Simple, Fast and Delicious Healthy Dinner Recipe

Once a week, usually on Mondays, but this week yesterday, Orlando calls me on his way home from work and says, I feel like eating something quick and easy tonight with little mess. This is music to my ears, because as lucky I am that Orlando cooks…the mess he leaves in the kitchen is no joke!!!!! So we have developed this simple staple that is just so easy to make and absolutely divine!

A nice piece of fish of your choosing
cauliflower mash
asparagus and leeks sauteed


This is really no different than a classic American meal of chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans or something like that. And for those of you who do not eat seafood, you can replace the fish with chicken of course…

But as boring as it may sound or look, the dish has flavors that blow me away and leave me completely satisfied. And let’s quickly touch up on the health benefits of the dish:

Our dish consisted of 3 non starchy vegetables and 1 lean protein with lots of omega 3 fatty acids. The seasonings used were kosher salt (less sodium than table salt and equivalent to sea salt), pepper, marsala wine (very little used and heat evaporates most of the sugar it contains), organic unsalted butter (much healthier than margarine or any fake butter), coconut oil (good source of fat), and lemon to drizzle on top of the fish (lemon is helpful for digestion and cleansing your body).

It is so healthy and satisfying that I just had to share it! Now, for the preparation:

Yesterday Orlando opted for HOGFISH. We love to buy our fish from a little market across the street called Captain’s Tavern. They sell wonderful fresh fish and the quality is spectacular. Caveat...I have never found wild salmon there so for the days we choose wild salmon we buy at Publix or Whole Foods depending on the better deal!

Orlando seasons it with a little salt and pepper and sazon completo and grills it on our handy little griddle. The griddle is great because he puts all the fish on there at the same time and they cook in about 7-8 minutes.

He used our basic cauliflower mash recipe – although he did do a variation this time that I thought I should share. Instead of adding milk which he normally does, he decided to use the water that the cauliflower was boiled in. The taste and texture still came out delicious but it is a much healthier alternative because you are eliminating milk and adding all the nutrients from the cauliflower that escaped into the water. I encourage you to try this variation!

And with the veggies he chopped them up and sautéed them in a pan over a little coconut oil seasoned with salt, pepper for about 8 minutes and a medium high temperature. When the bottom starts crusting he likes to deglaze the pan with a little marsala wine for 3 more minutes.

And of course as an added benefit…. since he made the fish on the griddle, he made over a pound of it and extra cauliflower mash so the kids will have a delicious dinner tonight!!!! As usual, since the veggies are the star in our meals, there was nothing left of those so I’ll have to whip up some green veggies for the kids!!!

Afraid my veggies will go bad Soup- a pleasant surprise.

Talking to my cousin Stephanie the other day, she told me about some crazy concoction she invented the other day for fear that all the veggies she bought from Whole Foods would go bad. I was then reading an interesting book “The Body Ecology Diet” and it discusses the many benefits of soups and suggests getting creative with veggies that are about to spoil. What struck me the most was that the book suggests that making soup is fool-proof, meaning you don’t have to know how to cook to pull it off. Since everyone knows I can’t cook for the life of me, I had to try this.

So on Sunday, considering we were in this fake hurricane mode and I was stuck at home anyway, I gave it a shot and tried the following:

I started off by chopping up a ton of celery which was already wilting, ginger, garlic and onions and sauteeing them over some coconut oil. Then I poured in organic chicken broth that I had at home, some left over vegetable broth in the fridge that was about to go bad, carrots, cabbage, rainbow chard, squash, zucchini, and cauliflower. Its pretty much everything I had in the fridge, including leftover veggies from a vegetable tray we served at a get together we had. Instead of tossing the leftovers, I put them in the soup! I added about 5 cayenne pepper liquid drops, a little sazon completo, turmeric powder, and celtic sea salt.

I brought the soup to a boil, then simmered for 20 minutes (until the carrots were tender) and voila! I made the very first soup concoction of my own!!!!! I wanted the soup to be spicy because this pregnancy is stuffing up my sinuses, but when I tasted it I realized the cayenne pepper hadn’t spiced it up much, so I added about 5 more drops to my own personal soup and it made it spicier.

The verdict… I was pleasantly surprised!!! Orlando expected garbage and found it to be bland at first but after a few sips, he actually liked it. The next day I tried another variety and wasn’t quite as successful, it was totally bland…but that’s only because i’m learning to play with seasonings and really am an amateur!

Let’s face it, it can’t compare to the meals my husband makes and it can definitely use a lot of work, but the point is I’m proud to say my kids loved it; it was pretty good; and most importantly it was a bowl of health!!!!!

So the next time your veggies are about to spoil, think twice before you toss and try making your own soup at home. And if your kids are not old enough to drink soups yet, you can puree the leftovers and give it to them that way.

Good luck!!!! Please reply and let us know of any inventions you think are worth sharing.

Pineapple and Greens Smoothie

This smoothie was particularly delicious:

1 cup of fresh chopped pineapple
(Frozen works fine but this pineapple was very juicy)
2 rainbow chard leaves
1 inch ginger root
1 banana
Water as base for blending

This smoothie is so light and fresh and great for hot summer days. And of course, filled with nutritious and healthy ingredients. Enjoy!!!!!

Fearless Friday Pizza

Hello all!  Sorry I couldn’t get to last week’s Fearless Friday meal, but this pizza will more than make up for it.  We mentioned the cauliflower pizza a few months ago on the blog, and I thought this would be the perfect time to give you the recipe for a weekend treat.  This pizza has no flour at all!  The crust is mainly cauliflower and fat-free cheese.  The raw “dough” is EXTREMELY sticky, so don’t even think about doing this if you don’t have parchment paper handy.  You can buy it at any store in the same section where you find the aluminum foil.  If you do it on foil (or anything else for that matter) the pizza will stick and be inedible!!!

The first time I made this pizza I failed miserably (see sticky-problem above).  Then one day Caro told me she was in the mood for some homemade guacamole.  We searched high and low for crackers or bread to dip, but we didn’t have either at the house.  I told Caro that this may be a good time to make the crust, break it into pieces, and dip in the guacamole.

I made the crust and thought to myself, “do I dare make a guacamole pizza?”  And that is exactly what I did.  You can put any toppings you want on this crust, but the guacamole pizza was awesome.  I’ll give you the recipe for the crust and the guacamole and you decide for yourself what toppings you want.


  •                     3 Haas avocados (peeled and mashed)
  •                     1 lime  juiced
  •                     salt and pepper
  •                     2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  •                     2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
  •                     1 teaspoon minced garlic
  •                     1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  •                      1/2 a Jalapeno (optional)

Just mash it all up together.  You can use a blender, but don’t over-blend.  We still want some chunks in there.

CRUST: 1/2 LARGE head cauliflower (or 2+ cups shredded cauliflower) 1 large egg 1 cup low-fat (skim) shredded mozzarella cheese 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic (or fresh garlic) 1/2 teaspoon onion salt

TOPPINGS: The same mozzarella listed above and whatever toppings you choose (try my guacamole for God’s sakes!!!)


1.  Shred the cauliflower into small crumbles.  You can use the food processor if you’d like, but you just want crumbles, not puree.  You want them to look like rice.  In fact, the process is called “ricing” the cauliflower.

2.  Prepare the crust:  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet and spray nonstick spray on it.  In a medium bowl, mix the cauliflower crumbles with the remaining crust ingredients.  Pat the “crust” into a 9 to 12-inch round on the prepared pan.  Spray the crust lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes (or until golden).  Remove the crust from the oven and turn the heat up to broil.  Why, you ask?  Because the crust is already cooked.  We are broiling only to melt the cheese on top of your pizza.  Remember to leave the oven door open when broiling!!!  You want to keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

3.  Prepare the pizza:  Spread the guacamole or tomato sauce on top of the baked crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.  Sprinkle 1/4-1/2 cup cheese on top (plus any toppings you choose)  Broil the pizza 3 to 4 minutes, or until the the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Cut into 6 slices and serve immediately.

Cauliflower crust with Guacamole Pizza

There you have it!  This pizza is awesome and isn’t hard to make at all.  The guacamole is even easier.  Enjoy the your weekend and please give us feedback to let us know your thoughts.

Read Ingredients not Nutrition Facts only

When discussing food, the general consensus is to look at the numbers.

How many calories does it have?

How many grams of fat, carbs, protein, fiber?

When the numbers are low, people feel comfortable eating or drinking that product. We do this because we have been taught to do this. If you have ever battled with weight and have joined programs such as weight watchers or jenny craig, you learn point systems, calorie counting and portion control.

While I recognize that these methods can be effective, especially at the beginning when you have the most weight to lose, I believe this mentality can do your health more damage than good.

My theory is this. Who cares if you are consuming 500 calories a day if those calories are coming from foods that are bad for you? A few months ago, my mother attempted the HCG diet. Its the new big thing and everyone is losing weight doing it. She went to a DOCTOR and along with the HCG, he gave her a diet plan that she needed to follow. I was appalled as I read through it. It stated obvious things such as you can have unlimited vegetables, etc. Then it stated certain fruits she wasn’t allowed to eat. I thought, well, fruits are whole foods but they do contain sugar even though its natural sugar so maybe limiting those foods would be wise during a period of weight loss, okay, so I kept reading

…and then I saw it.

She could have unlimited diet soda. She could drink diet soda until her heart was content. Along with that were other products such as margarine, sugar free yogurts, sugar free ice creams, etc.

Diet Sodas and all these other “sugar-free” products for the most part contain an ingredient called “Aspartame.”

Aspartame has been linked to the following diseases:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Mental retardation
  • Lymphoma
  • Birth defects
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes

The research shows that consuming Aspartame is terrible for your health. Plus it has been proven to stimulate your appetite and actually cause weight-gain in the long term. Yet my mom can have those products in unlimited quantities but has to stay away from fruits?

I am  insulted by that concept. Food is information for our brain. If we feed our brains good information, then we promote our metabolism, fat burning, and healing properties…our bodies are being told to function properly. Our livers, hearts, intestines, and kidneys need good information to work at maximum capacity. If we continue to feed our brains this garbage, our bodies respond accordingly. Isn’t it incredible that despite all the diets out there, the no sugar movement, and the low fat foods, obesity, heart disease, cancer and gastric illnesses are all on the rise? Is this just a coincidence?

I was at lunch the other day and our cousin was drinking PEPSI NEXT. It says proudly not the label – “60% less sugar!!!!” They are just screaming at you, Go ahead, Drink me, I”m a healthy alternative, I have less sugar than other sodas.  Then you read the nutrition facts and LOOK!!!!! Only 60 calories in 1 whole can. NO FAT! 15g of Sugars…well thats not too good because diet pepsi is 0grams, BUT it tastes more like regular Pepsi and its a lot lower in sugar than the regular one. You know what, this is not a bad option.

60% less sugar Nutrition info



Among all the other undetectable ingredients it has, there are 2 that you can easily recognize and pronounce… HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, and ASPARTAME. DOUBLE WHAMMY!!!! Two addictive ingredients that stimulate appetite, cause addiction, and are not metabolized in your body but instead go straight to your liver.

I urge you not to fall for this trap. This is NOT a healthy alternative. If you want to eat smaller portions fine. If you want to limit your caloric intake, fine. But put food in your body that helps you instead of hurts you.

Look for single ingredients; ingredients you can pronounce and understand. Learn about what you’re eating. Eliminate high fructose corn syrup and aspartame from your diet.  Eat real food. Your health will thank you for it.

Papaya Smoothie

Yesterday I made a great smoothie in the morning for all of us.


1 Papaya cut up in chunks
1/2 cup of leftover greens*
2 leaves collard greens
Juice from a freshly squeezed Orange*
a little extra water

This smoothie was the product of those last food items we didn’t want to go bad!

* I always buy Organic Girl Greens for our salads. I use super greens, 50/50 mix, spring mix, spinach, whatever I find. The last time I made a salad there were some greens left over that just didn’t fit in our salads and I didn’t want to throw them away. So I put them back in the fridge for the next smoothie. They made it into this one! I try my best to avoid wasting food.

* I only had 1 orange left in the fridge. Its easy to get the juice out. I bought this little cheap manual juicer at Target and its great for squeezing lemons and oranges. So I squeezed the orange I had and tossed in the juice for the base. There wasn’t that much juice so I had to add a little water to the smoothie to make it blend better.

The kids loved the smoothie.

Health Benefits of Papaya:

  • Papayas have antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer.
  • In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
  • Women need about 400-800 mcg of folate per day if they are trying to get pregnant and during their pregnancy. 1 medium papaya has about 116mcg folate in it.


Back to School – Snacks for Kids

Hi everyone! Its been a while since our last post, and there’s a reason for it…there has been sheer chaos in our home! We took the end of the summer to do some much needed upkeep to our home. Painting, redecorating, reorganizing…etc. Among which, the most important for us, is that we put both boys in the same room, in preparation for the new baby…wish us luck!!!! So finally the first day of school arrived and both boys started their journey.

On to food…

Now they go to nursery school so they are only there from 9am – 12pm. The way it works there is that each week one child’s parent is responsible for bringing snacks for the kids that week. Each week the parents go rotating until its your turn again. Then if you leave your child to stay past 12… for lunch bunch and kid’s club, then you are responsible for providing your child with his own lunch also. Of course every school has a different system.

So yesterday I pick up my boys at 12 and the first thing Orly tells me when he runs out of class is “Mommy, you know what they gave me for snack… doughnuts and juice

Here I am trying to teach my kids a healthy lifestyle and they leave me for a few hours to go eat doughnuts and juice. The question is, what can I do?

Bring my own snacks for the teacher and tell her that my children are not allowed to eat that sugary stuff… then my kid will be the only kid in the class that can’t eat the snack while all the other kids enjoy it. Well i’m not willing to do that for 2 reasons. 1. I don’t want my kid to feel that he is deprived from eating anything because i’m afraid he’ll rebel against me later and become a junk food addict! 2. I don’t want my kid to be alienated or considered weird simply because of what I say he can and cannot eat, and we all know kids can be cruel. Or keep him out of school until he has to go, well that really only delays the problem, and I happen to love school and the development and routine that it offers children. So I sit here frustrated. My kids will spend the next 9 months having sugar shoved down their throat. Snacks, birthday parties, bake sales, Friday Pizza parties, holidays, school functions, you name it! Now i’m okay with my kid enjoying candy on Halloween. I’m not completely neurotic. But doughnuts and juice for snack at 10:30am on a regular day is just too much for me. In any event, I smiled and ignored the situation and made sure my kids ate good, healthy, balanced meals the rest of the day.

So I only have 2 options left… make sure that my kids are eating well the rest of the time at home with me, and try to educate parents and create a community of awareness to see if we can improve what we feed our children. And I say create awareness because I don’t think this mom meant any harm by bringing doughnuts for snack. We all want what is best for our children. I think the issue is that a lot of people view food as weight-related exclusively. Most children don’t have weight problems (although children obesity is on the rise)… so in parents’ eyes… they think what they feed their children is not a huge issue because their children do not have a weight problem. So the mentality is “my kid doesn’t really have to worry about not eating that doughnut until he’s older.” Because the truth is that the kid is going to go to the playground and burn off whatever calories he consumed from that doughnut in a minute. So the parent sees the doughnut as a fun treat and they’re just kids after all and they can afford it so why not give them a small pleasure? The problem is that its not only about weight anymore. It is now becoming clear that food does affect your health. And furthermore, the flavors and tastes you develop now will largely influence you in your adult life. Sure you can acquire new tastes and learn how to eat healthy as an adult,( my husband and I did), but why not make it easier on our children and give them a foundation now…so the learning process is not so difficult later? I realize that one doughnut will not harm my child…but I definitely want to stop creating a sugar addiction in our society because it is serious and our health is suffering as a result of it. Here are some ideas I thought would be good to share for our kids to eat at school…and as always, my research continues so your feedback is welcomed!

Good Snacks to take to your child’s School

Water instead of juice – a lot of juices come with sugar added (even organic ones) which is completely unnecessary. Some juices are 100% concentrated juice and that’s not terrible for kids and does have nutritional value. However, when you’re drinking fruit juice you are eliminating all the fiber from the fruit. So, for me, I find that water is a better option. Especially in our case because our children consume huge quantities of fruit daily. Whatever minimal nutrition they would derive from the fruit juice they are getting from actual fruit.

Fruit – Grapes are a great snack for kids because kids love bite sized foods. (For certain ages, the grapes must be cut in half to avoid choking hazards). Sliced apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries. Cut up pineapple pieces. Mandarin oranges. Any fruit that you can give in bite size or can be chopped up into small pieces (that are not choking hazards) is great for snacks.

Raisins – my kids love raisins. Raisins are super high in sugar but if you buy raisins where there is not sugar added, then it is still a whole food and is a good source of fiber. I also found this awesome treat. Plum amazins. They have half of the sugar that raisins have and are delicious. I’m using them in my salads no instead of cranberries and the kids love them. These are a great snack.

Granola – a good quality granola that is not super high in sugar is great for the kids and has a good amount of protein. Its delicious to give them some fruit with granola or yogurt with granola. I buy organic granola from Whole Foods.

Greek Yogurt– Oikos is a great yogurt and they sell small ones that are perfect for kids. You can buy these yogurts with fruit added and your kids are getting good probiotics and a delicious treat.

Baby carrots and celery sticks – carrots are one of the few vegetables that I have found are easy snack foods. I’m always looking but so far this is it. You can always offer a little dressing to dip in the carrots or celery sticks to add flavor but I would offer them alone first and see how they like it. In my case, I give my son celery sticks with a good quality peanut butter but for school, this can be a problem due to the large nut allergies that children have. (So if your child is not allergic to peanut butter, that’s a good option for a home snack.)

Instead of candy, offer Dark chocolate – If you want to give your child a sweet treat, try some dark chocolate instead of candy. Some consider dark chocolate to be too bitter, but I find that small children acquire a taste for it very quickly. Exposure is everything. You would be shocked at the things your kids would eat if they were exposed to it. In my case, I buy 86% chocolate for the kids as an after dinner treat – same treat we give ourselves! And my kids literally beg for the chocolate! To them, chocolate is chocolate and they view it as candy. So if they eat a good portion of their food (I don’t force them to finish their plate but I do want to make sure they eat), I give them each a piece of dark chocolate afterwards. Ghirardelli offers these dark chocolates cubes wrapped in individual pieces already, so I think that would be a fun option to try for snack at school. It does have added sugar but its 86% raw cocoa so the 14% is not too significant. I’m actually going to try it during my turn for snack week at school and see how it goes. The younger the kids are when you expose them to these tastes, the higher the chances they will grow to love them.

Do you know of any healthy, allergy-free snacks that are good for kids? If you do, please comment on this post and offer suggestions to parents who are desperately looking for good alternatives for their kids.

Cheers to a great school year for all of our children!!!!

Easy, homemade Vinaigrette

By now, we pretty much all know that pouring salad dressing on top of a salad albeit delicious is terrible for us!!!! Salad dressings are usually loaded with preservatives and sugar.

To eliminate this problem, we have kept it simple for a long time.

We have either:

Drizzled Olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar in our salad;


Sprinkled lemon

I’ve come to love my salads with as little “dressing” (if you consider these two options dressing) as possible. These two methods are great ways to make sure you’re getting the benefit of a good, healthy salad. And i’m definitely a believer in adding good fats to my foods (olive oil) without altering its properties with heat.

I typically make salads for lunch but last night we had parent teacher night at my son’s school and were pressed for time. So I made a delicious salad with tuna for both of us and just to keep it fun, Orlando made us a homemade vinaigrette. We were shocked at how easy and quick it was to make and how delicious it tasted. Here’s the recipe:


1/4 cup balsamic
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbs honey
1 tbs Dijon mustard
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbs minced garlic
1/2 to 1 tbs grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper

Put all ingredients in a spill proof container and shake really well before serving.

NOTE: Although this recipe is very easy…it is crucial that you really shake it well and not stir. That will give it the nice consistency to pour over your salad.

A word on Honey:

I’ve done some homework on Honey and there is a lot of debate on whether it can be considered healthier than regular sugar or not. What i’ve deciphered from my research is the following:

  1. if you are going to consume honey, you should buy the darkest honey possible. The darker honeys seem to be higher in bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity
  2. Honey has small amounts of minerals, amino acids, and vitamins
  3. studies show that honey results in smaller glucose blood spikes than other forms or fructose, glucose, and sucrose.

(found in Mark’s Daily Apple)

This being said, even though honey is a little healthier than sugar and is considered a whole food, it is not something you want to consume in large quantities, or use daily. Moderation is key, but honey really should be considered a treat.

As you can see, this recipe calls for 1 1/2 tbs and it makes a pretty decent portion of vinaigrette. Even with a homemade dressing like this, I am pretty conservative with using it on my salad. I do not soak the salad in dressing. I simply add maybe 2 or 3 tbsp for flavor and texture. Orlando adds more dressing than I do so you have to find what works for you.

We hope you enjoy your salad!!!!


Does Skinny Mean Sick???

My experience with eating healthy has been different than my husband’s because of one major factor… I was already thin when I started this journey. In fact, those that know me can attest that I have always been considered thin. Even during classic weight-gain moments like the first year of college, or the first year of marriage, I gained weight but not significantly enough to be considered over weight by any means.

This factor, although a blessing because I have a genetic gift, has affected people’s perceptions of the benefits of my journey. You see, most people make the decision to eat a different way because they are overweight or unhappy with their bodies. Since that is the driving force behind these diets or lifestyle changes, it is quite difficult to understand why you would make that change if you ARE happy with your body!

I’ve been clear about my motivations: although I have the genetic gift of being skinny, I’ve also been granted the genetics of a long history of different illnesses, including cancer. I never really realized what my family genetic background looked like until I filled out my questionnaire the first time I was pregnant and they asked me to name the illnesses in my family. The list was extensive and targeted both sides of my family. My husband, on the other hand, has been battling with his weight for over 10 years but has the best genes one could ask for. Regardless, I digress…

So I make the decision to change the way I eat, I implement the changes, and within 3 weeks I lose 15lbs. Not desperately needed 15lbs, but 15 very noticeable, grab everyone’s attention, 15 lbs. The result: my friends and family were concerned instead of impressed. Everyone, including my husband, questioned my lifestyle. My husband received daily comments from colleagues at work or friends asking if I was sick. Ironic, all I wanted was to avoid getting sick on the inside and I looked like I was dying on the outside!!!!

If we were at a family event and I served myself grilled chicken with black beans and a big serving of salad, my husband would urge me to eat the rice and say please Caro, you really are too thin, just eat the rice. (Orlando had seen my doctor and had definitely started piling on more greens, but really only the seed had been planted…he wasn’t ready yet to make all the changes he needed to make.)

I finally called my doctor, my mentor, and told him what was going on. I told him I was too thin and I was afraid to lose any more weight. I felt better than ever and I really enjoyed the way I was eating but everyone around me that loved me was concerned for me. He then explained to me that what I was going through was a process of detoxification. It was such a detoxification that I even broke out into a serious bout of acne, which I was not even prone to. (I was a seriously unhealthy eater, so if I could change my ways, anyone can!) He assured me that I would not look this way forever. He even told me, Caro, if you do nothing at all and eat exactly the same way you are eating now, in about a year you will gain some weight. I didn’t understand why and he explained that we are meant to store fat, especially women. So the only way to avoid storing fat is to trick your body every couple of years by changing your methods. (There are healthy ways to do this!) So if I didn’t try to trick my body, and I just ate healthy, after a while he promised me that I would gain a couple of very much needed pounds, and I would get my glow back.

I finally sat with my husband one day and had a very serious talk with him about my views and my decisions, and what I wanted for our children. Being the supportive husband that he has always been, and not really knowing where this was leading us, he decided to trust in the process and back me up. And by back me up I mean no more pushing me to eat unhealthy food, no more comments about my weight and more important than all… beginning his own process. He was sick of being overweight, but he changed the way he ate in large part to support me. I can’t thank him enough for always being on my team.

If you would have told us then that today Orlando would be 50 lbs thinner, we wouldn’t have believed you. In fact, after he lost about 10lbs he went for some blood work and Dr. Sanchez told him if he kept eating this way he could break 200lbs. Orlando said, no doctor, I am big boned, I haven’t been under 200lbs since highschool. I’d be happy at 205. My doctor’s response was, alright then let’s shoot for 205!!! That was 20 lbs ago. Orlando today weighs 185lbs!

Because Orlando needed to lose that weight, he has received a much more positive response from his peers than I did (even though his friends are sure that he is depriving himself from delicious food and suffering). Some friends of mine were even worried when I got pregnant that I was too healthy for my pregnancy.

I’ve analyzed this and I think this is because we live in a society where we are all on average, about 20-25lbs overweight and that is what is considered normal. So just like being too obese makes us feel uncomfortable, so does being too thin. We associate health with a certain look. If you are over that or under that you are not perceived to be healthy. The truth is that health is totally relative. You can be 50lbs overweight and not have the genetic makeup to ever be a victim of diabetes or heart disease. And you can be considered “healthy” because you appear to be normal weight, but you do have that genetic makeup and your diet further fuels your propensity for heart disease. We just don’t know. So my theory is, since we don’t know we do the best we can. We eat right but understand that exceptions are perfectly fine. We exercise, we try to keep a positive attitude and we try to stay balanced. If we do all that, then we do what is within our control. There will always be factors beyond our control. Even if we do everything perfect…life is not perfect. We can still get sick, our kids can still get sick, life happens. But what I am not willing to do is use the unknown to excuse myself from doing the things that ARE within my control. Because when I do that, all i’m doing is increasing my odds of getting sick instead of helping my odds, and the truth is that I feel that my kids need me and deserve to have me around as healthy as I can be.

The other problem is that there are so many fad diets out there and crazy ways to lose weight, that when you see someone very thin you naturally assume that person is doing something radical. Not eating enough or not eating enough balanced foods. And you definitely feel like a person who has had significant weight loss is depriving himself in some way or another. But the reality is that both Orlando and I eat delicious food and in large quantities. We enjoy our lifestyle which makes it so much easier to keep up with it. We don’t have to do crash diets or eat 500 calories a day for 40 days. If we want a guilty pleasure we indulge, all the while knowing that our next meal will be filled with veggies and nutrition. Getting thin and staying thin has never been easier or more fun!

But my point is don’t worry only about your waist size. If you eat right and exercise, your body will achieve the weight that is right for you. Get your blood work done and check your cholesterol, your vitamin D levels, your liver function, etc. The blood work will tell you a lot more about how you’re doing than your weight. Make a decision to be a healthy person and everything else will fall into place. Let’s create a community of health and positive attitude and let’s support each other. We will all look and feel better if we work together.

And like Dr. Sanchez always says….let’s spread the good word!!!!!

Quickie Meal for the kids

I believe that one of the biggest reasons we, as a society, eat so poorly is because we have adopted a culture of convenience. Fast food, microwaveable meals, pre-packaged meals, sliced up fruits and vegetables…. These companies know that we want fast and easy. I guess we’ve gotten lazy but its not all laziness. We live in dual-working homes now. Moms can’t start cooking meals at 3 pm because they’re not getting home until 6. And that’s only on the days that they don’t have to take the kids to swimming or ballet or baseball. And don’t forget homework, I haven’t had to start homework with my children yet but i’ve been warned!!!!! We pack in work, school, extracurricular activities, tv time, family time, groceries, shopping, birthday parties, social events essentially into 16-hour days. And amidst all this chaos, we need to eat.

So large companies understand this and cater to it. Lunchables, lean cuisines, frozen pizza, sliced apples, drive-through. Of course this comes at a price – health.

So when you make the transition to eating healthy, you’re not only adapting your tastebuds to new flavors and trying to overcome the awful addiction that is sugar….you’re also having to deal with what has become most precious to us: TIME. You need to plan your meals, pack your lunches, cook in batches…it is quite an adjustment. It has happened to Orlando and I many times where we are tired and hungry and getting home from a long day (mainly on weekends) of running errands, or attending social events, and we say to each other… God, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just stop at Burger King and pick up a whopper!!!! Or pop a mac and cheese in the microwave and voila! I guess we could once in a while do this, but the truth is we don’t. And its very simple why. There are too many exceptions made on our lifestyle due to external factors. Birthday parties, social events, school, grandparents…too often we make exceptions because we don’t want our kids to miss out on the school pizza party or have that juice like all the other kids at the birthday party. We don’t want them to feel deprived and therefore reject our lifestyle when they’re older so we make these exceptions . But we have to draw our boundaries somewhere. And if I know that when grandma comes on saturday afternoon they’re going to eat ice cream, then i’m not going to give them mac and cheese on a tuesday night because I want 90% of their food to be good food. So that’s how I make my choices. We all find what works for us.

I will tell you that it gets easier. If you’re committed to the cause, you adapt because everything in life is about adaptation. Most of the time I’m prepared because I make my smoothies and salads very quickly; I always have my almonds and seeds ready to take with me; and leftovers are big in my house now! But every once in a while, I am in a hurry and all I want is something quick and easy so I can feed my children and put them to bed.

I found at Whole Foods a pre-packaged meal (in the frozen section) that looks pretty good to me for the kids.

I like that there is a label on the front of the box that reads “where you recognize all the ingredients.”

They also have Littles – Spinach which is delicious and a few others that I have not tried.

It takes about 15 minutes to cook through and I give it to them when I’m in a pinch.

Depending on what they’ve had for breakfast and lunch I determine if they can have this alone for dinner. I want them to have balanced meals, so if they had a good portion of protein for lunch, I may not worry about a protein for dinner. So I could give them the bites alone or with left over cauliflower mash or black beans for example. Or if they only had a yogurt or peanut butter and jelly for lunch then I’ll make sure to make them quick grilled chicken or fish to add to the bites.

I will confess that sometimes I make extra so I can have some! They are delicious and the boys love them.

Here is Justin eating the bites with left over black beans one night that I was in a rush.

These may also be good to pack in a lunch box for school but I haven’t tried that yet. I’ll keep you posted when I do!!!!!

We all need a little convenience sometimes so hopefully this is a good option for your kids also.

If you know of any other healthy, convenient products that are good for adults or for kids, please tell us in the comment section of this post. We are always searching for cool stuff!