Talapia Sandwich with Lime Butter

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Talapia Sandwich
Sometimes, even in the middle of winter, it is nice to have a picnic dinner. This Talapia sandwich (cal 345) fit the bill for us recently. It is easy to make and has rich flavor thanks to the use of cumin and coriander which are great spices for our health. We added a shredded carrot vinaigrette (cal 60) and a bunch of grapes (cal 60) to complete the meal for a total calorie count of 465. As you can see it was a simple yet colorful meal as well as tasty. Everyone gave it a thumbs up and voted for a repeat.

The Psychology of Eating

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Healthy eating isn't just about "calories in and calories out" it is also about how we live our lives and the way we create an environment to support us in a healthier lifestyle. I am posting an article that I think is a great wake up call to what we really need to succeed. Read on:

A while back I wrote the following piece on “Getting Real About Weight.” So many of our readers loved it, shared it, and commented on it. I wanted to say some provocative and clear words about a topic that deserves some fresh thinking. That’s why I’m sharing this piece about weight and it’s loss for a second time, just in case you missed it. As always, I’d love to know what you think.
I find that whenever I read about weight loss in the popular media or watch people on reality TV trying to fight off the pounds, or listen to the latest strategies from the experts – be it a drug, diet, or the promise of some genetic breakthrough – I’m left feeling empty, used and uninspired. It seems to me that we’re collectively stuck in the same limited conversation around weight that keeps playing itself back and landing us in the same place – nowhere. With obesity rates at an all time high and continuing to rise, I’m stunned at how these anemic messages about weight never change, and never truly work:

  • Eat less, exercise more
  • You’ve got to have more willpower
  • Try the latest weight loss drug
  • This new diet book is the answer
  • Staple your stomach
  • Count your calories
  • Some day, soon, we’ll simply just change your DNA
  • If you can’t lose weight, you must be a loser
  • What’s your problem?

Science has failed us in the weight loss department.

It literally gets an “F.” The culture has failed us as well. Far too many people have intense moral judgments towards anyone with excess pounds, which contributes to the hidden epidemic of social disconnection, apathy, and plain old sadness. Let’s face it: when it comes to the subject of weight gain and weight loss, we’re clueless. And from that place of cluelessness we tend to flail around, we try our hand at the most inane weight loss strategies, we diet for decades, we consume diet foods and ingredients like synthetic fats and artificial sweeteners that are, if you care to closely study the scientific literature – toxic.
I’d suggest that if you’re not outraged at how all of us have been handling the issue of weight, than it’s time to pay more attention. It’s time for a more enlightened conversation. It’s time to strap your gear on, pack a few snacks, and take a good, long, deep dive into the rabbit hole called weight. Before we can “fix” the problem, it’s best to see the problem through new eyes. So rather than go into the specifics of what to do and not to do – no article is big enough to honor such a powerful and epic discussion – here are some thoughts around what some fresh thinking around weight might look like:

  • Weight is a richly complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon. Most often, there are no simple black and white solutions. It’s time to honor the depth and the psycho-physiologic complexity of weight and it’s loss
  • Excess weight is a symptom, and every symptom we experience under the sun has a divine message, a wise teaching, and has lessons that we are being asked to learn. We need to honor this sacred symptom rather than attack it
  • Extra weight can be related to an unlimited number of nutritional and metabolic factors
  • Extra weight can be caused by an unlimited number of emotional factors
  • Extra weight is fast becoming an issue of genetic inheritance
  • Extra weight can be directly connected to deeper and more profound soul lessons that we are being asked to learn. Some of these lessons might include patience, humility, getting present, embracing our sexuality, forgiving others, forgiving self, learning how to nourish ourselves, loving what is…
  • Extra weight can be a mix and a swirl of any or all of the above factors
  • Extra weight, often times, doesn’t even belong fully to the person who has it. Meaning: humans often “carry” the symptoms of others, of parents, of the collective. The most obvious example – few obese children have “a problem” – it’s all about the parents, or their surroundings, their peers, the media…
  • Extra weight is not a personal issue, it’s collective – meaning, if over 200 million individuals in the USA are overweight, then weight is about the entire tribe. We need to heal the culture as much as we need to change individual habits
  • Women suffer in a unique way, and in a more intense and poignant way when it comes to excess weight. We need to ask why, and to understand that men and women though equal, are rather different
  • Eating disorders have skyrocketed. Eating disorders have absolutely nothing to do with food per se. They are not food issues. They are LIFE issues, expressed via the vehicle of food. Once we listen to these sacred dis-eases more deeply, we can hear how they are calling us to grow, and how they are pointing to the ways our families and communities are failing to hold and love one another in a good way
  • Our relationship with body fat, even for those who have very little of it, is clinically bonkers. Too many of us assume that any body fat is demonic, unworthy, unnatural, unappealing, and deserving of our contempt. Body fat has a brilliant biological purpose. If you could truly suck all the fat out of your body, you’d be dead in an instant
  • We project our shadow – our unconscious judgments, our negative mind chatter, our prejudices, our hate, our moralism – onto people who carry too much weight. As a culture, we secretly love to hate fat people. Who’s issue is that?
  • From the standpoint of science, we really don’t even know how much any given person truly ought to weigh at any given time. So many people walk around claiming, “I need to lose 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 20 pounds.” Says who? By what scientific criteria can anyone assess ideal weight?
  • According to the sum total of all the research on weight, science cannot say with any certainty that extra weight is a symptom, a disease, a risk factor, a positive indicator of health, a genetic issue, a psychosocial one – because it can be any of these
  • The scientific community still can’t wrap its’ head around the simple fact that weight is a mind, body, heart, soul, psychological, cultural and spiritual phenomenon. How we “do” science as a nation is rather immature, and often primitive. It’s time for the scientists, doctors, dietitians, and researchers who hold the collective power to counsel others – to heal their own inner wounds and expand their vision so they can serve from a deeper and more humane place, and a truly scientific/holistic place.

I’ll pause here for now.

I’ll remind you that the emotional and psychic issues around weight are far heavier for people than the weight itself. The amount of pain and suffering we carry around body fat is tremendous. Imagine what would happen in society if all of us were in love with our own human form, and in love with our own humanity. We’d be powerhouses. We’d be free to do our work, our mission, our truest purpose in life. So much energy would be liberated. We’d be more creative, more confident, more connected to one another. Our hearts would feel better. The sex would be better. We’d have no reason to hold ourselves back.
But being in love with our own human form doesn’t mean: “First I lose the weight, than I love myself.” It means we begin the journey of love now. Would you tell your own child “I will love you once you are skinnier.” Sounds terrible doesn’t it? Well, that’s what so many people are saying, internally, to themselves. Love only exists in the moment, and in the present. Vitamin L – Love, has long been the key missing ingredient in the weight loss recipe. But the love needs to be guided by a healthy dose of Vitamin W -wisdom. We need to not just be kinder, but to smarten up. It’s time to let go of our limited scientific and emotionally charged beliefs about weight that are stale and outdated. How would love and wisdom guide you to a deeper understanding of this powerful challenge of our times? Where would it ask you to go, and how would it ask you to be an agent of change and transformation?
My warmest regards,
Marc David
Institute for the Psychology of Eating

Learn More About the Psychology That Makes Livliga so Effective


Chicken Sate Wrap

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Chicken Sate Wraps
It is amazing to me how common "wraps" have become in our diet. I think there is a good reason. They're generally easy to make and easy to eat. With the right ingredients they can also be nice and filling. I found this Chicken Sate Wrap (cal 321)in my Mix & Match Low-calorie Cookbook but I then found it on line.The flavors are rich and satisfying with a combination of light coconut milk, soy sauce and peanut butter.

I paired the Chicken Sate Wrap with a Mixed Greens with Pears and Raspberries salad (cal 86), which I have written about in a previous blog, for a total calorie count of 407. A great menu filled with flavors and colors. A big hit with the family and a definite repeat.


Great Healthy Living Quote #29

Monday, January 28, 2013

The inescapable truth is that we can only achieve and sustain optimum metabolism when we eat, exercise, and live under an optimum emotional state.

Marc David, The Slow Down Diet

Loving My New Gadgets!- The Perfect Peeler

Friday, January 25, 2013
Cooking takes time. Prepping foods for a recipe is what takes the most time. I am always looking for ways to make me more efficient in the kitchen. Having utensils that work well and are easy to handle is key. Knowing this, my husband treated me to The Perfect Peeler at Christmas.

As you can see by the photos, it is easy to handle and glides well as you peel. You can change the angle on the blade which is helpful depending on what you are peeling. It is also nice and sharp thanks to the ceramic blade. I did try it on a block of Parmesan and the blade popped off. It didn't break, thank goodness, but it clearly is made for peeling vegetables and not shaving hard blocks of cheese! I definitely like this new gadget!


Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp

Thursday, January 24, 2013
In these cold winter months it is nice not to always have stews, soups or roasts. We still want our comfort food, though, and pasta dishes are a great way to lighten up and still feel comforted.

We recently enjoyed Rocco Dispirito's Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp for dinner. It is online but I originally found it in his book- Now Eat This Diet! What I like about his cookbook is that he has re-tooled old favorites so they can fit into a mindful daily menu. As a chef he has worked to make sure the flavors, texture and aromas are still there. A mighty feat but I have found his recipes are consistently good and satisfying. He even compares the typical calories of each dish to the calories of his re-tooled dishes of the same kind. For this dish the "before and after" comparison is - Before~1120 and After~374. It is also, as you can see, visually appealing.

To round out the meal I included a Simple Romaine Salad with 2 tablespoons of Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette for 60 calories. Total calories for the meal were 434.


Avoid cutting off your arm with a snowblower--eat these foods

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Winter is not necessarily conducive to good health; the season conjures up images of calorie-loaded comfort foods, fireside naps, and runny noses. Read on for six everyday foods that will keep you healthy and strong from December to March and beyond.

#1: Oatmeal:

What it does: Helps you avoid the winter blues

Why it works: Sunlight signals your body to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin, so winter’s short, dark days may leave you in a less-than-cheery mood. If the doldrums persist, you may even find yourself suffering a serious form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But don’t let Jack Frost get you down: Whole grain carbs like oatmeal can give your winter mood a much-needed boost. In a MIT study, researchers found that eating plenty of carbohydrates keeps serotonin levels up and can even prevent cravings for sweets. Refined carbs like doughnuts and white bread can be tempting winter comforts, but these foods will cause your blood sugar to quickly spike then plummet, leaving you in worse spirits than you were before. To stay happy and healthy, opt for whole grains instead.

Other mood-improving foods: Whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain cereals, fruit

#2: Walnuts:

What it does: Keeps your skin from drying out

Why it works: The winter months bring drier air (blame frigid winds and indoor heating), which can suck the moisture out of your skin, leaving it dull, tight, and itchy. Applying moisturizer can help, but the omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like walnuts will combat your dry-skin problem from the inside. Omega-3s help maintain healthy cell membranes, including those found in your skin. When your skin cells are strong they are better able to retain moisture, helping your skin avoid a reptilian fate.

Other skin-saving foods: Salmon, flaxseed, olive oil, tuna

#3: Garlic:

What it does: Wards off cold and flu viruses (and vampires)

Why it works: British researchers recently discovered that garlic may prevent you from getting sick. In the 12-week study of 164 healthy adults, the group of participants that received a garlic supplement reported only 24 colds, while the group that received a placebo reported 64 colds. One explanation is a chemical in garlic called allicin, which may stimulate the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Whatever the reason, adding garlic to your meals may help you stay above the weather. Just don’t eat too much—you want to keep disease at bay, not your friends and family.

Other virus-blasting foods: Carrots, yogurt, oysters.

#4: Winter squash:

What it does: Prevents weight gain

Why it works: A 2006 Bastyr University study found that participants who routinely ate more fiber than the national average of about 14 grams per day were less likely to be overweight than those who consumed less than 14 grams. Fiber-rich foods, like squash, contain relatively low calories, and they’re digested more slowly, keeping you full long after you eat them—an important defense against the season of overindulgence otherwise known as winter. With about 9 grams of fiber per one-cup serving, eating winter squash (like acorn and butternut varieties) is a great way to load up on fiber and prevent post-holiday eaters remorse. Winter squash is also loaded with carotenes, which have been shown to reduce the risk of a variety of diseases from cancer to heart disease. Most winter squash is available year-round, but its peak season is early fall through late winter.

Other weight-loss foods: Artichokes, raspberries, whole grains, legumes

#5: Chicken Sandwich:

What it does: Keeps your energy up

Why it works: Darkness signals your body to produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for making you sleepy, so the shorter days that come along with winter can cause you to feel like hitting the sack instead of the gym. But eating complex carbohydrates—most abundant in whole grains, starchy vegetables, and legumes—along with some protein can help you stay awake and energized. This combination, found in foods like a chicken sandwich on wheat bread, boosts energy in two ways: Your body digests the complex carbs slowly, keeping your blood sugar stable, and the protein helps you stay fuller, longer.

Other energy-boosting foods: Peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread, Greek yogurt with fruit, whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese.

#6: Chicken Soup:

What it does: Helps you breathe easy

Why it works: Chicken soup has long been touted at the best home remedy for cold and flu season, and it really can help. Hot liquids temporarily clear your sinuses, and a University of Nebraska study found that chicken soup may even reduce inflammation in your nose and throat. Plus, most chicken soups are low in calories and saturated fat, and high in fiber. For the healthiest version, try making the soup yourself with plenty of veggies and whole wheat noodles. If homemade isn’t an option, try Campbell’s Healthy request Condensed Chicken Noodle soup, which has only 60 calories per cup.

Other sinus-clearing foods: Tea, coffee, any broth-based soup.

I found this on Women's Health Magazine online.

Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

As part of my commitment to live a healthier lifestyle I am putting effort into creating healthy snacks that are easy to prepare and have on hand. We had a few pumpkins left over from our holiday decorations that we decided to recycle, reuse and repurpose. Each time we use one of the pumpkins we save the pumpkin seeds to roast. Here is my easy recipe for preparing and roasting the seeds:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Seeds from one pumpkin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
3-4 cups of water
Olive Oil cooking spray
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence

1. Clean the pumpkin seeds of all stringy fibers. Wash throughly.
2. Place seeds in a bowl and cover with water. Sprinkle in all salt. Let seeds soak in brine for 8 hours.
3. Remove seeds from brine. Pat dry. Place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Spray top of seeds as well. Sprinkle herbes de Provence on top of seeds.
4. Place seeds in pre-heated oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Switch oven to broil. Place seeds on higher rack. Brown for 2 minutes while watching to make sure you do not over brown your seeds.

Makes about 1 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds. Serving size is 2 tablespoons for 114 calories.


Livliga~ Why it works~ Background in VisualQs philosophy

Monday, January 21, 2013

It has finally happened. I have launched my new business, Livliga. 

It is a company created to provide an answer to the current health crisis escalated by the obesity epidemic. Livliga is a suite of patent pending tableware that addresses the psychology of eating in the design of the dishware. Attractive and practical, the Livliga system guides the user through visual cues rather than diets and guilt to better eating choices and right-sized portions. Today we offer 4 piece place settings in two patterns and a serving bowl. Come check us out at livligahome.com!   

 Live Vibrant!

Loving My New Gadgets!-Chef iPad Stand

Friday, January 18, 2013
There is nothing better in the New Year than trying out a gadget you got for a gift over the holidays. A gift I got, which I have really wanted, was an iPad Stand for the kitchen. My husband did some research and surprised me with a Belkin Tablet Chef Stand & Stylus. For less than $30 you get a handy stand and stylus. The stylus is important so you can touch the screen of the iPad when you are in the midst of cooking and have messy hands. The iPad stays clean and the stylus is made to be cleaned.

The Chef iPad Stand makes me feel very "with it". I think my children even made noises of admiration when they saw me unwrap this gift. What I like is that it doesn't take up too much space on the counter top, a lot less space, in fact, than my recipe notebook. I like trying out new recipes each week, some of which I may never repeat, so to be able to use my iPad and not go to the hassle and waste of printing out a recipe is really appealing to me. A lot "greener" way to enjoy trying new things.

My Daughter's Crockpot Recipe-Chicken Provencale

Thursday, January 17, 2013
People always think of Spring Cleaning when they have the urge and make the time to clean out closets, clean up desks, wash the windows and throw away the old. I have another clean out that comes after the holidays. Not only do I put away the holiday decorations and move everything back in place but I also clean out the refrigerator and freezer. It is part of the process of "cleaning up my act" for the New Year. The leftover sweets and snacks have got to go. Since it is also the time to start fresh, I like using up all the frozen items in my freezer. It is a way to make sure I don't keep them in the freezer too long. I inevitable find things I have long forgotten! A good example were the bone-in chicken breasts that were left over from my daughter's birthday dinner in mid-November. Definitely time to use them...but in what dish? This day and age most recipes call for boneless and skinless chicken breasts.

I went on the internet and found what looked like a super easy recipe that called for bone-in chicken breasts (after all who wants to work hard in the kitchen post holidays!). It is from the Cooking Light website and is called Provençale Chicken Supper. The flavors were great and it really was easy for my daughter to make. The disappointment was that the meat was very dry. My experience has been that white chicken meat is hard to cook without becoming dry, especially without the skin and bone-in. I want to try this recipe again with chicken thighs. My bet is it will be much more successful. This recipe is so easy and tasty I don't want to give up on it yet!

The Provençale Chicken Supper was 281 calories per serving and it served 4. To complete the meal I added a simple salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing for 60 calories and a whole wheat roll for 110 calories. The total calorie count for the meal was 451.  This will only be a repeat which a different meat.


Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #10 Mood Foods

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Mood-Management Strategy: Try Mood-Boosting Foods

Okay, sometimes food and mood should go together. It turns out it’s not just doughnuts that make us feel good. There is growing evidence that the Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on fruits, vegetables and olive oil, is associated with less depression over time. A Spanish study of more than 10,000 people found that those who consumed a Mediterranean diet had a 30 percent lower risk of developing depression, even when the researchers controlled for other health habits and personality traits. Similarly, the consumption of more omega-3 fatty acids, found in foods like salmon, tuna, herring, walnuts and canola oil, is associated with less depressed mood. Though the research is preliminary, the general health benefits of these diets make them worth considering. 

I found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle


My Daughter's Crockpot Recipe-Spiced Pork with Pumpkin and Sweet Potato

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Slow Cooker Recipe that uses Seasonal Pumpkins

We are looking forward to the holidays everything about this time of year is filled with fun anticipation. As a family, though, we want to maintain the regular cycles of life and eating. One of the regular routines is our daughter's weekly preparation of crockpot recipes! This week she did a crockpot recipe we originally sourced from She Wore the Dress and I Stayed Home. Truthfully, the recipe called for butternut squash but since pumpkins are plentiful and we have pumpkins available from our decorations, we chose to use the pumpkins. It turned out to be a great substitute. The other part of the recipe we changed was to put only one poblano pepper in instead of two. We also decreased the brown sugar. The recipe had a mild amount of heat but was not spicy hot.

The flavoring in this recipe was rich, savory and sweet. The pumpkin and sweet potato added the hint of sweet. The cumin, ginger and cinnamon added the savory. The pork combined with all the ingredients made it a rich and satisfying dish. We made 8 servings out of the crockpot for about 1 1/2 cups per person. We completed the meal with steamed haricots verts in chicken broth.

An easy recipe that turned into a cozy and flavorful winter meal. We all loved it. A definite repeat.

Slow Cooker Spiced Pork with Pumpkin and Sweet Potato 

  • 1 1/2 pound pumpkin or butternut squash, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/8 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 fresh poblano pepper, seeded and cut into bite-size strips
  • 3 onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 2 pound pork shoulder roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley


1. In large bowl combine squash and sweet potatoes. Drizzle oil over veggies, tossing to coat. In a small bowl combine brown sugar, salt, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and ginger. Add half of the spice mixture to squash mixture and set aside. Transfer to a 5 quart slow cooker. Add poblano peppers and onion to cooker.

2. In small bowl combine the meat and the remaining spice mixture, tossing to coat pieces. Add meat to cooker. Pour broth over meat.

3. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 to 3.5 hours.

4. To serve, transfer squash mixture and meat to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve up with LivSpoons!

Nutritional Information
Serves: 8. Calories per serving: 478. Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 2g); Sodium  48mg; Protein 15g; Carbohydrate 17g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 9g.

Make-it-a-Meal Tip:  Add 3/4 cup of steamed green beans for 26 calories to complete your meal. Total calories for the meal will be 504.

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Great Healthy Living Quote #28

Monday, January 14, 2013


Loving My New Gadgets!- Popcorn Popper

Friday, January 11, 2013
My husband loves to give me new gadgets for Christmas. Sometimes I think ahead and ask for specific items that I know I want. This year I knew I wanted a popcorn popper. Of course it is one that air pops so there is no oil or added calories involved in the popping! He did some research and decided on the Cuisinart CPM-100 EasyPop Hot Air Popcorn Maker. 

I love it! For less than $40 on Amazon it is a great buy to provide for a super healthy snack. 3 tablespoons of unpopped corn is 120 calories and makes about 6 cups of popcorn. A great afternoon snack.

And as I wrote about previously in my blog- Popcorn-even healthier than we thought!- popcorn is loaded with antioxidants and fiber so it is a very healthy snack to choose. It is also reasonable in calories for a sizable quantity. When I am ravenously hungry in the late afternoon a bowl of popcorn fills me up and keeps me from making bad choices because all that knoshing on the kernels is really satisfying. We have already enjoyed a number of  bowls of popcorn in The New Year since the whole family loves it as a snack!

Repurposing Holiday Decorations into Wholesome Foods!

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Yep, it is that time of year to clean up and pack up all the holiday decorations. This year, instead of throwing out the pumpkins, my husband suggested we REUSE them! What a novel idea! Somehow I find it quite perfect that we are reusing, re-purposing and recycling our holiday pumpkins!

Pumpkins are a very healthy super food. The meat doesn't have to just be used for pumpkin pies. In fact, the meat of the pumpkin can be used in substitution of other squash, like butternut, in soups and stews. I did just that last night when we made a crockpot dinner of Spiced Pork with Pumpkin Squash (it called for butternut squash) and Sweet Potatoes. It was delicious!

Beyond stews and soups pumpkin can be used to make yummy muffins. One of my new favorite muffins to make is Pumpkin Muffins with Crystallized Ginger.....so good!

And let's not forget the pumpkin seeds! They are so good for us from being high in protein to being a good source of vitamin E and minerals like magnesium and copper which are so vital for our health. They are easy to home roast. They also keep for a number of weeks once roasted. An easy, quick and nutritious snack. As described by Dr. Oz, a handful is 83 calories.

So here's starting the New Year recycling our holiday decorations and feeling healthier and "greener" for it!

Fitbit Mania

Wednesday, January 9, 2013
One of my sons got a Fitbit from his office for an end-of-the-year holiday gift. Then he was so excited about it he gave a Fitbit to his older brother for Christmas. Last year my sons gave me the first Fitbit among the family which I wrote about in a previous blog. I was very motivated at first but then, as is our habit, I got out of the habit. Another loner pursuit that went by the wayside.

Now I have a team supporting me and competing amongst each other. We can see each other's activity on line which is particularly cool since we live across the country from each other. I for one am highly motivated to find a week where I can out step both of my sons! Even my husband is now in on it. This may have something to do with the fact our sons gave us the Fitbit Aria WiFi Smart Scale. It really is awesome as it syncs with the FitBit website so it tracks each time you weigh and shows it to you over time and compared to the goals you have set. You can share this information with others as well. I have not yet had the courage to do so. So far I am just sharing my activity. All my activity and weight and calories can be logged, much of it automatically, so I have my personal view of my commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

The two things I like the most currently is that I can input and save my own calories according to the meals and recipes I use so the calories map to my meal plans. I also like that it compares "Calories In to Calories Out". I have a concrete, visual picture of how my exercize and food intake relate. A very powerful tool. I am looking forward to downloading the app so I can use it on the road and when I am out and about eating.

As I mentioned in my New Year's Resolution blog, this is my year for Keeping On Track. The Fitbit, Fitbit Scale and Fitbit App are going to be great tools to help me do just that!
My family is my team and community supporting me every step and bite along the way.


Oriental Chicken Wrap

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I love enjoying the different flavors of cultures around the world. The combination of foods as well as the unique herbs, spices and sauces you use make for mighty fine eating. It also helps me get out of the doldrums of cooking and spices up my palette. Mid- winter I also need a cooking "pick me up"!

This Oriental Chicken Wrap (256 cal) recipe did the trick. The chicken mixture is really delicious- moist, flavorful and satisfying. My family loved it! The meal was completed with a Boy Choy and Tomato Salad (51 cal) and 1 cup of Blackberries for a total meal calorie count of 359. A big hit and a definite repeat.

Overcoming the Exercise Aversion in the New Year!

Monday, January 7, 2013

As the New Year begins, it seems to be a good time to confront the barriers to our good health. Here is some great information I found from the American Heart Association:

We all know the benefits of regular physical activity – increased energy, better cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke and looking more svelte.

But 80 percent of Americans don’t make exercise a regular habit, and, according to a recent American Heart Association website survey, 14 percent say they don’t like exercise.

So how do you overcome an exercise aversion? Mercedes Carnethon, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, has some tips to help you incorporate exercise into your life – and maybe even learn to like it.

  1. Exercise That Suits You   Find an exercise that best fits your personality, Dr. Carnethon said. If you are social person, do something that engages you socially – take a group exercise class, join a kickball team or walk with a group of friends. Or, if you prefer having time alone, walking or jogging solo might be a better fit for you. MyWalkingClub.org is the perfect way to connect with others who share your goals, lifestyles, schedules and hobbies.

    Try some of these ideas to help you get moving – at home, at work or at play.
  2. Make it a Habit   It takes about three weeks for something to become a habit, so give yourself the time to create a regular routine. One way is to try to exercise around the same time each day.
    “Exercise can become addictive in a positive way,” said Dr. Carnethon, who is also an American Heart Association volunteer. “Once it becomes a habit, you’ll notice when you aren’t doing something.”
  3. Build Exercise Into Your Lifestyle   Be honest with yourself. If you don’t live close to a gym, it’s not going to become a habit for you. Likewise, if you are not a morning person, don’t plan on somehow getting up at the crack of dawn to make a boot camp class.

    “The key is building activity into your lifestyle so it is not disruptive,” Dr. Carnethon said.

    There are many ways to fit exercise into your life, and it doesn’t mean you have to make a big financial investment.

    You can borrow exercise videos from the library or DVR an exercise program. Do weight or resistance training with items around your home (for example, use canned goods as light weights).  Walking is great option, as well. The only investment is a good pair of shoes.
  4. Do Bouts of Exercise   It’s OK to break up your physical activity into smaller segments, Dr. Carnethon said. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day of exercise most days, but if that sounds overwhelming, try three 10-minute workout sessions.

    You could do a quick calisthenics routine when you wake up, take a brief walk after lunch at work and, if you commute with public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  5. Keep Going   If you miss a day or a workout, don’t worry about it. Everybody struggles once in a while. Just make sure you get back at it the next day.

    “It doesn’t take too long to get back on track,” Dr. Carnethon said. “It’s easy to make something a habit again. You will see same benefits before. Any little bit you can fit in will show benefits.”

New Year's Resolution—Keeping on Track

Friday, January 4, 2013

My New Year's Resolution is to commit to keeping on track with living a Healthy Lifestyle. I know what I need to do and it isn't just one thing. It is a way of going about my daily routine mindfully. I started a new food journal and at the very front I have outlined the daily steps I need and want to take to keep on track. This will be my personal guide and reference to remind me of each element required, that I embrace, to live vibrant. The rest of the book will log my daily commitments so I can be ever mindful and get into the swing of healthy habits. My List:

Mindful Daily Steps to Keep On Track

  • Track all food

  • Track all beverages (make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water)

  • Track all exercise (make sure to wear your Fitbit)

  • Track your blood pressure

  • Track your weight

  • Right size all eating (prepare and pre-plan all you eat and use your Livliga dishware!)

  • Count calories (Livestrong.com is a great resource for info and calories on food)

  • Plan your menus (total calories for the day should be 1500 or less)

  • Think through lunch choices so food is on hand and calories are pre-thought

  • Have pre-washed and pre-cut veggies in the front of the refrigerator for snacks

  • Have 3 or 4 hard boiled eggs ready to eat in the front of the refrigerator for snacking

  •  Exercise 7 days a week (5 days should be at the gym for 45 minutes)

  • Get plenty of sleep (start getting ready for bed at 10PM with lights out at 11PM for at least 6 hours of sleep)

  • Meditate for 5 minutes at bedtime and first thing in the morning

  • Snacks to have on hand:
  •           Veggies- grape tomatoes, celery, steamed green beans, carrots, jicama
              Fruits- pears, oranges, apples, berries, mineolas, grapes, bananas
              Plain Greek Yogurt and/or Yoplait "100 calories" greek yogurt containers
              Hard Boiled Eggs
              Air popped popcorn






    Jumpstart Your Livliga Lifestyle with our Get Started Guide!

    Ways to Break the Cycle of Comfort Eating- #9 Find Your Sisters

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    New Mood-Management Strategy: Find Your Sisters

    People with similar problems created the earliest weight-control and other self-help groups because the medical field did not know how to help them. This is still somewhat true in the area of food and mood. You may find some experts to be a bit judgmental or lacking in empathy, but talking to other women (and men) who practice comfort eating can feel like a big support. You will feel connected and understood, and you may be able to share new techniques for mood management. 

    I found this on iVillage: Ways to Break the Cycle



    Tuesday, January 1, 2013


    Wishing everyone a Happy New Year! May 2013 be your year to Live Vibrant!