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Thursday, July 28, 2011

8 Foods That Help You Lose Weight

 I thought this was interesting and will incorporate more of these into my diet!

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's a long haul to self care

Each day I reflect on the lessons I learned about not taking care of myself, but taking care of others. The biggest single step I have to take in order to continue on my journey to health is take care of  myself. I'm trying.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can't do it without eating some bariatric foods

I apologize for my absence over the past two weeks. I've been working my way through some tough issues and I tend to run and hide from the world when I'm in that mode. I know, not a good strategy for a blogger.

For the past year, I've been really wanting to  meet all my protein goals with the use of regular food. I have always struggled to get enough protein in even before my surgery and it is even more important now. When my body doesn't get enough protein it holds on to weight. This has been the case for the past year and my weightloss slowed to well, basically nothing, just going up and down by the same few pounds. The weeks I ate enough protein I'd lose and you guessed it the weeks I didn't I'd gain.

So I finally have in and started ordering some bariatric foods from and have lost weight the past two weeks because I am getting enough protein. These foods are designed to be low in fat and calories and high in protein, a winning combination for weight loss surgery patients. It took me a long time to come to this realization, but what matters is I made it and now I am losing again and I believe I will get to my goal.

Make it a great day!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Great Website for Meatless Meals and Cooking with Children

I came across this website today and will be trying some of the recipes. I am not a vegetarian, but do like to eat like one. I also only eat protein raised in a humane way. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Are Your Rocks?

I apologize for my absence for about a week. It's been difficult one in my recovery, but some important lessons were learned that I will share here. I have always struggled with self care. I'd have to assume if you are reading my blog either you do too or know someone who has. I also tend to sabotage my success.

Last week I went to my doctor to discuss this and to talk about the ways in which I wasn't taking care of myself. She said, you have to get your rocks in order. What are the things that matter most to you? Find those and focus your energy on them. Much easier said then done.

I tend to be a talker not as much as the doer I want to be. I realize this is because I usually take on too much which makes it hard to do all I want. Don't get me wrong. I am very good at what I do. I'm an excellent teacher and the writing projects I'm working are coming along.

However, I've been going through a really hard time financially for the past few years which has been very draining and the stress of it takes away from energy spent on all the productive things I want to do.

I am also way too hard on myself. After all, I have lost 60lbs. Yes, I'd like to lose more, and I am and I will, but what I need to do is learn balance.  Another concept I've always struggled with. This morning I'm going to  my doctor to review some recent blood work I had to see where my levels are regarding B-12, Vitamin D and other essential levels. My thyroid is out of whack and we are working on that too. So, once we get all these things back on track my energy should be back and I'll be making more progress on all my goals.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For Better or Worse In Sickness and in Health: Marriage Vows

It is essential to be able to talk about ones struggle to recover from an eating disorder with those we love most. I have been doing so with my husband during my struggle, but particularly in the last few days where I am really beginning to see the extent of my self destructive habits. I have a doctors appointment Thursday with a new doc in my primary care physicians office, one who specializes in working with people who've had bariatric surgery. I am going to write a brief letter, way easier then trying to tell  her and will take less time too and ask for a treatment plan to help me get back on track to good health.

When I asked my husband how is able to handle watching me go through such a tough process he said, "I believe the words were, "for better or worse." That has given me all the motivation I need in order to take this many headed dragon my eating disorder and wrestle it to the ground until its dead.

Make it a great day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm Struggling to Take My Suppliments and Paying the Price: Finding What Works

I recall before I had surgery thinking "How can someone not take their supplements?" Why would you go through gastric bypass and not do so. Well the answer is a bit complicated and I'm working may way through understanding this for  myself.

I've never been great at self care which is how I originally became obese, but not taking care of  myself and choosing food to calm myself to deal with the stresses of life which I've had way more then my share.

The last nine months have been very stressful financially for us and myself care has really fallen off. I am experiencing symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency, I am chronically dehydrated, haven't been taking my calcium regularly, not sleeping well.  I went to visit my surgical team last week and thankfully they don't berate us, like my first surgeon did. They didn't need to. I knew I was and am about the most unhealthy I've ever been. This has to change. It is just sad and frustrating that I let myself get into such bad shape before I actually scare myself into taking better care of myself.

I just scheduled my annual physical, which I am of course overdue for and am going to talk openly and honestly about my struggles over the past year. I've ordered some new supplements designed for people who've had gastric bypass. I am going to arrange to have a B-12 shot each month and I am going to take care of  myself.

Wish me luck.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Meet Hungry Girl: Wonderful Resouce for Lower Fat and Calorie Recpies

Hi everyone, I was on the spinning bike the other day watching Food TV where I get lots of inspiration for new dishes. With my cooking knowledge and experience I can often figure out how to alter them to make them healthier. I happened across a show with this chef. She was talking about how when Americans go to a barbecue it is not unheard of to take in 3000 calories in one meal. That is a huge amount considering I am still aiming for 1200-1400 as I try to drop my last 40 lbs. In this show, she made a substitute for potato salad that often fools people into thinking it is potato salad. This is made from cauliflower, egg whites, red onion, ranch dressing, Dijon mustard, low fat mayonnaise, low fat sour cream and a host of other items, but comes in at much healthier numbers. Check out her web site and you can find the recipe there. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why I've Not Posted Over the Past Few Days: Loss of Family Dog

Hello Everyone, this past Saturday night my beloved family dog Tank, a mixed breed of half Golden Retriever and a mix of other breeds including hound and probably German Shepard went into respiratory distress followed by a stroke and died in my arms.
We'd had four days of severe thunder and lightening storms and he was deathly afraid of these storms. We give him a sedative to help with the stress but four straight days of these storms with the last being the worst were just too much for this beautiful soul of a dog. He was about 13. We adopted him four years ago and he was some where between five and nine years old and we think perhaps now it was towards the older end.
We are doing better day by day and will get another dog, we have one remaining when we are ready but I just wanted to let readers know of my absence. The good news is that I am not over eating, drinking or thinking and I am coping in a healthy manner. If you have pets, give them some extra love today...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Post Inspired by Looking at a Spiders Web: Escaping the "Eating Disorder Web."

When I was in the third grade my teacher Mrs. Chase read aloud to us each day to inspire us to want to be readers. My favorite book was Charlotte's web. I was enthralled by Wilbur's predicament and I when my mother tucked me into bed each night I would tell her what we heard from the story. I was very worried about whether Wilbur would survive or not. She would tell me, "Don't worry honey, Wilbur will be okay." In fact, Wilbur does survive but he loses his friend Charlotte the spider who would descend from her web to talk to and reassure him.

This morning I was sitting on my front porch and noticed a spider web hanging from the eave of the 1880's farmhouse I live in. It was barely noticeable and is really a thing of beauty when the dew sparkles off it in the morning light. While admiring this work of natural engineering I thought about the complexity of the web of eating disorders. They become such an integral part of our lives that we can live trapped in them for years as I did like the prey of the spider who flies into and becomes ensnared in the web and waits it fate as the next meal for the spider.

If we don't learn how to extract ourselves from this deadly web, eating disorders can kill us as well. I learned as early as five years old to begin to hate my body and to abuse it through a deadly cycle of over and then under eating. This made me reflect on the fact that I've been working really hard for the past seven years to extract myself from this "eating disorder web" a phrase I've coined to describe this
deadly prison and this is okay. Every step of the journey is essential and I am okay with my progress.

The past nine months have been very stressful due to financial and career reasons and I haven't regained any weight and that is okay with me. I'd like to lose between 20-40lb more pounds. This Friday I see my bariatric team and I want to discuss whether this goal is reasonable. Right now I am 19 lbs above what they said could be my highest goal weight and that the body will stop losing when it is ready. I have to also remember that my skeleton is denser after 20+ years of obesity, which I no longer am and I have quite a lot of muscle. So maybe, I am where I need to be, and  maybe I just need to be happy with the great progress I've made. The most important thing is that I escaped the "eating disorder web" I am no longer diabetic and I am happy with my body. Maybe this is more then enough.

When I see that spider on my porch I'm going to thank it for the lesson.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Proud of Myself Today

Winston Churchill said, "When you are going through hell, keep on going." For the most part, though there have been many positive moments, the last five years have been hell for me. It was during this time that to use the expression,, " All  my chickens came home to roost." Funny, because I am thinking of keeping chickens. Maybe that's why I thought of this expression.

Growing up I learned a lot of bad behaviors when it came to eating. I learned to eat all highly processed foods and didn't know anything about good food, or what my parents would have called "hippee food." I also was under a tremendous amount of stress watching my mother suffer from the consequences of diabetes, poor choices in self care, which I learned to replicate and am struggling to overcome. It is two steps forward and six steps backward and then I fight and claw my way back up the hill.

In addition to not learning about food, I learned very little about money management because in my family of origin it was assumed I'd get married and my husband would handle all that. As a result, I didn't learn to be frugal, save money or to live within  my means, and my relationship with food was really no different. I wasted food, whenever you throw away food because it went bad do to lack of planning you are throwing away money. I very rarely planned my meals now I do.

I'm learning to live within my means both in terms of budgets and caloric needs. I am also learning to enjoy red wine responsibly. I like white, but if I am going to expend the calories, I want the antioxidants. For awhile after my gastric bypass, it was a real struggle to re-incorporate it into  my diet. On some level, I wish I had taken my teams advice to not have any alcohol for a year after surgery. But, because I'm recovering from an eating disorder I didn't want to say there were foods or substances I couldn't have because that black and white, dualist thinking around food caused me a  lot of personal pain over the years. I had to learn how alcohol effected me differently and how to have it at a reasonable level without the after effects and feeling like crap the next day. I am happy to say that this has been my strongest week in the last nine months where I've balanced this really well. This week has been a giant step forward and I am feeling good about it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More Good Days then Bad Days: Every Step Counts

So, I thought it was time to report that I am having more good days then bad days and the scale is finally moving again. I am eating mostly a high protein with some carbs of course as they and fat are essential for healthy brain function. It is hard working  a second job but that is what I need to do a few days a week while building back my savings as we had a lot of car repairs this spring. I'm getting my 30 minutes of exercise in each day and I've cut back my red wine consumption to healthier levels. Every little action helps and build on success.

Make it a great day!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Learning from our Dreams

I had terrible nightmares all last night involving rotten teeth, lions invading my home of origin wreaking havoc, death and destruction in the home I grew up. Killing my pets and family members. I realized these lions were symbols of the misogyny I experience growing up that led to my eating disorder and to the self destructive behaviors I've struggled with in my life. It was a clear signal to me that I am stressed and that I need to keep focused on self care and meeting my approach goals so I make progress day by day by day.

When I wrote my dissertation, I used dreams as interludes between chapters and I always learned a lot from them. Last nights dream was a clear signal to "proceed with caution."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sexuality After Gastric Bypass

I watched a really interesting film on NetFlix on my Roku player last night called Sexual Healing, about four different couples working with a sex therapist to work on the issues in their marriages. One of the couples, the wife had gastric bypass and lost 100 lbs and found herself with a diminished libido to her and her husbands surprise. She had been sexually abused as a child and knew that part of the reason she got fat in the first place was to protect herself from men. This I can understand because in part this was my experience but for different reasons. I was not sexually abused, thankfully, but my maternal grandmother hated me and passed along bad attitudes about men along with her negative body image and eating disordered behavior to me.

This caused me a lot of trouble in the earlier years of my life including choosing bad partners when I was in my 20's. Relationships which I was able to end, but not without my own share of pain, but thankfully no children. I know I too got fat to protect me from men, but it also played a role in my choosing men that weren't good for me and met the expectations my grandmother taught me about. Thankfully in the end, I ended up marrying a wonderful man.

Still, I experienced this diminished libido until I figured out what was going on. Now, I am happy to say, that isn't a problem anymore. Part of recovering from obesity is to learn to love and appreciate ones body for all its joys regardless of how long you were overweight and protecting yourself from the world with the layers of fat that are no longer present.

Enough said for now I think. If anyone wants me to write more about this, just let me know and I will.

Make it a great day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

My Favorite Baked Teriyaki Chicken Dish Ever

Hello Everyone, I love, love, love this marinade. It is tasty, full of flavor and cooked with high quality chicken, raised free range with no antibiotics, it doesn't get better. Enjoy, and if anyone makes it, let me know what you think.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day and Recovering From Obesity is a Journey of the Mind Above all Else

 First things first, Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there!

I have been thinking a lot over the past few days how much a journey of the mind my recovery from obesity has been.

Despite the fact, I've had two weight loss surgeries, the first a dismal failure for many reasons. I wasn't nearly emotionally ready for it and I wasn't aware of my own personal issues that were getting in the way of my recovery. Also, that I had a surgeon that pushed all my buttons and I reacted badly to that including running away from him, canceling appointments and not taking good care of myself. This resulted in a low weight loss along with neurological issues and anemia. I had trouble keeping food down for three years, which resulted in these issues. I was so upset by him, I couldn't return to his practice. The dynamic between us created all the same behaviors that existed in my family that led me to turn to food in the first place. Of course, I had to work my way through this with a therapist to really understand it. He would chastise and even yell at me telling me I wasn't doing what I was supposed to do. Not helpful at all...

One thing, I will say is that my first surgeon was obese himself. Was this relevant? I'm not sure, but at the least, I thought it would have bought me some compassion from him, but it didn't. I don't recommend going to an obese surgeon for weight loss surgery.... I guess, I just don't have to justify this. It is what it is....

But, back to the point. Weight loss surgery is just a tool to help facilitate weight loss. There are all kinds, so do your research and decide which is best for you.

Gastric Bypass is the "gold standard" for weight loss and "curing" Type II Diabetes, the best outcome of my surgery. My mother was a Type I Diabetic, died when she was 40 and I was 15 and she had two legs amputated before her death, along with five heart attacks, the first on my 10th birthday. It was hell really for me. All this contributed to my eating disorder that led to my obesity.

On this Mother's Day, I am thinking of her and how sad she would be at my suffering, but yet, how glad she will be that I have transcended my issues. I am still making progress. I would like to lose 30-40 more lbs and I know I will get there.

I continue to work on my goals one by one, day by day and I think about the journey of the mind and that this is the most important part. Making small changes day by day in what I think, how I eat, how I cook and how I move, and over the next year, I will achieve my goals.

Stay tuned...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Massachusetts Department of Health Low Cost Recpies

This is a wonderful resource to help stretch your food budget. It is very interactive and you can select recipes by ingredients. Enjoy and let me know if you try any!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Healthy and Low Cost Ways to Cook at Home

Yesterdays post on low cost ways to cook from scratch from home got a lot of views so I thought I would look for another resources. This one has some good facts in it. I will create more posts around this. Make it a great day!

From Dedham Medical Associates, from Atrius Health and it was Contributed by Jason Machowsky, MS, RD ACSM-cPT

Cooking at Home: Tips for Healthy Meals
Americans are spending more money eating away from home than ever before. In fact, Americans now spend just about half of their food dollars at restaurants, up from only 25% in 1955, according to the National Restaurant Association. But research has shown that eating out frequently, particularly fast food, is associated with a number of health issues, including obesity, insulin resistance, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. As a result, many people have become more health conscious with their food selections and are even considering a return to home cooking.
Many people find the transition from eating out to cooking at home challenging for one big reason—time constraints. If you are working two jobs or have an on-the-run lifestyle, you may think that you will not have the time or energy to cook a meal at the end of the day or to prepare food for the week. However, by learning a few cooking tips and tricks, you can turn a multihour cooking ordeal into a quick meal that will enhance both your health and wallet.
Certain tasks can significantly lengthen or shorten the time you are in the kitchen. This handout will provide a number of methods, substitutions, and low-cost options that you can use to make quick, tasty, and healthy meals at home.
Choosing the right recipes
Choose recipes that have quick cooking times or ones that allow you to do something else while the food cooks. Certain styles of cooking, such as stir-fry (healthy version included in this handout) and grilling, cook food quickly, so you can sit and enjoy a meal within 5-10 minutes. However, other cooking options, such as braising and roasting, allow you to do other tasks while the food cooks, such as preparing other food or cleaning up!
Using the oven
Baking is a great way to cook meat without added fat. You can even “bread” foods in healthy mixtures, such as crushed spices and almonds, and then bake for 30-45 minutes for a juicy, flavorful main dish.
Do not forget the vegetables. Roasting vegetables is quick and easy. Just slice your favorite vegetables, such as peppers, onions, eggplant, sweet potatoes, or beets, toss with a little olive oil and spices, and place in a 400o-450o F oven for 15-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices. Thinner slices cook faster. Try roasting some thinly sliced sweet potatoes and beets with fresh rosemary or garlic for 15-20 minutes as a healthy potato chip alternative.
Using the stove top
Stir-frying and sautéing are great cooking methods for preparing healthy foods quickly, provided you make a few small adjustments. Cutting your meat and vegetables into smaller pieces will result in decreased cooking time. Try using cooking spray and just a little flavorful oil, such as olive, peanut, or sesame oil, to enhance the taste without adding too many extra calories or much fat. Rely on spices, such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon, thyme, or rosemary, to pack a zesty kick without any extra calories. A simple meat and vegetable stir-fry with a few teaspoons of sesame oil, garlic, and ginger can go from cutting board to table in less than 30 minutes.
You can perform one of the healthiest cooking methods on the stove top—steaming. Stackable bamboo steamers are available for about $20-$35, which allow you to cook multiple foods at once. You can steam seasoned fish and vegetables at the same time. You can even roll the fish filets in some fresh spices, such as ginger or lemongrass, to infuse the flavor and aroma as it cooks. With this cooking method, you can have many fish and vegetable recipes ready within 10- 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the food.
You can use the stove top to cook large batches of food, such as a stir-fry, stew, or chili, which you can then portion into containers for future meals. Some of these large batches may need to simmer for a while to cook, but you usually can do something else during that time and just stir the contents every 5-10 minutes. If you are sitting at home reading this article, you probably could have made a large batch of food at the same time.
Using the microwave
In addition to reheating leftovers in a snap, microwaves also can cook certain foods very quickly, particularly potatoes. You can have a raw sweet potato ready to serve in about 7 minutes. Poke many holes in the sweet potato with a fork, and then cook it on high for 6-7 minutes, turning the potato onto its other side halfway through the cooking. Once it is done, cut it open and allow it to cool for 1-2 minutes. Top with some cinnamon and a few spoonfuls of low-fat yogurt for a healthy side dish.
You also can cook many frozen foods in the microwave oven, including vegetables. Just make sure that the ingredients listed on the packaged are healthy. If you do not know how to pronounce half the ingredients in a packaged food or do not know where those ingredients come from, you probably should not make it!
Using the grill
Grilling can cook meat and vegetables quickly, while allowing excess fat to drip away from the food. Adding just a dash of olive oil will prevent vegetables from sticking to the grill, and you can toss them with different spices, such as garlic, rosemary, or thyme, to bring out some unique, satisfying flavors.
If you do not want to use an outdoor grill, indoor grill pans and specialty grills, such as the George Foreman Grill, are available for $20-$25. Because of the heating elements on both sides of the grill, your food will cook quite quickly, usually within 10 minutes. If you invest in a slightly larger grill surface, you can cook your vegetables and meat at the same time, so dinner is ready faster. Another option it to make a large batch of grilled food and save some for the next day’s meal!
No-cook and reheat options
If you are really pressed for time, do not forget about making a quick salad or sandwich. A dash of mustard or hummus, a few slices of turkey breast, and some fresh sliced vegetables can result in a quick and satisfying meal. Leftovers also can go a long way when you are in a pinch.
Reheating on a stove top or in a microwave takes much less time than cooking from scratch. You can freeze many foods for weeks or months, so you can enjoy leftovers long into the future. This is yet another reason to cook in bulk when you can!
Are you excited and ready to cook? Try looking at ( and Food Network’s Healthy Eats blog ( for quick and healthy recipe ideas.
References and recommended readings
CBS News, Business. Americans eating out less: restaurant traffic has fallen for two straight years, according to market research firm. Available at: Accessed October 14, 2010.
Mayo Clinic. Nutrition and healthy eating: healthy cooking techniques. Available at: Accessed October 14, 2010.
National Restaurant Association. 2010 restaurant industry pocket factbook. Available at: Accessed October 13, 2010.
Pereira MA, Kartashov AI, Ebberling CB, et al. Fast-food habits, weight gain, and insulin resistance (the CARDIA study): 15-year prospective analysis. Lancet [serial online]. 2005;365:36-42. Available at: food_Habits,_Weight_Gain,_and_Insulin_Resistance.pdf. Accessed October 13,2010.
Contributed by Jason Machowsky, MS, RD ACSM-cPT Review Date 11/10

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Low Cost Ways to Cook at Home From Scratch

 This is a wonderful web site with many good ideas for those trying to cook at home from scratch and save money while eating well.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Binge Drinking and High Blood Pressure

Some people after gastric bypass begin to binge drink because they no longer can binge eat. This is a very informative article about why this is so very dangerous.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rona's Re-engineered Chicken Pot PIe

 This is from Rona Lewis is an LA-based fitness and lifestyle coach, cookbook author and motivational speaker. The first in her cookbook series, Does This Cookbook Make Me Look Fat? Healthy Recipes Even HE Will Eat!, is available at Her second book, Does This Cookbook Make Me Look Fat? Vol. 2 Healthy Recipes For Entertaining, will be out this Spring. I just came across this and it looked great and I wanted to share it. I'm going to try it. If anyone else tries it let me know what you think of it.

Rona’s Re-engineered Chicken Pot Pie
Serves 6

Nutritional breakdown per serving:
Calories: 350 /Protein: 26gr / Sodium 311mg / Fat: 12gr           
Carbohydrates: 38gr / Sat Fat: 4gr / Fiber: 4gr / Sugar: 9gr           

This version is high in vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K.  It also has a lot of riboflavin, Vitamin B6 and is very high in Protein, but low on the Glycemic Index!

When I tell people that I create healthy recipes, their minds immediately think of dishes like raw tofu sautéed with peat moss and sprinkled with twigs.

As good as that sounds (KIDDING!), healthy cooking is simply about thinking smarter. I like to eat good food as much as the next person, so it made sense for me to create recipes that saved on fat, calories, carbs and sugar so I COULD eat well, but not feel “cheated” in terms of taste and variety.

Changing recipes to make them healthier isn’t hard at all. Basic changes can go a long way to lighten a dish, even if you’re not a pro. Instead of deep-frying anything, just use a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan. On a high heat, sauté it! (Translation-there IS no deep-frying in healthy cooking.) You’ll save a ton of calories. Once you’re used to it, the dishes taste great. You’ll actually experience the taste of the ingredients.
One of my favorite kitchen tools is the Misto-a reusable spray can that I fill with olive oil to coat pans. I also use one for grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar, etc. They’re very handy! 

Then I substitute low sodium chicken or vegetable broth for extra oil to keep the foods moist without adding fat and calories and keep the ingredients from sticking to the pan. A dish doesn’t have to be loaded with oil to taste good. Try using non-fat or low fat plain Greek yogurt instead of full fat sour cream. You’ll save about 10-12 grams of fat and won’t notice a change in flavor. 

Stevia works well as a sugar substitute in cooking and baking and is all natural. If you like salt in your food, use sea salt or one of the more natural versions. Salt is salt-the sodium levels don’t change whether it’s from the Black Sea or Siberia, but many of them have added minerals. Table salt has been over-processed. Don’t bother. I never use salt to cook; occasionally I’ll add a touch at the very end, right before plating, if needed. Most people salt their food, anyway. Why give them more sodium than they need? Then they’ll feel bloated the next day and blame you. Who needs the stress?

Use fresh herbs as much as possible when cooking. Your dishes will taste fresher because of them. When using eggs in recipes, substitute an extra egg white or two instead of using yolks. 

I bet you can think of even more tips if you pay attention. These are easy, straightforward changes that everyone can make to keep their calories under control without feeling deprived of anything. Have other tips?  Share them here! I’d love to know. This is my version of Chicken Pot Pie. It’s MUCH healthier than a full fat/full carb version, which can have 30 grams of fat and over 600 calories per serving. My recipe gives you all the taste, including a crust, with less than half the fat and calories. I bet you and your family won’t be able to tell the difference.

1 raw, organic, whole wheat pie crust (I don’t bake, these are quicker)

Butter spray
1 leek, sliced and rinsed
1 large carrot or a handful of small, peeled
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced (can use regular if desired)
1 Tbs all purpose flour
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsps fresh dill, minced
½ red pepper, diced
½ cup Portobello mushrooms, diced
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups cubed chicken breast, cooked and seasoned
1 cup of peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
1 cup non-fat half and half
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Ground pepper, to taste

Prep directions:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice pie dough into ½” strips using a pizza wheel.  Set aside.

Spray medium saucepan well with butter spray. Heat over med-high flame. Add the leek, carrot and potato.  Cook, stiring until the leek is softened. About 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir for 1minute. Stir in the broth. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to low.   Simmer until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, half and half, parsley and dill.  Simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 more minutes. Season with lots of pepper. Spoon the filling into a deep 2 or 3 quart baking dish. Place the dough on top of the filling in a latticework pattern. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Serve immediately. 

Rona Lewis is an LA-based fitness and lifestyle coach, cookbook author and motivational speaker. The first in her cookbook series, Does This Cookbook Make Me Look Fat? Healthy Recipes Even HE Will Eat!, is available at www.ronalewis

Friday, April 29, 2011

Your Families Impact on your Relationship with Food and Your Body

I'm getting ready to do a short lesson in one of my classes on this topic. When I get the lesson together,I will share it here. For now, I just found this link to this article on the topic, which also links back to an interesting blog. Good food for thought.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I've Been Sick and Not Posting for a Few Days: Importance of Self Care

Hi Everyone, wanted to apologize for being missing in action the past few days. I've have a wicked chest/held cold that has leveled me. I went to  my doctor to get some antibiotics and had to miss several days of classes.

I will get a bank of posts written and will be back in the posting saddle again soon. I am trying to practice good self care by giving myself the time to recover I really need.

Make it a good day!


Monday, April 25, 2011

A Great and Healthy Salad

Made this yesterday for Easter dinner and it was great!



  • 2 pears, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head red or green lettuce, washed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the pears with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in the oven and bake until the pear edges are golden, but the pieces are still firm, 12 to 15 minutes, turning halfway through. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a salad bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard and drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to make an emulsion. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the salad. Sprinkle with the pears, almonds, green onions, and blue cheese crumbles, and serve.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Your Weight Matters Web Site Great Resource

This is a great website sponsored by the Obesity Action Coalition. It has a lot of useful information weight and health and how to talk to loved ones about weight.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Scholarly Research on Food Policy and Research

This is perhaps the best website you can go to for rock solid research about Food Policy and Obesity at Yale. It is a non-profit research  and public policy organization dedicated to improving the World's diet.
The Rudd Center was founded in 2005 by Kelly Brownell, PhD, with a contribution from the Rudd Foundation.

I attended a lecture yesterday at the University of Vermont's Medical School by the centers founder Dr. Kelly Brownell. His presentation was stunningly compelling about the obesity crisis the entire world faces. When I get my notes cleaned up, I will post them on the blog. Probably in a few days. For now, here is some history on the center and a link to their website.

Early in its development, the faculty and staff at the Rudd Center undertook steps to begin a dialogue with key figures in the field, to review available knowledge on funding and its impact, and then to develop a clear set of guidelines contained in this document. Central to this process was the commissioning of a detailed background paper prepared by Amalia Waxman, formerly with the World Health Organization and current Head of the International Affairs and Public Relations Division of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. This document integrated information from many sources, including reports from organizations such as Corporate Accountability International, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Yale University (guidelines on private-public partnerships and conflicts of interest), World Health Organization, and United Nations.

The second step was to convene a meeting, held at Yale University in August of 2005. The aim was to assemble leading people from around the world expert in science, private-public partnerships, business, law, and bioethics. Participants were chosen to represent differences of opinion on the primary issues, with the hope a consensus would emerge that would inform the Rudd Center on the optimal way of proceeding.

Make it a Great Day,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cheesy Egg Bake A Great and Healthy Dish to Have on Hand or Prepare for Guests

Cheesy Egg Bake
This is great to make up and have in the fridge for a quick grab-n-go breakfast, brunch or lunch or to  make for friends when visiting.  It's versatile using any combination of herbs or cheeses you have on hand...a real clean-out-the-fridge type protein dish! Don't let the cottage cheese in it deter you from making this comforting melts into the batter and no one will ever know it's in there!

Vegetable cooking spray
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup milk
1 cup cottage cheese
4 ounces cream cheese cubed
1 cup cubed sharp cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x9-inch baking pan with vegetable spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Whisk in flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, seasoning, milk, and cottage cheese. Stir in cubed cheeses. Pour into greased 9x9 inch pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until puffed, golden and set. Makes eight servings.

Per Serving: Calories 202; Protein 16 g; Fat 12 g; Carb s7 g; Sugar 3 g; Sodium 272 mg

Make it a Great Day!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Please Vote for This Project: Put a Garden on the Vermont State House Lawn

I am posting this to boost awareness of growing your own food. Last year I had my first garden and it came out great. It saved me lots of money too both from having to buy less produce but from reduced trips to the grocery store.

I'd love to be able to help plant this garden and harvest from it.

"Drunkorexia" An Alarming Trend

This is an alarming trend for college students, but also for folks who've had weight loss surgery, particularly surgeries that alter the intestinal track that allows alcohol to be absorbed very quickly into the blood stream which alters judgement and coordination. This I think is particularly concerning for folks who've had WLS who are severely missing food and may be trying to sedate themselves against the emotionall pain of this loss.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Star Fruit: My New Favorite Fruit

Hi Everyone, it is a challenge to find foods that are light on calories, rich on taste and nutrients and this little powerhouse, the Star Fruit is one of my favorites.

With only 30 calories per fruit plus lots of fiber, star fruit is a great choice for anyone trying to lose weight. They're also very healthy - full of antioxidants and flavonoids.

See the following link for information on how to select star fruits and how to prepare them. I once had a student who was the healthiest looking person I've ever known! Check these babies out.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Transfer Behavior vs Addiction and Oh Yeah Me Too-Telling The Truth in My Writing

I came across a wonderful  interview of author Anne Lamott where she talked about why it is important for her to tell the truth in her writing and why she wants to hear the truth in others writers writing. She wants to read something that makes us realize that we are so human and that we can identify with their experience. We say, "Oh me too, I know what that feels like."

This gives me continued courage to write about the scariest parts of the emotional process I'm going through and anyone who goes through significant weight loss, especially those who do so with weight loss surgery as one of their tools in their weight loss tool box.

I want readers to be able to gain courage to face their  own demons and struggles by reading about my own and say, "Oh yeah, me too. You did it, I can do it." This is why writing about transfer addiction is so important and so scary at the same time. What is transfer addiction? It is engaging in a different compulsive behavior rather the over, addiction and compulsive are words that are very loaded for me give the fact I've had family members at the great grand parent level that were raging alcoholics and set in path a family dynamic that was one of the major factors in my developing an eating disorder. So when I began drinking red wine six months after surgery and experienced its drastically different effects on the body, meaning you are buzzed very quickly it was a scary experience. I was able to get this under control and stopped drinking all together because it wasn't helpful in any way. However, I was never addicted and I think it would be useful in the weight loss surgery community to have a discussion about calling this transfer behavior in its beginning stages. I think this would reduce the shame involved with battling and understanding compulsive behavior that is damaging to one's physical and mental health.

Something to think about.

Make it a great day!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The How of Happiness

I am reading an interesting book right now for a Philosophy of Education/Meaning Making class I am taking as a guest at the University of Vermont. I took this class six years ago and am sitting through it again for fun. The teacher is Robert J. Nash my dear friend and former doctoral advisor.

This is a research oriented book focusing on strategies we can take to develop more happiness in our lives. It asserts that we have a "happiness set point" just like a weight set point. I think I may have hit mine as I don't seem to be budging past it, but I could be trying harder which I 'm working on. The author Sonja Lyumbomirsky is a a professor at the University of California at Riveside and is one of an impressive handful or researchers focused on positive psychology. This trend looks at what we can do to increase happiness rather then look at the pathological aspects of depression, which of course is important research too. Here is a useful link about positive psychology.

In addition to this set point, the theory asserts that our life circumstances account for only 10% of our happiness and that we have control over the remaining 40%. The book focuses on strategies to maximize that 40%. So far I'm finding it useful and helpful.

I'll report more when I've read more.

Make it a great day!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Kitchen White Board for Meal Planning

Trent Ham writes the one blog I read daily. It's called the Simple Dollar. I began reading this about two years ago when I wanted to learn more about personal finance. I've learned a GREAT deal from him which has really made a huge difference in my life. It's interesting, but a lot of  people who have suffered from weight issues have also suffered financial issues as well. Here is a wonderful post on his website today that helps with meal planning and will save you money too.

Make it a great day!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gurze Books Wonderful Rescource for Eating Disorders Information

Readers seem to really like the post where I refer them to resources on eating disorders. This web site is a wonderful resource for information on eating disorders and recovering from them. They also have a wonderful monthly newsletter you can get.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shrimp-Fettucine Alfredo I'm Making This Tonight

Hello everyone All is one of my favorite sources of recipes. The change I'm going to make is to substitute the butter with olive oil and the half-n-half with fat free half-n-half. We'll see how it comes out.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

America's Hate of Fat

So, I can only speak from my own experience, but I do wonder how prevalent this hate of "fatness" is at least in Western Countries. My hunch and experience along with my reading and the research I did in my dissertation tells me it would be very high, at least in America.

I can only speak about my experience as an American, but I am very interested in hearing comments from readers in other countries. I'm not sure yet, as I am new to blogging, but I think you have to sign up to follow the blog to leave a comment.

This prejudice against weight I think keeps a lot of heavy people from either accepting themselves as they are or to decide they want to reduce their size. There is a lot of evidence a person can be overweight and healthy. Being morbidly obese and "healthy" in terms of medical criteria, I think isn't possible. However, there is an entire "fat acceptance" movement that seeks to let people live as they choose. What I want more then anything for anybody, is for that person to like and accept themselves. Why? Because, that is what matters in life and life is too short to hate oneself. However, I also want to raise awareness about obesity and it's costs both in terms of mental and physical health. I want people to live in the bodies they have while they strive for better health and happiness. And, who am I to say that someone isn't happy when they are large. They may be and if this works for them and this is their choice and their on free will. Well, that's that.  I however don't think this is possible deep down in the psyche because of this hate of fat.

Here is something to think about. I only touch briefly on my weight in my dissertation six years ago and I did it before I was aware of my eating disorder. I talked about it more in terms of how I felt about myself and not my relationship with food. I didn't realize until I became a professor at the New England Culinary Institute that I had an eating disorder.

It was impossible to ignore my unhealthy relationship with food which centered on either starving myself or overeating, nothing in between, when I was surrounded by folks who were passionate about food. That is a post for another time, but you know if you've been reading my blog that my entire relationship with food, myself and my body changed.

I used a stat in my dissertation from a study that surveyed American Adolescent girls, it was quite a large study. The teens were asked, "If you had to choose between being fat and having a limb amputated what would you choose." Eighty Eight percent said they would choose to have a limb amputated. That is a very telling statistic. It says a great deal about the focus on body weight in America.

As a daughter of a mother who had two legs amputated this is grotesque to me. I had diabetes for 16 years before my gastric bypass and I often worried about this as a fate I'd face. I no longer have to worry about that. However, I do worry about this hate of fat and the lengths it drives people to which includes falling into eating disorders and disordered eating in the quest to avoid being fat.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interesting Article About Gastric By Pass and Transfer Addiction

This is an interesting article that gets at the heart of the psychological healing that has to go on for each person in order to truly heal. I am no different. I had to work through some of my own compulsive behaviors to really heal. I had to figure out that these compulsive behaviors reinforce the cycle of shame that continually feeds the compulsive behavior. It is very easy to believe weight loss surgery will solve all ones problems, but the fact of the matter is the problems you go into it with, you also come out of it with and until you figure out healthy ways to deal with the discomfort that caused the initial eating disorder or disordered eating to start.

Awesome Lobster Rolls YUM!!!!

As I get used to blogging on a regular basis I am paying attention to what readers seem to like. I've noticed when I post recipes I get a lot of page views. This tells me people are interested. I'm reading about blogging currently and learning a lot. I'm in a bit of a rush this morning, as I overslept a little. So, I thought I would post another favorite recipe. I grew up near the Atlantic Ocean and I just love,love, love, lobster. So, here is another from the Barefoot Contessa. Enjoy!

Make it a Great Day!



For the vinaigrette:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 5 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat, cut in 3/4-inch dice
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound lean bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 3/4 cup crumbled English Stilton, or other crumbly blue cheese
  • 8 hot dog rolls


For the vinaigrette, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
For the salad, cut the avocados in half, remove the seed, and peel. Cut into 3/4-inch dice and toss with the lemon juice. If the arugula leaves are large, cut them in half crosswise.
Put the lobster and tomatoes in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Add the diced avocados, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and arugula and toss again. Fill the hot dog rolls with the salad. Serve at room temperature.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Engagement Chicken: One of My Favorite Chicken Recipes of All Time

This comes from Ian Garten, known as the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. She is one of my favorite chef's to watch and learn from.  She calls it this because two young women from New York made it for their boyfriends and they were engaged shortly thereafter, thus the name. This is juicy, tasty healthy.

Recovering from an eating disorder, disordered eating or obesity requires we become friends with food. That means we don't look to it to relieve stress, to punish ourselves, to silence uncomfortable feelings. That what these struggles are really about. We are hurt somewhere in our past, usually childhood, we seek relief, we find food does it and we set off a damaging, deadly at times, self destructive cycle that leads to self-hate and loathing. We may continue the cycle for years until we decide we no longer want to live like this and want to return to health. Sadly some never get to this point.

So, I hope this recipe is one you can make for yourself, family or some friends so you can eat a healthy meal in the fellowship of people you care about.  This is how food is meant to be shared. To be viewed as fuel for the body, heart, mind, soul to be savored and enjoyed in the company of those we love.

 Enjoy and if you make this let me know what you think of it.

Make it a great day!


  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 whole head garlic, cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 Spanish onions, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and discard the chicken giblets. Pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Cut the lemons in quarters, place 2 quarters in the chicken along with the garlic and reserve the rest of the lemons. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken in a small (11 by 14-inch) roasting pan. (If the pan is too large, the onions will burn.) Place the reserved lemons and the sliced onions in a large bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Pour the mixture around the chicken in the pan.

Roast the chicken for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce, leaving the lemons and onions in the pan.

Place the pan on top of the stove and turn the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits. Add the stock and sprinkle on the flour, stirring constantly for a minute, until the sauce thickens. Add any juices that collect under the chicken. Carve the chicken onto a platter and serve with the lemons, onions, and warm sauce

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Well Stocked Pantry and Cooking Your Own Food

My journey to being a good cook and studying the culinary arts at the New England Culinary Institute where I am a professor of philosophy, writing, and ethics has been a long one.

First off, I didn't come from a family interested in cooking except for my maternal grandfather who loved to make New England Clam Chowder. Here is a recipe I've tried and liked.

Everyone else in my family were basically "reheaters." We ate highly processed food that was convenient not necessarily nutritious. Give the fact my mother was a diabetic this puzzles me, but then again she didn't grow up learning to cook. Of course I am thankful there was food on the table, but if I had grown up in a family that valued good food, and who understood the value of exercise, I know I would never have been obese in the first place. Except for sweet corn in late summer, I don't think I ever saw a vegetable that didn't come out of can. And, nobody in my family made any kind of exercise a regular event.

I was an active kid and we had a pool in the backyard but we never explored fitness and exercise and why they are important to good health. I did play sports in high school, but as I moved into adulthood I didn't have an established exercise routine. I do now and will soon write a post about that. I exercise at least five days a week and my eventual goal is at least 30 minutes of activity every day.

In any case, it was a matter of health that led me to want to learn to cook, but that didn't happen until I came to NECI. I slowly realized being surrounded by people who are passionate about food all day, that I had an eating disorder and that my relationship with food was either love or hate. I either tended
towards anorexic tendencies starving myself or overeating.

That was six years ago. I now weigh 70lbs less, am a good cook and learn on a daily basis about food. I need a lot of intellectual stimulation in my life, so learning about food is perfect. There is a limitless
amount of knowledge to inquire about.

So, how to you get started? Well, you could sign up for daily recipes from the following site. Explore a cuisine you enjoy and try a dish. To get ready learn how to stock a pantry. Here my top three sites I use:

Bon Appetite' and Make it a great day!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Today is the First Day of my Chef's Training

So, part of my longer term career plan is to work as a therapist working with people with eating disorders or disordered eating, particularly people struggling with weight issues or obesity. I am going to do further graduate work at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, in the United States. They have a highly respected Eating Disorder Institute. See this link:

I am also working my way through the Associates of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts at the New England Culinary Institute, where I am a professor. See this link:

With knowledge about eating disorders, experience recovering from one, cooking and nutrition knowledge, I believe I will have deep knowledge, empathy and compassion to help people heal.

So, what is my first class? Knife skills. Here's to hoping I don't cut myself! If you want to learn more about knife skills, check out these books:

Make it a Great Day!


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Recommended Reading on Obesity, Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating

Good Morning, I thought readers would enjoy seeing the list of books I've read over the past six years that have helped me in my journey to healing. I am using quotes and information from many of these books as I write my own book. If you read any of them and find them helpful I love to know what you found helpful or what you thought of any of the books.

Make it a great day!

Recommended Reading

Abramson, Edward, Body Intelligence: Lose Weight, Keep it Off and Feel Great About Your Body Without Dieting, McGraw Hill, New York, 2005

Abramson, Edward, Emotional Eating: What You Need to Know Before Starting Another


Brown, Nina, Loving the Self Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship With a Narcissistic Partner, New Harbinbger Publications, 2003

Burris, Kelly, Reprogramming The Overweight 7 Steps to Taking Control of Your Subconscious, Illumine Studios, 2004.

Curtin, Deane, W., Heldke, Lisa, M., Cooking, Eating, And Thinking: Transformative

Philosophies of Food, Indiana University Press, 1992

De La Altgracia, Dilia, The End of Diets: Healing Emotional Hunger, Lifevest Publishing, 2003

Dorenburg, Andrew, Page Karen, Becoming a Chef, Wiley, 2003

Engel, Beverly, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing, Wiley, 2002

Fletcher, Anne., Thin for Life: 10 Keys to Success From People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept it Off, Houghton Mifflin, 2003

Goodman, Charisse, W., The Invisible Woman: Confronting Weight Prejudice In America, Gurze, CA , 1995

Halpern, Howard, When and Why Love Doesn’t Work: How to Break Your Addiction to a Person, Bantam, 2004

Hirshchfield, Jerry, The Twelve Steps for Everyone Who Really Wants Them, Rev ed., Hazeldon, 1990

Hotchkiss, Sandy, Why is it Always About You: The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism, Free Press, 2003

Jersild, Devon, Happy Hours: Alcohol in a Woman’s Life, Perennial, 2002

Johnston, Anita, Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationships with Food Through Myths, Metaphors and Storytelling, Gurze, CA, 1996, 2nd ed 2000

Kuffel, Frances, Passing For Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self, Broadway Books, NY, 2005

LoBue, Andrea, Marcus, Maresa, The Don’t Diet Live it Workbook: Healing Food, Weight and Body Issues, Gurze, CA, 1999

Miller, Alice, Prisoners of Childhood, Basic Books, 1981

Moyers, William, Cope, Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption, Penguin, 2006

Nakken, Craig, The Addictive Personality: Understanding the Addictive Process and Compulsive Behavior, Hazeldon, 1996

Nestle, Marion, Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, University of California Press, 2002

Oconnor, Richard, Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You, Berkly Press, 1997.

Ogden, Jane, The Psychology of Eating: From Healthy to Disordered Behavior, Blackwell Publishing, 2003

Payson, Eleanor, The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists: Coping With One Way Relationships in Work, Love and Family, Julian Day Publications, 2002

Roth, Geneen, When Food is Love: Exploring The Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy, Plume, 1991

Roth, Geneen, and Appetites: On the Search for True Nourishment, Plume, 1996.

Roth, Geneen, Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating, Plume, 1984

Roth, Geneen, Why Weight: A Guide to Ending Compulsive Eating, Plume, 1989

Roth, Kimberlee, Friedman, Freda, Surviving A Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds and Build Trust, Boundaries and Self-Esteem, New Harbinger Publications, 2003

Schiraldi, Glenn, The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery and Growth, McGraw Hill, 2000

Schlosser, Eric, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, Harper Perennial, 2001

Singer, Peter, Mason, Jim, The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter, Rodale, 2006

Spickard, Anderson, Thompson, Barbara, Dying for a Drink: What You and Your Family Should Know About Alcoholism, Thomas Nelson Books, 2005

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Favorite Lasagna Recpie

I love this recipe because you make the meat sauce separately from the lasagna so it meets the needs of both meat lovers and vegetarians. It also doesn't have ricotta which brings the caloric value down. You could also make the meat sauce with tofu so it can be an all vegetarian dish as well. This is the recipe of chef Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli from her show Alex's Day Off.

Enjoy and if you make it. Let me know what you think. Fresh Basil in this case is key. It is always better to use fresh herbs for the freshest taste. Remember, you always use less of a dried herb because the flavor is more concentrated.


I love lasagna. I sometimes make it my Sunday afternoon project and enjoy it for dinner on a weeknight when I don't have as much free time. It tastes just as delicious (if not better) when it sits in the refrigerator overnight before eating! I also love to make it this time of year because the local tomatoes are at the height of their season. So are basil, spinach and fresh thyme. Lasagna can be as simple or as complicated as your schedule allows. If you're feeling adventurous, you can make Mozzarella cheese at home or your own pasta dough from scratch. My grandmother layers meatballs in the lasagna. To die for!


Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 cup olive oil (preferably extra-virgin and organic)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme, washed
  • 2 bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • 8 pounds ripe (or even slightly overripe) red tomatoes, washed and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups tightly-packed fresh basil leaves, washed


  • 8 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound lasagna sheets
  • 1 pound shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 pound shredded Parmesan

Bolognese Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 carrots, rough chopped
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, rough chopped
  • 1/2 recipe tomato sauce (above)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • Special equipment: 13 by 9-inch baking pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Tomato Sauce:

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. When it turns light brown, add the thyme, bay leaf and tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes, then taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, if desired. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaves. Stir in the basil leaves and shut off the heat to allow the sauce to "rest."

Pasta: Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add the salt and the lasagna sheets. Cook for 4 minutes, drain and rinse under cold water. The pasta should still be very firm to the touch. Separate the sheets carefully so they don't stick together.

Divide the tomato sauce in half and reserve half for the Bolognese and half for the lasagna.

Assemble the lasagna:

Spoon a thin layer of the sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Arrange a layer of pasta sheets over the sauce. Sprinkle some of the mozzarella and Parmesan over the pasta and another thin layer of sauce. Repeat the layering process 2 more times. It is important there be remaining cheese and sauce for the top. Cook's Note: I love to get a corner piece from the pan and pick at the crispy edges of the top layer. When you finish, there should be 4 layers of pasta and 5 layers of filling.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and put it in the center of the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Raise the temperature of the oven to 450 degrees F and remove the aluminum foil. Bake until the top browns slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool for 15 minutes or so before serving.

Make the Bolognese while the lasagna is baking:

In a large wide pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Add the ground beef and cook until brown, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the pieces. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside. Set the pot back over the heat and add a little more olive oil. Add carrots, onion and celery. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the beef back to the pot, then add the reserved 1/2 recipe of tomato sauce. Cover slightly and simmer for 20 minutes.

When done, finish with milk, taste, season and serve, spooned over the lasagna.

Jamie Oliver's Food Philosophy

All though I had seen Jamie's early cooking show on the Food Channel, called The Naked Chef, I really became interested in him once I went to work at the New England Culinary Institute. Once my own philosophy came into being, one that was much healthier then my former eating disordered food philosophy. Timing is everything. My philosophy was jelling right around the time he launched his Food Revolution in America. My philosophy mirrors his, so for today's post, I have a link to his Philosophy on Food. Please take a few minutes to read it. I think anyone who reads this blog will find it tremendously useful.

By the way, one of my favorite classes I teach, if not my favorite is Philosophy and Food and I have a new section starting on April 11th. Can't wait!

Make it a great day!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Good Morning, I'm up bright and early today which I'm happy about. I do best at all things in my life when I get 8 hours of sleep and am up early. This gives me time to go the gym on the days I work out and to write on the days I don't.

For the next few days I want to talk about English Chef Jamie Oliver who has worked endlessly over the past decade to change the landscape of school food both in the UK and the United States with his Food Revolution. His work was so effective the US Congress made some serious policy shifts which are needed to help facilitate this change. See the first link:

A good introduction to his quest can be seen on at the link below.

I'd love to hear your comments after watching this 20 minute talk if you do. Oh yeah, and today is the first day I am going to put on a chef's coat and get into the kitchen as our new students start to take knife skills. Over time, I want to complete the courses for an Associates of Arts Degree in Culinary Arts. Then some graduate training in eating disorders so I can work as a therapist helping people recover from eating disorders and disordered eating. I figure the cooking approach along with the mental health approach will be a unique combination in addition to the fact that I recovered from an eating disorder.

Make it a great day!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Four Times to Get it Right and Renewal

Today I meet a new incoming class and this is the best I've felt in over nine months. One of the reasons I love being a teacher is that there are new starts currently four times a year. Four times to start over. Four times to get it right. Four times to feel renewed. Four times to feel that surge of hope.

I'm taking that hope and running with it. I hope that reading my blog is giving you hope in whatever areas you might need a good dose of it, but in particular in understanding yourself and anyone you know who struggles with weight, eating disorders or disordered eating.

Have a great day!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Todd Wilburs Top Secret Restaurant Recipes Creating Clones From America's Restaurant Chains

One of my most favorite recent cookbooks is, Todd Wilbur’s, Top Secret Restaurant Recipes: Creating Kitchen Clones From America’s Favorite Restaurant Chains. Why? Because the average American eats out 198 times a year or four times a week and why not help them save some money? Not only that, but you can take these recipes and substitute lower calorie options for the ingredients and get a healthier version of the same foods you get at places like Chili’s. Cracker Barrel, Pizza Hut Long Horn Steak House, Marie Calendars, Dive, Applebee’s. BenieHana, Bennigans, Big Boy, California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, Denny’s. Hard Rock Café, Hooters, Houlihan’s. International House of Pancakes, Lone Star Steak House and Saloon, The Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, Perkin’s Family Restaurants. Pizza Hut, Planet Hollywood, Red Lobster, Red Robin Burgher and Spirits Emporium, Ruby Tuesday, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Shoney’s, Sizzler, Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus, T.G.I Friday’s, Tony Roma’s A Place for Ribs and Western Sizzlin.

Only a few of these are available in the North East where I live. However, I’ve lived in other parts of the United States including the Southeast, the Midwest and the Northwest, so I have experienced a number of these. I can say, I’ve never been to a Sonic Burgher and my life may not be complete until I try this food, though I know I probably won’t like it since I am used to eating fresh, clean, whole healthy food. So who knows? I did once eat at a White Castle in the middle of the night in Cincinnati when I was in graduate school, but that is a tale for another time!

I can say that after six years of working at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier VT, I have become very aware of food where it comes from, the farmers that grew or raised the food and how the animals in particular were treated. So, as much as I may have frequented these chains in the past, I don’t any more.

That being said, you can make all of the recipes in this book from fresh local ingredients, grown and raised by local farmers in some cases organic, but in all cases who treat their animals humanely. I consider this a win, win.

If you try one of these let me know what you think.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

No Idea I had More Then 1500 Views Committment to Keep Writing!!!

Hello Everyone, I had no idea until today I've had over 1500 views and that readership has picked up over the last month when I decided to be brave and get my stuff out there again. To get my butt in the chair and to start writing about what I've been really struggling with. A few posts ago, I talked about the following book and how much of an effect it was having on me. The book is Gregory L. Jantz and Ann McMurray's Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders: A Whole-Person Approach to Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia and Disordered Eating.

The is the second most difficult book, emotionally I've ever read. The first is Hope Elderman's Motherless Daughters which I read in my early 30's. This is a must read for anyone who lost a mother at any stage of their live through any means whether it is death, emotional abandonment etc. I plan to write a review of Hope, Help and Healing for a soon to be future post. For now, what I really like is the authors are clearly experts on treating eating disorders and disordered eating. I read a number of books about the effect of early parental loss when I wrote my dissertation for which this was a major theme. If anyone wants the list let me know. I can also do a post on that at some point.

Back to the dysfunctional, self-destructive cycle. Essentially, it goes like this. We conduct a behavior. We overate, under-eat, drink to much, spend too much money. Whatever the behavior is. Then we feel bad. Those bad feelings lead to shame, self-doubt, self-hate and set us up to do the behavior all over again.

Because I used to suffer from disordered eating that ranged from under-eating to overeating I would complete this cycle over and over again. I first learned to feel shame about my body when I was five years old when I began to be criticized for being "chunky." How many times have so many of us heard that dreaded phrase. Both my mother and her mother were anorexics and they projected their fear of fat on to me well before I knew what they were doing or before I had the ability to think through what it meant.

Children begin to think cognitively-for concrete understanding around 8 years old. Some older some younger of course. This is usually when they realize Santa isn't real etc. Still, a child of this age or younger will blame themselves for their parents (or whoever hurt them) unhappiness and take it on. Thus begins the cycle of shame.

I've had two weight loss surgeries. Lap Band in July of 2007 which I will do a separate post on some time and I converted to gastric by pass on March 3rd 2010. All in all I've done well. I've lost 70 lbs. My diabetes is gone. I am the most fit I've ever been.

However, by far, the emotional journey as many of you know has been the hardest. Both times I slowed my progress down by drinking wine, extra calories I didn't need, but it did provide the escape I still craved.

After gastric by pass it took me some time, trial and error and a lot of pain to really accept that alcohol effects us differently. I finally stopped using it in ways that were self destructive and the scale is moving again and I feel great.

I wrongly told myself that I didn't want any food to have control over me, but that I would control it. This was an example of the disordered thinking that went with disordered eating. What I had to realize is especially after gastric bypass, the way alcohol goes straight into the system was sure to control me. Rather then my controlling it.

It wasn't until I read and understood this cycle of shame that I realized that what I was really doing was re-creating the cycle of shame with alcohol now that I couldn't do it with food.

It's interesting to me that what I just wrote I dreaded saying on Obesity Help or anywhere, even to my therapist until about three months ago.It is in fact, why I didn't write on this blog for so long! I felt like a failure because of my struggle. That struggle was essential to my current wellness and I regret nothing.

My therapist when I revealed this to her said. You will have to trust me with your shame. Once I began doing this all the pieces gradually fell into place and I stopped my self destructive behaviors. Interestingly both episodes after each WLS lasted about 9 months once the cycle started. Apparently, I get sick and tired of being sick and tired after 9 months. It is also interesting and perhaps a spiritual coincidence, but it takes 9 months to create a new life...Hmm something to think about.

I feel like I am living a new life. Now that I know people are reading I am making a commitment to keep writing, to keep learning, to learn more about blogging and to make this blog the best it can be.

Thanks for caring and reading. If anyone knows how to add a mail bag to a blog please let me know. I haven't found much advice online. I'd like folks to be able to send me questions and for me to post answers.

One more thing about the Hope and Help Book. It is published by a Christian Publisher. So for those that are believers, this is probably a non-issue and for those who don't the God talk at the end of every chapter can be off putting.

I am currently applying to do Masters Degree in Counseling Education Specializing in Eating Disorders at Plymouth State University and have read over 100 books on eating disorders and this one is technically very good in terms of the realities of how eating disorders and disordered eating starts, deepens and ultimately what needs to be done to recover. I promise to post my book list as well.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Importance of Being Kind to Yourself in Recovery

I've been think a lot lately about the importance of being kind to myself as I continue to heal from my eating disorder. Though I no longer eat in a disordered way. I am no longer obese and I am healthy, I find that it is easy to still think in a disordered way. And, that it is oh so easy to relapse in my thinking and starting being too hard on myself.

I've been a very slow loser in terms of weight for a variety of reasons including I was a lightweight to begin with, the lightest my surgeon had operated on at that time. I was a revision from a lap band to gastric bypass, which is another factor. I've struggled with trying to incorporate wine into my diet which I love but adds extra calories and a tendency to eat more then is needed.

I've taken to asking myself this important question, "Is what I am about to do in the best interest of my body, my health and my nutrition. If I can't answer yes to all three, then I don't do it. I find this is bringing me a peace that helps me put one foot in front of the other.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Favorite French Onion Soup Recpie

Learning to love food, myself and my body has been vitally important in my recovery from disordered eating and obesity. I don't assign a good or bad value to food. Rather I think about portion size, how it is prepared and balancing my energy out vs energy in. Rather, what I eat and how I exercise. That said, I recently had a craving for French Onion Soup which I hadn't had in years as I considered it a "bad" food. Below is Tyler Florence's recipe. This makes a big pot that lasts me a long time as I freeze it in 1/2 cup servings. That is the most I can eat post gastric by pass and it brings the calorie and fat levels down to a very respectful 150-175 calories, 7-8 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein. I'll take that for such a savory treat. If you make it let me know what you think.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup red wine, about 1/2 bottle
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere


Melt the stick of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add the wine, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the wine has evaporated and the onions are dry, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Dust the onions with the flour and give them a stir. Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. Now add the beef broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the Gruyere and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle the soup in bowls and float several of the Gruyere croutons on top.

Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm Back!!!: The Cycle of Eating Disorders

So, I've had a long absence from this blog. Why? Because I was dealing with the emotional baggage of recovering from an eating disorder. I was discovering the true cycle of eating disorders, dancing with it and really coming to understand it. I'm not going to go into great depth regarding what my struggle was. That will be in my book I am working on right now, and one day, I know I'll be ready to share that but not quite yet. Here is the cycle from a recent post I made on Obesity Help on the Lightweights Board:

Hi All, I bought a book that really spoke to me this weekend that outlined the cycle I've struggled with for years.

I think the two Ph'd's that wrote the book have eating disorders and disordered eating down. What I didn't know is the publisher is a Christian publisher. For me this isn't a big deal. For those that are believers you will love this book, for those that aren't take the eating disorder information and leave out the rest.

Title: Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders: A Whole Person Approach to Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia and Dsiordered Eating.

The Cycle
Page 17
Eating Disorder/Disordered Eating

1.) Feelings of Unease
2.) Desire to Cover Over Those Feelings
3.) Use of food (Abstention or consumption) as chosen method
4.) Feelings of Guilt, Shame, self hate and hopelessness after disordered behavior
5.) Renewed Self Hatred after weakness
6.) Emotionally predisposed to repeat the behavior

Can anyone identify with this the way I can?


This is the dance I was in for the past six months in particular. I've beat it and I know I am always one behavior away from engaging in it. But, I am losing again and taking stock in all the good things I've achieved over the last year. One more thing. As soon as I figure out how I am going to change the name of my blog to Eat, Move, Write and Cook: How I Recovered From Obesity

All for now. I'm off to the gym.