Monday, March 30, 2009


Originally uploaded by love_yellow
This woman looks like a skeleton. Yikes! What a terrible role model for young women reading this magazine (Lucky).

When I set out to write this blog my goal was to be educational and share tips about being healthy both in mind and body. Didn't want to be controversial or negative, but I was alarmed when I saw this ad so I was compelled to use my blog as platform to get a message out.

This is NOT healthy. This is NOT a good role model.

I've always wanted a pair of UGG boots but never got around to buying them. But now I definitely will NOT BUY them because I don't want to support a company that would publish an ad that glamorizes a young woman who looks anorexic and thereby sending the wrong message. That poor model looks malnourished!

If they're trying to sell shoes, then they should focus on the shoes, but almost the entire bottom half of this page focuses on her skeleton legs with their brand name next to it. How did their marketing department allow this to happen? UGH!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Green Energy

Green juice
Originally uploaded by love_yellow

I can't drink caffeine past 3pm or I'll be awake all night. About 8 ounces of this juice blend diluted with water and with an extra shot of chlorophyll gives me the that boost of energy I need to get me through the afternoon. Woo hoo!

It's got more sugar (from fruit) than I'd like to consume so I'd love to learn about other ways I can get that late afternoon energy boost. If you have anything you'd like to share, please do let me know.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What’s your cooking personality?

What’s Your Cooking Personality? is a related NY Times article about the Nutritional Gatekeeper (see prior blog post).

Click here to take the test and you will end up in one of these categories:

a) Giving: Friendly, well-liked and enthusiastic, giving cooks seldom experiment, love baking and like to serve tried-and-true family favorites, although that sometimes means serving less healthful foods.

b) Methodical:
Talented cooks who rely heavily on recipes. The methodical cook has refined tastes and manners. Their creations always look exactly like the picture in the cookbook.

c) Healthy: Optimistic, book-loving, nature enthusiasts, healthy cooks experiment with fish, fresh produce and herbs. Health comes first, even if it means sometimes sacrificing taste.

d) Competitive: The Iron Chef of the neighborhood, competitive cooks have dominant personalities and are intense perfectionists who love to impress their guests.

e) Innovative: Creative and trend-setting, innovative cooks seldom use recipes and like to experiment with ingredients, cuisine styles and cooking methods.

I am a combo of C and E. I try to optimize health and taste. I don’t sacrifice taste to eat healthy - healthy doesn’t have to be tasteless.

Though there are many generalizations, I like how this article makes the point that there is not just one standard to being judged as a good cook.

Many cooking shows and media articles glorify the cook who can make the most “incredible” meal. “Incredible” being defined as great to look at and highly flavorful. I appreciate the artistry of good food presentation, but I prefer top notch ingredients over food that’s nice to look at.

About the photo
In a pinch a like to use Trader Joe's pre-packaged chard to make a chard and barley soup. It hits the spot in the winter.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nutritional Gatekeeper

Did you see last week's article in the New York Times, Who's Cooking? (For Health, It Matters)?

Here's an excerpt:
"Studies show that the biggest influence on family eating habits is the person who buys and prepares the food. These “nutritional gatekeepers,” as researchers call them, influence more than 70 percent of the foods we eat, according to a 2006 report in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association — not just home meals but children’s lunches, snacks eaten outside the home, and even what family members order at restaurants."

I am definitely the "Nutritional Gatekeeper" in my household because I do the grocery shopping and prepare/cook the food. I do my best to prepare a variety of healthy meals that are pleasing to the palate, but not necessarily fancy or pretty.

It's interesting that the article goes on to make the point that the Nutritional Gatekeeper influences a family's eating habits and can pass on both good and bad habits to children. It makes sense.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Doctoring recipes

It drives my husband crazy that I'm constantly fussing with recipes to make them more "healthy", that is, if baked goods can be considered healthy.

Sometimes I fail miserably and what was suppose to be a healthy blueberry muffin ends up tasting like cardboard and doesn't quite satisfy the sweet tooth. But hey, at least I'm trying and with some practice I'm starting to get the hang of it.

Baking is tricky because it's more of a science than cooking, so you can't just change the measurements and expect it to turn out well. So unless you're scientifically inclined, trial and error (and taking lots of notes) is the only way to go.

Last week I made a second attempt at "improving" a lemon blueberry yogurt pound cake based on a recipe from Food Network's Ina Garten. I substituted the white flour for whole wheat flour, decreased the sugar and added stevia, increased the yogurt a little and added (frozen) wild blueberries.

It was a total hit! Really moist, good flavor with a nice pucker of lemon and just enough sweetness to satisfy the sweet tooth. This doctored recipe is a keeper!

If you'd like details on the "improved" recipe, write a comment and I'll reply. :-)

Monday, March 16, 2009


No matter how hard I've tried over the years, I just haven't been able to get rid of my sweet tooth. Not that I like sickly sweet desserts and I don't even like sugary candy, but I do like to have something a little sweet every day.

I wonder if there's a biological need to have that sweet tooth daily? PERHAPS, we need the boost of sugar right after a meal to give our digestive system extra energy??? I'm happy to go with it, even though my waist line could probably go without it.

My sweetness of choice is chocolate and the darker the better (up to 75%, preferably not below 50%). Luckily for me they say that dark chocolate has lots of antioxidants. Hurrah! My waist line may not get slimmer but with the antioxidants I will have fewer wrinkles and my body will be better equipped to fight of those bad cells. Or am I just finding ways to justify my chocolic habit? ;-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spring has arrived!

Quince blossoms 26Feb09
Originally uploaded by love_yellow
Yes, another spring entry because I'm so happy it has finally arrived! It was a long winter.

These quince blossoms are always the first to herald in the spring season in my backyard. I can't help but to feel a sense of being uplifted, a fresh start and some motivation. All the things that have dragged me down all winter... the extra weight, the anxieties about the economy, you know... all that yuck, is starting to lift and I'm starting to feel hopeful that everything will get better... like a new year is starting.

And coincidentally enough, tomorrow is my birthday which means it really is a new year (for me anyway) and I'm going to put last year far behind and make this year a good one! :-)

I'm thankful to the salmon-pink quince blossoms for being so dependable... returning every year and giving me that feeling of renewal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spring haiku

Originally uploaded by love_yellow

garden awakening

spring bursts colored energy
now is the new year

Ha! My first attempt at a haiku (since 4th grade)... inspired by my excitement that spring is finally here. The camelias in my garden are in full bloom and my fruit trees have started to blossom. In think we all would appreciate having spring come in full force and rejuvenate us from the long winter.

Monday, March 9, 2009


Originally uploaded by love_yellow
Yuck! While hiking on a trail I saw these bugs and was disgusted but also marveled at how these orange colored creatures all ended up on this fence in this pattern. I was nervous that one was going to jump onto me and bite me while I was taking the photo.

I'm a bit torn about bugs... on the one hand some are creepy and annoying, but on the other hand there are beneficial bugs that are necessary. In my vegetable garden I know that ladybugs and praying mantis eat the bad bugs that can kill my plants. And I know that my digestive tract is suppose to be filled with good bugs (bacteria) to prevent the bad bacteria from taking over.

The good bacteria, also known as probiotics, produce vitamins to give you nutrients and enzymes to help you detoxify. I try my best to get a good dose of probiotics by eating fermented foods, raw foods and sometimes taking probiotic supplements. I've even cultured vegetables and made yogurt and they came out great. It wasn't actually that much work but I get lazy and disorganized so I don't do it on a regular basis, though I should.

And as for the bugs out in nature... I've come to terms with the fact that they're there for a reason. And even though I may not like the way some of them look, I try to find something about them to appreciate, though some are easier to appreciate than others. :-)

About the photo
Taken at the Palomarin trail in Bolinas, CA.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Panko macadamia crusted wild salmon

One of my favorite ways to prepare salmon is to bake it with a crust consisting of:

- panko crumbs
- chopped macadamia nuts
- black sesame seeds

First whisk an egg with a little salt and garlic powder in a small bowl. Slice the fish fillet into individual servings. Dip each piece in the egg mixture, then roll in the crust mix and bake on a lightly greased (olive oil) pan at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. (I know wild salmon is out of season now but it's available frozen.)

I always make a big batch so I have enough for lunch and dinner the next day. When it's cold it can be served over a bed of organic baby greens (dressed with EVOO and balsamic vinegar) to make a delicious salad. Yum!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yoga to nourish the body and mind

I took my first yoga class about 20 years ago but only in the last 18 months have I practiced more regularly (1 to 2x a week), mainly because my husband has gotten into it (thanks to a particular instructor). I've seen many benefits from my more consistent yoga practice, so I am committed to continuing the once or twice per week practice... hopefully for the rest of my life!

In some ways I feel my progress is so slow because most sessions are just so challenging. But in other ways I feel big changes have been made in my body's strength and flexibility in a relatively short time. For example, recently I've been able to do the back bend position, but 6 years ago my back was in such bad shape I thought there would be no way in my life time that it would be possible (even my chiropractor didn't think so). In fact, my back is so much better I've stopped going to the chiropractor after just 6 months of practicing more consistently.

Besides the physical benefits of yoga, each practice is a wonderful opportunity to escape my thoughts. There is no opportunity in class for the mind to wander... only to focus on my teacher's instructions. There's no choice but to focus on NOW. It's meditative and relaxing to the mind, while challenging for the body. I'm not sure what is more valuable... the relief from my anxious and active mind or the toning of my muscles. I suppose both equally support good health.

In the spirit of sharing good health with my friends and readers, I want to acknowledge my wonderful yoga instructor, Sean Michael Hall. He is totally committed to wellness and he has made a huge contribution to my and also my husband's health.... and for this we are grateful. Anyone who lives in the Berkeley/Oakland area would find it convenient to go to one of his yoga classes. He also has an acupuncture practice that specializes in pain management and women's issues.

To your health!

About the photo
Taken at the Palomarin trail in Bolinas, CA.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

High flavor, high protein breakfast

Soy chorizo & eggs
Originally uploaded by love_yellow
Quick breakfast tip...

I love the flavor of chorizo sausage but I'm not a fan of pork so I was happy to discover SOY chorizo at Trader Joe's a couple of years ago. It's already cooked too so whipping up a scramble with eggs takes no time at all. It's such an easy way to get a high protein breakfast that's really flavorful.

It keeps a while in the fridge so you can pick one up on your next TJs shopping trip and just keep it handy in your fridge.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Roasted fingerling potatoes

Yellow, red & blue potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and a little bit of fresh rosemary from my garden. Toss in olive oil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.

I'm confused about whether potatoes are healthy are not. I know they're high in starchy carbs which can lead to weight gain, especially for people like me who don't tolerate carbs as well as others. But I also know that they have a good amount of vitamin C and I always leave the skin on which has all the nutrients and fiber. Are they toxic because they're in the nightshade family of vegetables? Is potato really a vegetable? I suppose it's all about moderation. Well... I cooked the potatoes so I guess I have to eat them! Yum!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What to eat?

How do we ensure we eat for wellness? There are so many things one must consider, it can get daunting to make the right decision.

- what's the nutritional value?
- meat, vegetarian or vegan?
- locally grown or not? what's the carbon footprint?
- what's the environmental impact?
- organic or conventional?
- should I avoid GMOs?
- what foods should I avoid?
- raw or cooked?
- am I allergic?
- ratio of carbs, protein and fat
- how much to eat
- how often to eat
- am I getting enough fiber?
- should adults have milk/dairy?
- do I have the proper bacteria in my gut?
- how much sugar is too much for me?
- is coffee/caffeine bad for me? how much is ok?

The questions are endless. Everyone has a different body... different tolerances, preferences, metabolisms, philosophies, cultures, environments, etc. so the answer is very different for each individual. There aren't too many places one can go to get a simple answer, so I suppose it's each person's responsibility to observe their own body and figure out what's right for them. It's not easy but it seems to be the only way.

BTW, my food gurus are Sally Fallon, Michael Pollan and William Wolcott. I try my best to follow their approach to food/eating, but it's not always easy to apply all that knowledge. :-)

About the photo
Taken in September 2003 at the open air market in Helsinki, Finland (kauppatori).