Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Over!

My dearest readers, I am closing down this blog and re-directing you over to my newly re-done website and blog all-in-one:

Gulp.  As I designed the website myself, this feels a bit like standing with my pants around my ankles hoping you think my underwear is cute.  But the good news is that I can write a statement like that and not worry what kind of wackos show up from Google searches of underwear and ankles because I won't be here.

On the new website you can:

1.  View the blog, past, present and future.  Yes, it's all there.  No one gets left behind (who remembers Billy Blazes??)

2.  All of the blog recipes are organized by title on their own Recipe Index page.  You're welcome.

3.  You can get more free health handouts and resources, with even more being added soon.

4.  You can purchase recipe e-books.  There is only one up now, but more to follow.

5.  You can purchase my 30-Day Detox as an e-book.

6.  You can subscribe to the blog via email so you'll always know when I post something new.

7.  You can learn about all of my programs, upcoming events and even find out what my favorite splurge foods are (that's your Where's Waldo challenge item).

8.  You can communicate with me directly by commenting on the blog or sending me a note through my contact page.

9.  You can sign up for a free 20-minute phone or Skype health consultation!

All and all, I think it'll be a pretty great time for all of us.

I ask just one thing.  I did this website for YOU, to serve you and to help a much wider audience get healthier, eat better and live happier lives.  So if there is something that does not work:  layout issues, pictures not loading right, broken links, or if you order something and don't get it or have a problem with the process, PLEASE let me know so I can fix it!  And if you do like what you see, forward it to your friends, your family, your boss, your neighbor.

And with that, Bye-Bye Blogger!  And Blogger, I sincerely hope this is the last time I will EVER have to log out of gmail just to log into my blog because your petty jealousies and control issues or whatever your deal was.  I have found someone new and his name is wordpress...

Come on over.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sweety Beety Meets the Sugar Queen

At some point in my life I will eventually learn that when I don't exercise, I feel like ca-ca and when I do exercise I feel like woo-hoo.  After that last depressing waaaaah post about being so frustrated, I got an email from a dear friend who said:

"Emily, did you skip the gym this morning by any chance?"

Um, yes.

And, I skipped it the day before too now that you mention it.


I went to Spinning on Thursday morning and like magic, everything was once again right with my world.  Live and learn and learn and learn and learn.

In other news, I read a FABULOUS book this weekend.  It's called The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen and it was as yummy as it sounds.  It's all about a young woman struggling to find her own life while stuffing all the scary bits back with a massive sweets stash in her closet.  Finally the day comes when she stops trying to plug up the holes in her heart with food and goes off in search of what she really needs.  So, basically it's the story of my life.  Ms Allen was clearly spying on me for years.  The book is romantic and sexy and funny and it made me cry and cry (but happy crying this time because I had gone to gym Friday morning too).

Highly, highly recommended.

Here are some other things I highly recommend:
Whipped Banana Oats (recipe here)
topped with Chia Seeds, Sesame Seeds and Poppy Seeds

Arugula, Tomatoes, Sun Dried Tomatoes, STRAWBERRIES, and toasted pecans
Yes, Strawberry Season has begun!

And finally I give you...

The Sweety Beety

Juice:  1 beet, 1 orange, 1 apple, and 4 carrots

Then buzz around on plant energy all day long!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I Climb the Learning Curve

There are days when I think the new website I am designing all by my little lonesome is almost ready and totally fantastic.  There are other days when I am so confused and down at heart that I feel like Harry Potter trying to unravel the riddle of the Horcruxs.  Today I am the latter.  Everything that can go wrong has and I am utterly lost and a bit hopeless.

Not me, but could be.

I generally feel there is a lesson in everything and I can't help but wonder if the lesson in this all is that we all feel confused, lost, and hopeless at times when scaling the learning curve of ANY new skill.

A couple of weeks ago I got the website process underway in earnest by attending a class in how to build a wordpress website.  Although the teacher was fabulous and very clear in her explanations, everything was new to me and very hard to understand.  I frantically scribbled lots of notes incomprehensible at the time, that I keep referring back to and truthfully, each time they make a bit more sense.  It occurred to me that maybe this is how some of my clients feel when they first come to me?  Maybe they are totally new to healthy eating and I, wanting to give tons of value, overload them with more information than they can even process.

When I think of it this way, that all of my struggles are just part of the learning process and that without the challenge of learning and accomplishing new things we stagnate and stew in our own mediocrity, I feel more energized to press on.

I also realized that, again, not unlike the weight loss process, it is very easy to want the end result without the work it takes to get there.  I have the dream of a successful online component to add to my business, enabling me to help even more people all around the world.  That's a pretty big goal and it makes me really, really excited...

But all the difficult-to-master steps I must make to get me to the end goal have me feeling frustrated and impatient.  Me thinks it's time to take a dose of my own medicine.

Post on patience here:

Post on practice here:

The best times in life are when the teacher becomes the student.  This process will help me treat people more compassionately.  It with enable me to understand that as confusing html is to me, so are aduki beans to others.  I now understand that I need to go slower sometimes.

Seven times today I emailed the teacher of my wordpress class and 7 times she patiently talked me off the ledge.  Another parallel for my own business.

And now my friends, I have burned those same aduki beans I just mentioned above because I was writing this post and not paying attention to the stove.

OK, OK, I get it!  Enough lessons for now please...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Three recipes for Vegan MoFo

First of all I want to thank Jenn for this Farm Sanctuary video. This is a little difficult to watch at the beginning but hang in there because at the mid-point you meet actual healthy, happy turkeys with adorable personalities.

I watch things like this because it helps me remember WHY I don't eat animals.  Sometimes meat looks and smells good and it's easy to forget the suffering behind the plate.  I personally don't ever want to forget!  I try not to get too "preachy" about animal rights because I don't want to turn people away.  My basic motto in all things is "Do the best you can."  It doesn't have to be perfect.  You don't have to go vegan tomorrow - just eat fewer animals.  You don't have to eat sprouts and tofu - just eat less junk and processed foods.  Every small step has a huge impact when viewed through the lens of time.

As promised, I've been cooking.  This cake was DIVINE!  It was made with spelt flour instead of white flour and maple syrup and agave nectar instead of sugar.  And of course no eggs or dairy to muck up your arteries!

Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Lemon Glaze
from Get It Ripe by Jae Steele

Curried Garbanzo Salad

Curried Garbanzo Salad
1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup leftover cooked grain (I used Israeli couscous, but brown rice or quinoa would be good)
1 tomato, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 cup cooked spinach, chopped (could substitute fresh parsley or cilantro)
2 T vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp mustard
1 T honey
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp curry powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Mix beans, grains and veggies in a bowl.  Mix remaining ingredients together in a small bowl to make a dressing.  Pour dressing over bean mixture and toss to combine.  Chill before serving.

Rose-Scented Wheat with Almonds & Pomegranates

Rose-Scented Wheat
This sounds a bit strange but is absolutely sublime!  Rose water can be food in any grocery store here in Israel and in Middle-Eastern shops the world over.  A little goes a long way!

1 1/2 cups dry wheat kernels (can use Kamut in North America.  Here it's called חיטה)
3 cups water
Rinse wheat thoroughly.  Add to a pot with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover pot and cook 40-60 minutes until soft.  Let cool somewhat before mixing with:

Seeds of 1 whole pomegranate
4 dates, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted for a few minutes until lightly toasted
1/2 cup grape juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
1-2 tsp rose water

Toss all together and serve immediately or chill for later serving.  Delish!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Where'd I go?

In the doghouse.  Literally.

Bloggies!  I'm here.  I have not abandoned you in the midst of Vegan MoFo!

My Excuse:  Every day this week I woke at the crack of dawn and journeyed by bus to far off Herzliya to attend a wordpress website building class with Kelli Brown of

So, is my website up and ready?

Um, no.

So have I cooked anything at all this entire week?

No again.

Is my family starving and neglected and do they finally understand all I do for them?

We're getting there.

I promise to cook more next week.  I promise to blog more next week.  And no promises, but I am going to work my little fingertips off and try to get this new website up and running asap!

So even though I'm a MoFo wash-up at the moment, lots of other fabulous cooks are letting it rip all over the web.  If you want to see some amazing creations and get some delicious new recipes, hit up the Round Up over at HQ:

And have a lovely weekend!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Should Eating Be Fun?

Vegan German Chocolate Cupcakes from

Last week I published a new ad to local email lists.  I personally thought the ad was a brilliant bit of copy-writing.  In the ad I used my delicious wit to describe my view of a healthy food as more than just the sum of it's calories, points, and macro-nutrients, but rather one that gives us pleasure on many levels.  I said that sometimes even mom's apple pie might be the healthiest thing in the world if it's made for you with love and enjoyed by you with happiness and free of guilt.

The ad totally tanked.  I didn't get even one click.

It got me thinking about how often I feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle:

  • I tell clients to stop dieting and start learning to eat and they tell me I'm nuts.

  • I say "Here are the keys to diet jail, free yourselves!"and they toss the keys back and lock themselves back in.

  • I tell new clients, let's ADD IN healthy foods before we even think about taking away the unhealthy ones.  They say "That's too easy, that will never work." and don't even give it a try.

  • I teach simple, doable sustainable changes, but some folks want the hardest strictest meal plan they can cling to until their white knuckles get numb and they fall into the sugar bowl.


OK, so if you don't want to listen to me, here are the words of a few of my clients who are un-dieting their way to permanent, sustainable weight loss:

"Dear Emily, 
I don't know where to begin.  You have taught me to listen to my body.  You have guided me towards healthful habits and smarter choices.  I feel as if I have a renewed lease on life.  I feel great and I am full of energy.  And it is fun to learn how to put different ingredients together to create a meal. I have to admit I never understood how food effects the body.  I guess I didn't want to know.  But it really does - you are what you eat!  Saying thank you isn't enough but I'm saying it anyway.  Words cannot express how much you have helped me and how you helped me to help myself.  I am so grateful for your wisdom, knowledge and kindness."                   -Anne G.

"Working with you, Emily, has been about the positive things, not deprivation.  I enjoy fresh healthy food more since meeting you and I feel better.  I see that this endlessly rich palette of food and the new recipes you have provided add freshness and excitement.  Most importantly, I reclaimed myself as a priority though this lesson about food which is really about so much more.  My life is better for having met you."  - Susan M.

(Both of those ladies have lost significant amounts of weight by the way).

Food is Fun.  Eating is a Pleasure.  There is no reason why losing weight and keeping it off should mean 100% abstention from your favorite foods for ever and ever.  Who can do that?  I certainly won't!
Cinnamon-Sesame Oats & Chai with Rice Milk

But healthy food is also fun and eating in moderation and for hunger, rather than for emotional reasons, is an even greater pleasure.  Getting appropriate physical exercise is one of the greatest pleasures of all!

BBQ Lentils & Eggplant and yes, that's a piece of challah and yes I ate it

Please don't think it's all or nothing - It's balance.

Please believe that you can make the simple changes that will greatly improve the quality of your life. - You can.

Please make peace with food. - It's not the enemy.

Please make peace with yourself. - It's not worth all this struggle and pain.

Macaroni with Garlic, Peas, Chickpeas, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Rosemary
No recipe there, just saute all in olive oil and toss together.  (It's gold because of the sunset)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

For the love of Schmukinuck

My friend Christy wrote me that lovely comment about what a great mom I am cooking my kids all this home-made food, and well, I've got to come clean:  When I excitedly announced to my family that I had joined Vegan MoFo....

...they GROANED.  Collectively.

And just last week in fact, before this Vegan MoFo business even began, my husband whined pathetically that I don't cook enough "Dude Food".

So although it might look all Happy Healthy Homemaker from the outside, I've got the same problems as the rest of you.  I perhaps, am just really good at ignoring them.

No but seriously, "how to get the kids/partner to eat healthy foods" is a question that comes up a lot with coaching clients.  So let's talk it through.

Many of you have already heard this story, but my mother says that my first word was Pop-Tart and my love of junk food and all things processed and packaged just grew from there.  Do you guys remember something called "Space Food Sticks"?

Mercy me, these things were a 1960's Space-crazed version of giant tootsie rolls to fuel us young astronauts through our busy days of moon rock collecting.  I actually became so addicted to them that my mom had to stage an intervention.  I am NOT kidding.  She had the entire family corroborate the lie that the company that made Space Food Sticks (Pillsbury) had gone out of business.  And because I always did the grocery shopping with her, she had to constantly invent growing subterfuge to keep me from wandering down that aisle and uncovering her deception.  I eventually did and have yet to forgive.

My mom was a gourmet cook and ahead of her time whole-foods wise (Pop tarts and space food sticks notwithstanding). I of course hated everything she made and invented a name for healthy veg-filled meals:  Schmuckinuck. Yes for real, and if any of my childhood friends are reading you are surely cracking up right now.  For about 15 years I subsisted on scrambled eggs, grilled cheese and tuna fish sandwiches with the crusts cut off.   The daily Schmuckinuck that appeared on our dinner table along with those objectionable bread crusts, rarely passed my lips.  When at age 16 I announced I would no longer be part of the animal cruelty machine and was from here on out Vegetarian, my mother chuckled and said "OK, good luck with that."  The only vegetables I ate were tomatoes, corn and potatoes. PB and J became my new stand-by although my discrimination of bread crusts continued.  Yet through all my pickiness and food-stage-weirdness, my mom kept cooking the healthy stuff and I got pretty used to seeing it there on the table.  Now I understand this was Brain Washing.

So what's the point of all this?  I just want to encourage you to keep cooking healthy meals despite your kids' grumbling.  They'll survive and may end up coming around eventually and be Schmuckinuck lovers just like me!  But if you NEVER introduce them to healthy food, then they don't stand a chance as adults.  I'd say that like 90% of my clients never ate veggies, not as kids and not as adults.  And now they're sick and overweight with 40 years of food habits to change.  Think of yourself as Jaimie Oliver and step forth boldly and with humor, involving the kids in your healthy kitchen experiments.  Tell them your afraid of Brussels Sprouts too but you'll try them if they will and then make edible green sprout snowmen and bite their heads off.

At the same time, keep up a steady stream of grilled cheese, PB and J, and tuna fish sandwiches with the crusts cut off.  You have to make some concessions to prevent all out rebellion.  Case in point:  Yesterday was my husband's birthday and I made him a Flan.  Eggs, butter, milk, sugar.  I am not veganizing it because I don't want to be divorced.  Or murdered.

Vegans, avert your eyes!
Birthday Flan (NOT Vegan)

But I'm also made this:
Egg-less Egg Salad (with the crusts cut off for old times sake)
THIS is Vegan!

Egg-less Egg Salad
1 container firm tofu, drained and crumbled with your hands
2-3 T vegan mayonnaise
1 T mustard
1 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
Mix it all up.  Easier than egg salad and just as tasty!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ocean Friendly Sushi

These little darlings are filled with Raw Food Goddess, Alissa Cohen's Mock Salmon Pate.  The recipe is all over the web, including her own website (here), so I'll go ahead and post it for ya!

Mock Salmon Pate
2 cups walnuts
1 stalks celery
1 large red bell pepper
1 large scallion
1/2 - 1 tsp sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
I like this pate on top of a salad, or spread on crackers too, but here I rolled it up in the nori sheets with grated carrot and cucumber.  That's it, no rice needed!  It is super yum!
The best part though is my chopsticks:
They say "Be Happy" and I am happy that I didn't kill any fishies for these sushi!
Today I also made Tuscan White Bean Soup and Caramelized Onion Foccacia.

Tuscan White Bean Soup
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups cooked white beans (this is 1 cup dry, soaked, rinsed and pre-cooked)
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
3 leaves fresh sage, minced
5-6 cups water or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

Saute veggies in oil.  Add beans and broth and cook 30-40 minutes until all is soft and as it should be.  Serve sprinkled with more fresh herbs if desired.  You can also puree half of the soup to make it creamier.

 Caramelized Onion Foccacia (yes I know I have no idea how to spell foccacia)
1 1/2 Tbsp dry yeast
1/2 cup wrist-warm water
1 T sugar
Mix together and set aside 5-10 minutes until foamy.

4 cups flour of choice (I used half white bread flour and half whole spelt flour)
1 tsp salt
2 T olive oil
1 cup wrist-warm water
Mix together with foamy yeast mixture.  Knead 10 minutes until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms.  Put dough in an oil-coated bowl, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm spot to rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.  Punch down and proceed as follows:

1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
fresh Rosemary
Black olives, chopped (optional)
sun dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
Olive oil for sauteeing and sprinkling over foccacia
Kosher salt or big sea salt crystals

Saute veggies and herbs.  Pat dough out into a large rectangle (or circle) and prick with a fork all over.  Brush with olive oil.  Top with veggies and herbs.  Sprinkle with salt crystals and bake in a preheated 180C oven for 20 minutes or until turning golden.

I wish you could smell my house right now!  Ahhhhhh.....  someone's been in the kitchen up to yummy things!

How cute is he?  Not that I'm at all biased.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Vegan Mo Fo Day One

And so it begins...

First the food:  Today I made Banana Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  I had planned to frost them with Coconut Pecan Fudge Frosting (whoa, yum!) from the same cookbook, but they got devoured by my family of vulture-people before frosting could happen.  Yes, they are so amazingly delicious that no frosting is needed!  But doesn't that frosting sound amazing?  I guess I'll have to make some more cupcakes just so I can frost them, hm.

These are so not muffins.  They are light, fluffy, sweet and moist, but save the fact there is no cholesterol, they DO contain white sugar and white flour, so in this case, Vegan does not equal Healthy.  At any rate, it is so easy to make perfect cookies, cakes and muffins without eggs and dairy, that I have no idea why anyone ever uses them at all?  These just had the mashed banana, flour, baking powder and soda, sugar, vanilla, rice milk and oil.  Perfect and so super easy!

For dinner tonight we had Vegetable Biryani from Vegetarian Meat & Potatoes.

This is essentially onions, garlic, ginger, curry and other spices sauteed in olive oil.  Then red pepper, sweet potato, zucchini, raisins chickpeas, Basmati rice and coconut milk.  Fast, easy, super comfort food indeed!

Both cookbooks are available in my amazon store to the right of this post or at the "Shop"link above.  I recommend them both and use them often.

Next I wanted to share this quote from trainer Bob Harper of Biggest Loser fame.  He went from vegetarian to vegan last summer and here's what he had to say about the switch:

"This week, celebrity trainer Bob Harper told VegNews that he has gone vegan, cutting all animal products out of his diet, and shared that the switch to a cruelty-free diet has improved his health. “I enjoy living a plant-based diet because it makes me feel clear headed and strong, not to mention my genetically high cholesterol dropped more than 100 points. That was all the motivation I needed,” says Harper. Famous for helping Americans slim down on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Harper has been a longtime vegetarian, often promoting meat-free recipes. In addition to helping stars get fit and contestants shed pounds, the 44-year-old vegan trainer also teaches exercise classes through Crunch gym and has his own series of workout videos titled Bob Harper’s Inside Out Method.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Vegan Mo-Fo T-minus ONE

As I sit here eating this really yummy plate of leftover Rosemary-Garlic Roast Potato Wedges....

And contemplating this large stack of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks...

I am really excited to begin Vegan Mo Fo tomorrow! (That's Vegan Month of Food. Details here).

I realized however that part of the fun is actually posting recipes, yet I cannot/ will not / whatever / post copy-righted recipes from someone else's published cookbook.  So...  I set up an amazon store with my favorite cookbooks (and some other interesting books too) right here on the blog.  If I make a recipe from a cookbook, I promise I will tell you where it comes from and you can buy the cookbook yourself.

Lots of the things I make are my own creations, or adaptations of other people's recipes, so those of course I will post the full recipe.

In the meantime, I'm going to sit down with my list of recipes...

and start plugging things into my meal planning template.  I have some really exciting and delicious things planned.  For Christy, yes, Holy Land Enchiladas will be made.  For the lovely commenter who challenged me to make Vegan Shakshuka (Middle Eastern-style Huevos Rancheros), I am afraid this is beyond my cooking abilities.  I mean, how would I simulate sunny side up eggs?  My son said "Just make regular shakshuka and tell everyone it's vegan."  Perhaps the boy needs a brush-up course in Integrity?

So far, so fun!  See you all with food tomorrow!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I jumped on the bandwagon

The Vegan Mo Fo Bandwagon that is!

Every year I spend November with my laptop melting my thighs, drooling over hundreds of vegan recipes.  This year I noticed a new International contingent among the 456 bloggers thus far signed up:  Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Singapore...and those are just the "S" countries!  But what is this?  NO ISRAEL???

Obviously we cannot let that happen, now can we?

So, for the month of November, this Israeli blogger will be cooking, baking, sautee-ing, and pureeing.  And blogging about it afterwards.  No tofu in the Holy Land will be safe!

Now that I have committed, I see a long, hard weekend in front of me, butt planted on the sofa, pile of vegan cookbooks towering all around.  Sigh....  such a burden for you my readers!

Anything you'd like to see me make?  Got a vegan recipe you've been wondering about?  Or a favorite recipe you've been wanting to veganize?  I am open to suggestion, so just shoot me a line.

Let's give this pretty girl the month of November off!

More on Vegan MoFo and a gigantic, International blogroll of vegan bloggers, can be found here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Caesar Salad, Hold the Caesar

Today was class #3 of this round of my 30-Day Detox.  The participants have now been off of sugar completely for 2 weeks and off of wheat for one week.  Today we took out dairy.  Results of the detox are as wonderful as ever:

-Weight loss
-Drastically reduced appetite
-Cravings greatly diminished
-More energy
-Beautiful skin
-A proud sense of accomplishment and control

I love my clients.  They are beautiful people, inside AND out!

Today I served them lunch, as always.  We had Curried Tofu Scramble with Tomatoes and Spinach, Vegan Caesar Salad, and Quinoa.
This salad rocks my world and I share it today with you my readers.  Enjoy!

Vegan Caesar Salad
No chickens, anchovies, or cows were harmed in the making of this salad.  Lettuce and cashews however, were not so lucky...

½ head romaine lettuce

1 tomato, diced
6 very thin slices of red onion
2 T sliced black olives
Freshly grounnd black pepper
2 T Ranch Dressing, as follows

Ranch Dressing:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked a few hours or overnight and drained
1 date, soaked with cashews
1/2 avocado OR 1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
¾ cup water
2 T fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp sea salt
1 T minced fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1 T minced fresh dill or 1 tsp dried

Place all in FP and blend until creamy.  Toss 2 Tablespoons with salad.  Add more dressing as desired.

And in some inane randomness...  

This is my Polar HRM and Trainer telling us all that I have just completed a 7.57mile run:

and that I torched 981 calories on this run...

enabling me to re-fuel with this:


Sunday, October 24, 2010

C is for Cookies and for Calcium

A couple of weeks ago I was the guest nutrition expert for the Bracha organization at the Raanana Breast Cancer Prevention Walk.  Bracha is an organization educating and supporting women  about the BRCA gene mutation that can cause genetic cancers, especially of the reproductive organs.  If you have a mother or sister who has had breast cancer, you probably want to educate yourself about this issue.  I know it's scary to find out you carry such a genetic problem and it would be far easier to bury your head in the sand, but knowledge in this care could literally save your life.  You can find info on Bracha in Israel here.  International readers, here is your link.

The Bracha organizers asked that I focus on nutrition and lifestyle tips for strong bones, as women who have their reproductive organs removed or damaged during cancer prevention or treatment, are often thrust into quite premature menopause.  So I gave out a tip sheet on bone building and a chart with calcium levels in many, many foods (such as the figs, poppy seeds and tahina in the below recipe), recipes including calcium-rich ingredients and of course, food samples!

One of the recipes I created for this event is these calcium-rich, sugar-free, VEGAN tahina cookies.

The recipe below calls for a fig-filling which is delicious and high in precious calcium.  But for this batch in the photo which I made for my own dry-fig hatin' family, I filled them with all-fruit (no-sugar) blueberry jam.

Calcium-Rich Tahina Cookies
1 cup dried figs, chopped
2/3 cup water

Put figs and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat 5-10 minutes until the figs are soft and the water absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

2 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup poppy seeds
1 cup tahina paste (or almond butter if you prefer)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
dash sea salt, optional

Preheat oven to 180C.  Combine all ingredients (except figs, which are cooling) in a large bowl.  Puree figs in food processor until a smooth paste.  Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a ungreased baking sheet.  Stick your finger in the middle of each ball to make a little indentation.  Fill the indentations with about 1 tsp fig puree.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  Enjoy!

Next, I wanted to take a minute to tell my blog readers about a special I am running.  You all know by now that as a Health & Nutrition Coach, I work with clients on creating and implementing healthier habits.  My specialty is permanent weight loss, but I also work with specific health issues and even just with people who'd like to adopt healthier habits for themselves and their families.  Some of the issues we cover, aside from the food stuff, is stress reduction methods, relationship issues, career counseling, personal and spiritual growth...  obviously not just food and cooking!

In the past, the first trial session was the same price as any session, 200nis / hour ($100/hour for International clients).  But now I am going to try something new:  I am now offering a 20-minute introductory phone or Skype session for only 50nis! ($25 for International clients).  This will give folks a low-cost, low-time way of meeting me and hearing if my approach is right for them.

Again, please know that I work with clients here in Kfar Saba, face-to-face, but I also have a growing number of phone or Skype clients both here in Israel and abroad.  I've got clients all over the United States!  It's pretty cool.  But it also enables folks who are really busy and not able to schelp over here to KS, to work with me the exact same way in-person clients do.

If you are interested email me at and we'll set up your 20-minute phone trial session.  Better health and happiness could be just a phone call away!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Are YOU ready for change? A quiz for you!

So, as you may or may not, I am running a group beginning next week.  It's called

The Total Body Transformation Program

This is an 8-week program (the ads that said 12-week were incorrect, sorry!)  consisting of weekly meetings that will enable those who join to finally lose the weight they are so tired of carrying and change their habits so that weight never, ever finds them again!

8 Monday mornings in Kfar Saba
1200nis (HALF the cost of working the same number of hours with me privately!)
Program starts Monday October 25th
Applications due by Thursday Oct 21st for application or more information

This program is only open to those who have completed an application.  The reason for that is because I know from experience that one person still stuck in "I can't" and still spouting excuses for WHY they can't, sucks the energy right out of an entire group of motivated, hard-working  people.  I have seen this with my own eyes, and believe you-me, it 'aint pretty.

Today, I want to show you some of the questions that are on the application so you can see for yourself if the group is right for you.  And more important than that really, is to help you understand what may be holding you back where your health and weight is concerned:

One of the most important things you can do to change your lifestyle for the better is understand your readiness for change. In other words, although you might want to lose weight and get healthier, there’s a difference between wanting it and being ready to do the work necessary to accomplish it.

In this questionnaire we’ll find out if you’re really ready to make the changes necessary to improve your body composition, health, and physical performance. Simply answer the questions below by selecting the response most appropriate to your situation. Once you’ve completed all the questions, your score will be calculated.

1. Do you look in the mirror and feel frustrated, upset, or humiliated because of how your body looks?
a) Yes (+3)
b) I’m not sure (0)
c.)  No (–3)

2. When you feel run down and tired, what do you think is the source of these feelings?
a) Getting older (–1)
b) My lifestyle choices (+3)
c) Something else altogether (–3)

3.  Are you taking any medications for heart disease, high blood pressure, or type II diabetes that you didn’t have to take when you were younger?  Or do you have aches and pains or weight gain that you didn't have when you were younger?
a.)  yes, two or more of those things (+3)
b.)  yes, one or more of those things (+1)
c.)  no, I'm as healthy as I was when I was younger, nothing has changed (-3)

4.  How do you explain the fact that you’re in worse shape than when you were younger but haven’t changed your habits at all?
a.)  It's my family history (-1)
b.)  It's because I'm less active (+3)
c.)  It's a natural consequence of aging (-1)
d.)  I don't know (0)

5.  If you don’t have anyone to exercise with regularly, are you willing to look for a physical activity partner?
a.)  yes (+5)
b).  no (-5)

6.  Are you willing to join a gym today?
a.)  yes (+3)
b.)  no (-3)

7.  If I told you that you’d need to throw away all the foods in your cupboards today and go shopping for different foods that are more appropriate to your goal, would you do it?
a.)  yes (+5)
b.)  no (-5)

8.  If an expert presents some information on diet and exercise that contradicts what you currently believe, what approach will you take?
a.)  keep an open mind and give it a try (+3)
b.)  ask a friend (0)
c.)  ignore the advice (-3)

9.  Are you willing to have a meeting with your friends and loved ones to share your behavior goals and desired outcomes with them?
a.)  yes, right away (+5)
b.)  yes, but not quite yet (-3)
c.)  no (-5)

10.  If your work environment or hours present significant barriers to your exercising and eating well, would you consider speaking to your employer and/or co-workers about changing some of those conditions, or would you even be willing to find new employment?
a.)  yes (+5)
b.)  no (-5)

11.  Are you ready to spend less time with people who offer little or no social support for your goals and seek out those who do?
a.)  yes (+5)
b.)  no (-5)

12.  Can you accept responsibility for the way your body is today and understand that, while old habits don't make you a bad person, they still need to be changed?
a.)  yes (+5)
b.)  no (-5)

13.  If a friend or loved one suggests that you don't have what it takes to get into great shape because you have failed before or for some other reason, what would be your response?
a.)  I can do it (+2)
b.)  I know I need to make some changes but I'll take it one day at a time (+5)
c.)  Maybe I can't do it (-5)

14.  Are you willing to wake up in the morning a bit earlier, stay up a bit later at night, or otherwise re-arrange your schedule to accomplish your goals?
a.)  yes (+5)
b.)  no (-5)

15.  Are you willing to do at least 5 hours of physical activity a week?
a.)  yes (+5)
b.)  no (-5)

16.  Are you willing to record your food intake every single day?
a.)  yes (+5)
b.)  no (-5)

21 to 68:
It’s clear that changing the way you look, feel, and perform have become very important to you and you realize that the way you’re doing things right now simply isn’t cutting it. You’re tired of not getting results, and you’re tired of your growing waistline, your sluggish metabolism, and your lack of energy. And not only are you tired of it, you’re committed to doing something about it – today.  Congratulations! Getting to this point takes a lot of work. Now, let’s do something about it.

–20 to +20:
If you scored in this range, it’s important for you to stop thinking and start doing. You’re probably frustrated with the way things are, but you’re afraid that changing the way you do things will cause you more hassle and difficulty than just sitting back, doing nothing, and continuing to look and feel the way you do today. In fact, you’re not alone. This is most people’s greatest fear: that a new exercise and nutrition program will cause more pain than the pain they feel right now.  If this is you, step outside of your shell and seek out some people who are exercising, eating well, getting results, and having fun doing it. Clearly, millions of people out there are following a healthy lifestyle and loving every minute of it. But thinking that they never had difficulties to overcome like you do is a mistake. At some point in time each and every one of them had some old set of unproductive habits to discard. Once this was accomplished, they could easily get into the zone. And you can, too. What are you waiting for?

–61 to –21:
From the results of your questionnaire, it doesn’t look like you really want to change. Is this true? Are you simply toying with the idea of improving your physical activity habits and eating habits? If so, you’re not really ready to make a change. With each passing year that you avoid good activity and nutrition habits your risk for disease increases. Not only that, you’ll progressively gain fat, lose muscle, and look much older than your actual age. These are the consequences of remaining indifferent to the medications you’re on, the weight
you’ve gained, and the environment with which you’ve surrounded yourself. Are you ready to deal with these things? Don’t stay indifferent any longer. Take an honest look at how you’ve changed (on the inside and
out) and admit that you could use a tune-up.

Top scorers:  If you want some professional and group support to finally reach your goals, email me at and let's get it started in here!

Middle scorers:  While I will not take you into the Total Body Transformation Group, I would LOVE to work with you one-on-one to remove the obstacles that are keeping you from moving forward.  Email me!

Bottom scorers:  Maybe a session or two with me will help you find your motivation to turn things around before it's too late.  Email and we can see what we can do.

Turn up the speeeaaakkkerss!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Wall

I want to start today's post with a clip from one of my all-time favorite movies, Run Fat Boy Run.

In the clip, you see our hero Dennis trying to finish a marathon, injured, dejected, out of shape and pretty hopeless.  He's been running away from responsibility all his life - taking the easy way out - and this race represents his attempt to take a new direction.  With 9 miles left, he "hits the wall", that famous brick obstacle we hear about in connection with endurance events.  As Dennis stares up at this seemingly unsurmountable obstacle in his path, he is overwhelmed by hopelessness and besieged by all the voices, real and imagined, telling him that he has always been and will always be, a loser.

There are 2 things I really love about this clip:
1.  Only Dennis can see the wall.  Everyone else sees a free and clear roadway ahead of him.
2.  A brick falls out of the wall and Dennis sees himself on the other side waving and encouraging him forward.

When I was in nutrition school we were told "Clients come to you because they are trapped in their story.  You, as the counselor, need to find a way to help them see that it's just a story and that they can re-write it any way they choose".  We all have our stories - the ones we tell ourselves and the ones others have told about us, telling us who we are.  The problem is that we don't see that they are just stories.  We think they are real and permanent.  We often mistake a Story for a Wall.

Yet, when I sit there listening to the client tell her story, I see a free and clear roadway in the place where my client sees a wall.  I then offer the client my perspective.  I tell her that the wall in front of her is made of paper, not bricks and all she has to do is blow it over gently and walk right on through.

Some people see it right away.  They are able to see that it was just a fiction they were stuck on, or just a habit that they mistook for a truth.  They say "Oh!  Why was I making such a big deal about that?  Thanks!"  I do a victory dance and feel like the best coach in the world.

But other people don't see it or don't believe, or don't WANT to, I'm never sure.  Some folks really like their story and they have become so comfortable with their wall that they know every brick and every crack in the mortar.  There is no way in heck they are moving through it.  It seems crazy that someone would hire me because they want to make changes in their life but then be unwilling to actually make any changes in their life - but truly it happens!

In total honesty, I did it myself a bunch of times before I was ready to knock my own walls down.  For one, I had totally bought the story that yo-yo dieting had wrecked my metabolism.  That was my Wall and my reason why I could not lose weight permanently.  Then my coach said to me "Do you KNOW this for a fact?  Have you ever had your metabolism checked?  Because the fact is that overweight people have FASTER metabolisms than smaller people from carrying around so much more weight for so many years."

Wow, I never though of it like that before.  So if it's not my metabolism holding me back, it must be...  hey, the road ahead of me is free and clear of obstacles!  Ta-Da..

So I want to offer you a different perspective today and it's this:

Our walls are the boundaries of our comfort zones.  They are the white picket fences around our familiar, known present.  We know that the thing we desire is "out THERE" but are not sure it's safe to leave the gate and cross that Interstate running through our front yard.  I mean, what if we get flattened by a speeding semi?

It IS scary.  They don't call it a "comfort zone" for nothing!  Now imagine stepping out there with a trusted supportive coach holding your hand, preferably one who has already crossed this road and emerged unscathed on the other side.

That's what I do.  I am the chaperon and tour guide on the bus pulling out of Struggle on it's way to Achievement.  The ride can go as slow or as fast as the client wishes, but she has to get ON the bus first!

So, that insurmountable-seeming wall blocking your way?  I am here to tell you that YOU are the only one who can even see it!  The road ahead of you is in fact, free and clear as far as the eye can see.

Now, how do you feel when you hear me say that?  Do you start in with all this mental chatter that goes "But, but, but...You don't know me!  You don't know my problems!  My problems and obstacles are worse than anyone else's.  Things are not as simple as you make it!"  Yeah?  Something like that?  OK, so you're right then.  Don't call me.  I can't help you when you are not willing to board the bus.

But if you read what I wrote and thought "I would like to believe that but am just afraid, skeptical, sad, beaten, all-alone, insecure, or hurt" then hon, you could use a great coach to stand behind you and say "Yes, you can and I've got your back".

Your wall is just your story, your picket fence, your safety helmet, your doubts and fears.  Knock it down and come out to play!