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May 15, 2006

Coffee...It's A Good Thing!

If anyone has visited our 'About' page, you will see in my bio that I spent many years with one of the world’s largest specialty coffee purveyors.  In all those years you cannot imagine how many coffee tastings I attended, conducted and supervised. That’s a lot of slurping, spitting (and sometimes swallowing), I can assure you. Even after all those daily coffee rituals I still enjoy my coffee. If I had to give it up, it would feel like a death in the family. Well, my ‘food’ family anyway.

So, you can imagine how happy I was to hear that a recent report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in women (by about 30%), who had a moderate intake of coffee. Besides caffeine, coffee contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are those good compounds also found in red wine, which have been linked to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases in people who drink one to three glasses of red wine a day.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Prevention, tea polyphenols have demonstrated several cancer preventive properties as well. In addition to antioxidant activity, these compounds may reduce abnormal cell growth and inflammation; help the body get rid of cancer-causing agents and restore communication between different cells in the body.

Additionally, the Iowa Women's Study, found that up to 60 per cent of antioxidants in the diet may come from coffee.  Yippee! Now, you’ll have to excuse me…I’m running out to get my double tall decaf soy latte, because a day without coffee is a day without…well, apparently, polyhpenols!  Who knew?

If you’d like to find out more about this nectar of the God’s, check out www.starbucks.com. It’s a very educational, informative and user-friendly website.

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Posted by Cindy on May 15, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 12, 2006

Oprah Gives Tators a Bad Name

It’s ok to vent a little bit on a Friday, isn’t it? Ok, this week I caught a piece of an interview on ET (that’s Entertainment Tonight for folks who actually read the paper to get their news), with Gayle King, Oprah's best friend, talking about Oprah's recent weight gain. First of all, what?? Why does Oprah need to employ people to speak on her behalf? And WHY OH WHY do celebrities think they can mask their weight gain with bogus numbers and ridiculous reasons why they have ‘slipped off the wagon’?

Get real ladies (that goes for you too, Kristie Alley and Star Jones Reynolds). You’re not doing anyone any favors by telling fibs about your weight. Like we can’t tell? We don’t see? We haven’t been there and back 100 times? Who are you literally trying to kid?  You’re better off doing your thing and keeping your lips zipped, if you’re going to be dishonest.  Either try to help others through honesty, be happy with who you are, or get off the soapbox!

(Incidentally, I don’t CARE that you’ve gained back a lot of your weight again, Oprah, I’d even like to empathize, but you make it so hard).

Gayle assured her listening audience that Oprah’s recent 10 pound weight gain (10 pounds? Ok, if you say so), was simply due to her overindulgence in mashed potatoes and bread (2 things she typically never eats, according to Gayle), while on a recent trip to Africa to visit one of her schools. (Always the politician, Gayle seems to mention Oprah’s ‘good works’ in an effort to alleviate any negative perception of Oprah because, apparently, Oprah yo-yoing her way back up the scale once again is a national crisis – BAD Oprah!)  The kicker? She gained her ‘10 pounds’ (which Gayle is quick to assure us Oprah will undoubtedly lose), by simply eating potatoes and bread for one week.

Ok, the whole thing is beyond absurd, but let’s do the math. 

We all know that 3500 calories = 1 pound. (This isn’t necessarily true because we all have different metabolisms, but for the sake of argument, let’s use this model).  To gain 1 pound one must ingest approximately 3500 calories which are unexpended.  So, in one short week, 7 days, Ms. Winfrey added an extra 35,000 calories to her daily caloric intake - by simply eating potatoes and bread.

What’s the real skinny on these food ‘culprits’?

1 medium Potato = 164 calories
1 cup Whole Milk (to make mashed potatoes) = 154 calories
1 - ½ cup Cream (lets give her the benefit of the doubt) = 157
1 pat butter = 35 calories
Italian Bread - 1 large slice, (4-1/2" x 3-1/4" x 3/4") (30g) = 81 calories

That’s a lotta tators and bread, girl!

Come clean Oprah, we know women can lose weight (lots of it), but why can’t they keep it off? Use your power, trumpet the horns and get the message out - Diets Don't Work! And you, girlfriend, are a classic dieter.

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Picture of Mashed Potatoes courtesty of Cooking Light

Posted by Cindy on May 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 11, 2006

Bananas with Strawberry Sauce

Give mom a break on Mother's Day with this delicious and easy-to-make bananas with strawberrry sauce recipe, (which is also full of nutrition). Almost fool-proof, kids and Dads alike can quickly prepare it for a special brunch or dessert.  It’s a good way to make use of all the wonderful strawberries of the season.  Add a fresh flower or rose as a garnish for that extra special touch that says 'I love you'!

(Makes 6 servings)

1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) strawberries
1 tablespoon honey
3 medium bananas
2 tablespoons orange juice
Sour cream or whipped cream, if desired

Puree strawberries in small bowl; mix in honey. Slice bananas into medium bowl. Pour orange juice over bananas; toss. Divide bananas among dessert bowls. Top each serving with about 2 tablespoons strawberry sauce. Top with dollop of sour cream. Serve.

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

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Posted by Laura on May 11, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2006

Do You Really Want a Healthy Weight?

Going_forwardA recent email from a friend/former client, combined with something that arose during a talk I gave to a professional group last week, led me to today’s topic. In talking to the group, I mentioned the need for us to change our thinking from “I should” to “I want.” That seemingly simple semantic switch (say that 5 times fast) can completely change the dynamics of making choices about what we really need to take care of ourselves, whether it be lose weight, get active, eat well, drink less, whatever is our particular demon. But my friend’s email, in which she forwarded a newsletter from Michael Neill, a life coach , added a bit more substance to this conversation (at least in my head).

He talks about three motivations for any action you take or goal you pursue. In his words, there are only three movations. That’s all.

     1) Desperation – Because you have to
     2) Rationalization – Because you should
     3) Inspiration – Because you want to

He shares a number of his thoughts on each of these motivations. One of my favorites is “the number of reasons you have to do something is inversely proportional to how much you actually want to do it.” And this from George Bernard Shaw, “Reasonable men adapt themselves to circumstances, whilst unreasonable men persist in attempting to adapt circumstances to themselves. That is why all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.”

At Green Mountain at Fox Run , we’ve long encouraged women to stop ‘shoulding’ on themselves. It’s hard, but changing this kind of negative self-talk can go a long way towards helping you actually get where you want to go. Neill has a great experiment to help you determine and examine the motivation behind your actions and goals, but when trying to access it on his site, I see that it requires a subscription. So I won’t repeat it out of respect that this is the way this guy earns a living. But to entice you a bit more to explore his site to see if it looks like it’s worth $99 a year to you (my friend thinks his stuff is mostly ‘on the money’), here’s a little ditty he penned to end his e-letter on motivation.

     If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.
     If you do want to, you don’t have to.
     But you could, because you can.
     And if you can and you want to,
     You probably will.

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Posted by Marsha on May 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2006


Barefoot_dpc Excerpt from Crazybusy, by Dr Edward M Hallowell, MD

"The best reason to take your time is that time is the only time you'll ever have. You must take it, or it will be taken from you. It is telling that the phrase "taking your time" is synonymous with slowing down. If we want to live life fully, we do best to slow down. I don't suggest that we turn back the clock, trying to retrieve a bygone era when life was slower. We couldn't, even if we wanted to. But I don't believe we should want to. We should revel in our electronically supercharged, unbounded world. But, to make the most out of this new world, to avoid feeling overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, to make modern life become better than life has ever been, a person must learn how to do what matters most first. Otherwise, you will bulldoze over life's best moments. You won't notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane to extraordinary."

Determining what's most important isn't a simple task, but I'm working on it all the time. How 'bout you?

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Posted by Gina V. on May 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 08, 2006

One Brownie Never Made Anyone Fat

Most of us who have visited Green Mountain at Fox Run have heard this pearl of healthy eating wisdom before.  And why do we understand this concept? Because we’ve lived it successfully many times.  When we diet by restricting certain foods and calories until we can’t take it anymore - we tumble down the slippery slope of deprivation right into a vat of cookie batter.

I was reacquainted with the brownie analogy recently, because I was forced to battle with some dietary restrictions that were beyond my control. Over the last couple months I could only tolerate very low fat and at times non-fat fare. Foods that were easily digestible (can we say fresh fruits and vegetables?) and in small portions. These restrictions were placed upon me prior to some surgery – not because I chose them for myself or because I was trying to lose weight.

Now that the surgery is over and I’m regaining my appetite, what I am experiencing is that old familiar feeling - food cravings - foods, which years ago, I would have labeled as ‘bad’.  Although, I no longer buy into the good/bad food theory, I can’t stop thinking about them. I am craving…

Salty chips (from my favorite Mexican restaurant)
Chocolate (does it matter?)
Cake (or chocolate cake!)
Spare ribs (slow cooked and messy)
Chili hot dog (or corn dog, preferably bought from a carney at the fair)…huh?
Cashews (by the handful)
Cheese! (preferably melted on everything)

So, what’s wrong with any of these foods? Nothing, really, but you can see how I’ve begun to glamorize them. Obviously, some may not be the healthiest food choices, but none that couldn’t be integrated into a balanced diet w/ little or no harm and in moderation.  Its how I’ve started to think about them and how I approach desiring them that’s important.

There is something very powerful in allowing yourself to feel no food is ‘off limits’. It takes the power away from the food and gives it back to you.  Prior to my ‘restrictive diet’ period, I would allow any and all of these foods in my diet and still manage my weight pretty effectively.   


Let’s be honest, one brownie never made anyone fat. Its how we feel about never having one again that’s at issue. So go ahead, give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your favorite high fat, high caloric treat once and awhile. I bet when you give yourself permission to do so – you’ll actually enjoy it – and you won’t care nearly as much about the next one.

PS: If you’re going to have a brownie – have a good one and check out these websites:


*Picture of brownie serving courtesy of www.MyHomeCooking.net

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Posted by Cindy on May 8, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 05, 2006

Ellen is Funny

I was watching Ellen DeGeneres the other day and forgot how funny she can be. This reminded me of one of my favorite jokes she use to tell when she was first starting out.  I hope I get it right…

“You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She's 97 today and we don't know where the hell she is.” - Ellen DeGeneres

So why not take a walk today. Breathe in the fresh air and stop occasionally to smell the roses. And if for any reason you run into Ellen’s grandmother, for goodness sake, let Ellen know as soon as possible!

Have a great weekend.

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Posted by Cindy on May 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 04, 2006

Dandelion Salad

If you can't beat 'em - eat 'em

I was looking at all the dandelions in my yard over the weekend, and wondering about what I would do, when it dawned on me: I'll make a salad! 

Cooking with dandelions has been becoming increasingly popular in recent years (Martha Stewart fans will want to look up her own dandy versions) for its vitamins and minerals. Of course, you can get your dandelions in the wild or backyard, as the case may be, but unless you are extremely careful that there are absolutely no chemicals on your lawn and wash all the greens thoroughly, it much more preferable that you purchase commercial greens at your local supermarket for this dandelion salad recipe, courtesy of the USENET Cookbook.

(Makes 4 servings)

1/2 lb tender, fresh dandelion greens
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
2 tomatoes, cut in fourths.
1/4 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup salad oil
3 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp dill

  1. Wash commercial/wild dandelion greens carefully. Drain well and cut into pieces.
  2. Add the onions, tomatoes, and cheese. Toss to mix.
  3. Make a salad dressing by mixing the pepper, salad oil, vinegar, and dill. Dress the salad, toss, and serve.

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

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Posted by Laura on May 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 03, 2006

Saturday is International No-Diet Day

This annual celebration of body acceptance and diversity is observed on May 6 each year.  Its purpose:

  • Celebrate the beauty and diversity of ALL our natural sizes & shapes
  • Affirm everyBODY's right to health, fitness, and emotional well-being
  • Declare a personal one-day moratorium on diet/weight obsession
  • Learn the facts about weight-loss dieting, health, and body size
  • Recognize how dieting perpetuates violence against women
  • Honor the victims of eating disorders and weight-loss surgery
  • Help end weight discrimination, sizism and fatphobia

To do this for ourselves, the founders recommend we take this pledge.

I Pledge:

·         That I will not diet for one day, on May 6, International No Diet Day.

·         Instead of trying to change my body to fit someone else's standards, I will accept myself just as I am.

·         I will feed myself if I'm hungry.

·         I will feel no shame or guilt about my size or about eating.

·         I will think about whether dieting has improved my health and well-being or not.

·         And I will try to do at least one thing I have been putting off "until I lose weight."



There are also a variety of activities you might try on this day, but for me, one theme ranks above all the rest this weekend.  I’m putting myself first, taking the time to do what I need to take care of myself. 

My list:

  • Sleep as late as I like
  • Eat a great breakfast, lunch and dinner (for me, that means tasty and healthy.  The combination is dynamite)
  • Take a leisurely walk (my fingers are crossed for nice weather)
  • Do a short strength training or yoga session ( I feel so much better when I accomplish that)
  • Organize one of the rooms in our home that is plaguing me (this may not sound very self-care oriented, but if it were organized, I know I would feel sooo much better)
  • Go to the movies, or at least rent a video (just about my favorite thing in the world to do!)

I think that’s enough.  Yes, I know it’s focused on me, doing nothing to support others in giving up dieting and starting to take better care of themselves.  But, actually, sometimes we have to put ourselves first to be able to care for others.  I’ve been caught up in doing a lot for others in the past month – things that took me away from home for prolonged periods and added a fair bit of stress to my life.  So I’m getting selfish this weekend.  I’ll be there in spirit to help others, but I can’t be there in person.  I hope that you get similarly selfish when you need to.

I just re-read the list of things that we might do on No-Diet Day and found an idea that can blend with my list above.  In organizing my room, I’ll save what might be of interest and donate it to a battered women’s shelter near us.  Okay – now I feel better.  Like most women, I have a hard time with the selfish thing. 

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Posted by Marsha on May 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2006

Lessons from Rocks and Water, Part 2

Iceberg My last post I wrote about my epiphany while watching rocks in the ground defeat the brute force of earth moving equipment, then driving along the river and becoming aware of the boulders that have been reduced to rocks, stones and pebbles by the slow but steady currents of the river.

These observations were set in motion by watching the excavation team that I hired to get rid of a “little water” that was standing in the yard….it quickly turned into proportions equivalent to the “Big Dig” in Boston. I realized that something bigger was going on when the surface water was drained, and was immediately refilled within 15 minutes, and it seemed like there was actually more water than what I started with. Unless Bugs Bunny was re-routing the drainage hose to the wet area, the water was coming up from the ground.

Being in a pondering mood, this made me think of diets, or more specifically, the diet rollercoaster…you “drain off” a few pounds by addressing the “surface” (calories in, calories out) and before you know it, you’ve “re-filled” the pounds, and maybe added a few more. Do this again and again, add a little rain (stress), and you end up with a lake of overflowing pounds, much worse than what you started with, in other words, you‘ve just dieted yourself up to your highest weight.

The solution of the excavators? Deal with the “ground water” - the underlying issue that causes this water nuisance on the surface. Think of the “ground water” as the iceberg and the annoying part on top as the “tip of the iceberg.” By installing another exit for the ground water other than up to the surface, the surface water goes away, even though the water below is still there and draining. But as soon as you give the underlying water another option to escape from the rocks and pressure of the earth than just straight up, the surface problem went away.

Now this was very exciting to me and my musings. By adding just one escape valve to the underlying issues that are trapped below the surface, the annoying problems on the surface are alleviated, although there’s still more work to be done. Forgetting about the pesky result (not “perfect” body) and considering the underlying source (too much stress, body dissatisfaction, chronically undereating, lack of quality personal time…) and making just one small exit strategy for those underlying issues can satisfy the surface issues.

One small exit strategy…I’ll start a list but I’d like to hear some of your strategies.

Physical movement class once per week

Going to the open ballroom dance class at the local university

Declaring one evening a week “me-time”

Going for a walk just because it feels good

Ride the elevator one floor above or below where you’re going and walk up or walk down (there’s no “gold stars” for pushing yourself beyond sensible limits).

Read a book of classical literature.

Spend all afternoon reading People magazine

Join a book discussion group at the library - or start one

Spend more on each item to get quality, but buy less items (in other words, don’t buy the cheap stuff because you’re waiting to lose 10 pounds, buy the quality that makes you look your best now).

Walk the dog because it’s fun, who doesn’t like to see a dog smile?

Now let’s hear your ideas.

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Posted by Gina V. on May 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack