xmlns:fb='http://www.facebook.com/2008/fbml' working4wellness: 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wellness requires Gratitude

ThanksLIVING--a term coined by Susie Davis "the good news girl."http://www.susiedavis.org/

I had the pleasure of hearing her speak recently at an awesome new (and exploding with new members) TWIB (Texas Women in Business) meeting.  
ThanksLIVING requires Gratitude .....an often missed-- yet integral part of wellness.  It seems to me that God is shouting this at me lately.  Every way I turn I am learning more about gratitude.  Or....maybe...I am now ready to hear that message.
I took off this week to hang out with my tween and just "be."  I am truly happy to work out without rushing off to work.  I made gingerbread and banana pancakes for my son this morning.  I will make a yummy salad for a girlfriend coming over for lunch.  Really & truly --these simple things bring me joy.

It wouldn't be right for me to say "yummy salad" and not tell you my plans!
Most likely it will be:
-grilled chicken
-toasted slivered almonds
-a little feta
-grape tomatoes
-diced apples

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

never satisfied

Hi friends
     I had to write a quick note on something many people struggle with....body image.
Now, I could write on this for pages and pages... What drove me to write a few notes down was finally watching the episode where Oprah interviews Portia de Rossi (now Portia DeGeneres) about her new book Unbearable Lightness.  (I had it saved on tivo.)  I have put the link to that video within this blog.http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Portia-de-Rossi-and-the-Secret-That-Nearly-Killed-Her-Video/topic/oprahshow
Portia reads passages from her book in the interview that are a rare and HONEST glimpse into the mind of someone with an eating disorder.  
     There is such a fine line between chronic dieting and disordered eating that pretty much anyone and everyone can benefit from at least watching the interview. 
Society seems to convince many of us that we are never going to look good enough.  We are bombarded with media images and real life experiences that reinforce these thoughts.  Take the time today to write a list of what you LIKE about yourself (efficient, empathetic, great baker...whatever!)  and make sure you tell colleagues, friends and family why you appreciate them in your life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I love drinking coffee out of my Grandma's pretty china. It reminds me of having breakfast in her kitchen with her.  She was the master of soft boiled eggs...her timing was how long it took her to take the bobby pins out of her hair...she came back and VOILA the egg was perfect EVERY time.  

Back to coffee-The only caffeine I ever consumed prior to becoming a mom was via chocolate!  Yet, turning 30 as a working mom drove me to requiring assistance to keep on truckin'.  (I won't tell how long ago I had THAT birthday!)

Coffee actually has some decent health benefits besides a mental and/or athletic boost.  It is high in antioxidants (called quinines) -which are more potent in coffee beans after they are roasted.  Coffee is also a source of Magnesium, which in addition to the antioxidants may reduce the risk of Diabetes by as much as 25%.  Yet, if you already have Diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure) it may complicate that condition.

Where coffee may provide a health hazard is the 500 calorie "frilly" coffees from coffee shops.  If you prefer a sweet coffee beverage, try a non-fat latte with a little honey or stevia.  So, enjoy your warm cup of coffee on the cooler days in moderation.  Your body will need more and more caffeine to see significant boosts.  Get enough sleep so you don't have to completely rely on caffeine for survival.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cooler weather beckons Butternut Squash

I Love Butternut Squash.  Pictured here is a sauce I found at COSTCO...
Straight from the jar it was DELISH--it is called Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.
I poured half the jar over some chicken and threw it in the oven to bake....
plan to pair it with some asparagus and quinoa...

Is it hard to make butternut squash?  NO!
You literally grab one at the store and throw it on a pan and into the oven.
Leave it in there until a knife goes through easily and VOILA.

I have also received RAVE reviews from a soup I make this time of year
Butternut and Apple Harvest Soup. Here's the link for it...

Just a 1/2 cup of butternut squash cubes (but I think I always eat more than that....)
has 300% of your Vitamin A and 50% of your Vitamin C daily requirements...
not to mention: good source of fiber, zero fat, and a powerhouse of phytonutrients and antioxidants!

Write me a note and tell me how YOU cook your butternut squash!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's on your menu? Plant promise-one week complete!

Hello all
I have finished one week of eating all plant based foods (plus eggs).
If I am at home, it is easy--eating out isn't terribly difficult--
Yet, I seem to not be full unless I eat some peanut or almond butter--
and then I don't STOP eating the peanut or almond butter... UGH!

What do I miss the most?  Probably cheese with my weekend fermented grapes!
I also planned out menu items for this week with my family as we were wingin' it too often
with convenience items/sandwiches...etc...

TUESDAY-grilled or pan fried fish (for the boys) with sweet potato baked fries and salad
WEDNESDAY-pasta with tomatoes, feta & sausage (I'll have beans or hummus- not sausage)
THURSDAY- black bean (or regular bean) toastadas with beef and cheese on top for boys, veggies for all
FRIDAY-grilled eggplant and portabella sandwich----this may get postponed due to HIGHSCHOOL football game!
SUNDAY-zucchini patties

What's your menu plan for the week?
I would love to hear what YOU and your family are eating!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DAY 1- plant based promise

Hi friends
As with any kind of special eating - preparing ahead of time is key.  This lesson was thoroughly reinforced for me today.  

Just this first day was full of temptations-
-my friend sent me an awesome recipe for a gluten free protein bar that had chocolate chips and yogurt as ingredients (not that those aren't fine to include--but not included in this almost vegan adventure)
-Tiff's treats and other cookies offered
-watching everyone else eat MahiMahi on top of their veggies!

Breakfast at home- easy, oatmeal with 1 c blueberries, a few sliced almonds and hard boiled egg white.
Lunch- a meeting at work...we have an awesome chef, so my veggie plate was delish--yet, since I am not even eating cheese or seafood--there was no significant protein in my meal.
THEREFORE- I was starving when I arrived home and pretty much ate all afternoon until I overate at dinner! UGGGH
My dinner was cornbread, black beans, green beans, raw spinach salad, tomatoes, avocado & salsa. I still have a headache from getting too hungry.  
1-I have researched some more vegan based recipes and plan to shop accordingly.
2-If I have a lunch meeting, I will bring something to round out the meal before or after if it doesn't have all the nutrients I need.
By the way, this type of planning works for anyone trying to follow a special diet, gain weight, lose weight, gain muscle or avoid foods due to allergy--just look at it as required homework--like laundry with more flavor!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vegetarian?--hold me accountable

Hi all
I am posting this so my friends can hold me accountable.  I am going to try going a month eating only
plant based foods..... 
Wait, there is NO TRY, only DO (per Yoda...)  
So, let me rephrase--
I AM going to eat only plant based foods for roughly a month.
Those of you that know me, my diet is actually not terribly off from that--
Yet, wine screams to me..."EAT CHEESE!"...so my weekend treat of wine will be lonely...maybe hummus will work as its new friend?  I also love to have animal protein on my yummy green salads. 

WHY? you ask...well, some would say--she'll eat less calories--ummmm...most likely NOT... 
Have you ever seen my salads? It is true, that plant based foods are high in nutrition value.  It is also a fact that you can eat too much of anything, whether it be hummus or cheese dip.
Unfortunately, I do have to make one exception--I'll still eat eggs.  Due to some health constraints, I probably wouldn't get enough protein otherwise. Those same health issues direct me towards gluten free....I do not have Celiac disease- but am much healthier when I significantly limit gluten.

Ok, I still haven't answered WHY....
It is nothing profound...really just as a personal challenge and to help me guide my vegetarian clients from actual experience.  Who knows, maybe I'll feel so great I'll go longer than a month :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

School & Slow?

School and Slow seems like an oxymoron...
Yet- I'm talking about Healthy meals with your SLOW COOKER!
Lean meat turns out tender and the flavors will meld into tasty goodness without salt!
You will have more time to SLOW down to enjoy a meal with your family, as most of the work will be done while you are AWAY...
Eating Well has a great slideshow WITH SEVERAL RECIPES on their website--check it out!

 "Rotisserie" / roasted chicken in your crock pot is also a DELISH and economical meal! and...we ALL know how many different meals you can throw that cooked chicken into... :)  The trick is to have a few balls of foil for the chicken to set on while cooking...or you can use some veggies instead!  Below is a link of a video showing just how easy this is....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A low carb diet based on Animal Protein may INCREASE Death Risk

News From The Annals Of Internal Medicine: September 7, 2010

07 Sep 2010   

A Low-carb Diet Based on Animal Protein May Increase Death Risk 

Evidence shows that a low-carbohydrate diet produces weight loss and improves some cardiovascular risk factors. However, health effects of a low-carbohydrate diet may depend on the type of protein and fat consumed. Researchers followed 85,168 women and 44,548 men on a low-carbohydrate diet for 26 and 20 years respectively. The patients ate either an animal-based (emphasizing animal sources of fat and protein) low-carbohydrate diet, or a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet. The researchers found that diets that emphasized animal sources of fat and protein were associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women. A vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates. The researchers conclude that while major macronutrient content may be similar in both diets, the source of the macronutrients can result in large differences in dietary components that may affect mortality such as specific fatty acids, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eggplant PIZZA?!

Hi parents
Don't forget...
your children are much more adventurous with food the more involved they are in the shopping and planning process.

Tonight, I had an eggplant we needed to eat.  My son and I searched for recipes and he picked an EGGPLANT PIZZA recipe... (link below from allrecipes.com)
 the eggplant serves as the crust--
I let him do most of the cooking ...OF COURSE, it takes longer and is MUCH messier
but he ate a food that he normally doesn't enjoy! 
 (see end of entry for a few changes we made)

What they learn:
-reading & following directions
-safe food handling (raw eggs)

-time with my son!

changes we made:
-we sprayed the coated slices with olive oil spray instead of frying in more oil
-we used less cheese
-I used feta for mine(more flavor, less cheese needed)
-we used white whole wheat flour
-Turkey pepperoni for Daddy's "meat" pizza!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Crustless" Spinach Pizza

"Crustless" Spinach Pizza
Hello all-
I wanted to remind everyone you can enjoy the flavors of pizza with an 
increased nutrition value (compared to your typical delivery pizza).

Here is a picture of a giant bowl of baby spinach (1.5 cups) with the following toppings:

1 cup fresh sliced tomatoes (big wedges)
1/8 cup feta cheese
1 srv turkey pepperoni (about 15 slices)
a sprinkle of parmesan cheese
and 1-1.5 Tablespoons of a light Italian dressing
(of course you could add a million other veggies- this is all I had time to chop up this evening)
I had this with some cheese rice crackers to scoop it all up---

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cheating Intelligently

Hi friends, 

Many of you have heard several of these tips 
from me in the past.  
WebMD has listed many of my favorites 
together in the below list
I call it Cheating Intelligently....

12 Healthy Ways to Cheat on Your Diet

Beyond sensible splurging, WebMD asked nutrition experts for more tips to how you can cheat on your diet and still lose weight. Here's what they said:
1.    Accept your "splurge foods." Your desire for them isn't going anywhere. And as we all know, when you tell people they can't do something -- like enjoy a slice of pie -- they're going to want to do it even more, cautions Grotto.
2.    Eat more filling foods. Load up your diet with foods that go the distance -- those with lean protein and fiber. "Add eggs, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, salads, lean meats, seafood, and low fat dairy because these foods fill you up and help tame your appetite" says American Dietetic Association spokesperson Marisa Moore, RD.  For further cravings control, plan for healthy snacks so that you don't go for long periods without eating. 

12 Healthy Ways to Cheat on Your Diet continued...

3.    Go for flavor hits. Whatever you love, buy it in its most intense and tasty form, says O'Neil. This way, you can have less of it, yet still get the flavor you crave. For example, are you crazy about salty snacks? Splurge on gourmet sea salt or chunky kosher salt, and sprinkle it over a ripe, red tomato. "You'll have a more brilliant, bright flavor," says O'Neil, "but a better salty hit and crunch -- so you'll use less."
4.    Enjoy with all your senses. When you indulge in your diet splurge, serve it on a pretty plate with a colorful garnish so you can appreciate its eye appeal. "Eat your meals and snacks slowly by taking small bites so you can enjoy the taste and have a satisfying and mindful meal experience," advises Brian Wansink, PhD, author of Mindful Eating. Being more aware of what is on your plate and eating it slowly can help you get more satisfaction from your food.
5.    Have a plan. "If you happen to be a dessert lover and eat out, ask to see the dessert menu first," says O'Neil. This way, you can budget your calories for what matters most to you. Knowing where you're really headed -- toward that pecan torte, perhaps? -- will make it easier to skip the creamy clam chowder or deep-fried cheese sticks.
6.    Eat only what you love. "If it's bad [for your diet], it had better be good," says O'Neil. So instead of grabbing a trio of donut holes each morning with your coffee -- and distractedly downing a doughy 300 calories -- splurge on something worth savoring, like a small, perfect wedge of creamy cheesecake.
7.    Make it yourself. Can't enjoy your morning coffee without a muffin? Mix up your own batch, slipping in goodies like oats, nuts, and whole-grain flour. Love piping hot pizza? Try making it yourself, using intensely flavored toppings like goat cheese, smoked salmon, and fresh herbs. You won't even miss the pepperoni. WebMD's "Recipe Doctor," Elaine Magee, knows where to slash calories without anyone noticing: "Cheesecake is a perfect example of an easy dish to lighten, because you can use a dusting of graham cracker or cookie crumbs instead of a crust made with 6 tablespoons of melted butter; [and use] reduced-fat ingredients like light cream cheese and egg substitute and a little less sugar," she says. "Then you can heighten the flavor with lemon or lime zest for a dessert that is much lighter so you can enjoy a larger portion."
8.    Get away from it all. How many times have you eaten lunch at your desk or in front of the TV, and then realized you didn't taste a bite? "Our society doesn't embrace eating and enjoying our food; we try and be productive at all times," says Grotto. That's why it's so important to savor your splurge without distractions. And if you do so away from the kitchen, it's harder to sneak in seconds.
9.    Eat what you love, in small portions. You can have it all, just not all in one day. No food is off-limits as long as you keep your portions reasonable. "Every day I satisfy my sweet tooth with a couple of bites of dark chocolate that I keep in the freezer so it melts slowly and satisfies my craving without consuming too many calories," says Magee. 
10. Compromise. O'Neil lives in the South, where sweet iced tea is a popular drink. Instead of doing without when she goes out, she orders unsweetened iced tea with a dash of sweet tea on top. So if you think it's not a picnic without your creamy chicken salad, enjoy it -- but cut the calories by replacing half the mayonnaise with yogurt. "Compromises are an empowering thing," says O'Neil.
11. Make small changes. Passionate about a nightly dessert? Enjoy every mouthful -- but top it off with a walk around the block afterward. Addicted to a pizza slice and a cola for your daily lunch? Relish every bite -- but enjoy them four days a week instead of five. Grotto and O'Neil agree that small steps can add up to big results, so find the changes that work best for you. "We almost have it built into us, hard-wired, the resistance to simple things," says Grotto. "That's why I think so many people fail on diets."
12. Don't let a little slip become a backslide.  It is almost impossible to be an "A" student when it comes to dieting. "Everyone slips up, and that is fine as long as you don't let one slip turn into a backslide," says Wansink. Whenever you slip up, take note of it, try to learn from it so you can anticipate it in the future, and get right back into your diet plan to avoid the temptation to throw in the towel.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Spinach Salad with Steak & Blueberries

Hi friends-
If you haven't noticed, blueberries are a great deal right now!
Eating Well has some awesome recipes--see below LINK for a super easy, delicious and healthy 
Spinach Salad with Lean Steak and Blueberries!

Spinach Salad with Steak &; Blueberries

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Detox Diets: Purging the Myths

Detox Diets: Purging the Myths
Hi friends
I am OFTEN asked my opinion of "detox" diets.
Here is a great summary by some reputable experts.

Monday, June 28, 2010


if you have been to Houston...you will know what I mean when I say
it is HOUSTON HUMID HOT here in the ATX right now...

My 10 year old son just finished a 6 hour per day OUTDOOR soccer camp for one week.
When I picked him up in the afternoons, it was a minimum of 94 degrees.  
When he is doing that much endurance exercise, in that heat, for 6 HOURS...
I really don't care what he drinks- I just want him to DRINK!   

In the example above, a full strength sports drink with sugar is probably a good idea...
ESPECIALLY if it improves the chances of the child consuming enough liquids.

YET, if exercise is less than 90 minutes, or just a drink around the house,
 a sports drink is NOT the best choice.
Though it varies by brand, a 10 ounce sports drink can have a minimum of 10 teaspoons of sugar.
Children drinking EMPTY calories via sodas, juice, and sports drinks at home INSTEAD of water or 
low fat milk can contribute to childhood obesity and erosion of tooth enamel.

Would you like some GOOD NEWS?

Powerade has come out with a product called POWERADE Play
It is specifically designed for younger athletes.  It is sweetened naturally with cane sugar and STEVIA!
Now, they didn't take out the artificial colors- but this is a huge improvement on products that have been readily available in the past.

My son isn't great about drinking enough, ESPECIALLY in the Texas Summer heat...
I would prefer he drink water, which he will do when he is really thirsty, but other times require a bit of 
"strong encouragement."
I have been searching for naturally sweetened, low calorie "fun" drinks for a while...
one that has hit stores here recently is called
Crystal Light Pure Fitness- naturally sweetened and no artificial colors or preservatives!! 
(yes- Alissa--woo hoo!)

This blog below also talks about how important it is for children to stay hydrated during sports.
Small water losses are magnified the less you weigh.
Parents, you know your children, you will make the best choices for your children's well being.


I hope this helps everyone in their quest to quench their family's thirst this summer!

I have not received any free samples/coupons/NADA- just excited that the options are improving

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Frozen Banana- CHOCOLATE covered- of Course!

Hi friends
With May Madness past us, 
and the joy and HEAT of June and July jumping in...
Let's COOL OFF with some fun, frozen FRUIT desserts!

Since it is summer, I had my son along
to "help" me do the grocery shopping.
He wanted to buy a kit
for chocolate covered bananas. 
I thought we might
make it better (and with more CHOCOLATE) ourselves!

Summer also says...SORBET--you can make with any
kind of your favorite fruit!
Sorbet tastes great, and it's GOOD for you!

Below are a couple different versions of recipes 
that I found on COOKS.COM and allrecipes.com

If you try one, please comment on 
and let me know how it goes.
Even better, take a picture and post it on here- I'd love to post the winner (we'll let my "helper"  pick!)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter 
Covered Chocolate Banana 
1 c. chocolate morsels
4 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
Sliced bananas

Melt chocolate and peanut butter. Insert toothpicks in banana slices. 
Dip bananas in chocolate. Put on wax paper and freeze.

PINEAPPLE - ORANGE SORBET (allrecipes.com)

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1.In a medium saucepan, bring water and sugar to a simmer
 over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved.
2.In a food processor, puree pineapple with its juice until smooth.
 Transfer to a metal bowl, and stir in syrup, lemon juice,
 orange juice, and orange zest. Freeze until slightly firm,
 but not frozen.
3.Process mixture again in the food processor or 
beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
 Transfer to a freezer container and
 freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Watermelon SOUP!

Hello out there--

Working4Wellness loves WATERMELON!

I have a fun recipe for you that's good for you and can cool you off at the same time. Watermelon SOUP!
Traci's Tips:
-If you don't like a chunky consistency--my suggestion is to puree it a bit after combining all the ingredients.
-Make it a day ahead, and be the envy of all your friends at the Memorial Day BBQ!
Watermelon is a good source of potassium, 
and almost 20% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A and Vitamin C (in one cup diced).

Noteworthy is its content of the carotenoids lutein and lycopene
Lutein is an antioxidant carotenoid that helps to protect your eyes.  Lycopene, the responsible pigment for the red color in certain fruits, has antioxidant properties that help reduce the risk of  cardiovascular disease.

Watermelon Gazpacho courtesy of
All Recipes.com
recipe image

Servings: 6

"Start your hot-weather meal with this easy, intriguing variation on the classic tomato cold soup."
2 cups 1/4-inch-diced watermelon
2 cups orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 seedless cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch
1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and
cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and
minced (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley,
basil or cilantro
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Process 1/2 cup of watermelon, along with the orange juice and oil, in a blender or food processor until pureed. Transfer to a medium bowl, along with remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Can be made several hours before serving.)
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Calories: 110
Amount Per Serving
  • Total Fat: 4.8g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 68mg
Amount Per Serving
  • Total Carbs: 16.4g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 1.8g