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!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Wow, I went from Lazy Vacation-Mode to Full-Tilt Back-in-Business in a blinding flash.  Suddenly, I seem to have programs to run, clients to see, speeches to give, recipes to test...Yikes!  But it's all good.  I'm going to re-cap the goings on below for my own sake as much as yours.

But first...  Vacation!
We did some of this:

and this:

There was this:

and I saw one of these:

We ate some of this:
(My Tofu Scram with Kale and Mom's Piroshkis)

and I adored this:
That's me with my awesome big sis.
You can visit her website and buy her book.  Pluggin' the fan-damily.

So we're back here in Israel now and it's back to work.  Here's a recap of the month we've got planned here at Triumph Wellness.  I hope to see some of you at the following events.  Wherever it says to email, you can send that to me here:

Firstly, if you've been paying attention at all, you will know I have been promising a new fully-featured, fabulous website.  Well....  not yet.  That's all I can say.  We shall make do like this for now.

On Thursday, October 7th I am speaking to the English-Speakers of Kfar Saba Group meeting at 7:30pm.  The topic is "Clearing the Nutrition Confusion".  You know how one day "they" tell us something is good for us and a month later the same thing is the worse thing anyone could ever eat?  I'm going try to clear that up in 30 minutes  ;-)  No sweat.  If you live in Kfar Saba and are an English-speaker, email me for the location.

On Tuesday, October 12th I am starting another 30-Day Detox Group Program.  Four 90-minute meetings on Tuesdays from 10-11:30am.  Each meeting includes 60 minutes of class time and 30 minutes of cooking and eating some seriously delicious and healthy chow.  This is a program I run several times a year and people just love it.  They come in terrified that they could live a day without sugar, wheat or dairy and I make it so easy and fun that the month just flies by.  This is a great way to get yourself back on track and feeling tip-top fast.  Cost is 500nis.  Email for more info or to register.  More details can be found here.

On Wednesday, October 13th I'm teaching a Fresh Feasts Cooking Class entitled Family-friendly Feasts.  Class is 7:30-9:30pm in my home in Kfar Saba.  My kitchen is Kosher and all the food is Parve/Vegan and your family will LOVE it.  We cook and talk and then we eat, yum!  Cost is 150nis and you MUST register in advance.  More details here.

On Friday, October 15th, I will be the guest nutrition expert at the Bracha booth during the Raanana Breast Cancer Walk.  Info on the walk can be found here.  Info on Bracha can be found here.  They asked me to do an interactive cooking demo having to do with calcium-rich healthy foods.  I'm predicting something involving sesame...  Come on down to visit, to eat something with me and of course to support a good cause.

On Saturday, October 16th I am having a nervous breakdown.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

Monday, October 25th is the first day of the 8-week Total Body Transformation Program.  Classes meet every Monday from 11:00am-12:30pm.  We will get right down to business and teach you how to get thin and stay thin for the rest of your life.  This program is only for people who are really ready to change their behavior, eat better, exercise, and build a healthy lifestyle for good.  This is NOT a diet with some random generic meal plan.  You will learn to eat, to craft your life to support you forever, and to bust through your fears and obstacles.  The cost for 8 meetings and unlimited email support in between is 1200nis and can be broken into payments.  Admission is by application only and the application deadline for this program is Oct 21st, no exceptions.    More info here.

Phew!  When all that's done, I'm going to need more of this:

so I don't end up like this: