Monthly Archives: January 2012

Friday Fun Post

Can you believe it’s Friday again? I woke up to gray skies again this morning, but still happy it is Friday. I hope to spend the weekend going on adventures with my twin sister, planning a baby shower, running outside, and going to Farmer’s Market.

What on my mind this Friday:

Great news for the kids!

The biggest announcement of the week was how the National School Lunch Program’s guidelines for nutrition was altered for the better. Now school lunches need to contain more fruits/vegs, whole grains, less sodium and less fat. Great thing to hear for the future of the children.

*Check out Marion Nestle’s take on the issue.

My new favorite workout class.



It’s a full body workout that works especially your glutes and butt. I would suggest taking a class a couple times before your make your verdict on whether you like it or not. Also, make sure the teacher is willing to help you figure out the right steps/motions.

Best lesson of the week. 

Listen to your body.

This week I might have overexerted myself by not having a break from working out for 9 days straight of intense workouts. I then paid for it. I started to get annoyed in my workout classes and even hurt my knee. I then listened to my body and took a day to just walk. It helped so much! My knee is getting back to normal and I was in a better mood at the gym the next day. It is good to push yourself, just dont push on the gas pedal too hard or you’ll crash.

Can you believe it is almost February?

What is on your mind this Friday? 

To a Happy, Healthy, New-U!


My List of Healthy Survival Foods

There was a hot quote that many dietitians started to use a few years back that said, “Only shop the perimeter of the grocery store”, which was a good thought until a survey of all grocery store layouts were taken and not all fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, and dairy were on the outside. I rarely find myself at a “normal” grocer because I either shop at the local grocery store by my house or the farmers market, but a few weeks back I did go to grab a quick item. I noticed that now on the perimeter of the aisles there are items like baking mixes, chips, soda, and etc. That proved to me not to use that saying..ever again. New tip: Look for what you know is healthy or do a grocery store store with a dietitian (like myself) to help you guide through the best items there. 

Today’s post will at least help you when it comes to buying easy food products to have on hand at all times to make dinner time a lot less stressful.

These are survival items for those nights when you get home and you don’t know what to make, or items you can keep in the freezer/shelves that can be made into a healthy dinner quickly.

1. Trader Joe’s Organic Frozen Brown Rice (1 cup, 160 calories, 4 gm protein, 34 gm carbs, 1 gm fat): What an awesome item! Rice can be used in many different ways, but many people complain of the long cooking time of brown rice. Rejoice! This product has individual bags that can be microwaved and ready in minutes. I like to add dried cranberries and basil to the rice to made a tasty side dish or top to a salad.

2. Golden Pheasant Quick-cook polenta. (~100-110 calories/half cup)  Polenta might scare some people but it is honestly very easy to make and can be very healthy. Instead of water, I like to cook the polenta with vegetable broth (a trick I got from my twin sister). This gives the polenta a lot of flavor without fat. No need for added butter, cheese, etc. Just salt and pepper. Add marinara sauce with mushrooms on top and you have a meal.

3. Trader Joe’s pre-cooked lentils (1 cup, 230 calories, 16 gm of soluble FIBER!,17 gm of protein, and an excellent source of folate): As you can see lentils are a power food. They are very high in fiber and protein which are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Why pre-cooked? I never take the time to soak them over night and cook them the next day. When I discovered these pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s I fell in love. Make a bean salad for a quick night meal with possibly baked chicken or egg on top.

4. Any other canned beans or vegetables. I love black beans, white beans, artichokes in water, water chestnuts, and fresh corn. Keep a good amount of these in your pantry and they can make a quick salad, chili, or soup in no time.

5. Prepared vegetables and fruit. If something bugs you to prepare and usually go bad if you have it on hand. Buy it half prepared. Bags of salad mixes, clean prepared carrots, cut up pineapple..just a few that I like to buy to make things easier on me.

These items if on hand all throughout the week and month will take so much pressure off you when getting food to the table. Taking less time out of cooking, but still providing healthy food can be done. I hope you learned a few new products and make a list this weekend of all the survival items to stock up on.

Look in Gabriella’s Picks in the future for more of my favorite things including food. 🙂

To a Happy, Healthy, New-U!

New-U-Trition Cardinal Rule #2: Always make sure to drink water.

If you consider that 60% of our body is made up of water, you will believe me when I say that water is probably one of the most important nutrients to consume. Yes, water is a nutrient. 

How much should you drink? 

At least eight 8-ounce glasses of water. 


1. Helps protect your tissues, spinal cord, and joints. Our tissues like to be moist for them to function properly so it is important for you to drink water to help keep them working well. You know what it is like to have dry mouth, and eyes-it is most likely due to dehydration. Also, water acts as a lubricant in our joints and spinal cord which protects against injury. A common problem for the elderly who are notorious for low water consumption and dehydration. 

2. Helps remove waste from your body. Adequate water intake helps us remove toxins through our bodily fluids and excrements. You know what those are so I won’t say. Also, it helps the body digest fiber which promotes colon function and health. 

3. Aids in vitamin and mineral metabolism and digestion. Water is needed in basically all steps of metabolism and digestion. AKA burning calories-so drink up. 

ADDED BONUS: In the Journal of Metabolism last year, a study showed that those who drank 64 ounces of ice cold water can burn of up 100 calories per day. This actually occurs because we burn calories trying to adjust the temperature of the water to 98.6 degrees the temperature of our bodies. More reason to drink up! Video: Food Detectives explains the theory. 

4. Helps keep you from being dehydrated. 

Gabriella’s Tips!

1. I like to find a water bottle or tumbler that is large and able to be carried with me everywhere so I can keep refilling with water at any time. People might look at me crazy but I bring a camel back water bottle that I use while running with me everywhere. It might look kind of funny when I take it out shopping in the mall-but I know it keeps my skin and body looking great. Many people also love the Venti sized Starbuck’s reusable water cups (seen below). 



2. Flavor up your water with lemon, cucumber or mint. These are all zero calories additions and gives the water great flavor. 

3. Eat foods that are high in water content. Vegetables and Fruits such as celery, lettuce, water chestnuts, jicama, watermelon, strawberries, etc. 

I think I gave you all the reasons why you should start drinking. One down side to this…you might be taking potty breaks way more often! 

To a Happy, Healthy, New-U! 

Happy Chinese New Year!

Okay, I might be a little late on this one but yesterday was the beginning of the Chinese New Year, Year of the Dragon. I do not usually celebrate at home, but I do think it is very cool that they get their very own New Year. I am honoring the Chinese with this post.

If you knew me well enough, you would know that I actually do not enjoy Chinese food all that much, but it is because the American culture has made the cuisine into a fatty, fried, greasy meal-when it DOESN’T have to be. Since Chinese New Year symbolizes new beginnings and forgiveness. I will forgive you all for eating fried lemon chicken and ask you to start thinking about Chinese food in a new healthier light and maybe more restaurants will start to follow.

What we can take from the REAL Chinese diet to help us eat healthier. 

1. Eat more of a plant-based diet. 

Authentic Chinese food actually showcases vegetables in many of their recipes and they celebrate their nutritional benefits. One of the largest research studies done on the vegetarian, plant based diet was actually based on the diets of those in China and is an inspiration for movies such as Forks Over Knives. By celebrating a plant based diet, it promotes less cholesterol, and fat intake and enhances vitamin and mineral intake.

Most of these vegetables can easily be steamed or quick cooked in a wok for a stir-fry. I love the eggplant and long beans.

2. Think like you are Chinese. 

Say what Gabriella? Yes, when you are eating! The Chinese do not count calories because they look at food as nourishment vs. weight gain potential. This causes the Chinese not to eat such things as refined carbohydrates, sugar, and “fake” diet food which helps promote a healthy weight.

The Chinese are also known to be better at acknowledging their hunger cues better than Americans. What can you do to get better? Practice eating dinner alone and stop at to the point where you almost feel full. This is the point where you are actually full because it takes about 10-15 minutes after eating for your hormones to tell your brain to stop eating.

3. Drink green tea. 

“Green tea eliminates toxins, aids digestion and allays hunger. Scientists have found that it also fights free radicals, which cause cancer and heart disease.”*

If you like green tea that is unsweetened then I say go for it. This will help you get the hydration you need with an added benefit of antioxidants. The powerful antioxidant most known for being in green tea: EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). The research is kind of in the air if it truly helps with weight loss, but a research study this year saw that those who had pepper in their meal and drank green tea had higher levels of EGCG than those without pepper. Pretty interesting!

4. Eat fresh fish and seafood. 

When I am craving protein that is not from plant sources, I always seem to opt for seafood and fish. The Chinese are just the same. One popular seafood item? Shrimp.

Shrimp can actually be great for your diet. 1 medium shrimp= just 8 calories if grilled or steamed. Serve with a light soy ginger dressing (i.e. Brianna’s Ginger Dressing) with a salad and you got yourself a tasty meal.

I want to ask you all, are there any chinese recipes or dishes you like that are healthy? Do you manage to still eat healthy out in American Chinese restaurants, if so, how? 

Happy, Healthy (Chinese) Eating! 

*quoted from Sophia Morris, of The Independent.

Recipe Redux “Fresh Starts”: Portable Breakfast

It’s Breakfast Time Baby! This month’s Recipe Redux’s  theme was “Fresh Starts” which asked us dietitians to make our twist on what a healthy breakfast is from pancakes to smoothies.

I decided to make two breakfast items that are filling but full of nutrition that are also portable! My homemade Peanut butter and Fruit Granola Bars paired with my Green Berry Banana Smoothie will be easy to grab on the way to work or a healthy snack to eat on the way to your weekend hike.

I love granola and granola bars, but the problem that I have is how much sugar and butter are normally in these items. I decided to try my hand at making a granola bar with as little sugar as possible and fat. I decided to use agave + sugar for the sweetness and peanut butter for the fat.

PB and Fruit Granola Bars

-4 cups oats (regular or quick)

-4 tablespoons agave

-2 tablespoons sugar (brown or table)

-1 tablespoon cinnamon

-1 cup dried apricots

-1/2 cup raisins

-1 1/2 cup peanut butter

-1/4 cup liquid egg white

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

2. In a bowl mix the oats, 2 tablespoons agave, and cinnamon and mix. Pour the mixture onto a cookie sheet and put in oven until the oats are nice and toasted.

3. When golden brown take the oat mixture out and pour into the bowl when cool. In a mixer, put the peanut butter, apricots, and egg white mixture, plus 2 tablespoons agave and sugar and mix until mixed.

4. Lay out the dough mixture onto parchment paper and sprinkle raisins on top. At this time if you want you can also sprinkle a couple tablespoons of semisweet chocolate (if you like!). Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

5. Cut when cool and store in containers to keep fresh.

Green Berry Banana Smoothie

-1 cup ice

-1 cup water

-1/2 cup cottage cheese

-1 cup frozen berries

-1 ripe banana

-1 cup spinach

1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and mix until completely smooth. You can add one tablespoon of honey if you want a little bit more sweetness. I like mine less sweet so no honey for me.

2. Pour into a portable beverage container and drink!

My finished product. I had both of these before my spin class on Friday and it gave me just the right amount of energy for the class. For using very little sugar and fat in these items, I think it was a total success!

What are some of your favorite breakfast recipes?

P.S. Don’t forget to LIKE Recipe Redux on Facebook and check out all the other recipes from the wonderful dietitians.

Happy, Healthy Eating Everyone!

Friday Fun

It’s friday again and you know all what that means! My Friday Fun post! Even though most of us woke up to snow, flooding, and/or gloomy skies, we still woke up just a bit more happy knowing it was Friday and that makes everything better.

What Is On My Mind this Friday

The Niners host the NFC championship game this weekend in SF. What coach Jim Harbaugh has done for this team and Alex Smith’s confidence is beyond words. Go Niners! PS. If you didn’t read it, check out my post from last week, “Tebow Time and Tasty Treats” to stay healthy when hosting for a football party!

Nike made an announcement yesterday about their awesome new product. The Nike Fuel Band. The bands takes all the movements you do, whether it is running, jumping, or walking and puts it into what they call Nike Fuel points. It will track your physical activity and also calculate how many calories you burn. The verdict is not out until I talk to people that use it, but it sounds pretty cool! What would be better if there was a GPS in there and a heart rate monitor..get to that Nike! Follow @NikeFuel for more info.

My older sister turned me on to this brand of jewelry. They are adjustable bangles that come with charms that fit your personality. You can buy charms with initials, birthstones, and more. The great part is they are super affordable! They range from $28.00 to $48.00/ each and are great for gifts. Check them out online or in Nordstroms stores.

This week I tried my hand at my first recipe for RecipeRedux and I will post it on Saturday! In the mean time, Like RecipeRedux on Facebook! Founded by dietitians and showcases dietitians that re-do recipes to make them healthier.

Hope you all have a great weekend! 

“Healthy Weight Week”

 I was informed today that this week is “Healthy Weight Week”, which is a week created to build awareness of positive body image, build self-esteem, and focus on beauty that cannot be measured by a scale.  

For our society, that I believe is basically obsessed with the two spectrums of unhealthy weights, there is no shock that such week actually exists. We adore anorexic-looking models which in turn promotes many men, women, boys and girls to develop unhealthy eating patterns or disordered eating. Yet on the other hand, we are a nation that more than half the population is overweight or obese and turn to fad diets and highly invasive surgery to help them “fight the battle of the bulge“. It makes you wonder what actually is a healthy weight and why aren’t we focusing on what that is and how to stay that way. That wouldn’t be fun, exciting, and cause good press huh? 

Currently, we measure a healthy weight by calculating BMI which is a ratio that compares your weight to your height. This unfortunately can be skewed for those that are very muscular or naturally thin but for most people it is accurate +/- 10-15%.

A healthy BMI is more attainable than you think. I think the media portrays a “healthy” weight to look like this (which came out today she is actually in her first trimester of pregnancy in this picture): 


When really this weight for most people would bring them into borderline underweight/underweight range. A healthy body weight actually looks like this: (Kate Winslet who is a women that has always embraced her natural curves)


For most people I think the root problem they have when it comes to having a normal body weight comes down to self-esteem, education, and motivation. 

A big reason why people are either underweight or overweight is due to emotional eating which can be a horrible, non-stop cycle of eating to make yourself feel better when down or trying to full a void. 

One big tip I would give to everyone out there who think they have a problem with emotional eating would be to recognize this and start a hobby that actually promotes health and confidence. For example, exercise is great for everyone dealing with disordered eating because I think it promotes healthier habits and helps promote regular eating for those skipping meals. Some professionals may disagree, but I believe it is also beneficial for those who struggle with eating disorders. I believe those who suffer from anorexia are more likely to stay in the diseased state when not exercising than when adopting a healthy exercise regimen because they are more hungry and feel more confident. While in recovery It will also help them deal with the weight/bloating fluctuations that comes with eating regularly again. 

Now my question goes out to all of you? What do you think helps foster a healthy relationship with eating? What do you think makes YOU beautiful? 

Happy Healthy Weight Week.