Getting What You Want

For those of you who’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know I’m a mommy of twins, a registered dietitian/nutritionist and now a certified yoga instructor (STAY TUNED local peeps, I’ll be teaching at yoga at Hollywood Gym 3 nights a week). I’ve achieved some wonderful pinnacles in my life – my beautiful girls, a happy marriage of 14 years, a graduate degree, a career and lifestyle I love.

But it wasn’t until recently that I’ve been able to meet opportunity and grab it by the horns — reaching success at a whole different level. The opportunities are flowing and I’m taking them on full speed, without hesitation. I’ve discovered the key to getting what you want (and sooner than later). While it’s not as simple as wishing on a star, mindful intent and concentration do help.


10 Realistic Steps Toward Achieving Your Goals
and Making Success a Reality

When we set an intention in our prayers or daily thoughts it triggers momentum and action. Here are 10 steps toward achieving your goal. Whether you want to be a teacher, a dietitian, a counselor, a fitness expert….(for me – a yoga instructor)

  1. Do your homework. See what is involved. What skills does it take to master this job? Interview practitioners in the field.
  2. Assess your current skills and see if there is a skill (or two, or three) you need to develop.
  3. Go back to “school”. Take the time to build your skill set, whether it is via reading instructional books, online learning or in a classroom setting.
  4. Practice, practice, practice.
  5. Reach out to friends, colleagues and teachers for guidance and feedback.
  6. Build experience: Be open to internships or opportunities, paid or not
  7. Take a leap, don’t wait to be perfect before you start. You’ll only get better by starting out, practicing in real-life and gaining the feedback in actual work settings.
  8. Be open to feedback, take the good and constructive. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  9. Make mistakes now, you will learn from them.
  10. BE YOU! You can only expect to be yourself. Although it is good to emulate what you like, finding your true inner voice is what really speaks to people.

Building Healthy Snacks for Pre- and Post- Work Out

I recently had the opportunity to try these great workout snacks from Athletic Foodie. They are nicely portioned, no more than 250 calories per pack and packed with just the right amount of carbs/protein to fuel your energy need and replenish your body after a workout.

Althletic Foodie workout snacks review pic

And they are tasty, too! Since I don’t do extreme workouts and don’t need straight up carbs for glucose energy, I didn’t try the fruit drops. But the granolas and trail mix snacks are perfect for me.

Carbs are important to keep your energy sustained during your workouts and protein is necessary for rebuilding tissue. Whether or not you run marathons or train intensely like an Olympian, you should keep in mind Pre- and Post- Workout snacks to  keep your energy levels/blood sugars even and replenish your needs. So what are guidelines for choosing a snack that has plenty of carbs/protein for your workout needs? (I’m talking about taking an aerobics class, cycling or hitting the gym equipment for at least 45 minutes.)

For pre-workout, I aim for 15-30g carbs, and 3-5g protein or some healthy fat. In a post- workout snack, I aim for 30-60g carbs and at least 5g protein. General rule of thumb 2:1 or 3:1 carbs to protein.

Building Snacks That You’ll Love:

If you don’t have the perfect package that Althetic Foodie or other good resources provide, you can pre-make your own workout snacks in advance. I approve of these simple combos:

NS fruit logo 31/2 Banana + 1 Tbsp peanut or nut butter

160 calories / 20g carbs / healthy fat

NS fruit logo 31 cup low fat milk or alternative milk + 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa + 1/2 – 1 packet Stevia

120 – 140 calories / 15g carbs

NS fruit logo 31/2 cup grapes (or fresh fruit or 1 small fruit) + 10 almonds

140-160 calories / 10-25g carbs / healthy fat

NS fruit logo 31 piece whole grain toast + 1 Tbsp peanut butter or nut butter

180 – 200 calories / 12g carbs / healthy fat

NS fruit logo 31 piece whole grain toast + 1/4 medium avocado smashed (can add lemon juice or desired seasonings like garlic powder or cayenne)

165 calories / 12g carbs / healthy fat

NS fruit logo 31 hard-boiled egg + 1/2 cup fresh fruit (or 1 small apple or orange)

150 calories / 8-20g carbs / 6-7g protein

NS fruit logo 31 cup of fruit juice with 1/2 scoop protein powder blended in  (I like Jay Robb’s Egg White Protein Powder)

180 calories / approx. 30g carbs / 12g protein

NS fruit logo 33 small dates + 1 Tbsp peanut butter or nut butter

160 calories / 20g carbs + healthy fat

NS fruit logo 3Try 2 pieces of my simple, homemade Peanut Butter Date Chocolate Chip Cookies (no added sugar, just simple, wholesome ingreds) – eat ’em raw or baked!

128 calories / 18g carbs + 4g protein

NS fruit logo 31/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use Fage plain 0%)+ 2 Tbsp lowfat Granola (mix and refrigerate overnight for a delicious “cheesecake like” delight – add ¼ cup fresh berries for an even tastier treat

180 calories / 15-30g carbs +12 g protein

**Note: Calories, carbs, proteins are close approximations. Foods may vary depending on size, type and brand

BrightCore Nutrition’s True Food™ Product Review

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I recently had the opportunity to review two supplemental powders from BrightCore Nutrition — their True Foods™ Premium Superfood Formula: Chocolate and Original flavor (Chocolate pictured). And because I’ve got a hubby and kids – they got to be my taste-testers.

True to their motto “Premium Superfood Formula,” these powders do include plenty of superfood ingredients, including Wheat Grass, Alfalfa, Spirulina, Chlorella, Kelp, Milk Thistle and Goji Berry … just to list a few (there are many — including powders derived from a variety of fruits and vegetables, and even whole grains such as quinoa and amaranth). It also contains a probiotic blend and digestive enzymes. I was pleased to see the Chocolate contained cocoa and stevia, instead of added sugar.

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At first I was a little disappointed in the fact that this product didn’t mix well when incorporated directly into a liquid (milk, coconut juice, or any of my alternative milks). However this really is a good sign. Why? Because sugar dissolves quite well in liquids (this product is not made up of sugars — whew!). I processed it into my Nutri-Bullet to get the creamy, smooth consistency I desired. Then added a couple dates and just a hint of coffee to enhance the Chocolate Flavor.

My husband has used both flavors of TrueFood™ powder in his fruit and yogurt smoothies because he recently had dental surgery and can only consume smoothies, pureés and juices this week. He is really trying to incorporate nutrition into his soft diet. This definitely works for him. My kids enjoyed the Chocolate blend which I whipped together with lots of fresh strawberries, soy milk, vanilla extract and a couple dates (and some ice to froth it up). And, even though they had an opportunity to smell the powders earlier (didn’t care for it), they drank it all up and didn’t even know it was in there.

With only 25 calories per serving, this is a great choice to add in more nutritional bulk to my family’s smoothies or simple shakes. Although it is not a protein powder (only 2g protein per serving), it definitely adds a super boost of nutrition to our smoothies and drinks. And, bonus: they are #gluten-free #nonGMO #raw #soy-free  and #dairy-free so they are #super-clean and suitable to those with certain allergies.

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Disclaimer: Although I was not paid for this review, I did receive full-size complimentary containers of both TrueFood™ Superfood Formulas. This is purely my opinion and not at all influenced by the fact that I was compensated.

“Meat Sauce” on the fly (and it’s not ground turkey, beef or chicken)

This one’s for you, busy moms!

It’s been one of those So Cal hot days and I wasn’t up to walking to my local market. Come Monday – we generally make do with what is in the fridge. MIL shops on Tuesdays for the week. Not enough eggs, no tofu, no protein source (except Deli thin turkey slices) and I wasn’t going to make turkey sandwiches (although I’ve done that before).  So I got creative!!

  • What’s leftover?: Couscous
  • What condiments/seasonings/Soups?: Trader Joe’s Tomato Soup, Marinara Sauce
  • Any protein? Deli thin turkey slices, 1 egg

So here’s what I came up with: not meat sauce Recipe: Blend 1 cup cooked couscous with 4-5 slices of deli thin turkey and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Mix with egg white. Add in 2 Tablespoons bread crumbs and season with Italian spices. Lightly pan fry using cooking spray to resemble ground beef, then add in 1/2 cup – 1 cup marinara sauce and a couple of Tablespoons of tomato soup, depending on how saucy you’d like it. It tastes great on its own, but you certainly can enjoy it over pasta as an alternative protein. Why not?! Meatballs are often made with egg and breadcrumbs. My kids burn plenty of energy for the extra carbs. But I’d certainly enjoy the “meat sauce” alone with a generous side of veggies. : )

Nutrition Notes:

  1. Generally I use low sodium soup (and TJ’s has some decent finds), but this was a MIL buy and we had it in the cupboard.
  2. I don’t use these turkey slices often, but it is a fav staple for my MIL and she eats very little as it is.
  3. We have a good Marinara – it’s got Tomatoes, onions, olive oil, salt, garlic, basil, spices (Victoria – White Linen Collection) Good taste —not the lowest in sodium, but not too high.  Rao’s Homemade marinara (sensitive formula) is a little better on the sodium and also contains few and all-natural ingredients – and uses olive oil (not canola) — only 260 mg sodium per serving, but the Victoria – White Linen tastes a little better in my opinion.

Got Cranberries? Add pizzazz to this BBQ side dish.

Cranberries can be enjoyed year-round as dried cranberries are accessible and add a delightfully sweet-tart taste to your recipes, including a picnic standard — potato salad.

I adapted the following recipe from the Cranberry Marketing Committee and because the dressing is so easy, tasty (a delightful combination of yogurt, low fat mayo, vinegar, cranberries and hot pepper sauce), and adaptable, it can be used for various types of salad. I think next time, I’ll use it for an egg or tofu salad!

Cranberry & Cucumber Green Bean Potato Salad

Yield: 6 servings

Cran potato green bean salad

Healthy Make-Over “ICE-CREAM CEREAL”

When I was a kid, one of my favorite treats was ice-cream cereal. Granted it was loaded in sugars – from the Frosted Flakes to the big dollop of ice-cream, that melted creamily and dreamily into the cereal. And don’t forget that milk contains sugars. Wholy-moly at 34g sugar in one bowl — a sugar overload!!

Sugar Breakdown: 3/4 cup Frosted Flakes 12g Sugar + 1/2 cup ice-cream 15g Sugar + 1/2 cup Whole Milk  7g Sugar = 34g Sugar

Today,  I’m much more aware of the hazards of excess sugars. [Here’s an article for my case in point. It’s on sugar-sweetened beverages – but it doesn’t matter where the sugar comes from, habitual sugar excess wreaks havoc on the body.] So when I want a treat, that yearns back to my childhood days, I make-it-over for a healthier version. Here’s my healthified take on Ice-Cream Cereal – no ice-cream, but definitely a creamy-licious appeal.

Healthy Make-Over “Ice cream Cereal”

The recipe:

  • 1 cup Rice Krispies (only 4g sugar per 1 1/4 cup serving)
  • 1/2 cup organic soy milk (or almond milk) (3g sugar per 1/2 cup)
  • 3 Tablespoons Labne – Middle Eastern “yogurt/cheese” (1.5 g per 3 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 packet Stevia (0g sugar)
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries (4g sugar per 1/2 cup serving)

Mix stevia into Labne yogurt. Set aside. In a bowl combine cereal, milk. Then add a small dollop (3 Tbsp) of the sweetened Labne. Top with Strawberries and enjoy.

Sugar Breakdown: 4g + 3g + 1.5g + 4g = 12.5g sugar – 4 of which come from antioxidant-rich fresh fruit= 8.5g added sugars

And just in case you haven’t seen Labne, you can purchase it in the cream cheese section of your grocery store. I got mine at Ralphs. It looks like yogurt, but thicker than most (closely resembles strained yogurt but I think its a bit denser).

Avocado, Strawberry & Quinoa Salad

As promised I have a tip and an avocado recipe for you. If you recall in a recent post, I visited Rancho Rodoro and picked farm fresh avocados. #sponsoredtrip #CAavocados They are finally ripe, and quite delish.

Avocado, Strawberry & Quinoa Salad

avoc straw salad

The Recipe:

  • 1/2 medium Hass Avocado
  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup canned, low sodium chickpeas
  • 6- 8 Strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1-2 tsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Optional: Add some chopped raw veggies of choice (I like cucumbers – they are refreshing)

Blend well tahini, soy sauce and lemon juice and set aside for dressing. Toss quinoa, chickpeas and cilantro. Drizzle on dressing. Fold in avocado and strawberries, reserving a few slices of each to garnish. Enjoy!


AVOCADO-LICIOUS TIP via Katie Ferraro, RD: For better appeal and access to more nutrients, use a criss-cross cut to open and peel avocado. Simply slice length-wise and then around the width. It will easier break off into 4 sections – seed comes right out! It also provides easier access to the most nutrient-dense portion, the dark green area near the peel.

Visit California Avocado Commission‘s site for some other great tips and recipes.