Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Introducing Fresh Feasts Healthy Cooking Classes!
When I sent out that survey to my mailing list, I was really quite happily surprised to see that many people expressed interest in a healthy, diet-friendly cooking class.  Now, I ask you, what would I be if I didn't deliver what the people want?  Right? 

So I have been a busy bee pouring over cookbooks, experimenting in the kitchen and subjecting family, friends, book group, potlucks, etc, to all sorts of delicious recipe experiments.  And here's what I have come up with:

On Monday night July 5, 2010 at 7:30pm at my home in Kfar Saba, I will be teaching the first in what I hope will be monthly cooking classes, each with a different theme.

This month's theme is A Pan-Asian Fusion Feast.  I chose Asian b/c the one recipe I KNEW I wanted to teach is this one:
Those are the amazing and super easy Veggie Spring Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce that if you have ever eaten with me before, you know are one of my signature dishes.  Everybody loves these babies!

In addition to the Spring Rolls, there will be EIGHT other dishes taught:  a heady, creamy soup, 3 main dishes:  noodle dish, tofu dish and bean dish, 2 veggies sides, a fresh, delicious, waistline-friendly dessert and the piece de resistance, a surprising sparkly beverage that is great for digestion and metabolism.

Yum City.

So, my home is Kosher.  All the recipes are:
Vegan (there is honey in one thing)
Healthy & Diet-Friendly
Cholesterol Free
Sugar Free
Artificial Anything Free
Low Gluten (with modifications for anyone who is Gluten-Free)
Delicious, obviously
Easy and Fast to make
Great for families, singles, entertaining, Shabbat meals, and just general Food Enjoyment

I am even going to go to the trouble of typing the nutrition and calorie breakdown for each recipe, so even if you are following a special diet, you can still eat this food!

Oh, and did I mention we will all get to eat the food after I demonstrate how to prepare it?  It's going to be super fun and really informative and I really hope you will come and join us!

The 2 hour class + meal costs 150nis and you MUST reserve in advance!

Come!  Bring friends!  Email me to reserve your place:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Food, recipes, random bits of news

Today I have a bunch of random unrelated stuff to share:

1.  I was asked to write a guest post on a gorgeous and inspiring new website called  Even if you don't live here, the pictures are so beautiful, the writers are the tops, and the info is really just fascinating.  My post is here:  and I have a favor to ask of you.  I would really like to be asked to write more for this website, so if you could go and read my post and leave a comment (obviously something positive), the site owners will think "Wow, this Emily-chick sure brings in a lot of traffic!  Let's ask her to write more." and that would be awesome.  Thanks in advance and thanks Oran for commenting before I even asked!

2.  Here's the latest on my health:  The diagnosis is Gastritis, which is an irritation of the stomach lining.  Duh, I could have told you that and saved a ton of time and money, but I am glad to have ruled out all sorts of scary, serious problems.

It is unclear why I have it, but some of my tests have hinted towards either allergies or parasites.  The next stop is the gastroenterologist at the end of the month.  In the meantime, I am learning what causes me pain and am able to avoid it for the most part.  You guys won't believe this, but ALL raw fruits and veggies put me crying in the fetal position for hours!  What was totally the basis of my diet, now I can't touch, so I am learning to adapt.  It's actually anything with very much fiber that causes problems, and since most vegan proteins, come with lots of fiber, I have added back dairy and eggs for the time-being.

3.  Reflexology.  So you see how I linked Oran's name to her website above?  Oran is a great friend and a part of my amazing business and personal support team.  She's also a terrific reflexologist.  Two times I have been in meetings where Oran is there right at the time I am suffering from terrible stomach pain.  Both times, she worked for several minutes on the stomach points in the palms of my hands and BOTH times the pain was greatly relieved!  Friends, reflexology works.  And you don't even have to take your shoes off.  It's not just for stomach aches of course either.  Go see Oran:

4.  COOKING!  I have been cooking but forgetting to photograph.  I did get some pictures of a few things, here with some recipes...

World Cup Sweet & Salty Nuts

OK, so let's be honest ladies.  This is the reason we really watch the World Cup:

Mr. Bocanegra

But since we are forced to watch hour after hour of beautiful, sweaty men chase a ball back and forth, we may as well eat some munchy snacks, right?

World Cup Sweet & Salty Nuts
(This recipe is vegan, but not very healthy)
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw pecans
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (the green ones)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup Brazil nuts (come on, you have to have Brazil nuts in a dish named for the World Cup!)
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cumin or schwarma seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 T soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 160 C.  Combine curry, cumin and salt and set aside.  Mix all the nuts in a large pot.  To the pot add the oil and the sugar.  Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the maple syrup and the soy sauce and cook a few minutes longer until it starts bubbling.  Spread onto a large baking sheet and sprinkle with the spice-salt mixture.  Bake 10 minutes and then stir.  Bake another 10 minutes and stir.  Bake a final 10 minutes, watching carefully that it doesn't burn.  (Mine burned a bit as you see above).  Let cool and break into pieces.  Serve to hungry soccer fans and others who seem glued to the tv for whatever... ahem...personal reason.

Labane Balls with Za'atar in Olive Oil

Say what?

Labane is a tangy semi-firm yogurt cheese eaten here in the Mid East.  Sometimes it's served creamy like yogurt and sometimes rolled into little balls like above and store covered with olive oil.  Here it is served a top a salad:

Labane Balls
(This recipe is healthy, but not vegan)
3-4 cups yogurt, sheep or goat is preferred, but you can try it with cow
1 tsp sea salt

Mix the salt and the yogurt and spoon into a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth you can secure at the top.  Hang it up over a bowl if you can and let it drain for 2 days.  Then roll into into little balls and store covered with olive oil.  You can also roll the balls into za'atar, which is a divine spice mixture made of hyssop, sumac and sesame seeds.  There's a recipe and info on za'atar on Flavors of Israel:

I think you are supposed to let the yogurt drain in the bag for two days ON THE COUNTER, but it is so hot here right now and there are flies b/c we have no screens (don't ask, it's a complete mystery to me), so I did it in the fridge and it was fine.  If you have a cool kitchen and no flies, go for it on the counter.  I imagine it will be even tangier and have more probiotics that way.

Secret Recipe Raw Candy Bars!

Vegan?  Check!  Healthy?  Check!  Yummy beyond belief?  Check!!!
No sugar, no flour, no animal products.

I am working on this recipe for a class I will be teaching, so I am here to tempt you with these pictures in hopes you will sign up!  Mwahahaha! (evil laugh)

More deets on cooking class when I've got 'em!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oh, Eminem!

OK, I have to redeem my hipness after leaving you with 20-year old disco in that last post.  I like all kinds of music really, and actually depend on music quite a bit for inspiration.  In fact, one of the tips I give to clients is to listen to an inspirational, pumped up, positive, motivating song each day.  And downloading new music onto Gumby, my ipod, is quite often my best reward for getting things done.  (Some of you know why my ipod is named Gumby and that involves an amazing motivational story too, but sadly one I did not get the author's permission to re-print.  I'd be happy to send it via email, just ask).


Today my new music download included a new song by Eminem.  The song is called "Not Afraid" and it ties in so beautifully to that last post on fear that when I heard it during my run this morning, I started to cry.  Or maybe I started to cry because it was so hot my sneakers had melted to the asphalt?  I'm not sure which, but I am sure that I LOVE THIS SONG!  If I was a rapper I would have written these exact same words.

WARNING:  This song has more unbelievable profanity in it than I have ever heard in a song.  If you don't like swear words, do NOT play the song!!! 

The link is here to a record review, scroll down for the video because it's not up on youtube yet and I think I'm not allowed to post it.

My absolutely favorite lyrics are when he says he has to excise his demons and the MFers are doing jumping jacks.  My demons do jumping jacks too!  Eminem and me, same-same.

"Not Afraid" will be the my ANTHEM for Summer 2010.  Last Summer's Anthem (which sort of lasted the entire year) was "Spotlight" by Mute Math because it was just so Edward and Bella and because of these lyrics:

"You know the one thing you're fighting to hold, is the one thing you've got to let go."


And one more folks, Snow Patrol's "Just Say Yes"

This is the song I play before I give a speech, before meeting a new client for the very first time, and generally before doing something I feel fear / hope about.

"Just Say Yes
Just say there's nothing holding you back
It's not a test
Nor a trick of the mind, only Love"

What are your favorite songs and lyrics?  What part does music play in your life?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Flat Out Fear

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified, terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."  -Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

So to quickly recap the last 2 posts, (here and here):

1.  Step One
Understand on a deep and complete level that how you look and feel at this very moment is TOTALLY the result of your day-to-day thoughts, actions and habits.  You are not over-weight because of your slow metabolism, or your thyroid, or your sugar addiction or your eating disorder, but rather because of how you behave in the FACE of those problems.  Each of those very real problems, has a solution.  There is help readily available to get you past those and any other weight-related issue.  If you are still allowing those or any other issue to stop you, then you are not fully taking responsibility and do not completely see the connection between what you do and what you get as a result.

If you are saying "but, but, but..." stay here and keep working.  There is nothing wrong with you and you are not "bad"!  You are just here at this stage, that's all.  If you try to jump into action from this stage you will probably end up doing the Yo-Yo Dance.  Keep working here until you make the connection (ie, blammo).

(If you get it but need help finding the solutions, that's what I'm here for.  Email me and make an appointment:

2.  Step Two
Motivation.  Why do you want to change and why do you not want to change?  What is your big"Why"?  Is your "Why" exciting enough to carry you past the obstacles or will you crumble the moment you hit resistance?

If you are one of the many who say "I know what I need to do and I know why I want to do it, but I just don't do it" then you need to spend some time working in step two.  Changing long-held habits and beliefs takes strong, unwavering effort.  If you don't want it badly enough, hang out here working on this until you do.  When I have clients stuck at this place I try to get them emotionally aroused about the situation. I take them through a meditation that zooms them out through the years so they can feel what it will be like 5, 10, 20 years down the road of no change. It's a little ow-ey but it usually works.

Sometimes you just need a hand at this stage with implementation, consistency and accountability.  Maybe you are stuck on meal planning, organization, finding the time to get it all done, finding healthy food you actually like to eat, or exercise you actually like to do.  Or maybe your sugar/food addiction is really kicking your butt and you could use some extra-strength Fighter Power.  Again, that's what I do.  Email me or hire a coach or get a buddy, whatever.

So, how about this scenario:  You totally understand the connection between behavior and result, you have a totally scintillating "why" and are all jazzed up and ready to change your life....  and then... you don't.  What the heck could be wrong now?!  Please meet...

3.  Step Three
Face the FEAR.  Friends, it is called a "Comfort Zone" for a reason.  Stepping out of it is downright frickin fracken uncomfortable.  Go re-read that FDR quote up there:  fear is "...terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

Are ya just plain scared out of your wits?  Heck yes!  I know I am most of the time.

This is starting to sound like an ad for 1-800-CALL-ME, but seriously, having someone to stand in that fear with you, to keep whispering in your ear "I know you can do it", well, it can make all the difference.  I mean, how many of us would have gotten through child-birth, the single most scary thing in the world, without a helpful nurse, midwife, spouse, partner, mother, friend?  No one expects us to go it alone where birthing babies is concerned, but we isolate ourselves when birthing our dreams.  Why is that?

There are generally two kinds of fear at this stage:  Fear of Failure and believe it or not, Fear of Success.

The first one is pretty obvious.  If you are like most people, you have already failed at this a bunch of times and the thought of failing again doesn't exactly inspire action.  Ask yourself "what's the worst thing that can I happen" and you will hear answers like "I will end up even fatter." or "I cannot bear the heart-break of losing this weight only to gain it back again."

Yup, it sure is safer to stay put.  Nothing ventured, nothing lost.  This is the point where I myself was trying the chunky necklaces and colorful neck scarves, remember?

Do you hear that little voice whispering "not me, not me, not me"?  Listen closely and see if you can hear it?  There's always my pal Tony Robbins to help with this one...

The fear of success is more subtle.  I mean, what if you DO succeed at weight loss?  What if you get to your goal weight?  Can you handle it?  People are going to look at you differently, people you don't even know are going to treat you differently (yes, they will!).  If your weight has been your main problem for 30 years and then the problem is solved, are you going to be able to cope with that vacuum?  If you have always seen yourself as fat and un-sexy, how are you going to feel when guys check you out, approach you, whistle at you? 

A lot of women I meet have gained their weight following a sexual assault or experience, or a frightening illness, or a traumatic event.  The fat has been their security blanket.  They are about as willing to drop the blanket as a 2-year old is to drop that tattered scrap he clings to.  One of my mentors used to say that taking off the fat suit is like standing in front of a giant fan with no skin on.  Not for the faint of heart.

Well, the funny thing about Fear is that it's only scary until we face it.  Face Fear down and it'll turn tail and run home crying to it's mama.  The only way out of this one is THROUGH.  Maybe it's time to pull on your big girls pants, take a deep breath and give your fears the what-for.

Now, close the door, turn the speakers up, click the link and send that Fear packing!  (The sight of me dancing to Gloria Gaynor is about as scary as it gets).