Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Salad--Before a Decadent Dinner Out!

It's Restaurant Week in San Diego, and I love to try out some of the treats the restaurants' offer on their Prix Fixe meals. With that in mind, I decided that I needed to get a good workout in this morning, and follow it with a healthy lunch. No need to have a heavy calorie day when I know I will be a bit decadent tonight! Again, I bought all of the yummy ingredients at Trader Joe's, but you can find all of them at a regular grocery store.
Sunday Salad Made for One
3 cups arugula
1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
2 baby bellas (stuffer sized), thinly sliced
2 tsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
lemon zest
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Plate arugula on a salad plate. In a skillet, heat olive oil and add veggies. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic, lemon zest, and balsamic vinegar. Simmer mixture for 2 more minutes. Pour over greens and serve. Season with salt or a cheese like Parmesan. Enjoy!

PS--Sorry for the poor quality of my photo. I am unfortunately stuck with using my phone until I get a new camera!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Trader Joe's Dinner for ONE--Boo Hoo!

As my journey through another deployment begins my creative brain begins to work on ideas...dinner ideas for one. There are a couple key areas I save money while my spouse is deployed:
  1. Water--just due to showers
  2. Gas--no more trips to work, and I bike more often than not
  3. FOOD--ahhh, eating for one

Okay, so I know many prefer to open a box, a can, or better yet skip both and go out to eat when they eat for one. Trust me, I understand the temptation. Unfortunately, eating out has major draw backs. Choosing a restaurant over eating at home can lead you down an expensive and unhealthy path. Your waistline and pocketbook will both thank you when you stay in tonight!

Trader Joe's was my inspiration tonight. I picked up a package of Chicken Cilantro Wontons and Persian Cucumbers. I smell an Asian-inspired dinner brewing! I quickly sliced the Persian cukes lengthwise and simply salted them and tossed a little sesame oil and rice wine vinegar over top. I noshed on these while preparing my Wonton Soup:


4 cups chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp soy sauce

1/2 bag Chicken Cilantro Wontons

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped (optional)


In a soup pot (aka stock pot) place chicken broth, garlic, bell peppers, green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce, and jalapeños. Bring stock to a boil and add wontons in for 3-5 minutes or until floating on surface. Add cilantro if you wish. Serve! Yes, it is that simple! Enjoy!

Oh, and to treat myself well tonight I made a quick spritzer:

2 grapefruits juiced

1 cup Riesling wine

Mix and enjoy! Savor each breath! With or without your life partner you are blessed to be alive and healthy! Remember to make the most of each day. PS--this #10!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mesothelioma & Nutrition

Nutrition for Mesothelioma Patients
It has been stated by the National Cancer Institute that at least 35 percent of all cancer cases are related to poor nutrition. And while mesothelioma is not a cancer that is related to poor nutrition, improving nutritional intake can help strengthen mesothelioma cancer patients’ bodies to fight the progressive disease.
Malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was used extensively throughout the 20th century in a number of military and industrial applications. This type of cancer develops in the mesothelial cells that make up the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. Symptoms typically take anywhere from 20 to 50 years to become noticeable, so the cancer is often diagnosed in advanced stages when treatment options are limited.
If cancer develops in a healthy person (which can easily be the case with mesothelioma), continuing to eat a healthy diet is crucial to the healing process. Vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids (fats) and proteins all play major roles in a healthy human body. Without the right balance of nutrients the body cannot effectively fight cancer. In addition, malnutrition causes the body to be susceptible to infection. Many cancer patients do not pass away from the cancer itself, but rather a medical condition stemming from the body’s weakened condition.
One of the most common side effects of cancer and cancer treatment is nausea. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to help this problem. Dry grain products like crackers and toast can help calm an upset stomach. Bland foods will also help with nausea, as well as acid reflux problems.
Another common characteristic found in cancer patients is low white blood cell count, which increases the chance of contracting an infection. To avoid this side effect, a number of changes can be made in the foods you ingest. It is most important to avoid bacteria, which is common in foods that are damaged or not prepared well. Avoid buffets when eating out, wash your hands before preparing meals, avoid raw meats and fish (like sushi), and throw away any foods that are bruised or damaged.
For many people, avoiding certain foods cannot decrease the chance of developing cancer. Cancer is a complex medical condition, with many factors playing various roles in development and treatment. However, most patients will undoubtedly benefit from a better diet in a number of ways. In addition to eating a balanced diet, use the following tips to help strengthen the body’s ability to function well and fight disease:
-Avoid alcohol in excess amounts.
-Monitor weight carefully, not only being sure to stay trim, but also being sure to avoid becoming too thin.
-Learn about safe food preparation techniques.
-Cut the "bad" fats from your diet, opting instead for "good" fats, such as olive oil.
-Choose fruits and vegetables daily (these food groups should represent the bulk of your diet, approximately 50 percent).
-Avoid processed foods, like prepackaged meals.
-Make healthy choices when eating out, opting for vegetable-based meals when possible.
-Monitor the types of fish you eat, choosing species low in mercury.
-Buy products that are organic or grown with minimum pesticides.
-Avoid eating fast foods.
-Cut tobacco products out of your life.
-Take a multi-vitamin every day.
-Include adequate amounts of fiber in your diet (see fiber post).

Richard Moyle

National Awareness Coordinator Mesothelioma Center

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

USDA Takes on the Local Focus!

As you walk down the produce section of your favorite grocery store take a trip around the world--your food has. Here in San Diego, where produce grows with ease, I am always amazed at our grocery stores inability to carry more local produce. Albertsons, Vons, and Ralphs rarely have more local options than produce from Peru, New Zealand, Mexico, etc. Fortunately, there are an abundance of grocery stores with a local flare: Henrys, Sprouts, Peoples, Trader Joes, and Fresh & Easy. I realize that other parts of the country are not as fortunate. Now, even the USDA is taking on message of eating local. Check out Chicago Tribune's blog regarding the new program:

Small, sustainable farmers are our neighbors! Are you interested in finding local produce or food products near you? Go to and put in your zip code to find out how you can become a champion of local produce. Here are 5 tips to get you started on becoming a "locavore":
  1. Notice where your produce comes from. Take a glance at the country of origin, and when you can choose your state or a state nearby over outside of the US.
  2. Choose a restaurant that supports local ingredients. Restaurants and chefs are noticing the trend and making strong efforts to offer local produce--use the power of Google and find one in your are (search: Local Produce Restaurant San Diego [or your city]).
  3. Shop a farmer's market for your weekly needs. Although some areas have a shorter season than others for farmer's markets often you can still find a couple that stay open all year long--all you can do is try!
  4. Buy only US produce for a week. Buying in just your state may be a challenge, so instead try to find products that are at least local to the US.
  5. Request more local produce at your grocery store. Whether you frequent HEB, Braums, Albertsons, or Vons you can take ownership in your responsibility by asking your favorite store to buy more local produce--it never hurts to ask!
Best of luck on your quest to become a champion of local produce in your area! All of us benefit!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Food Behaviors Matter Most!

Do your genes matter when it comes to fighting obesity? Absolutely, but is it the only thing keeping you from being at a healthy weight? Pause....ponder....recognize! Your food behaviors and habits matter, and some researchers feel they matter most. Check out this fabulous article for more information:

Five tips to curb those nasty habits:
1. Keep a record of what you eat daily (I use
2. Avoid television or other distractions while eating, instead focus on your food and savoring each bite.
3. Eat 4-6 cups of vegetables per day. If you do this, you are less likely to have room for other food choices.
4. Serve yourself on smaller plates, with smaller bowls, and tiny glasses for everything other than water to help cut your portions.
5. Practice mindful eating. For starters, ask yourself:
  • Am I hungry?
  • Is this what is best for me right now?
  • Why am I eating?
  • What can I do other than eating?

For more helpful hints, tips, and ideas locate a local dietitian in your area to help get you on the right track toward curbing your food behaviors and trimming your waistline!