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May 18, 2010 - Top Ten Flavor Enhancers 

Myth: Healthy foods have no flavor and don’t taste good.

It is true that rich, high fat and sweet foods contain a lot of flavor, but they also come with the price of a lot of calories. We can enjoy these foods in moderation, but people often find it challenging to lose and/or maintain their weight while eating these foods daily.  So, how do we get all the taste, but still maintain our waistline? The key is adding flavor boosters to your meals. Try some of these simple ideas and get all of the flavor without the calories. Keep these foods/spices on hand and you will never eat a bland meal again!

Fact: Healthy food can be LOADED with FLAVOR!

Myth: Healthy foods have no flavor and don’t taste good.

It is true that rich, high fat and sweet foods contain a lot of flavor, but they also come with the price of a lot of calories.  We can enjoy these foods in moderation, but people often find it challenging to lose and/or maintain their weight while eating these foods daily.  So, how do we get all the taste, but still maintain our waistline? The key is adding flavor boosters to your meals.  Try some of these simple ideas and get all of the flavor without the calories.  Keep these foods/spices on hand and you will never eat a bland meal again!

Fact: Healthy food can be LOADED with FLAVOR!

  1. Cinnamon – Add cinnamon to everything! Cinnamon helps maintain your blood sugar and decreases sweet cravings.  It provides a sweet, warm flavor to your food without the added sugar.

    Sprinkle on cottage cheese, fruit, yogurt, sauces, smoothies, winter squash
     
  2. Olives – Rich in monounsaturated fat and vitamin E. The bold flavor of just a few Kalamata Olives goes a long way.

    Add 5-6 olives to your salad, stir-fry, pasta or omelet for an explosive Mediterranean flare for a mere 50 calories

  3. Capers – Adds a salty, unique flavor and is calorie free!

    Add to tuna salad, chicken salad, fish, baked chicken or simple salads
     
  4. Vinegar – Adds a burst of flavor without the added calories and preservatives in store bought dressings and sauces. Enjoy all of the different flavors and varieties available. 

    Use as dressing for salads, stir fry’s, marinades and dipping. Balsamic is a great alternative to mayo in tuna salad

  5. Mustard – “Waist friendly condiment”

    Enjoy on sandwiches, meat/poultry, tuna salad, wraps and dressings
     
  6. Blue Cheese/Gorgonzola/Goat Cheese/Parmesan – Strong in flavor and a little goes a long way!

    Use as a garnish and sprinkle a tablespoon on your salad, pasta or omelet
     
  7. Fresh Basil and Cilantro – Herbs that burst with taste and add no calories

    Chop and add to sauces, salsa, salads, stir-fry’s, pretty much anything!
     
  8. Spice – Turn up the heat with chili peppers, hot sauce or jalapenos

    Careful with the spice, but a little heat will give more dimension to your dish and help you slow down when eating.
     
  9. Extra Dark Chocolate – One square can satisfy your chocolate cravings

    Enjoy a square of dark chocolate after your meal or grate over Greek or Vanilla yogurt for a sweet treat (add cinnamon for even more flavor!)
     
  10. Ginger – A kick of ginger sooths digestion, while adding a bite.

    Grate or mince into stir-fry’s, marinades, homemade sauces or dressings. Also, soak chopped ginger in hot water with lemon for a nice after dinner tea.

January 1, 2010 - Transforming your intentions

It’s 2010, a New Year, a new decade, a fresh start  Many people set New Year’s resolutions that are often redundant from year to year. In fact, since I can remember, the media has done a story about New Year’s resolutions; tips on how to set achievable goals or weight loss ideas and strategies. What is going to make this year any different from previous years? It is great that we take the time to reflect over the New Year, but there is a pattern of reflection, motivation, feeling good, decreased motivation, forgotten goals, and frustration. This cycle can be devastating and many avoid setting a resolution to avoid that very cycle. I am the first to say that behavior change is extremely difficult and often follows a similar pattern to the resolution cycle above. However, some people do achieve their goals and stay committed to their resolution for the entire year.  What is there secret? 
Recreating our lives, setting goals and opening up to possibilities/opportunities is within everyone’s reach. Personally, I have transitioned from setting resolutions to setting intentions each year.  Intention is defined as “an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions”. On the other hand, a resolution is defined as “the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.” Intention focuses on the bigger picture or an intended outcome. I see this as a higher value/moral or deep, personal reason. The resolution, or action, is a way to achieve our intention.  Therefore, if we can focus on the why (intention) before the how (resolution) we may notice more, sustainable motivation for change. 

For example, “I want to lose weight this year” is one of the most common resolutions. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, but my question is “Why?”  The “why” keeps us on track, motivated and accountable. You may want to lose weight to feel better about yourself, be able to participate in sports or activities, keep up with your kids, be a role model for your family, etc. Whatever the reason may be, make sure it passes the “chills test”. The “chills test” is when you picture yourself achieving your intention, it sends chills up your spine. This is when you know you have an intention that resonates with your deep truth and essence. If your intention doesn’t inspire you or pass the “chills test”, you have set yourself up for an uphill battle. Once you choose an inspiring intention, consider some resolutions or actions that will help you achieve your intention.  

Focused Energy can help you work through your intention and resolution, hold you accountable throughout the year and support you in successfully making behavior changes. For additional information on creating action plans for personal transformation, especially for kids, check out See It, Say It, Do It!. Make an appointment today to make 2010 a year of health and success.

  1. Set an intention (A guided plan for what you would like to create)
  2. Visualize yourself achieving your intention and make sure it passes the “chills test” (It needs to inspire you!)
  3. Write down your intention
  4. Create an action plan or a list of 1-3 specific, achievable and measurable steps, actions or goals to achieve your intention (This is your “resolution”)
  5. Write your intention and resolution(s) on a note card and place it somewhere that you will see it daily
  6. Share with your family and friends to help you stay accountable
  7. Start now!

Bali

November 24, 2009 - Intuition

Part of being my truth means trusting my true teacher and allowing my truth to be portrayed in my voice and actions, I thought about my career as a dietitian and where yoga fits in with everything. It then occurred to me how yoga and intuition incorporate with food.  I realized that if we cannot even intuitively eat, which is solely listening to our internal hunger and satiety cues, then how can we listen to our intuition on a deeper level? Eating is something that we do daily to survive. Our internal instinct tells us to eat when we need fuel and to stop eating when we have enough. This simple example of daily intuition is more difficult than it sounds. On the most basic level, we struggle at following our intuition. Looking at it from this perspective, there is a lot more at stake when we ignore our natural hunger and fullness cues for it separates us more and more from our true essence. Seeing nutrition from this perspective made me realize how deep my work can be.

As a dietitian, my job is not to tell people what to eat, but rather to guide them to listen to their bodies. I can come up with meal plans and calorie goals, but that is almost a disservice to my clients. My true job is to assist people at tapping into their internal intuition to find what their body needs and does not need to survive. Our intuition on what and how much to eat is skewed by society, marketing and processed foods; however, at a core level, we all hold an awareness of balance, the trick is being present to this.

So, the question came to me, how can we voice our truth when we can’t even voice our truth with food? As Leonid, my brilliant yoga anatomy teacher, would say, “Start with Awareness.”  


July 1, 2009 - Traveling

I have recently been doing a lot of traveling, it is fun, adventurous and a nice change of pace. However, where does a, so called, “healthy lifestyle” fit in?!?! 

Here are my top ten reasons why a healthy lifestyle does not fit into travel:

  1. You are dining out daily (possibly for multiple or all meals)
  2. You are in meetings all day
  3. Your are networking or socializing at night (usually around food and alcohol)
  4. You are tired because the pillows are too fluffy and your bed is too hard at the hotel
  5. You can’t exercise because there isn’t a gym or better yet, “Who uses those gyms anyway?”
  6. The snack bar in your hotel room was the only option, you had to eat the M&M’s
  7. There is nothing healthy at the airport, McDonalds was the only option
  8. You wouldn’t be traveling if you didn’t try all of the local cuisine
  9. It’s vacation, you deserve a break! You will get back to your diet and exercise on Monday.
  10. Your mom or grandma baked all your favorite treats, she would be offended if you didn’t eat…all of them

Some are more legitimate than others, but they are all realistic challenges! Trust me, I love to take a break when I travel and try new foods. However, there is nothing worse than needing a vacation after your vacation. This goes for your body too!  So, how do we find a nice balance between enjoying traveling and caring for our bodies/maintaining our health goals. 

My answer, pick and choose your battles. Pick the things you will be disappointed if you miss out on and pass on the things that aren’t a huge deal, such as the snack bar in your room. My guess is that you will find M&M’s all over the world, save up for something special.  I will now offer an alternative to the “Top 10 reasons a healthy lifestyle doesn’t fit into traveling”. By no means do you have to do them all, pick 1 or 2 that seem realistic and reasonable.

  1. You are dining out daily (possibly for multiple or all meals)
    • Aim for making healthy choices at 75% of your meals/snacks.  A few ideas on how to do this:
    • Eat breakfast in your room (Protein shake, fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, egg white omelet)
    • Pack your own snacks
    • Order a salad with lean protein for lunch and save up for a special dinner
  2. You are in meetings all day
    • Pack snacks (protein bars, turkey jerky, soy nuts, veggies, fruit)
  3. Your are networking or socializing at night (usually around food and alcohol)
    • Avoid standing near the food table or bar
    • Alternate between alcoholic drinks and water or club soda
    • Skip the bread basket at dinner
    • Have a snack before you go, so you are not overly hungry
  4. You are tired because the pillows are too fluffy and your bed is too hard at the hotel
    • Hmmm…still thinking on that one
  5. You can’t exercise because there isn’t a gym or better yet, “Who uses those gyms anyway?”
    • Wear a pedometer and focus on a step goal
    • Explore the city by foot
    • Rent bikes to see the city
    • Do exercises in your room-pushups, sit ups, lunges, squats, etc.
    • Swim laps at the hotel pool
  6. The snack bar in your hotel room was the only option, you had to eat the M&M’s
    • Don’t waste your money on their expensive snacks, instead use the refrigerator for fruit, yogurt and low fat cheese
  7. There is nothing healthy at the airport, McDonalds was the only option
    • Bring your own food (Pouch of tuna and whole grain crackers, raw veggies, fruit, jerky, sandwich)
    • Get a salad or grilled chicken sandwich at the fast food restaurants
  8. You wouldn’t be traveling if you didn’t try all of the local cuisine
    • Pick 1 treat meal or snack per day, make healthier choices the rest of the day
    • Share meals and treats with your travel companions
  9. It’s vacation, you deserve a break! You will get back to your diet and exercise Monday.
    • Give yourself some space to enjoy your trip, but also be mindful of your overall goals.  It will make “Monday” a lot less painful
  10. Your mom or grandma baked all your favorite treats, she would be offended if you didn’t eat…all of them
    • Have one or just a taste, then say “thank you”

Focused Energy can help you set overall health goals that include individual travel plans. Make an appointment today!
Safe travels.


May 8, 2009 - Marathon Madness

Last weekend, I ran the Eugene ½ marathon. The day before the race I went to the expo. I was standing at the Clif Bar booth, as they were handing out Clif Shot samples and heard many people state, “Thanks!  This will be great for my race tomorrow.” 

The Clif Bar representative then asked the consumers, “Have you tried the Clif Shots when you were running before?” 

A majority of the people said, “No”   

I continued to wander around the Expo and stopped to check out some socks at one of the clothing vendors. I started chatting to the woman next to me at the sock rack. She stated,  “These look like great socks, but I would never try anything new on race day!” Her comment really hit me, why is it okay to try new/different nutrition on race day, but it is not okay to try new socks on race day?  Granted I know blisters can be a big issue, but the point is, it is essential to train the way you plan to perform or race. 

So, as summer arises and you start signing up for triathlons, 5k, 10k, half marathons, marathons, etc. also sign up for nutrition coaching. Focus your energy not only on what you put on your body, but also what you put in your body. Make it part of your training regimen! Oh, and do try out the socks before the race…

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April 20, 2009 - “Protein Pal”

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to munch on crackers, cookies, cereal or candy, but never feel full or satiated?  What is it about those foods, that “One is not enough”? On the contrary, have you ever thought to yourself, “I just can’t stop eating this chicken breast or salmon or non-fat Greek yogurt or tofu, it just doesn’t fill me up!”  Well, even though I live in this nutritional dream land as a Registered Dietitian, I can assume that you have rarely run into the latter situation. So what is the deal here? I am not going to suggest munching on chicken breast all day, but what I will do, is teach you how to balance meals and snacks so that you are not trapped in the “once you pop you can’t stop” cycle.

Lean protein, such as poultry, fish, low fat dairy, low fat cheese, egg whites and soy, fill you up leaving you full and satisfied longer than simple carbohydrate snacks that can spike blood sugar.   Nonetheless, it is important to get plenty of carbohydrates in your diet to give you energy, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Some healthy carbohydrate choices include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 

Now let’s do some math, if we want energy, variety and something that will fill us up, then this is what I am calculating…

Lean protein + healthy carbohydrates = Long Lasting Energy

Bob Ross

In my experience, I have found that most people do not struggle finding a carbohydrate choice (fruit, grains, starches …cookies, candy, crackers, etc.), but people do struggle remembering to eat a lean protein (white poultry, low-fat dairy, fish, beans, low-fat cheese). Therefore, I have to quote the beloved Bob Ross, “Gotta give him a friend. Like I always say ‘everyone needs a friend’.”

The same goes with carbohydrates.  Aim to have a “protein pal” at meals and snacks to stay full and satisfied longer!  See some yummy ideas below:

  • 1 cup Nonfat Greek yogurt and ½ cup berries
  • 1 oz low fat cheese with whole grain crackers
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Low sodium turkey jerky and veggies
  • String cheese and an Apple
  • Turkey roll up-roll a slice of turkey around a carrot
  • Mini quesadilla- melt low fat cheese on a whole grain tortilla
  • ½ cup low fat cottage cheese and fruit

So when your hunger hits at 4:00, think of Bob Ross, Every Carbohydrate needs a Protein Pal.

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April 7, 2009 - Welcome

Welcome to Focused Energy, LLC! We are dedicated to support you in reaching your optimal health and wellness.  Focused Energy, LLC utilizes a mind-body approach to empower clients to have the health they deserve. What is Focused Energy? Let’s start with the literal interpretation.

Focused Energy has many interpretations. Focus can be defined as, a main emphasis or the concentrated effort/attention on a particular thing. Energy can be defined as the ability to do things, vitality, liveliness, force, power, calories or movement.  

Since each of us may identify with a different aspect of the above definitions, our staff allows you to define it in your own light. We encourage all clients (regardless of age, gender or size) to define how they would like to “focus their energy”. Let’s take a look at some specific examples of how some people may define their Focused Energy.

“An increased awareness of how I nourish my body”

“A focus on calories, movement and power”

“An emphasis on my health and appearance”

“Attention to food and physical activity”

“Concentration on performance”

“Focus on my health condition and longevity”

“Create a healthy relationship with food”

At Focused Energy, LLC, we tailor your programs and appointments to your definition of Focused Energy, LLC. How do you Focus your Energy?  

Click here to submit your response