How to keep hydrated even if you loathe plain ol’ water



I know, I know, I’m always talking about how important it is to keep hydrated and how you should be drinking a lot of water every day. For instance, if you haven’t read it already, take a peek at my hydration blog I  wrote a couple summers ago. It was geared toward summer heat, but hydration is important every single day regardless of the season.

To review some of the reasons why water is essential for us to consume every day—it helps regulate circulation, body temperature, and digestion. It also detoxifies the liver and the kidneys and carries waste out of the body. Did you know that a two-percent drop in body water can cause small but critical shrinkage of the brain, which can impair neuromuscular coordination, decrease concentration, and cause slow thinking?

Getting thirsty yet? Seriously, how much water should you drink? The general rule of thumb is to at least drink half your body weight in ounces. If you are very active, you will need much more!

Curious if you are hydrated enough as you read this? Here are two ways to know if you are hydrated enough:

Check out your urine! A large amount of light colored, diluted urine probably means you are hydrated; dark colored, concentrated urine probably means you are dehydrated.

You can also use the pinch test! Dehydration often reduces skin elasticity, so doctors often use this skin test to quickly check for dehydration. The best part is that you can do it yourself: Pinch the skin on the back of your hand and pull it upwards. Your skin should snap back rapidly. If your skin maintains its pinched shape for a few seconds and drops slowly, you may be dehydrated.

Many of my clients complain that water gets boring. I have some fun tricks for you!

Try infusing water. Keep a pitcher of water in your fridge with fruit and herbs that help give the water a refreshing taste. Here are some popular combinations:

  • Cucumber + lime + strawberry + mint.
  • Lemon + raspberry + rosemary.
  • Orange + blueberry + basil.
  • Lime + ginger root + basil.
  • Watermelon + honeydew + mint.
  • Cucumber + mint + jalapeno.
  • Lemon + thyme.
  • Orange + hibiscus + star anise.

Here are some foods to consume to help hydrate you (they all are comprised of at least 90 percent water):

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Oranges
  • Skim Milk
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce

And this time of the year, I love drinking hot cups of green tea or herb tea not only to keep me hydrated, but also, to give me an antioxidant boost!




March Madness Munchies



This week the March Madness basketball tradition begins!! And how does nutrition relate to March Madness?

Sporting game get-togethers give us an excuse to indulge in unhealthy appetizers and finger foods. March Madness means a lot of basketball games and if you are like many people I know, it probably means thousands of extra calories that you wouldn’t normally consume. Try making a change with these easy March Madness munchies ideas.

Chips and Guac

Get a huge bag of organic tortilla chips (this assures that the corn is not genetically modified) and a few simple ingredients to make guacamole: three avocados, two limes, two cloves of garlic, two small tomatoes, and sea salt and cumin to taste). All you have to do is:

-Mash the avocados

– Squeeze in the juice of two limes

-Mince the garlic and toss in

-Dice the two tomatoes and toss them in

-and add sea salt and cumin to taste.

You can add a little bit of cayenne for a kick!

Baked Sweet Potato Chips

I was going to suggest baked kale chips, but I have found baked sweet potato chips to be a huge hit for parties! While you preheat the oven at 400, simply slice up 2 peeled sweet potatoes very thinly.  Put in a big bowl and pour in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a teaspoon of course salt, ½ teaspoon of paprika and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. These should fit on two large baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes flip over and bake for another 12 minutes.

Shrimp with “Healthy” Cocktail Sauce

Most commercial cocktail sauce has high-fructose corn syrup-you don’t want that! For a healthier cocktail sauce, just mix organic ketchup (it doesn’t have HFCS) with a tablespoon or two of horseradish.

Sliced Apples and Low-Fat Cheddar

Who needs crackers? The crunch of an apple suffices and so much healthier! As an alternative, use sliced cucumbers!

Note: If sodium is a concern of yours, in the recipes that call for salt, try a salt substitute like Herbamare instead! It’s just as tasty, I promise!



Boost your energy throughout the day with Breakfast



So many people I know are in such a frenzy in the morning that they rush out the door with an empty stomach. They may have sipped a cup of Joe while getting ready or grabbed a handful of dry cereal on their way out, but that will not give them the sort of energy that their body and mind so desperately need.

The number one way to boost your energy level, your ability to concentrate and your overall productivity is to start your day with a hearty breakfast. You don’t need to prepare anything elaborate; simply, be sure that the meal combines complex carbohydrates with protein and fiber.

Here are some simple, hearty, breakfasts that you can prepare in five minutes or less:

  • Whole grain toast with almond butter. Add a half of sliced banana.
  • Greek yogurt with chopped apple and walnuts.
  • Scrambled egg with low-fat cheese, spinach and mushroom.
  • Oatmeal with ground flaxseed, dried fruit, and pumpkin seeds. For extra sweetness, add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
  • A PB&J smoothie: 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1 cup of almond milk, ½ cup of Greek yogurt and 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter. Add up to ½ cup of water to get desired consistency.

Dr. John Ivy of the University of Texas, a top nutrition researcher, has stated “Breakfast is a critical meal because it influences practically every dimension of our being during the course of the day, including how we perform physically and mentally. Breakfast immediately raises the body’s energy level and restores the blood glucose level to normal after an overnight fast.”

I urge you to break your fast with a nourishing breakfast every day and I promise you that you will notice a remarkable improvement in your energy level and productivity.




Controlling your food portions



It is so easy to overeat when we don’t portion out our food. You know how it goes…you bring a bag of almonds to work and by the time lunchtime arrives, you read the label on the bag and realize that you have eaten close to 1,000 calories worth of almonds or seven ¼ cup servings.

Many times when you dine out, the servings are way larger than you should be consuming. For example, a serving of meat should be about 3 ounces or the size of a deck of cards. I’m sorry, but I have never seen a steak that small at any restaurant I have frequented.

So what are appropriate serving sizes? I will give you two ways to visualize servings. One will be with common objects (like the aforementioned deck of cards). The other will be with using your hands.

Common objects that represent serving sizes:

  • Tennis Ball: Medium apple, orange, peach, nectarine = 1 fruit serving
  • Baseball: ½ serving of a cooked rice or pasta dish = 1 grain serving ALSO 1 cup of salad greens = 1 veggie serving
  • 4-stacked dice = 1.5 ounces cheese = 1 dairy serving
  • Large egg = ¼ cup nuts = 1 serving
  • Deck of cards: 1 3-ounce serving of most meat
  • Checkbook = 1 3-ounce serving of fish
  • Golf ball = 2 Tablespoons of nut butter or hummus = 1 serving
  • Poker chip = 1 serving of oil, dressing, etc

How you can visualize servings with your hands:

  • Tip of your thumb = 1 serving of oil, dressing, etc
  • A fist = 1 serving of fruit or 1 serving of grain
  • The palm of one hand = 1 serving of meat
  • The palms of both hands = 1 serving of veggies

I hope these guides help you out! When bringing snacks to work, I recommend using those snack-size Ziploc bags to portion out servings. Also, think of these guidelines the next time you go out to eat. Also, never eat snacks out of the bag! Portion them out according to these visuals!

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Five ways to keep your heart healthy



It’s February—National Heart Health Month. I talk about heart health a lot. It’s a huge deal—heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women! I am going to do something a little bit different in this blog!

I usually talk about heart-healthy foods. In this entry, I am going to discuss some lifestyle choices you should make to reduce your risk of getting heart disease.


Exercise improves overall heart health! Exercise gets your heart pumping harder, which strengthens it. It’s suggested to exercise moderately at least 150 minutes per week for maximum benefits. You don’t have to hit the gym to get exercise. Take your dog for a light jog. Dance with your girlfriends!  Try an app like Sworkit to get in a great 20-60 minute workout at home. Even a 10 minute mini-workout is better than no workout!


Get enough sleep. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Studies have linked getting sufficient quality sleep had healthier arteries than those who didn’t.  Turn electronic devices off at least an hour before bed.  Determine a relaxing sleep ritual for yourself (maybe reading or doing some yoga or stretching, or even a warm bath).

If you have difficulty sleeping, make sure your room is dark (consider blackout curtains). White noise machines also help light sleepers.


Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.  Smoke can damage your arteries and lead to the buildup of fatty material. When fatty material builds up in your arteries, they narrow, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Ask your doctor what you can do to quit smoking as soon as possible.


Keep alcohol to 1-2 glasses per day(1 drink for women and 2 drinks per day for men). Drinking more alcohol increases chances of developing high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and other heart disease risk factors.

Stress Reduction

Stress is a major factor in heart disease. Several studies show that meditation is an effective modality to reduce stress. It also helps to reduce anxiety, and harmful hormones. Meditating can lower heart rate and blood pressure.

And do something that will make you laugh! Laughter is good for your heart; it actually raises your HDL (good) cholesterol!

Eat well, exercise daily (even if for 10 minutes), sleep well, quit smoking, limit alcohol, and reduce stress and your heart will thank you!

Nuts about nuts!



What food is so versatile, so delicious, high in protein, fiber, minerals, and healthy unsaturated fats? By the title of my blog, I’m sure you guessed it—nuts! And I am nuts about nuts because they are widely available, so good for you and each one tastes different, which means I never get bored with them. In this blog, I will share some nutrition information about my five favorite nuts.

Each of these nuts are amazing at possibly helping to prevent heart disease and they are great (when eaten in small serving sizes) for weight-loss efforts. Study after study find that nuts are the perfect heart-healthy food choice!


A small handful of almonds contains roughly:

Calories: 161

Total mono and or polyunsaturated fat: 14 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 6 grams

Fiber: 3.5 grams

Vitamin E: 37% of the RDI

Magnesium: 19% of the RD


A small handful of pistachios contains roughly:

Calories: 156

Total mono and or polyunsaturated fat: 12.5 grams

Protein: 6 grams

Carbs: 8 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Vitamin E: 3% of the RDI

Magnesium: 8% of the RD


A small handful of cashews contains roughly:

Calories: 155

Total mono and or polyunsaturated fat: 12 grams

Protein: 5 grams

Carbs: 9 grams

Fiber: 1 gram

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 20% of the RDI

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts originate from a tree in the Amazon and are an incredibly rich source of selenium

A small handful of Brazil nuts contains about:

Calories: 182

Total mono and or polyunsaturated fat: 18 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 3 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin E: 8% of the RDI

Magnesium: 26% of the RDI


Walnuts are a very popular nut and an excellent source of the omega -3 fatty acids alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

A small handful of walnuts contains roughly:

Calories: 182

Total mono and or polyunsaturated fat: 18 grams

Protein: 4 grams

Carbs: 4 grams

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin E: 1% of the RDI

Magnesium: 11% of the RDI

Add nuts to your morning oatmeal or yogurt. They’re great in salads. You can crush them for a “breading” for poultry and fish. Some like cashews blend well in smoothies as well. And even just a small handful of nuts is a great snack to keep you satiated between meals!

How to eat mindfully



In our fast-paced society, most of us fall prey to multi-tasking, even when we eat! I admit that there are times when I am racing from presentation to presentation and have to eat while I’m driving. But you know what? Mindful eating is so important and I try to eat mindfully and encourage my clients to do as much as possible.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Arrive at your food

Arriving at food means that we become aware before a meal or snack that food has come into our personal space. Take 30 Seconds and assess the colors, shapes, arrangements, smells, names of the food you are about to eat. This sounds simple, but actually it’s more difficult than you might think. Sometimes we can be eating and not even know that we’ve made a choice to eat.

Step 2: Awaken to your food

Awakening to food means that we pay attention to all the aspects of food. When we awaken, we notice the sensations of the food, such as taste, change of flavors, texture and aromas. We can also look deeper to see the effort, resources and sacrifices within each food as well. A mindful eater spends at least one moment during each bite waking up to some aspect of the food.

Step 3: Tune into your body

Mindful eaters pay close attention to themselves as they eat. Become aware of how many chews it takes for you to chew your food completely. Have a “baseline” number of chews for eat bite. I suggest aiming for at least 10 chews per bite.

Step 4: Your surrounding

Mindful eating includes being aware of all the activities that surround food and eating. Setting the table, clearing the table, loading the dishwasher, and putting away leftovers are all part of eating. When we adopt a careful, deliberate way of behaving with any action involving food, we help ourselves stay in the moment and heighten the degree by which we honor food. You may want to set a calming ambience like lighting candles before you eat.

So, before you eat your dinner in front of TV again or eat your breakfast rushing out the door, try a practice of mindfulness when it comes to eating. At least try this practice at least once a day. It will help your feel truly amazing! And when you eat mindfully, you tend to eat healthier too!