Diet, Menopause

Your Holistically Hot Transformation: A New Book!

 

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A post by integrative health and nutrition coach Marissa Vicario:

Thank you to Barbara for letting me take over her blog today! Many of you don’t know me so I’m excited for the opportunity to say hello. I’ve been health and nutrition coaching and writing my healthy living blog, Where I Need to Be, for about 7 years. I always knew I wanted to write a book, but until I found my passion in nutrition and wellness, I never knew what I would write about. So today, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my journey and my inspiration behind my new book, Your Holistically Hot Transformation: Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle Free of Dieting, Confusion and Self-Judgment

People often ask me if I was always as healthy as I am now and I laugh because I wasn’t at all! My life as a single, corporate professional in New York City meant that I traveled, worked and dated a lot. My meals consisted of takeout, a slice of pizza or whatever I could scrap together in my kitchen – like fluorescent orange cheese melted on top of butter crackers and topped with salsa. I never cooked. I didn’t know how, but now I teach sold-out cooking classes in New York City!

Your Holistically Hot Transformation is a peek at my own health transformation and the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I wrote it because even as I type this, I’m sitting in a cafe listening to two women who are co-workers talk about the office juice cleanse, which is inevitably full of high-sugar juices, and how hungry they are. It pains me that women put themselves through this and I see first-hand everyday that there’s a need for more honest and straightforward conversations around wellness. That’s exactly what my book delivers.

The health and wellness industry is at a crossroads. Evidenced by the growing rates of both obesity and eating disorders, women are simultaneously starving and overfeeding themselves, and it goes beyond food. They’re starved for a more meaningful, purpose-driven life and overfed by media messages telling them who and how they should look and be. As a result, they’re using food to punish or self-medicate. Every day I turn on the television, open a magazine or read an article on a popular wellness web site touting a new workout, promoting a trendy diet or spouting misinformed advice.

As a gender, our relationship with food has become severely damaged and something needs to change, but the question many women have is where to start and how to do it with limited time and/or money.

Women constantly tell me there’s too much information and contradictory wellness advice to sift through. They’re confused, misinformed and pressed for time. I totally get it and that’s exactly why I do what I do, so I can help people make sense of it all.

I whole-hardheartedly believe it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. This book is my way of making it clear and simple for those who feel lost, overwhelmed, stuck and confused and if it can empower just one woman to feel that she has the knowledge, tools and motivation to make nutritious choices and take care of herself the best way she knows how, then it has done its job.

If you’d like to explore Your Holistically Hot Transformation for yourself, download a free chapter.

Already convinced you need this book in your life, purchase it in paperback on Amazon.

Marissa
Marissa Vicario is a Certified Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach, Women’s Health & Lifestyle Expert, and the author of Your Holistically Hot Transformation: Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle Free of Dieting, Confusion and Self-Judgment.  She teaches women how to trust themselves to make slimming, nutritious and energizing choices without fad dieting.

Diet, Menopause

For New Year’s! A Dairy Free Appetizer and a Tummy Soothing Giveaway


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Just in time for your New Year’s party, a post by my daughter Laura Allen:

Back in September, I made the decision to give up dairy. After a month of almost daily stomach aches, I figured life without cheese, yogurt, and butter was a small price to pay to feel normal again.

During the first few days, I had vivid dreams of cheese: buttery brie spread on thick crackers, bowls of pungent blue cheese crumbles, and sweet goat cheese cheesecakes.

But within a few weeks, the dreams and the cravings subsided, and my stomach felt great. I accepted my new dairy free life…until it was time to entertain.

I wanted to throw a big housewarming party with lots of delicious eats, but virtually all my go-to recipes contained dairy: pimento cheese spread, Mexican seven layer dip, warm goat cheese with pecans and chutney, and my mom’s trifle recipe.

Of course, I could serve veggies with hummus, but I know from experience that party guests aren’t as satisfied when the spread appears too healthy and dips just don’t taste as good with raw vegetables!

So, I give you avocado chicken salad on sweet potato rounds!

Boil around 1lb of skinless chicken breast and shred with fork.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees and slice two large sweet potatoes into discs. 

Season with olive oil and salt and cook on a baking sheet for 25-35 minutes, checking frequently.

Mash up two to three ripe avocados to make a good guacamole. Season to taste with lime, salt, and hot sauce, cumin, or chili pepper.

Mix guacamole with shredded chicken.

Top sweet potato rounds with chicken salad and finish with fresh cilantro.

By the way, my party was a huge success, and I still served pesto gouda and Danish blue for the cheese lovers.

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Giveaway!

21-Day Tummy:The Revolutionary Diet That Soothes and Shrinks Any Belly Fast
By Liz Vaccariello, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Digest Diet, with Kate Scarlata, RD
Published by Reader’s Digest

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The 21-Day Tummy diet targets excess weight and belly fat while addressing the most common digestive disorders.

We love to eat but that doesn’t mean our stomachs always enjoy digesting what we put in them. Add to this the fact that our nation is heavier than it’s ever been, and it’s clear that our tummies don’t just need to function better, they need to be smaller. In general, smaller stomachs digest food more effectively, and that’s why dropping the pounds isn’t just a matter of vanity but of health.

Featuring carb-light, anti-inflammatory foods, the 21-Day Tummy eating plan slashes inches from your belly (up to 4 ½ inches!) while banishing gas and bloating, heartburn and acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

In addition, 21-Day Tummy includes:

  • 50 scrumptious recipes such as Tomato-Ginger Flank Steak and Almost Pumpkin Mini Pies.
  • A Digestion Quiz to help you measure your overall digestive health
  • Tips on how to combat the Four S’s — Supersizing, Sitting, Stress, and Sleep Deprivation.
  • Inspirational stories and advice from our successful test panelists. Our top tester dropped 19 pounds in 21 days and completely stopped taking medications for acid reflux.
  • An optional equipment-free workout plan that helps to both sculpt and soothe your belly with a mix of core strengthening, walking, and yoga.
  • Guidelines on how to incorporate potentially problematic foods back into your life so you are never deprived of your favorite foods.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment by January  20 saying you’d like to win.

Publishers Weekly just gave the book a glowing review:  “With lively writing, inviting four-color format, pull-outs, sidebars, nine personal success stories (including the author’s), and enticing photography, this book is a winner.”

  

Aging, Diet, Menopause

Your Memory on Jackfruit

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A guest post by blogger Beth Waters:

From the minute we are born, our bodies age. As our bodies age, they decline. Our bodies are powerful machines that are working longer and longer as the generations pass, there is no wonder we need a little tune up from time to time.

A scary part of aging is memory loss. So how do we prevent this and make our bodies stronger?

One of the most important things we can do to preserve our memories is to keep using your brain!

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Think about this: When we get older we retire, and we stop having to use our brain as a huge source of information. Don’t let retirement stop you from using your brain.

Here are some simple things to do that act as a tune up for your brain:

  • Play a game- make your brain pay attention to a game. This will get your brain thinking about numerous things whether it is the next move, word, puzzle piece, number, etc.
  • Exercise- just because your body is aging doesn’t mean it’s time to rest. Studies show that exercising, even brisk walking will help your brain grow new blood vessels, dendrites, and neurons. A sedentary life will not only increase the decline in you physical health, but also your mental health.
  • Learn something new- It is as easy as learning new information. Learn new activities, words; take on a new hobby, language, or activity. These simple things will make your brain remember new things and do things it has never processed before.

Make this part of every day in your life and your brain will be happy about it. To start you off on the healthy habit to brain health, I’ll make it easy: I bet you don’t know jack about a jackfruit.

Think of the jackfruit as the big, gangly kid on the playground who smells kind of funny. These suckers can weigh up to a whopping 80 pounds, are covered in spikes and (unfortunately) smell rotten once ripe. Mmm… appetizing, right?

Well, don’t be so quick to judge; the jackfruit also happens to be a vitamin/antioxidant powerhouse and is surprisingly delicious! The flavor is sweet, fruity, and an excellent addition to desserts. It tastes a little bit like the combination of an apple and banana.

Here are some stats:

  • Good source of vitamin C
  • Full of B-complex vitamins
  • Contains tons of fiber
  • Known energy booster
  • Jam-packed full of potassium, magnesium, and iron

When cut open, the jackfruit reveals a series of fruit pockets that contain giant brown seeds and delicious fruity flesh.

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If this intimidates you, never fear! You can buy pre-cut, canned jackfruit—but be forewarned, you will lose some of the flavor. For those brave enough to try, I would recommend picking up and working with a fresh jackfruit.

Want to hear something really crazy? Jackfruit is an excellent substitute for meat, particularly in recipes that call for shredded/pulled meat.

My girls and I recently whipped up the recipe described in the linked article, and let me tell you, it was delicious! It really did taste like juicy meat. It’s an awesome option for vegetarians looking for tofu-less alternatives.

It seems like the jackfruit just further proves that you can’t judge a book by its cover!

Take this exercise of learning something new even further by trying something new. I bet you don’t know jack about what a jackfruit tastes like.

Beth Waters is the mother of two rambunctious children, a blogger on health and fitness, and a freelance writer for health companies such as Liberty Medical. She’s been inspired to live a long and healthy life and enjoys sharing her experiences through her blog, Carrots Over Cake. She’s pictured below with her daughter Jena.

Beth with Jenna

Diet, Fitness, Menopause

The Scale: A Poem and a Giveaway

Scale

In honor of us menopausal types, my poem, “The Scale”:

Do you cringe

When you deliver

The bad news to me,

Or is smirking

More your style?

Someday, Scale,

I hope you’ll speak

Kindly, firmly, fondly

With words since 

Your numbers fail me.

Are you a scale girl?

A waistband girl?

So lucky you don’t need to measure your weight in any way at all?

Or so carefree, it’s not a concern?

Giveaway:  Speaking of weight and weight issues, Mika Brzezinski chronicles her eating troubles as well as her friend Diane’s and much of America’s in OBSESSED: America’s Food Addiction – And My Own.

Get the inside scoop on the eating habits of Gayle King, Charles Barkley, Jennifer Hudson, Padma Lakshmi, and others.  Best of all, read Kathleen Turner’s comments on appearing naked, at 46, as Mrs. Robinson in the stage version of  The Graduate.

For a chance to win a copy, simply enter a comment by May 25 saying you’d like to be the winner.

Obsessed

Diet, Menopause

Cookie Dough: Will She Resist? An Internet Tell All

On the docket:  The baking of  snickerdoodles!

I was determined NOT to eat any of the cookie dough, although if you ask me, cookie dough is ambrosia sent straight to earth.

I happily dumped the butter into the bowl.

You can do it, Barbara!  This is going to be  a No Dough for You Baking Session.

In go the sugar and eggs!

Next comes some cream of tartar. Despite its awkward name, cream of tartar is light and airy and mysterious like some women.  These light, airy, mysterious women don’t woolf down cookie dough.

Vivian, my mother-in-law and a fine baker, told me once that she never ate the dough.

I dumped in the flour using her old scoop. Inspire me, Vivian!

Besides, I need all this dough. The snickerdoodles are for the after-church social hour on the lawn. I’m in charge. Weather is looking good. I want to have enough cookies.

And since I’m baking them for church, I’m baking them for God, so to speak. God probably isn’t popping dough into his/her mouth right now. God is doing more important things and thinking more dignified thoughts.

I’ve made it this far; the cookies are lining  themselves up in the the pan. Don’t break down now, Barbara.  Fight!  Resist those churchly little devils.

This is where the writer betrays her readers.

This is where the photographer misses the action shot.

This is where the blogger disappoints her loyal following.

I’ve blogged about periods, droopy breasts, pelvic floor prolapse, and June Cleaver Envy.

But it’s my little secret if I broke down and ate a few good ole chunks of that delicious snickerdoodle dough.

I will give you one hint, one parting thought.

La vie est courte.

Life is short.

Diet

Calories: A Mystery Unclothed

I knew it!  I knew it!  I knew it!

I’ve never believed in calories.  How could something so small and compact as a square of fudge cause you to gain weight?  It makes complete sense to me that calories don’t come from food at all.  And we all know that bad stuff lurks in closets:  moths, the boogeyman, silverfish, dust bunnies.

How do we rid our closets of these evil stitching calories?  How do we protect our clothes from the terrors of shrinking?

Cliff and I haven’t had an easy time eliminating moths from the closets of this old house.  (We don’t like to use insecticides, and moth balls are only about 85% effective.)

At least you can see a moth. I have never SEEN a calorie.  Have you?  And dust bunnies, once captured, don’t put up much of a fight.  These tiny calorie creatures have got to be feisty.  They even attacked my sainted wedding dress.

Can I coax them out with trickery?   “Calories, follow me.  I’ll take you to the mall and let you stitch some really fancy clothes.  Better yet, we’ll fly to NYC, and I’ll release you in the store where they film Say Yes to the Dress.

Can I blast them to smithereens by playing “It’s a Small World” twenty-four seven?

Can I choke them out with bad smells?  The kitty litter pan or burned popcorn?

Can I bore them to pieces by reading aloud my master’s thesis (although my mom, the only person to read it besides the professor, thought it was wonderful).

Find a natural predator?  An anteater, maybe, or those bright green lizards that skitter across my porch?

I’ll come up with a plan, and then my clothes will stop shrinking.  Cowabunga!

Of course, I’ll be glad to share it on Friend for the Ride!

Graphic:  Thanks to That’s What That Means for announcing this important discovery.  Science continues to amaze me as we uncover the complexities of the universe.

Celebrations, Diet

Fudge: Pondering Good and Evil

Good and evil. Often, it’s easy to know the difference. To decide. To choose. “Always do what’s right,” was one of my father’s trademark lines.

But then, there are the in-between cases, the not-so-sure situations, the maybe yes or maybe no’s of morality.

As I grow older, I’m seeing the line more blurred, the answers not always so simple.   Hence my Fudge Prayer, posted especially in honor of  upcoming Valentine’s Day. (As an aside,  some women and men find this holiday almost holy; others see it as the work of the underworld.)

Anyway, back to moral quandaries and fudge.  Let us pray:

Dear God,

I can’t decide if fudge,

Is good or evil.

Cocoa beans, sugar, rich butter,

Confection of good delight

Or calories of evil to the body temple.

The fudge is gone,

Swallowed,

Not unlike the cat and canary.

And now I offer this

Grateful Prayer of Thanksgiving

Or this humble Prayer of Repentance.

Amen and Amen.

What about you? Is chocolate a gift from above or an enticement of the devil? What other cases of good and evil do you debate with yourself and among family and friends?

Photo:  It’s your decision, of course, but here’s the recipe for the fudge in the picture.  If you decide to cook up a batch, just announce, “The Good Saint Valentine made me do it”

Be an angel and post a comment by clicking “comments” below.