Archive for April, 2013


If you are a parent, you’ll be able to relate to this. Let’s say you have a child find-your-voicewho is having issues in school. You get called to the school and the professionals give you a “diagnosis” of what they think the problem is.  They make specific recommendations that don’t seem to make sense to you based on how you know your child. Would you say “OK, great”, and take their advice?  Probably not. I bet many of you would start doing some research to find out what did make sense. You would explore options, find alternative solutions, and figure out a plan. Then, you would advocate on behalf of your child.

We need to do the same thing when it comes to our health. While the doctor has knowledge, he/she is  ultimately not responsible for your health…….you are. If your doctor gives you a diagnosis that doesn’t seem to fit,  you need to do just what you would have done above: educate yourself, research alternatives, and be your own advocate.

If you’re in your in your 40’s or older, you have to start paying attention to the risk factors of heart disease since this is what’s killing us. This includes having a basic understanding of…..

  • your family history of heart disease
  • elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
  • elevated “bad” cholesterol (LDL)
  • elevated triglycerides (fat in the blood)
  • low “good” cholesterol (HDL)
  • the risks of central obesity
  • the risks of slightly elevated blood sugar (pre-diabetes or insulin resistance)

Clearly, this list is not long and with reputable internet sites, you can become proficient very quickly.

Work with your doctor—please don’t just take his/her word as “gospel”–especially when it comes to things that don’t make sense to you. Educate yourself on the basics. Know what your blood pressure is. (“132 over ‘something’”, doesn’t count.) Question alternatives to medications. Know what the side effects are. Get copies of your blood tests and other diagnostic tests for your own records. Be an advocate. And just like you would for your child with an “issue”, make a plan and be in charge.

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Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca IMG_0673

4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/8 t salt
12 fresh sage leaves
2 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 8 thin strips
1 T + 1 t olive oil
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 t cornstarch

Sprinkle the chicken cutlets evenly with salt. Place 3 sage leaves on each chicken cutlet; wrap 2 prosciutto slices around each cutlet, securing the sage leaves in place.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and swirl to coat the pan. Add the wrapped chicken cutlets to the pan; cook cutlets 2 minutes on each side or until they are done. Remove them from the pan and keep warm.

Combine the chicken broth, lemon juice and cornstarch in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until the cornstarch mixture is smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook mixture for 1 minute or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Spoon sauce over the chicken and serve.

(Adapted from a recipe found in “Cooking Light”, November, 2012)

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As I’m approaching my 50th birthday, I’m realizing that when it comes to staying fit, just one type of exercise will no longer do. For all of you 1/2-centenarians out there, here’s what we need:

  • Since our bones are becoming less dense, and since our muscle mass is shrinking every year we need to do weight training.
  • Since our joints are becoming stiff, we need flexibility training.
  • Since our balance is going haywire, we need core strength training.
  • Since heart disease kills us, we need to do cardio-vascular training.
  •  Since the fat is piling up everywhere, we need to do aerobic exercise.
  •  Since it’s imperative that we de-stress, we need to do yoga.
  • Since we don’t want to pound our joints, we need to swim.
  • Since it’s important that we enjoy exercise, we need to play a team sport so that we can get social interaction.

With all of this exercise, who has time to work? dv0301725_XS

Bottom line: It takes a village to stay healthy at 50.


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I think the ability to be able to laugh at yourself is a true gift. Lucky for me, I’m gifted in this area. cartoon-laugh-3[1]

The other day, I REALLY had a good laugh!

I was traveling back from NYC on Metro-North. Any time I get on a train, I inevitably fall asleep. No matter how hard I try to stay awake……….I’m out! On this particular ride, I was extremely tired so I was actually concerned that I would fall asleep and miss my stop.  (Yes, this has happened to me before.)

So of course, I fell asleep but woke up when I was 2 stops away. At that point, I should have gotten up and waited by the door. But I didn’t. I stayed in my cozy seat. The next thing I knew, I heard the announcement saying, “This station is Dobbs Ferry”, at which point, I shot up like a jack-in-the-box, bolted over to the door and stuck my arm in the closing door. When my arm went in, the door was ¾ shut and with all of my might, I pushed that door open. And yes, I grunted loudly like a powerlifter. I must have  looked and sounded like a complete nut job.

My very first thought was, “Holy crap am I glad that I’m strong!!!” Then, I started laughing.

Moral of the story: LIFT WEIGHTS. BE STRONG. You never know when it will come in handy! And oh, and make sure you keep laughing…….

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Caponata IMG_0800

Caponata is an Italian vegetable salad eaten chilled. It’s delicious and so easy to make!


1 T olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 eggplant, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

8 ounces mushrooms, chopped

1-2 zucchine, chopped

1 ½ t oregano

1 ½ t sugar

1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste


2 T white wine vinegar

3-4 T pine nuts

salt and pepper to taste


Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the remaining vegetables and stir. Add the oregano, sugar and tomato paste. Fill up the tomato paste can with water, add, and stir to combine. Add the pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, simmer, cover and cook for about 30-40, stirring frequently. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Cool and refrigerate before serving.

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We all know that if you want to lose weight, the best “method” is to move a little more and eat a less. That’s all it takes. Diet and exercise

I love exercise for so many reasons—the calorie expenditure is actually at the bottom of my list. Putting all the health benefits aside including the energy expenditure, exercise gives you energy. It reduces stress. It helps you sleep better. It makes you feel good. These are reasons enough to move a little more. However, to make a real difference in calorie reduction, the best way is to watch your diet.

Let’s take a closer look at this–here’s an easy example: SODA. Let’s say someone drank 3 cans of coke a day. Each 12-ounce can has 140 calories, a total of 420. To burn off these 420 calories,  you’d have to exercise for about 45-60 minutes, depending upon your size and how hard you were working. That’s a lot of exercise. It seems to me, that it’s easier to wean yourself off of the soda.

Food can be sneakily caloric. Even healthy food. Let’s say you decide to add some nuts into you diet and choose almonds.  For breakfast, you add 1-ounce of almonds  into your cereal.  For lunch, you sprinkle some almonds onto your salad. Later in the day you add them to your low-fat yogurt. That’s about 500 calories of almonds.  Sweating those babies off will take a while!

Ponder this: people underestimate how many calories there are in food and they overestimate how much they burn when exercising. HHHHMMMM…….this is a deadly combination.

Bottom line: If you want to lose weight you have to move a little more and eat a little less. But it’s easier to eat a little less than to try to burn off  the “little more” that you ate. So move your body to feel good but eat a little less to make the caloric deficit.

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Doctors are good at many things but they don’t know much about nutrition. They have very little training in medical school and yet they often dispense, what I would consider to be, bizarre nutritional counseling. I’m going to give you 3 examples that have left me thinking WTF! 11645222-cartoon-doctor

1. When I was going through school to get my nutrition degree, I had to spend many hours in the hospital, counseling patients on specific diets. Before seeing the patient, I would have to look in the medical chart to understand his/her problem and pay attention to the doctor’s notes. One patient I had to talk to was a 35-year-old woman who was 5’4” and weighed 350 pounds. The doctor recommended a healthy diet of 1800 calories for this patient. REALLY? This woman was consuming close to 3000 calories to maintain her current body weight. He was recommending her to slash her daily calories by 60%, which is TOTALLY UNREALISTIC! If I had to bet, I would say that this doctor had NO IDEA what 1800 calories even looked like. His recommendation was absurd. WTF!

2. I have a great podiatrist, who I love. He sees a lot of diabetic clients because often, diabetic patients have foot problems due to poor circulation. I asked him if he talks to his diabetic patients about nutrition. He said “Yes……..I tell them to watch their carbs.” What does this even mean? There is so much confusion already about carbohydrates. People still think that fruits and vegetables are in a separate food group and not part of the carbohydrate family. They are. Diabetics certainly CAN eat carbs—they just have to be careful HOW they eat them and must space them out throughout the day. “Watch your carbs?” WTF!

3. Finally, I have a wonderful client who has high blood pressure. We tried to lower this through diet and exercise and even though she lost weight, her blood pressure was still elevated and she had to start taking medication. Her doctor told her that she needed to  “Tweak her diet” and do better. But the doctor never even asked her what her diet was like to begin with! What if she was a vegetarian who ate almost perfectly???? How could someone tell you to change something when they don’t even know what you’re doing to begin with??? WTF!

So………if you are seeking nutritional counseling, your doctor is not the best source. See a Registered Dietician (RD) or a Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR). They are the nutrition experts.

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