Slim by Design a Lifestyle Revolution

Friday, January 30, 2015

Brian Wansink, Ph.D. is head of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. His latest book, Slim by Design is informative, action-oriented and challenges us to embrace a Lifestyle Revolution.  He presents us with the idea that we should acknowledge our behaviors around food and embrace them rather than try to overcome them through sheer will power.  As he aptly puts it, “It is easier to change your eating environment than to change your mind”. He often asks in his book “What do slim people do?” and then shows us what slim people do at home, the grocery store, at work, at a restaurant and at school. With his research and studies of human behavior he is able to provide us with specific examples of how to change our food habitat to support us rather than work against us as we strive to eat healthy.

By changing the design of the places where we eat we create an environment where it is easier to make better eating choices, supporting an overall healthier lifestyle.  He calls this our “food radius”. Turns out most of us have a food radius of about 5 miles around our home. When you see it as just 5 miles it appears more possible and manageable to influence change around our home.

First things first. As he points out, the biggest change we can make is in our homes. He has even quantified it for us: “We control about 72 percent of what our family eats, for better or for worse.” At home design changes include eating off of smaller plates, getting rid of the clutter in your kitchen, swapping out the cookie jar for a big bowl of fruit, making tempting foods invisible and inconvenient to access and above all, making it easier to cook and serve. To help you become aware of how supportive your food environment is at home the book includes an “In-Home Slim-by-Design Self-Assessment.”

When it comes to the other places where we eat food he challenges us to get involved rather than just discuss what is wrong with the amounts of food restaurants serve us or the unhealthy choices of foods given to kids at school or even how grocery stores tempt us with calorie dense foods in the check out line.  How do we get involved? The answer: by taking action and requesting change, politely, of course.  To help you get started in making and requesting change there is a “Slim-by-Design Action Plan Kit,” complete with lists of people to contact, addresses and sample letters.

The point is it is possible to make changes to our food radius but it will require some effort. Yet without that effort we will be stuck overeating, yo-yo dieting and growing in weight, not wisdom. Dr. Brian Wansink shows us, however, that we should not be afraid of causing and requesting change. It really is a win-win for everyone. No one enjoys overeating. Your family may not even notice the changes you make in your kitchen but guaranteed, their bodies will benefit and they will feel better for it. Your first “win-win”. He then points out that changes in a restaurant can actually help the restaurant make more money in a couple of ways. If you ask for healthy changes and state you will frequent their restaurant more and recommend it to friends, the restaurant wins. If the changes they make involve smaller portions for an appropriate price they can also save money on food, bringing more money to their bottom line. Everyone benefits. Another “win-win.” This can also be true for your workplace, school and grocery store. Everyone can win with positive, healthy and “mindless eating solutions” for everyday life.

In summary, the book is a great resource. Dr. Wansink’s research and insight, based on his decades of behavioral studies, provides us a practical road map of how to work with our instincts and proclivities around food rather than try to overcome them. In truth it is all about taking action that will make it easier for us to eat healthy every day, everywhere we are, for the rest of our lives. In our own home and food radius he makes the argument that ‘small changes will spark a big movement’ for what I see as the ultimate Lifestyle Revolution. I’m in.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant! 

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Great Healthy Living Quote #131-- Opportunity in Every Difficulty

Monday, January 26, 2015
Great Healthy Living Quote #131-- Opportunity in Every Difficulty (photo by LivligaHome)

Are you a pessimist or an optimist?


SHOCKING: Global Obesity costs more than War

Friday, January 23, 2015
Global Obesity: Growing and Costly (photo by LivligaHome).

The United States has a big issue with obesity. It is a growing epidemic. Regrettably, we are not alone. Obesity is on the rise everywhere. In a recent summary I saw the cost to obesity has soared above our combined costs of war and terrorism. Here is what I read:

The global health-care and lost-productivity costs of obesity have climbed to $2 trillion a year—as much as the combined costs of armed violence, war, and terrorism, according to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute. About 30 percent of the world’s population is overweight or obese, as reported by the Associated Press.

Clearly the drag on our economies can ultimately overwhlem them if we do not make deliberate steps not only as individuals but as citizens of this world we live in to change how we live and what we eat. As it stands now, it will not be an IED that brings us down but our own weight.

Dr. Brian Wansink in his new book--Slim by Design--challenges us to make change and get involved  in our own communities. In fact, he outlines what could be an effective action plan, who to contact like schools, grocery stores and restaurants, with a list of names and addresses and even offers examples of the letters to write. He shows us how easy it is to get involved and how it can truly make a difference. The Action Plan Kit is available and downloadable at

Here are more articles on the Livliga Live Vibrant blog related to Globesity:

The Facts on "the land of the fat, and the home of the obese.”

Why We Need to Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle...Global Facts

Obesity as a Global Epidemic

Obesity now kills 3 times more people than malnutrition!

Globestiy As An Investment Opportunity

#Brian Wansink


Great Healthy Living Quote #130-- The Place to Start

Monday, January 19, 2015
Great Healthy Living Quote #130-- The Place to Start (photo by LivligaHome)


Poached Salmon-- A Conerstone of Your Recipe Repertoire

Friday, January 16, 2015
Poached Salmon is a simple dish that can be a conerstone of your recipe repertoire (photo by LivligaHome)

There is something really wonderful about a simple dish. There is an elegance about them that you can't beat. It is its own art. Doing it well is trickier than it may seem. But when you get a simple dish down it ends up being a cornerstone of your recipe repertoire. Poached salmon is just such a recipe. It is simple, tasty and is the foundation for any number of menus or other dishes you might devise.

The challenge with a poached salmon is making sure it does not taste "fishy" or overdone. Ideally you want to buy the fish fresh the day you are going to poach it. Having it a little fattier is also good. The farm raised salmon rather than wild Coho works best. 
Here is a simple recipe to use:

Poached Salmon

2 pounds salmon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 cup sake**
Enough water to cover the salmon
1. Rinse salmon and pull out any random bones with pliers.
2. Place salmon in a skillet with a cover.
3. Add all other ingredients.
4. Bring water to a boil and boil for one minute. Then turn off heat and let the fish cook in the hot water for another 7 - 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cut. When done the fish should flake with a fork and be a reddish pink. Remove from the hot water as soon as it flakes so it does not continue cooking.
5. Serve hot or cold. The poached salmon is also good to use in any any variety of recipes that call for a cooked meat or fish like salads, pasta, sandwiches, omelets or soups. You are only limited by your imagination.

**To be completely true to the Whole30 program substitute the sake for rice wine vinegar.

Serves 8.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!


Great Healthy Living Quote #129-- Hope Smiles

Monday, January 12, 2015
Great Healthy Living Quote #129-- Hope Smiles (photo by LivligaHome)

How will you turn hope into a happier year ahead?


Drive Your Health in 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015
Infographic provided by American Recall Center

Taking control of our health is key to achieving and maintaining our quality of life. This blog focuses mainly on the lifestyle issues of healthy eating, our mental health and living an active lifestyle. In addition, it is important to have annual check ups and effective communication with our primary care physician. My friends at the American Recall Center have put together this informative infographic to guide us in 2015 as we "drive our health" in the New Year.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

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The Ease and Versatility of Poached Chicken

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Poached Chicken Recipe

Poached meats are easy to prepare and, because their flavor is so simple, they can be used in so many different kinds of dishes. I have talked with many friends and acquaintances who have an aversion to leftovers. To them, leftovers means eating day old soggy food. But like everyone wanting to have more home cooked, healthier foods in their diet, they don’t have time to cook from scratch for each meal. Poached meats gives new meaning to leftovers.

Poached chicken can be a delicacy for dinner; right after it has been cooked. The next day more of the same meat can be cut up in chunks and used in a salad. Additional dishes can be made where it can be included in omelets, chicken salad nestled in a half of a cantaloupe or used in an Asian wrap. The uses for poached chicken are not only versatile but also almost infinite.

What I like to do when I know I am going to have a busy week is to buy a couple of pounds of boneless chicken breast to poach at the beginning of the week. It is a dish you can prepare and cook when you are already cooking another meal so it is a time saver on all fronts. Next I make sure to plan out two to four meals, depending on how many people I have at home, that I can use the poached chicken as part of the recipe. Having your meat already pre-cooked for some meals can save a lot of prep time in the kitchen.

Easy Recipe for Poaching Chicken

Here is how I poach my chicken:

Poached Chicken

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
2-4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine (use the small bottles you can buy at the liquor store that come in a six-pack)
1½ teaspoon tarragon
1 teaspoon garlic chips

1. Rinse chicken and place in a large skillet that has a cover.
2. Add the broth to the chicken just until the meat is barely covered.
3. Add all other ingredients
4. Bring broth to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Do not over cook.

Makes 8 servings.

Enjoy! And Live Vibrant!

Re-posted from Sheila's Blog on


Great Healthy Living Quote #128-- Welcome, New Year!

Monday, January 5, 2015
Welcome, New Year! (photo by LivligaHome)
What are you imagining for your New Year?


Keeping on Track in the New Year

Friday, January 2, 2015

Drive Your Health in 2015 by creating mindful daily routines. Keep a daily journal to put your daily commitments on paper and to help you track your success. Below are some ideas of what is important to keep track of to love your heart, your health and yourself! Which ones are your top priority for 2015?

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 dish ware!)
  • Count calories ( 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:
  1. Veggies- grape tomatoes, celery, steamed green beans, carrots, jicama
  2. Fruits- pears, oranges, apples, berries, honeybells & mineolas, grapes, bananas
  3. Plain Greek Yogurt and/or Yoplait "100 calories" greek yogurt containers
  4. Hard Boiled Eggs
  5. Air popped popcorn
Note to self: NO MORE GRAZING

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