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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.