30 Days to healthy living: Day 23: Fitness

I have seen memes talking about fitness as something along the lines of “fitness” this donut in my mouth… And, well, that’s funny. I mean who doesn’t like donuts? Or nachos. Oh how I love nachos. But really, why do we think that eating food we like is mutually exclusive with being fit?

I’d like to think that in general I am now fit. I still eat nachos. And today I ate cookie dough for lunch. #forrealz

It’s taken me a whole year to really feel fit. Last June I started kickboxing which led to starting Tang Soo Do a month later. Let me just tell you that I just about died that first night I took a kickboxing class. Literally. ALMOST DIED. Two days of rehydration later I went back thinking I was nuts but I didn’t want to be the mom just sitting on the bench looking at my phone while the kids did fun stuff. Call it pride but I’m so glad I went back.

How do you measure fitness exactly? Good question!

Let me ask you this: Do you get winded running upstairs? Or dashing out to your car to grab something? Are you able to get out of the chair on the first try without difficulty? How about getting off the floor? How many REAL pushups can you do? Sit-ups? Can you squat down and stand back up without pushing or pulling yourself back up? Can you touch your toes? Can you stand on one leg? (Provided you have 2 of them of course)

These are real, everyday activities that we should all be able to do. In fact, getting up out of a chair is a test we do on the elderly to see how frail they are. The greater the number of tries, the more frail and at risk of falling a breaking a hip that person is. Also, not having diabetes or obvious heart or lung disease does not make you fit. You can probably also be a little bit overweight and still be fit too. So it’s not weight dependent. What I am talking about here is the ability of your heart, lungs and muscles to keep you upright and to move about without falling or becoming winded for all normal activities. It means having good range of motion and balance. This requires muscle tone and strength.

This is key: your diet does not make you fit. Only physical activity can make you fit. So here is my suggestion: First, if you have any medical conditions or have never been active, talk to your provider to make sure there is no reason not to work toward fitness. the answer is most likely no. Just about everyone except maybe high risk pregnancy women should and can start to get fit. Those with cardiac or pulmonary (heart or lung)  issues may need a specialized program though. So ask first.

Next, get moving. If you were once fit but are no longer (like I was) and have no special issues you can pick any activity you enjoy to get started. Just get moving. If you’ve never been fit or you are obese or get winded walking around the block, start walking. It’s free and most of us can do it. Work your way up to walking for 30-60 consecutive (in a row) minutes a day. Now you are meeting the US recommendations.

Finally your goal is to surpass those. I think there are 4 essential moves that everyone should work on to get stronger and achieve better balance.

1. Pushups- to pass black belt testing I will need to do 50 pushups in a minute. I am definitely not here yet. Aim to be able to do 20 in a row. No time limit.

2. Sit-ups- helps build your core. My goal is also 50 in a minute. Shoot for as many as you can do and keep increasing them. Check Pinterest for “fancy pushups” and planks once you get beyond being able to do 10.

3. Squats-this is an essential movement that we should all be able to do through our entire life if we don’t want to end up on the floor with a broken hip. My knee squeaks when I do these wrong. Proper form is essential. Look up proper squat form on YouTube or ask a fitness instructor. You don’t want to hurt yourself. I am up to being able to do 100 in a row. I haven’t timed it.

4. Jumping Jacks- these not only help with cardiovascular fitness but also balance and coordination. You have to lift your hands over your head while jumping. Try to clap at the top. Also try not to fall over. Do as many as you can.

I like to do these as “AMRAP’s” or As Many As Possible resting for 1 minute in between. That’s it. You can do this anywhere, anytime, no special equipment needed and you can get it done in under 15 minutes most likely.

As you may know, I am not a fitness instructor, nor am I a physical therapist. I fall a lot because I am a klutz but I have learned to “fall with style” so to speak. Well, kind of. I am able to get up and keep going.  So, this is just my advice. It’s what I have essentially done to get back in shape. It’s what we do in our martial arts and kickboxing classes. I know it works. It’s definitely more fun doing it with other people so if you can find a partner or a class, do so! If you have joint replacements or old injuries that limit range of motion, seek out a physical therapist who specializes in sports medicine to help you.

Last, keep a journal so you can see your progress. It’s fun to look back after a couple of weeks or months to see how far you’ve come! Join MyFitnessPal to log your progress and share it with others too. It’s always nice to have a “team.” Now let’s go!

Any questions?

Be well


ps-don’t you love the look on my daughter’s face? LOL

30 days of healthy living: Day 19

Confession time: I cheat. I mean, I’m all for fidelity but then I come home to THIS

And, well, I um, gee, I ate 5 of them. So let’s talk cheat days!

Just like on holidays, I think we all need a break sometimes. While rewarding yourself for hard work with non-food items is great for your waist line, sometimes you just need to eat the cookies.

Some of you may have someone in your life who is a sabateur. This person will cos tangly entice you to eat food they know you don’t want to eat or that isn’t part of your healthy lifestyle. This might be your Italian mother (guilt) or a friend who is perhaps jealous or a spouse who is insecure or a coworker who is just ignorant. Don’t give in to these people!! Do not allow their pressure or guilt or whatever to derail your health. They have nothing to do with cheat days and are a topic for a different day.

A cheat day is something that is ideally planned for like a holiday. When you are in full weight loss mode and have a way to go, I suggest making cheat days far a few between in order to keep your momentum going. Once you are at your goal however, it’s ok to loosen up slightly and plan for more decadent treats.

So to be fair, today wasn’t planned. I actually was going to go buy some cookies and then didn’t today only to come home to these on the table! My husband decided to surprise my daughter and I with a treat. He swears he likes the skinny me and has been generally supportive of my eating patterns. Plus I probably would have bought some later this week anyway. I’m cool with him getting the credit 😉

I am not going to be Debbie Downer and not eat a cookie. Instead, I may have said the heck with it and had cookies for dinner… I followed my usual eating pattern today so in the end I likely didn’t eat too many calories for the day but I surely went over my typical sugar “budget.” My evening “snack” is a cup of “detox” tea with a scoop of chai protein powder in it to get back on track. It’s not a compete free for all.

And that’s the point. I picked out the cookies I like the best and only ate those. I plan to eat a couple more in the next couple of days and then that’s it. I am maximizing my enjoyment by savoring them and limiting it to what gives the greatest pleasure. Pleasure in eating is what a cheat day needs to be about. It should be something to be savored and enjoyed. It shouldn’t be a stop at McD’s when you’re hangry. That’s what green apples in your purse are for!

One way to plan for smaller cheats is to reduce your daily intake a little so you can have something on the weekend. Another way is to set a rule about your treats. Mine is that I don’t drink alcohol Monday-Thursday and then I can have one drink Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday. I’m free to choose and usually I have 2 drinks on the weekend. I keep dark chocolate on hand and will have a square here and there. I find this cuts down on feeling like I’m missing out and is also like a mini treat that is actually healthy (70% cocoa or more) and fits into my diet. These are great ways to incorporate more joy into your long term healthy lifestyle plan.

Sometimes the little breather in your long jog toward health is good for you. Maybe your treat is something that comes with some emotional attachment that makes you feel all cozy inside. Maybe it’s just a way to occasionally let your guard down and enjoy something that is generally not a healthy choice but that you love and the healthy version just doesn’t cut it (still looking for a truly healthy AND satisfying version of nachos). Maybe it’s just enjoying some cookies with your kid who gets left out a lot because she has celiac disease too.

Whatever it is, be conscious of your choices and enjoy a rare treat day. No guilt. No shame. Don’t do it to please anyone else. Do it only for you. And then get back on your healthy horse and ride into the sunset 🌅. Or something like that…

So, what do YOU like to have on your cheat days?


ps-anyone want a cookie??? 🍪

30 Days to healthy living: Day 18

Tonight I’m going to share a couple of quick easy “recipes” that I have found helpful on this journey. Unfortunately I am TERRIBLE sat remembering to take pictures of food so most of not all of these will require you to use your imagination. I promise they are delicious because it’s what I eat and feed my family. If I ever remember to take photos I will come back and update this post!!

If you haven’t noticed, I’m posting every other day for now being as it’s the crazy time of year right before Christmas! 🎄🎅🏻 I’m trying to not go too nuts trying to do all the things 🤓

1. Omelette waffles:

I recently bought a $10 Dash waffle maker and I am in love 🥰. I made paleo chocolate chip waffles using Birch Bender mix first. Yum! Then I ventured into omelettes. Did you know you could make an omelette in your waffle maker? Me neither!! So so good 😊

2 eggs

2/3 cup cooked mixed vegetables (I used stir fry vegetables)

Toasted Sesame oil

Reduced fat shredded mozzarella or your preference


Ginger powder

Chinese five spice


Reduced sodium Tamari

Fresh cracked pepper

This was a stir fry themed omelette. If you want a different theme change the spices and vegetables accordingly and use olive oil instead.

First, cook vegetables with tsp Worcestershire sauce, tsp sesame oil, dash five spice and ginger then roughly chop your veggies. Set aside.

Scramble eggs in a glass bowl.

Add cheese, tsp sriracha , dash of Tamari, couple turns fresh pepper, tsp sesame oil. Stir.

Add vegetables.

Heat waffle iron.

Spray with canola cooking spray.

Cook per directions on waffle iron. I used my Dash iron and checked after 2 minutes then let it cook until well browned and a little crispy. Experiment until you find your desired crispness.

If these make it to your plate without being eaten in hand, serve with sliced tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt and pepper.

I plan to make egg foo young this way later in the week 🙂

2. Stir fry

This is so easy. Don’t buy those gross packets of stir fry mix sauce. I have one generic sauce I use for everything including fried rice.

Tablespoon Reduced sodium Tamari

Teaspoon sriracha (or to taste)

2 Teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Dash fish sauce if using seafood

1/2 tsp ginger

Dash Chinese five spice

Mix the above ingredients together and set aside

Chop whatever vegetables you want to use. Broccoli, snow peas, onions, red peppers, baby corn, bok Choi, mushrooms, etc.

cut meat into bite size pieces. 2 chicken breasts is sufficient for 4 people. I like to use shrimp and cut them in half lengthwise. You could also use an 8 Oz steak cut into thin pieces.

heat 2 tsp toasted sesame oil in pan and sauté meat. add vegetables, cook until starting to soften then add sauce. Continue to cook, stirring frequently until desired done-ness.

Serve with cauliflower rice or brown rice. Season to taste with additional Tamari.

3. Beef and spinach

I’m including this because it’s a recipe I submitted and won a prize for! It also has an Asian theme. Actually a lot of my cooking does although it is certainly not authentic!

1 lb ground beef (grass fed is perfect because it’s leaner and won’t need to be drained.)

1 container baby spinach leaves (Aldi has the perfect size)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced into 1 inch pieces.

Sesame seeds

Toasted sesame oil

Reduced sodium tamari

Chinese five spice

Garlic powder

Ginger powder

Brown ground beef in cast iron skillet. Season with dash or two of Chinese five spice, black pepper, garlic powder and ginger.

When beef is JUST brown add sliced sweet potatoes and 1 tsp sesame oil and 1-2 tsp Tamari and cook until softened.

Lay spinach on top and sprinkle with sesame seeds

Cover and let spinach wilt . Once completely wilted down, stir into beef and sweet potato mixture.

Serve with extra sprinkle sesame seeds .

Adjust amount of sesame oil if you use ground beef with is higher in fat.

Can add sriracha for spice (I didn’t need to tell sriracha lovers that did I? 😉)

Can also increase or decrease Tamari to taste. Less is more and you can always add some to your dish.

I have served this on rice but usually just eat it as is from a bowl.

This is a good protein meal with complex carbs from the sweet potato and a serving or so of greens. Have a salad on the side for extra vegetable servings or add some other vegetable to the dish itself.

This should be enough for 4 people to have one serving.

4. My favorite breakfast (when I eat breakfast which is rare)

Place 3 cups baby spinach or baby spinach and arugula mix on a plate.

Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon grated Asiago cheese

Microwave for 1.5 minutes to wilt the greens and melt the cheese.

Fry 2 eggs (keep yolks runny) in Benechol or grass fed butter.

Top greens with eggs 🍳

Season with fresh cracked pepper and pink salt.

5. Sweet potato enchiladas

1 sweet potato per person, baked

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1 bag reduced fat shredded cheddar or Mexican blend from Aldi

Wegmans red Chile sauce

Picked jalapeños, fat free plain Greek yogurt, cracked red pepper flake, sliced avocados as condiments

Top each sweet potato with chicken, 1/4 cup red Chile sauce, and 1/3 Cup cheese. Microwave or bake to melt cheese.

Top with avocado slices, FF Greek yogurt and jalapenos or pepper if you like it hot like I do!

You could use sour cream instead of yogurt but I like the taste of yogurt better. Don’t use fat free sour cream though. It’s gross. Go for the real deal!

My kids love enchilada anything it seems. I use Wegmans red Chile sauce because it gluten free and the cheapest per unit price. Hatch red enchilada sauce is also a great GF choice.

I put jalapeños and red pepper flake on anything remotely “Mexican” or Tex-Mex. Hot spices raise your metabolism!

Disclaimer: I am not a dietician. I did not create these as perfectly balanced meals nor do I count calories per se. I usually eat these meals as my one big meal of the day. I have shakes for the other 2 meals or a green apple, almonds and a protein bar.

I do not know the calorie counts for these meals and probably never will but you could plug them into MyFitnessPal if you needed to know an it will calculate it for you.

I hope you enjoy these!


30 Days to healthy living, Day 1: the rest of your life

Welcome! Today is day 1 of the rest of your life. It’s the day to start over and begin to incorporate healthy living habits that will lead you down the path to more vibrant health, energy and wellbeing. Will it cure everything wrong with you? No. But I know from personal experience that every little step adds up and in time makes a significant difference. It can mean the difference between taking medications or being pill free. It can mean the difference between a lifetime of being diabetic and at risk of heart attacks and stroke (cardiovascular or heart disease is the number one killer for everyone but diabetics are at an even higher risk. More on that later on) or losing a limb, your eyesight or worse. Today is the day you decide to eat better, sleep better, feel better and do better. We will do this together. It’s day 1 for me too although it’s not the first time I’ve done a 30 day challenge.

Supplies you will need:



A positive attitude


And a bit of self control (we are a work in progress though so if you go off track just get back on. No failure allowed!)

Recommended supplies:

Food scale

Measuring spoons and cups

Bullet blender (but a basic blender will work too)

MyFitness Pal app (it’s FREE!)

Activity tracker (helps keep you honest with your activity levels 😉)

So, here’s what to do today:

1. Weigh yourself. Get your naked self on the scale. Take a good hard look. Like what you see? Why or why not? If not, there’s hope! Write it down.

2. What weight do you want to be? Write that down.

3. Why do you want to weigh that weight? Have you ever weighed that weight? What do you expect when you get there?

4. Find out what your cholesterol numbers are. If you don’t know these ask next time you see your medical provider. Write them down.

5. Get a blood pressure reading and record it.

6. Measure your waist circumference. Also measure the widest part of your hips, upper arms and thighs. Chest too, especially women. Record these.

7. Record your clothing sizes.

8. List your medications and health conditions. (Can you see we are creating your own little health record journal?)

9. List your goals other than your weight goal. What do you want to accomplish this month? Is there something you are trying to give up? Or do more of? Less of? Start?

10. Write down how you are feeling. Excited? Hesitant? Not sure? Motivated? Tired? Energetic? Be real. This is for you to track. No one is judging you!

Phew! That’s enough for today. Tomorrow we will talk about the basic plan and what the rest of the 30 days will encompass. For now, here’s to our health! 🍷🥗🍏


As good as it gets: Gluten free egg rolls

I grew up on Long Island, Mecca of good Chinese food and pizza. For my birthday I always wanted Chinese: egg roll, wonton soup and maybe some chow mein. I’m sure it was authentic ethnic cuisine… But who cares? It was so GOOD!! 

As I got older I branched out. Hot and sour soup? Yes. Curry chicken and onion? Yes. Shrimp with lobster sauce? YES! It was all good. 

Then celiac disease became part of my vocabulary and life and away went my beloved Chinese food. I haven’t stepped foot in a Chinese restaurant in 5 long sad years. I have learned to make egg foo young even better than any I’ve had in a restaurant. I can make stir fry. I’ve made egg roll in a bowl. I’ve even made egg drop soup (easy!). But egg roll in a bowl aside, nothing has replaced a genuine fried egg roll or wonton soup 🙁 

So I tried these from Feel Good Foods. Not bad. They get the wrapper just right. It bubbles when you cook it. Perfect. The filling? Ok. It has flavor and it’s close but they put bell peppers in it. In my 42 years I have never heard of bell peppers in an egg roll. Never. The average shrimp or pork egg roll has the meat, finely shredded cabbage and maybe carrots and that’s it. There are no bell peppers people!!!! 

Pulling myself together…

All in all however, these are pretty good. One roll has about 130 calories and is just enough for a snack or appetizer. It’s not health food by any stretch but for that occasional craving? It’ll do the trick without making a mess of my kitchen! 

Now will someone puhlease make a genuine tasting gluten free wonton??? I’m begging here…

NOT gluten free cheerios

Heard today that General Mills is recalling some “gluten free” Cheerios. And we are supposed to be surprised? 

From the start this all sounded quite fishy to me. They removed the gluten? How exactly did you go about that? It’s proprietary, of course, so you can’t tell us? Well, then I can’t buy your product. 

We aren’t talking about a fad here folks, we are talking about peoples lives. Go make your profit elsewhere. You won’t make it on my 6 year old and you won’t make it on me. I’ll keep supporting brands I know are gluten free and not ones that magically transform their products to being gluten free. I like being healthy. I don’t like being “magically” sick. 

My advice? Don’t try them. Ever.