RECIPE: Tomato Basil Sauce or Salad Dressing

I’m not Italian; never claimed to be.  So this isn’t Papa Antonio’s secret sauce; you can find yummy marinara recipes elsewhere.  This is so you can make a clean, preservative-free, easy sauce you can use on whole wheat pasta or atop a spinach salad (which I now commonly use instead of pasta);  double the recipe and freeze it to save time later if you like.

6 large organic tomatoes, chopped

1/2 white onion diced

6 small mushrooms, sliced

1 Tbsp dried Basil or even better 6 fresh basil leaves chopped

1 tsp garlic minced (more if you’re into it or have a vampire infestation)

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional, but A MUST)

a pinch of salt and pepper


saute onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp of olive oil x ~3 min

add tomatoes and remaining olive oil and slowly cook on med-low heat, stirring occasionally ~ 5-7 until saucy

add mushrooms, basil, crush red pepper and simmer on low heat for ~ 5-10 min


RULE: Stop Making Excuses

EXCUSES                                                 MY HARSH RESPONSE

I don’t like vegetables”         “I don’t like wearing a seat belt, but I hear it’s good for me”

my knees hurt when I run”       “the heavier you are the more they’ll hurt”

I work too much to work out”    “do you work too much to eat? or shower? or breathe?”

I have a job and kids”                        “so do 60 million other Americans, work it out”

Stop making excuses to why you can’t exercise or why you’re putting crap in the cake-hole.

I don’t care if  “you’re on vacation”, that’s not an excuse to eat like a wooly mammoth preparing for hibernation.  While you’re on vacation are you gonna have frequent casual sex with strangers? Blow wads of money? Blow a couple of lines, a couple of sailors and maybe try some heroin too because you’re on vacation?

When you start exercising, it may hurt a little at first, you may be sore, you may be uncomfortable.  But as long as it isn’t searing pain in your chest or joints, the soreness just means you NEED IT.  You haven’t used those muscles in a while.  If you don’t USE your body you’ll LOSE it—to pounds of flesh that make it painful to move at all. (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?)

I love this one: “It’s your birthday, live a little”

Believe me, in the food department I’ve done more than live…I’ve eaten shelves of food I didn’t need (often in one sitting).  Now I’m trying to stay alive without having a heart attack, getting diabetes or a spare tire that inflates!  Hoping each birthday I’m healthier than the last!

Each year the average American gains at least 1-2 pounds. So by the time we are 30, we are already 12-20 pounds overweight.

I get it.  It’s hard to finish work and go to the gym instead of going home.  Maybe you have to plan ahead, bring a change of clothes with you and squeeze a work out in over lunch.  It’s hard to raise a family and/or work take care or yourself, but you MUST!

It can be challenging to eat local and sustainable and fresh and affordable food. Canned food has BPA and is high in sodium, frozen vegetables don’t taste as good, affordable healthy frozen dinners have additives and dang it McDonald’s fries and fresh-baked cookies just smell so good.

You don’t have to be perfect all of the time.  BUT PLEASE STOP MAKING EXCUSES!

RECIPE: Easy Lunch: Avocado, Cream Cheese and Salmon Toast

Remember we talked about good fats and bad fats? Fat around your waist, BAD.  Fat from walnuts, GOOD.  Fat from a bacon-cheese burger, BAD.  Fat from an avocado and fish oil, GOOD.  So fear not the good fat! It keeps you full longer, makes your skin glow and your hair shiny.  Now, don’t go all Joey Chesnut on the fat intake, but enjoy small amounts of good fat daily….like this delicious and easy lunchtime favorite!

1 slice of whole grain toast

1 tsp of organic cream cheese or goat cheese (just a small amount)

2-3 slices of Wild salmon (you can buy 4-8 oz packaged, I buy when it’s on sale!)

3-4 slices of organic avocado (I also love it with arugula in lieu of avocado)

sea salt and pepper to taste

RANT: Obese Kids

I get especially sad when I see pediatric patients, less than 10 years old, usually with Doritos bag or a Pepsi in hand, who are already obese.  What kind of future looms?  Likely Diabetes, because the body can only tolerate so much abuse before disease culminates. These patients are sure to develop depression, not only because the ability to move freely as a child is limited by their mass, but also because kids can be cruel. And relentless teasing will ensue.
 Obese children aren’t occasionally allowed to eat poor-quality, high-fat, junk foods that make them obese; it’s the only food being offered!  I don’t know any 9 year olds who do the grocery shopping. Out of convenience, ignorance and perceived necessity, parents frequent fast food chains and super-size their kids’ health problems.  This, in my opinion, is child abuse.
It’s tough. In parents’ defense, many do not know their child’s diet directly affects his/her health. Most parents don’t believe the sequelae of their grocery selections can be childhood diseases.  I see parents negotiate with sweets all the time  “If you’re good, we’ll get ice cream”.  (How ’bout “if you’re bad, you’ll get no dessert for a week”–negative reinforcement vs bribery) Sweets are no longer treats. Kids get sweets several times a day.  This creates little sugar addicts, childhood obesity, diabetes, depression, mood disorders, the list goes on.
So Parents, be strong! If your child whines when he/she doesn’t get the sweet that they want, remember to care enough to say “No”. And mean it.

RECIPE: Easy Delicious Grains and Greens Salad

I recently ordered an entree by this name at Besaw’s on NW 23rd in the PDX, loved the idea, so I hijacked the title from them.  But they used chard instead of kale and tahini sauce instead of humus.  I think mine has a little more zip.  Never woulda’ eaten this 3 years ago. Now I’m diggin’ it.  Hope you do too. (BTW I got most of these ingredients at Trader Joe’s for not much moolah)

1 bag Trader Joe’s kale (~ 7 cups)
1 cup TJ’s organic quinoa
4 heaping Tbsp TJ’s Mediterranean humus
20 grape tomatoes sliced and cooked until mushy
1/4 cup Annie’s lite honey mustard salad dressing
Sea salt and pepper  to taste
3 squirts Sriracha hot sauce (more if you like-a-da-spice)

RULE: Don’t Skip Meals

Loads of my patients skip meals.  Many people think skipping breakfast and/or lunch will help them cut out the calories that cause them to gain weight.  Unfortunately, for most, that does not work for several reasons.  Some studies show, when the body is deprived of food (ie skipping meals) the metabolism (the body’s rate of using calories) slows.  Then once a meal is consumed, the body doesn’t know when it will eat again, and thus stores that meal as fat.

But another, perhaps more common problem, is the ability to make healthy choices when hungry.  I tell my patients, ” When im really, really hungry, if I were offered a pizza or a salad, It’d be awful hard to turn down the pizza. And I’m probably gonna scarf down not one piece, but the whole thing”. They usually nod knowingly.

When hunger looms, our cravings take the helm.

Most Americans consume the majority of their calories at dinner.  We, as a nation, eat one enormous feast just before bed.

Put simply, the liver, which processes food we consume, cannot use more than about 500-600 calories at a time; anything more than that gets stored as fat. So when you skip a meal and then jam 2000-4000 calories worth of dinner down the food shoot, you are inundating your body with more fuel than it can handle. Thus the extra 1500-3500 calories is stored in the form of fat, adding pounds.

And it only takes 3500 calories to make a pound.

So do your self a favor. Eat something (and remember it should include a fruit or vegetable and a protein–see healthy snacks for ideas).   And you’ll begin to make better choices, eat smaller portions, and more real foods, in turn making you healthier and trimmer!