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Recipe: Steel Cut Oats w/ Apples & Toasted Walnuts

This recipe comes from my dear friend Tamra whom I met during my training at Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Tamra is a genius in the kitchen and whips up the most incredible, healthy, and wholesome dishes. She can be reached at (Website coming soon!)

A perfect Fall breakfast that can be made the day before…

Steel Cut Oats w/ Apples & Toasted Walnuts

PREP TIME: 10 min.
COOK TIME: 20 min.

Instructions / Ingredients

Rinse and cut apples into 1 inch pieces (3 cups)
In a large saucepan add the apples and 1 cup of water, steam apples (2-3 min.) until slightly soft
Drain water and set apples aside

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1 cup of steel cut oats, cook according to package
While cereal cooks heat 1/2 tbl. olive oil, 1 cup of crumbled walnuts, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1 tea. of vanilla, and a swirl of maple syrup. Cook over medium heat and stir constantly until walnuts and coconut are slightly toasted.

Once Steel cut oats are finished combine apples in separate bowl, add cinnamon to taste
Serve with agave, and butter, add walnut mixture on top and enjoy

Tips: for crunchier apples steam less for mushier apples steam longer. A great recipe to prepare the night before and enjoy on the run!

Variations: use any of your favorite hot cereals, oats, cream of wheat or quinoa. Add your favorite dried or  fresh fruits and other nuts too! Add 1/2 cup of milk, soy milk or almond milk.

Options: Serve with butter, earth balance or any natural butter substitute. Use maple syrup, agave or honey to taste

**Have you signed up for the FREE virtual Love Your Body Day Telesummit? No? Sign up here and get my free report, “10 Ways We Love Our Body Best.” By signing up you’ll get access to over 15 experts in the health and wellness fields, helping you to live your best, juiciest life possible. Can’t attend? No problem! Sign up anyway and you’ll get recordings of all the calls so you can listen on your own time.

October 6, 2010 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

mmm, ‘shrooms

shroomsThis is a completely random post but a coworker just asked me about the nutritional value of mushrooms. Told you it was random! My answer to her was that ANY fruit or vegetable packs a nutritional punch and to eat, eat, eat them! However, I did some further investigation on mushrooms and they’re extremely interesting. Perhaps this will convince Matt to start eating mushrooms…or maybe it’s better that he doesn’t, ‘cause we’ve got a good gig worked out where I get to eat them off his plate!

 *Mushrooms are the only fresh vegetable with vitamin D. You’ve heard a lot about this “sunshine” vitamin which you get from the sun, as well as certain foods. And many of us, especially women, are deficient in this very important vitamin. A serving of 4-5 white mushrooms provide 15 IU.  Studies have shown that the ultraviolet light of the sun can boost the vitamin D levels in mushrooms. Cool, right? (On a side note, the Daily Value of Vitamin D is 400 IU, but experts are saying we need upwards of 1000 IU. I’m taking about 2000 IU/day)

 *Mushrooms are fat-free, cholesterol-free (as are all plants!), low in calories (8.7 calories for a ½ cup serving) and sodium

 *They are full of nutrients such as riboflavin (helps maintain healthy blood cells), niacin (promotes healthy skin and digestive and nervous system functioning) and selenium (an antioxidant that is important for the immune system and fertility in men). These are typically found in animal products and grains

 *Eastern cultures and medicine have been using mushrooms for centuries (mostly shitake and maitaki varieties). They are used to balance the nervous system

 *When buying white mushrooms, select ones that are in-tact and firm. They can be found year-round in the grocery store.  To clean them, dampen a paper towel and gently wipe them to get rid of the dirt.  They will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up some shrooms and experiment. There are so many varieties available, you’re sure to find one you like.  Here’s a recipe I found for stuffed mushrooms. Yumm!

July 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm 1 comment

Basking in the glow of the refrigerator

As you know, I’ve started to tackle cutting out sugar, which hasn’t been as difficult as I feared. I haven’t had dessert or sweets in about three weeks now, and I’ve never felt better. Truly.  I don’t even MISS chocolate, which is utterly mind-boggling to me.  While I know how cliché the saying “If I can do it, so can you” is, nevertheless it’s true.  I never thought I could go without chocolate for even a few days, let alone 3 whole weeks.

However, I find that I’ve been relying on “quickie-carbs,” or refined carbs that you might not think of as sugar.  Refined carbs are carbohydrates that cause a rapid, high spike in your blood sugar, giving you a high at first and ending with a crash. Examples are white bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, crackers, and basically anything “white” and not a whole grain.  So, while I’ve been disciplined in nixing the chocolate and sweets (and I don’t really eat much of the other stuff)  I HAVE been eating crackers.  And lots of them. If you’ve ever had a Mary’s Gone cracker, you’ll understand why I’ve been addicted. They’re incredible, super crunchy, and healthy as far as crackers go, but only in limited amounts (you can find them at many supermarkets and health food stores) I’ve realized that it’s gotten a bit out of hand, and I’ve replaced one addiction with another (sweets for crackers),  so I’m working this week to cut down on my cracker and dip intake.

No, that is not me.

No, that is not me.

That’s one issue. But, on top of the crackers, I’ve got another problem. I’ve noticed in the past month that I’m eating standing up in my kitchen quite often. I’ll pop a few blueberries into my mouth while preparing my oats for breakfast. Or, I’ll get home from work/gym/school and go straight to the pantry, whip out my Mary’s crackers, and stand in front of the refrigerator and eat them with humus. Or, I’ll taste and taste and taste while I’m cooking and by the time I’m through, I’m no longer hungry for dinner, yet I end up eating dinner anyway (However, I do come from a long line of “noshers,” so I’m fighting genetics on this one.)

Do you find yourself eating standing up? You might not realize you’re doing it, as it’s a mindless activity.  We can get ourselves into trouble because usually while we’re standing we’re doing something else, like talking on the phone, watching TV, or about to rush out the door. In my case I’ve been feeling very rushed and a bit overwhelmed in my life with so much on my “plate” that standing up has just become easier.  Sometimes when I come home from school, I’m so hungry that I can’t even wait to make a plate of food…I just head straight for the refrigerator and eat basking in the glow of the fridge. Which, of course, leads me to eat way more than I needed or even wanted.

When we don’t eat at a table, we’re not mindful as to what we’re putting in our mouths. In fact, if we’re doing ANYTHING while we eat, such as watching TV, we’re not paying attention to what we’re eating, probably leading us to eat much more (we’re creating a disconnect between our brain and our mouth)  It’s also been said (as my wise mother likes to remind me) that when you stand up to eat, your brain doesn’t register the calories or that you’re actually ingesting food so you don’t feel full and you eat more.  Whatever the reason, the end result is usually the same: eating more than you had planned.

So, you ask, what am I doing to combat my eating-while-standing plight? For one, I’m trying to slow down. This morning, for instance, I was cutting my banana in the kitchen and I had to STOP myself mid bite to recognize that I had just snuck that bite.  It’s such a subtle gesture that my brain barely has the time to register what I’m doing. So that’s where the slowing down and being mindful comes in.

I’m also making sure that I ONLY eat at my dining table.  It’s now a rule. If I’m not sitting down at the table, I can’t eat.  Mealtime should be an act of enjoyment and gratitude, a kind of meditation and concentration, and you just can’t do that while you’re talking on the phone, reading a magazine, and eating food all at the same time. How can you truly taste your food if you’re not paying attention?

And lastly, I’ve started keeping a good ol’ fashioned food journal where I’m writing down everything I eat. Every bite, even if it’s just a taste of something. A journal is a wonderful weight loss tool (I owe my 25 pound weight loss in college to my food journal). You’ll be surprised at all the extra food you eat during the day.  I’ve realized that I’d been eating about 2-3 servings of crackers with 3-4 servings of hummus (at 60 calories per serving) and that REALLY begins to add up.  So, I challenge you to try keeping a food journal for a week and see what pops up for you.

And for a funny, great read with a VERY appropriate title, pick up When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull up a Chair by my very favorite author on emotional eating, Geneen Roth.

July 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

This Week’s Nibbles

Happy Friday!

I’m inaugurating a new weekly Friday post–articles, blog posts, and stories I’ve come across on the web that I feel are worth sharing. Read them all now or savor them to read throughout the weekend. But I’ve done all the work for you and found this week’s best reads (in my humble opinion).  Just a disclaimer about this week’s picks: a few involve food safety, such as chicken and salmon farming. I’ll let you know which ones they are in case ignorant bliss is for you (I promise not to hold it against you)  Enjoy–and have a fabulous weekend!

For all those “almost” vegetarians or “pescatarians,” this one’s for you. **Graphic**

Dr. Weil enlightens us on the best time of day to take your vitamins

Are you eating the 12 healthiest foods on earth? If not, add ’em to your diet!

No time in the day for your daily “ohmmmmm?” How about meditating while eating

Your kitchen is dirtier than you think-take it from this microbiology student! This video is worth the watch, even just to see what a nut Kathy Lee Gifford is!

You might not ever want to eat at the Cheesecake Factory again (or at least, order the seafood)

In a follow up from the above article- a closer look at where our salmon is coming from. A must read for the salmon lovers out there (ignorant bliss comes into play here–but this issue  is VERY important)

What’s the new diet trend among the trendy (and stupid, in my opinion) in Los Angeles?

And to end the list with an homage to our incredible Mother Earth:

National Geographic’s most incredible pictures of the year–guaranteed to inspire you and develop even more love for mother nature

July 17, 2009 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Finding Time for the Burn–from Naked Apartments

 Check out my latest post at the Naked Apartment’s blog:

July 16th, 2009 by Amanda Goldfarb


New Yorkers have this “thing” with time.  We never seem to have enough so we obsess on how to make more of it. And when we find a spare minute here, another there, we still never seem to maximize our potential.  Five minutes of TV turns into an America’s Next Top Model marathon on VH1. We take classes on how to manage our time, all the while we could be using that class time to actually DO something.  So when we read that we should be exercising 30-60 minutes a day, we laugh. Who has the time for that? 

I used to be a five-day-a-week morning gym rat. I loved it. I felt that I somehow belonged to an elite workout club whose members were hardcore, 6 a.m. exercisers. We bounded through our day with that smug “look at me, I’ve already exercised!”  smile on our faces. 

Sadly, I am no longer a card-carrying member.  A move to another borough, a longer commute, and evening classes has thrown a wrench into my exercise schedule. I’m one of those, sigh, evening workout-ers. And because something always pops up after work, my workout schedule is a mess. Or actually non-existent. But I still need to work out. How can I make some time to get my daily exercise?

Here are 5 easy tips:

1. Wear a pedometer: A very basic exercise tool, this little gadget measures the amount of steps you take.  The goal is to take 10,000 steps, which is about 5 miles. Seems like a lot, right? You might be hitting this goal already, in which case, aim for 11, 000 steps. Lucky for us we live in the most walkable city on earth. Strap on those fit flops and get walking. (insert link:

2. Use the stairs: I never understand why people don’t walk up the escalators when in the subway.  If you have an injury, debilitation, or heavy suitcase, you have an excuse. The rest of you: start climbing! And the people that take the elevator one floor…down? Again, start stepping.  Even if you start out with just one floor, something is better than nothing.

3. Work out at home: I know what you’re going to say: “I don’t have enough room in my apartment.”  Or, “When I get home the last thing I want to do is work out.”  Fair enough. Try this: during commercial breaks try different exercises. Triceps dips off of your coffee table during one break, pushups during the second, and crunches during the third. Repeat and you’ve watched one hour of television AND worked out for 30 minutes. Hooray for multi-tasking!

4. Schedule gym time: Exercise is just as important as a business meeting or happy hour.  Treat your gym time as an appointment and literally schedule it in your planner. Think of it as much needed alone time, where you can catch up on the latest podcast or listen to Totally 80s.

5. Get a buddy: I’m all about accountability partners. Why not find a friend that is in the same predicament as you (which is probably 90% of your friends) and schedule time to be active together.  Go for a walk, take a spin class, or play Wii fit for some healthy interactive competition.   Whatever it is, no more excuses, just move!

Amanda is currently studying at NYU for her Masters in Nutrition & Dietetics, and is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor with a degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is committed to inspiring people to live their best, most fulfilling lives possible, incorporating mainstream, holistic, and integrative approaches to health and wellness.  Check out her blog.

July 16, 2009 at 5:15 pm 1 comment

To Diet or Not to Diet

diets are meanI read an interesting article in the Styles section of the New York Times this morning, titled “Tossing Out the Diet and Embracing the Fat” by Mandy Katz. Katz shares a trend that is gaining movement in the dieting world—the practice of anti-dieting.  Proponents of anti-dieting have spent years and years on unsuccessful diets, only to end up at the weight they started at (or even heavier). They’re fed up with dieting! According to Katz:

This movement — a loose alliance of therapists, scientists and others — holds that all people, ‘even’ fat people, can eat whatever they want and, in the process, improve their physical and mental health and stabilize their weight. The aim is to behave as if you have reached your “goal weight” and to act on ambitions postponed while trying to become thin, everything from buying new clothes to changing careers. Regular exercise should be for fun, not for slimming.”

Anti-diets celebrate the body in every form and reject the uber-skinny body shape that women (and men) feel pressure to achieve.  Foods should not be labeled “good” or “bad,” and guilt is a dirty 5-letter word. Exercise should be enjoyable, with FITNESS as the goal, not weight loss.  In essence, the anti-diet movement seeks to liberate those that have been slaves to diets and meal plans, and allows them to say “fuck it” and truly savor life with no restrictions.

I was pleased to hear that women (and men) are starting to shun diets and a backlash to the multi-billion dollar diet industry is slowly being created.  People are finally understanding that DIETS. DON’T. WORK. Period. Exclamation point! I’ve spent most of my life on diets, feeling guilty for eating dessert, being self-conscious when I was younger because I was heavier than most of my friends, and experiencing an overall dislike for my body.  It was only when I decided in college that I was sick of being unhappy, and I wanted to be happy again, that I began to lose weight.  In the past couple of years, I’ve worked VERY hard to re-wire my brain to focus on acceptance, love, and eliminating the words “good” and “bad” when referring to food. It’s a daily struggle, but I’m getting there.

 A friend recently asked what I thought of her new 6-week diet plan she created for herself, consisting of grapefruit 3x a day and scarcely any carbs. I told her, right away, that it scared me-it was impractical, unsafe, and she was guaranteed to fail. It reminded me of the diets I used to put myself on. And ridiculous diets like those have given rise to this new non-diet movement-so hooray for that!

 I understand the absolute freedom it brings to say to Suzanne Somers and Dr Phil “Take your diet and shove it!” To be able to enjoy a cupcake because you want something sweet. Or to enjoy a salad on a hot summer day because you just want it—not because it’s low in calories. And studies show that people who are not on strict diets are just plain ol’ happier. I know I am (I’ve spent many years miserable, but very thin. I’d rather have a little extra padding and be happier!)

 On the flip side, however, there may be some issues raised with the non-diet diet.  It doesn’t give you license to throw caution into the wind, to eat whatever you want, whenever you want (although that may happen at first, as it did to me when I stopped truly dieting). Experts such as Dr. Walter Willet are concerned that the anti-diet approach will make people think they have the green light to eat in excess, giving rise to more weight issues in this country.  I know in my case, although I’ve made huge strides in my eating, I have implemented guidelines for myself to keep my weight in a healthy range, like no second helpings and not eating (or trying not to) after 8pm.  

So, I am support of the anti-diet, as long as a high level of health and wellness is maintained.  IF someone starts gaining lots of weight, feels poorly, and starts having digestion issues, for example, that is when a closer look should be taken at the non-diet approach. Really, what matters in the art of eating is noticing how you feel when you consume certain foods and finding what works well for your body. And just like me, that may include setting up certain guidelines to help you feel your best. It’s the only approach that works, I promise you. 

In the end, to diet or not to diet is a personal preference. More importantly, however, what matters in life is that you love yourself and savor each and every single delicious bite of your big juicy life.

July 16, 2009 at 2:23 pm 1 comment

Beni ha-ha (or “Benihana’s gets the last laugh) by Matt

Yes, this is a pound of butter on white rice. And yes, I did eat some of it. And no, I will not be doing that again.

Yes, this is a pound of butter on white rice. And yes, I did eat some of it. And no, I will not be doing that again.

So…birthday night. Get a group of friends together. Go someplace fun. That at least was the idea on Saturday night as I celebrated my birthday with some friends at a hibachi restaurant near our apartment.

Now I know…I’ve been preaching the benefits of eating vegetarian/vegan, or to be more precise, that if you are going to eat meat/chicken you should eat grass-fed. But I also felt like it was my birthday and “what the hell,” I might as well just throw caution to the wind for one night and eat what I wanted.

So we went to this restaurant (which was no beni-hanas,let me tell you), and I was all excited to get my girly-drink on, only to discover that this restaurant (which only had about five people in it at 8:30pm on a Saturday night, perhaps this should have been a clue) that not only did they NOT have a drink menu, but that they only had 2 types of beer (no light) and only two types of sake (I kid you not), “hot” and “cold. ” This should have been indicative of what was to come.

It’s safe to say that when you go to a hibachi meal that a few things are given: the food will all taste the same, the grille will be smothered in butter and oil, and you will leave the restaurant smelling like your food. This restaurant did not disappoint. Unfortunately, the food did all taste the same and it was not a good thing. In fact, it was a very, very, very bad thing.

 A funny thing happened during  my meal: As I ate this lard-laden entree of lobster and chicken, I found that I really didn’t enjoy the buttery food. This kind of surprised me as I thought that eating this stuff would be a treat to my taste-buds. It had the opposite effect. It grossed me out. Ironically enough, all this time spent eating well has changed the way my taste buds work, and it’s almost as if my mouth is now adjusted to eating healthier foods. Truth is, my senses are slowly developing the ability to tell what food i’m eating is synthetic or loaded with preservatives and what is not. My meal at this hibachi place really just felt ‘fake’ and there’s no other way to put it. It also made me feel like crap. My stomach also didn’t appreciate it either.

Looking back, the birthday was great (many games of Rockband made up for it), even if the meal was not. And I realize (more and more every day) that eating foods that I used to enjoy…well, I don’t really enjoy them as much. The more naturally I eat and the healthier I am, the more I enjoy real food vs. things that are processed. And the more I learn about what goes into processed foods only helps to reinforce my new habits. And as I have said before, don’t misunderstand me, I still like the occasional food that isn’t good for me, but overall, I find that as time goes by, eating these types of foods just isn’t that rewarding to me. I’d rather spend my time eating things that are good for me and then focus on other things in my life.

July 14, 2009 at 2:43 pm 3 comments

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