient become equivalent to berating them for their diseases? How many well-insured, well-heeled professionals are afraid to go to their doctor, because they don’t want to be belittled for what they should be doing….what happened to real patient care??!! How much harder must it be for those that are under-insured and poor to attain medical care?

The question asked in the article, “The question is, how much privacy are they willing to give up for a chance at better health?” How sad – access to reliable medical care has degraded to the point that someone must choice between privacy and health (or rather a “chance” at health).

Where has the decency and common sense gone?

Posted by Gina V. on July 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

Green Bean and Red Potato Salad

Although available year round, now is the time to get the best fresh, crisp green beans. This recipe also features new red potatoes, fresh from local gardens this time of year as well. Add a few fresh herbs, and this tasty, easy salad can be served warm or cold -- a great accompaniment to grilled chicken or fish.

    1 pound small red new potatoes, quartered
    1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
    2 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
    1 tablespoon chopped chives
    2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
    1 tablespoon chopped basil
    1 ounce shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

Boil or steam potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Steam or microwave green beans until crisp-tender (4- 5 minutes). Drain well. Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and chopped onions. Add warm potatoes and green beans to oil-lemon mixture and toss. Add chopped herbs and lightly toss. Top with shaved parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Posted by Laura on July 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 20, 2005

Getting Over Candy

I dropped my son off at camp this past weekend, and couldn’t help reflecting on how things have changed since I first did that six summers ago.  There was an ‘absolutely no candy’ rule then.  Never mind that the camp itself served ‘bug juice’ (a form of colored sugar water) and there were plenty of ice pops and the like to be enjoyed, parents were to be sure that the kids didn’t pack any candy for their stay, nor could we send any in care packages from home.

Last year, however, I noticed a change in the packing instructions:  “Okay, it’s out in the open.  The Director views a Snickers bar as survival food.”  The paragraph then goes on to tell parents it’s okay to pack a small stash of candy and sodas for their children’s enjoyment while away.

Maybe I’m overstating the significance of this, but to me, it seems like this is a big step forward, making it okay to feed kids candy again.  While sugar has generally been on the menu at schools and the like as part of desserts or drinks, candy usually isn’t.  And after years of talking with parents both as a nutritionist and at school gatherings, I saw parents divided into two main groups over the subject: those who were either adamant that “no candy shall pass my child’s lips” (the extreme and the minority) or those who cried “what can I do?  They like it” (the guilty, definitely the majority).  Perhaps now, with the camp director’s approval ;), parents can begin to feel better about giving kids a food most of them like themselves.


Knowing how restriction can make food more enticing, I’ve always allowed my kids healthy doses of sweets.  My son was more of a challenge than my daughter.  He preferred sweets to most other things (except butter….).  But I’ve been recently encouraged that I didn’t go wrong by not trying to dampen down his sweet tooth.  When I dropped him off Sunday, even though he could have, he didn’t pack any candy or soda for his stay.  He hadn’t forgotten it; it just didn’t matter that much to him. There’s a lesson there.

Posted by Marsha on July 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005

Weird but True

Possible20picture_1 Two summers ago, I went horseback riding with some friends, then climbed part of the Appalachian trail the next day, then walked into town the day after that. I found that I could not possibly get myself back from town. I called a friend that gave me a ride back.

Because of all this activity, the next week I suffered with very sore muscles in the groin area, which made walking, sitting, standing, lying, or even thinking clearly nearly impossible. The pain was a combination of sharp, dull, nagging, relentless with sudden attacks provoked by movement but always there without cessation. Since any kind of movement (or non-movement) created pain, it had become a part of me.

Now here comes the weird part…as I was about to step up onto a curb, I stopped short, afraid of awaking the pain “monster”(which I had named by now since it was such a part of me), in a flash of clarity, I realized that this was very much the relationship I had had with my “fat body.”

The way I thought of and reacted to my body was similar - it was always with me, caused pain, ruled every thought and decision (or more simply, my life) and I avoided things that would make the “fat body pain monster” awaken.

It takes a lot of practice, but accepting your body and where you’re “at” is the only way to begin the process of being ready for change. Here’s more on body acceptance and change.

I hope you don't have a "fat body pain monster" but if you do, start thinking differently to tame it!

Best – g.

Posted by Gina V. on July 19, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

It Takes a Village

I've been reminded over the last month how important it is to find a team of people who can support you when you're looking to make important changes in your life - like getting healthier or just feeling better.  I don't know why I've always been bad about asking people for help, but I suspect I'm not alone. Doing everything ourselves, never letting on that we have weaknesses or need help can be an unproductive part of our human nature, so we often suffer in silence

Feeling better is a relative term and has different meaning for each of us. It could mean making that long over due trip to your doctor to get a check up, or looking for a personal trainer who can help you work through your personal fitness issues.  It could mean employing a registered dietician or nutritionist to support your efforts to eat healthfully, or maybe its time to consider a terrific therapist who you can spill your guts to. 

It may take a couple tries to find people you like, but keep trying because when you do find them they can be like gold. Your state should provide listings to women's organizations, which focus on women's health, nutrition, fitness and emotional issues.  They can guide you to professionals in a wide variety of disciplines. Reaching out to friends or family to let them know you need their support can also be very important.

Creating your own 'village' is important in my view, because our needs may be better met when we bring together the expertise of folks who offer us different perspectives.  A woman's total health is a complex issue. And each woman is unique.  Surrounding yourself with people who want to help you, gives you the feeling that you're not alone, people care and most importantly, you can succeed at getting where you want to go.

You may be surprised to find very good programs through your local community center, religious organizations or the YWCA.  Look for professionals who will work with you and your special needs and always seek referrals.

Posted by Cindy on July 18, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Focaccia Turkey Sandwich

Although turkey can sometimes make you sleepy, the fabulous flavor of this Focaccia Turkey Sandwich is sure to wake you up! 

    1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
    1/4 small Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
    Honey mustard
    1 round focaccia bread (6 inches in diameter), sliced horizontally in half
    2 thin slices roasted turkey breast (about 1 1/2 ounces)
    1 thin slice Fontina cheese (1/2 ounce)

(Makes 1 serving)

Spray nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat skillet over high heat. Cook onion 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown and caramelized. Remove onion from skillet. Cook apple in same skillet about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown. Remove from heat.

Heat oven to 325. Spread mustard on bottom slice focaccia; top with turkey, onion, cheese and apple. Top with remaining slice of focaccia. Place on cookie sheet. Heat in oven 10-15 minutes or until cheese melts and turkey is warm.

To serve, cover sandwich with top half focaccia. Slice sandwich into wedges.

If you enjoyed this recipe, come and enjoy our complete collection of healthy eating recipes.

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Posted by Laura on July 14, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Making Perfectionism Work for You

Battling a personal demon today that ties right into Gina’s comment yesterday “wouldn’t it be boring if everything was perfect?” I, like many others who read this blog, frequently fall victim to the idea that we need to be perfect. And if we’re not, then we’re not doing things the way we’re 'supposed to.'

Today for me, it’s about doing everything that I’ve got on my ‘to do’ list. Forget that it’s incredibly long. I know I need to prioritize – and I do. But the rest of the list tends to sit back there and call to me….

So this post is to help myself and hope that it speaks to you, too.

My "To Do" List Revisited

  • Do what I can. Forget about perfectionism that contains unrealistic goals; opt for a type of perfectionism that works as a driving force to succeed.
  • Prioritize so that what I do means the most to me. Today, at the top of my list was myself. First thing I did (okay, the second – I did answer a few emails first :-D) was to take a walk. And that’s set the tone for my day.
  •  Stay mindful in whatever I do. Focus on what I’m doing and let the rest go. A good message for everything in life. And by staying mindful, we help make our perfectionistic tendencies something that helps us do our best at whatever we do (see the first bullet above).
  •  Enjoy myself. I’m fortunate. Much of what I have to do today involves being with my children.

That’s it. A much shorter list that’s infinitely doable!

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Posted by Marsha on July 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

Does This Make Me Look Fat, continued

Talk about coincidence! I got this email from a friend shortly after I wrote my last post Woman_mirror_1 cautioning against starting down the road of comparing which leads to a dead end and crash.

PS – Amy is feeling much better now, having gotten her perspective realigned after a few reminders of what she has accomplished, and how she’s changed. Just goes to show that it’s always a process and a practice – wouldn’t it be boring if everything was perfect?

"Hello To Everyone!  Hope all is well!

I'm having slight melt down.

Well, it has been well over a year since my visit and I am very happy with my progress - and I feel more confident and healthy.  I've lost over 40 lbs. and now am weighing in about 140 (I'm about 5' 3 and am fitting into basically a size 10.) 

My husband has joined in the fun on the road to good health alongside with me.  I'd like to just lose 5-10 more pounds and get to be a size 8.  We have been exercising by walking and biking about 3 to 5 times a week and every other day for the past two weeks we have been doing the wonderful GMFR upper body and lower body workouts.  We have also been eating healthier- I basically grocery shop around the perimeter of the store and am getting a lot of fruits, vegetables, meats, and the organic section. We like it and have felt like we have so much more energy and don't feel like we are starving ourselves or like it's a diet. So, yay for us!  Except...

...this weekend we went to visit his friends in the city - his friends have beautiful, skinny girlfriends - both girls size 0!  Ugh, man!  And it was very hard for me to be comfortable with my body. I know I'm a real woman and I do like my curves but it was still a little disheartening for me as we took pictures together and I reviewed them on the screen - it was hard noticing that I was the biggest girl. 

Well, to make things worse - we completely went off the deep head and ate pizza, got stuff from the stands on the streets, bagels, stuff with lots of salt on it and we drank a lot of sweetened ice tea and alcoholic beverages and hardly any water - not to mention on the way home we stopped and ate donuts!  So we arrived back home tonight and I put on my normally comfortable p-j pants and they were so tight - I looked in the mirror and literally saw a huge bulge from my stomach - and it's not just the lower part of my stomach it's started at my waist. 

I am guessing that I'm just bloated...I've been bloated many times but never this much!  I just am amazed how quickly that my body could have changed.  I'm disappointed in myself for not having more control this weekend but I'll get over that...I guess I just need some reassurance on not letting this weekend ruin our new healthy routines and/or some helpful hints of how to avoid blowing up like a balloon!   

Thanks - Happy Summer - Amy"

Posted by Gina V. on July 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack