Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Here Comes Summer...Traveling!

Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching! Are you planning a summer vacation? My idea of a perfect vacation involves spending a few months in another state or country, really absorbing the culture (and, of course, sampling all the food!).

We're staying put this year, but if you're planning to get out of town, now's the time to plan ahead for successful weight management while you're vacationing. Here are a few tips:
  1. Keep your goals SMART--and in particular, keep your goals Realistic. In working with clients and students, my observation has been that weight management is usually a more realistic goal than weight loss, even if you're successfully losing weight right now. It's much better to come back from vacation weighing the same than it is to start over again losing those 3 pounds you lost last month.
  2. Plan ahead for physical activity. Many clients and students find that their vacation plans naturally lend themselves to exercise. For example, cruises--despite the food temptations--are where many of my clients have lost weight on vacation. One client deliberately booked her cabin on the lowest floor, and took the stairs at every opportunity. Another explored a variety of different exercise classes (and fell in love with yoga in the process). I've had many clients book walking tours, and squeeze in their physical exercise while taking in the local scene.
  3. Plan ahead for healthy eating. When we head out for a road trip, I pack lots of raw fruits and veggies for noshing on while we're driving. I also pack some healthy meal options for when we arrive. Whether you're headed for the airport, cruise liner, or a road trip, you can likewise enjoy weight management success by looking ahead for challenges, planning ahead for how to handle them, and following through on your plans.
  4. Plan ahead for assertive communication. When meals involve family, it can be challenging to say no to Grandma's meatloaf, lasagna, or tacos. Now's the time to decide how you'll handle relatives who believe food is love: Do you need to ask Auntie to pack up an extra helping of her potato salad to go? Or tell Grandma that "It looks so good, and I can't wait to try some later, but right now I'm not hungry"?
  5. Plan ahead for adequate hydration. Between my walnut-sized bladder and my reluctance to pay for bottled water, getting in enough water can be challenging. Think ahead to when you can squeeze in a little extra water before you get started on your day's activities.
With a little planning ahead, and just a bit of effort, you can maintain--or even lose--weight while you're on vacation. It's worth it! What's your biggest vacation weight management challenge? What successes have you had? Sound off below, and let us know!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recipe: Tofu Shakes

Mocha Tofu Shake
It's warming up here in the desert--in fact, we're looking forward to triple-digit temperatures this weekend. In preparation for the hot summer weather, my kids and I have been experimenting with tofu-based "milk"shakes. They're refreshing, low-carb, and high-protein, so we usually enjoy them for a snack. However, they're so delish you could easily serve them as a dessert: Just serve your shakes in pretty glasses with fancy straws. 

I definitely recommend Mori-Nu tofu for these recipes--other tofus have a stronger flavor. If you experiment with another brand, make sure you use a silken tofu.

Key Lime Pie Tofu Shakes

If you enjoyed the Tofu Key Lime Pie in my online cooking class "Luscious," you'll love this shake! It's the same sweet-tart flavor, but in a smooth-and-creamy shake.


2 (12-ounce) packages Mori-Nu tofu
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons fresh lime zest
4 - 6 cups crushed ice
4 graham crackers, finely crushed


Combine tofu, lime juice, nectar, and zest in blender until very smooth. Add ice, 2 cups at a time, and blend until mixture reaches the consistency of a milkshake. Add graham crackers and mix briefly. Serve immediately.

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If you're in the mood for something more grown-up, here's a more mature take on tofu shakes:

Mocha Tofu Shake


2 (12-ounce) packages Mori-Nu tofu
4 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2/3 cup agave nectar
4 - 6 cups crushed ice


Combine tofu, cocoa powder, coffee granules, and agave in blender until very smooth. Add ice and combine until mixture is the consistency of a milkshake. Serve immediately.

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Here's one last tofu shake idea. Although sugar-free drink mixes contain sweeteners, don't omit the agave nectar: It lowers the freezing point of the shake, so the final product is smooth and creamy, instead of icy. You can use any flavor that appeals to you; we like cherry with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder for a cherry-chocolate shake, or limeade with crushed graham crackers.

Favorite Flavor Tofu Shake


2 (12-ounce) packages Mori-Nu tofu
1 packet (makes 2 quarts beverage) sugar-free drink mix
1/4 cup agave nectar
4-6 cups crushed ice


Combine tofu, drink mix, and agave in blender until very smooth. Add ice and blend until mixture is the consistency of a milkshake. Serve immediately.

If you give any these recipes a try, please come back and let us know what you tried, and how it was. I love hearing from you!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Think Outside the Mother's Day Gift Box...

Mother's Day is right around the corner! Whether you're a mom, or thinking about a gift for your mom, now's the time to get a jump on the perfect gift -- or start hinting for the perfect gift!.

I have nothing against flowers or brunch, but how about something different...something that will give Mom a weight loss or weight maintenance boost? Here are a few outside-the-box ideas to get you started!
  • Consider color therapy (also known as chromotherapy): At the top of my Mother's Day gift list is this LED color-changing light. I'm already thinking about how I'll enjoy a lavender-scented bath with a violet light. Want to learn more about chromotherapy? Check out Color Therapy Association's Web site at this link.
  • Experiment with aromatherapy: Did you know peppermint is associated with weight loss? Treat Mom to peppermint tea, peppermint incense (http://www.gonesh.net/ offers a peppermint-pine incense intended for the holidays, but it's delish all year long), or a peppermint-scented aromatherapy candle.
  • Give Mom a back rub. One of my favorite Mother's Day gifts was a massage mat for the car. I'm grateful for it every time I get in the van!
  • Pay for a class. Pick up the tab for a fun new exercise class, like kickboxing or bikram yoga. Or, maybe Mom's into a self-nurturing activity like painting, perfumery, or gardening.
  • Pick up the tab for a special treat. Treat Mom to a massage, a hair appointment, a spa day, or a mani-pedi.
  • Pick up the tab for new equipment. I'm almost reluctant to include this, because giving one of these gifts can easily be misconstrued. That said, new running shoes, a gorgeous new yoga outfit, a pedometer, or a fancy new scale can give the mom who's serious about weight management a terrific boost. (But don't even think about giving Mom one of these gifts unless your mom has specifically asked!)
Now, a question for moms: What's the best Mother's Day gift you've received? Let us know below!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Recipe: Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes and Onions

Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes and Onions
Indian cuisine is, hands down, my favorite food. I'm lucky, because most Indian recipes are wonderfully healthy: They're usually low in fat, loaded with non-starchy veggies, often vegan, and always flavorful.

My first Indian cookbook was Shehzad Husain’s “Healthy Indian Cooking,” and her take on this recipe was the first recipe I made from it. I’ve made several adjustments to the original recipe to make it more flavorful and easier to prepare, although you'll probably need to visit an Indian market (or shop online) to find black mustard seeds and neem leaves. It'll be worth the trip! If you prepare it, please come back and tell us how it goes, and what you think of it. I love hearing from you!

Indian Eggplant with Tomatoes and Onions


2 tablespoons canola oil
2 yellow onions, quartered and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
6 curry leaves (neem leaves)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1 tablespoon bottled minced ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 large eggplant, chopped in 1" cubes
1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes


Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, mustard seeds, and curry leaves, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste, coriander, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice, and continue to cook, stirring often, for another 5 minutes, or until onions are soft.

Add eggplant, mix well, and cook for 2 minutes. Add water and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, until eggplant is just tender. Add cilantro, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes, and mix well. Cook until just heated through before serving.