Mindfulness in Teens

I love how schools and researchers are trying to incorporate mindfulness into helping children and teens. I really wish I had had access to programs like this as a teenager. Check this out:

How Self-Compassion Can Help Teens De-stress


Photo courtesy of mindful.org

Recommendations for Brain Health Throughout the Lifespan by Supatra Hanna

I just recently put together this spiffy handout about how to maintain and enhance good brain health through the lifespan for the folks at my practicum site Pasadena Rehabilitation Institute. Feel free to pass this on to friends and family. Our brains matter!


6 Reasons Your “Diet” Isn’t Working


Have you been struggling to lose weight? Have you “plateaued” or do you find it impossible to lose any weight at all? There are many reasons why your “diet” isn’t working, and mainly it can be because you are dieting, restricting, and putting your body into starvation mode. These 6 tips will help get you rev your metabolism back into shape, and hopefully, put “dieting” into perspective.

  1. Skipping Meals? Do you wait as long as possible to eat? Skipping breakfast entirely? Starting the day with only a cup of water and some lemon, or do you just go old school and stick with a cup of Joe? Skipping meals can completely derail your weight loss efforts. The longer you wait to eat, the more you put your body into a starvation mode, and the only thing you are doing is slowing your metabolism down. Studies have also shown that skipping breakfast actually helps you to gain weight. Often this is because you tend to eat more and more later in the day and can really pack on the calories at night, when you probably should be eating the lightest. Start your day with a bang and try some steel cut oats, fruit, and perhaps one or two hard-boiled eggs. Your metabolism will thank you.

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Debunking Gluten-Free Myths

Gluten Free Logo

What is Gluten Exactly?

Gluten is a general name for proteins found in wheat, which assist with dough elasticity, making dough pliable. Essentially, it is the glue that holds the product together. Eliminating gluten from products involves using other starches such as corn and potato starch and using alternative gluten-free grains like amaranth.

Who is the Gluten-Free Diet For?

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, going gluten-free is a must. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by damage to the lining of the small intestine, which prevents the absorption of nutrients from food. Gluten from wheat, barley, rye, and oats causes the damage. Those with celiac disease suffer from painful gas, diarrhea, bloating, stomach pain, weight loss, skin inflammation, malabsorption, and eventual malnutrition. The only “cure” for celiac disease is a lifelong avoidance of gluten in the diet. Those with gluten sensitivities find that eating gluten gives them diarrhea or constipation and leaves them feeling gassy, bloated, puffy, tired, and generally out of sorts. These people have sensitivity to gluten and eliminating gluten from the diet often relieves these symptoms.

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10 Tips for a Healthy 4th of July



  1. Grill with Care: Remember that you can’t tell just by looking when meat is done. Invest in a quality food thermometer and make sure you follow the temperature guides provided by foodsafety.gov.
  1. Stay Hydrated: With Southern California temperatures soaring and the current water shortage on our minds, it is easy to neglect our own hydration needs. Drink plenty of water, keep water-packed vegetables and fruits on hand for snacking, and try to minimize sun exposure and excessive sweating. Fruits high in water content are watermelon and grapefruit, and vegetables high in water include lettuce and zucchini.

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Sausage and Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Oil Salsa


2 links hot Italian sausage

2 cups wild mushrooms of your choice

2 tbsp butter

1 cup asparagus, cooked al dente

1/2 c diced organic tomatoes

1 c arborio rice

4 cups chicken broth

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, diced

1/4 c dry white wine

salt, pepper

2 tsp truffle oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp tarragon

1/4 c cream or half & half

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Thinly sliced fresh basil ribbons

Warm the chicken broth on low on the stove. Brown sausage and set aside. Caramelize mushrooms in 1 tbsp butter until golden and set aside. Make tomato salsa by combining tomato, truffle oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and tarragon. Let sit at room temperature while you cook. Dice the onion and mince the garlic and sauté on medium high until softened then add the rice and toast the rice for about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until the alcohol cooks off and the add 1 cup of warm chicken broth and stir the risotto constantly until there is only a small amount of liquid. Continue to add 1 cup of chicken broth in the same manner until about all the liquid is absorbed. Make sure your rice is not too al dente. Add the cream and the cheese when the rice is very close to being finished. Serve the risotto topped with the sausage and mushrooms and drizzle the salsa over the top. Add thinly sliced basil ribbons and a bit more Parmesan cheese to the top. Enjoy!

Hearty Turkey Chili


1 lb ground turkey

2 tsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

1 red pepper, diced

1/4 c port wine

1 can organic pinto beans

16 oz crushed tomatoes

8 oz tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

pepper, salt, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne pepper to taste

1/4 c chili powder

shredded pepper jack cheese

chopped cilantro


Brown ground turkey in a small amount of olive oil, add garlic and onions and cook till browned. Add green and red pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add port wine and burn off alcohol for about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, bay leaves, tomato sauce, and spices. After sauce has cooked for around five minutes, add the chili powder and continue to season chili to your taste. Let simmer for at least 1/2 hour. Serve with shredded pepper jack cheese, chopped cilantro, and some tostada shells. Enjoy!

Lettuce Wraps


Butter or iceberg lettuce

1 1/2 c diced fried tofu, chicken, or pork

Finely diced:

1/2 c baby corn

1/2 c straw mushroom

1/2 c onion

1/2 c green pepper

1/2 c red pepper

1/2 c celery

4 cloves garlic

4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce

salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne to taste

Heat oil on medium high in a wok, brown protein, onions, and garlic. Add remaining vegetables and stir fry until vegetables soften. Add hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce, and remaining seasonings and finish cooking. Drain excess sauce if desired and serve over butter lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

A Report From The Field


Hello! I am back after a little blog-writing break! I took the last few weeks off to cram like crazy for midterms and am proud to report back good grades so far. I was recently asked to write an article for my student dietetic association’s newsletter about the work I do with the H.E.L.P. program at White Memorial Medical Center. The article is below. If you are curious at all about the type of work I do in the community, read on! It is fulfilling and gratifying and truly makes me feel as if I am making a difference in children’s lives. Cheers to good health!

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ABC News Follow Up

Here is the ABC News follow up to the story about the sweet kid from the hospital where I work. He didn’t end up in my class but in the YMCA class. It’s a great class too. So happy for him!


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