Nov 20 2013

Health Concepts Holiday Challenge Week One

I can’t believe that next week is already Thanksgiving! Now is the time to plan ahead to make our menus and start our shopping or decide where we are going to eat. Thinking ahead about what you are going to eat and how big a portion you will eat can be a great strategy to prevent over eating. A typical Thanksgiving dinner is around 2500 calories and that is just one serving of each item. This is more calories than most of us need to maintain our weight for a day. Although, Thanksgiving dinner is only one meal, it often becomes the “kick off” to overeating for the entire weekend which leads to overeating the next five weeks. Thanksgiving plans may cause us to eat leftovers all weekend or begin a holiday overeating mindset that lasts until the New Year. Eating healthy is a challenge for most of us this time of year but here are a few pre-Thanksgiving Health Tips that you may find helpful:
1. Plan ahead: Project your meal ahead of time whether you prepare the meal or eat someone else’s cooking and select lighter foods between now and then. Thanksgiving is only one day, how can you get back on track to be a winner the rest of the weekend?

2. Don’t Get Side Lined: A few things have worked well for my husband and me over the years to eat less over Thanksgiving. We prepare less side-dishes so we have fewer options to put on our plate. We start out with a salad so we have less room to fill up on other things. We also fix smaller amounts of each dish so we don’t have as many leftovers.

3. Get Up and Move: A great holiday tradition that our family has started is a walk around the neighborhood or a hike after our meal. This keeps us from getting too stuffed and also burns off some extra calories and takes the focus off the meal.

4. Be Selective: Focus on the foods that are only available this time of year and leave the high calorie foods that are available all year long alone! Choose low calorie beverages. Eat a small serving one your very favorite dessert or tablespoons of several. Focus on the reason for the celebration which includes our gratitude for life, family and friends. Enjoy the holidays with a fresh, new perspective on healthy! Enjoy!

Here is my Festive Holiday Salad for Thanksgiving!

Festive Holiday Salad (Using as Many Local Ingredients as I can Find)

Spinach (from my garden)one cup per person
Red onion (choose from the Farmer’s Market) slice a few rings per person
Dried Cranberries (or if you prefer local, try dried figs)
Sliced local apples or cubed to toss in with the greens, one half cup
Local Goat Cheese, one tablespoon per person
Roasted Walnuts, one tablespoon per person
Low Fat Balsamic dressing (you can make your own, I also like Ken’s)

To prepare, determine how many people you are making salad for and make sure each serving has one cup of greens, a few slices of red onion, half cup of apples, one tablespoon cranberries, one tablespoon of nuts and a sprinkle of goat cheese. Add one tablespoon of dressing and toss.

Increase it by the amount of guests that you have!

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Nov 20 2013

2013 Health Concepts Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge

Stay Tuned for Holiday Tips and Support Beginning November 20!

Check it out at:


Ready to maintain your weight this holiday season?

The holidays may a tough time for major lifestyle changes but you can prevent holiday pounds from sneaking on. For weekly inspiration, check out my blog to receive holiday recipes, behavioral tips and other helpful information.

Many of us gain an average of five pounds or more during the holiday season which never really comes off after the New Year.. Most of this weight does not come off after the holidays and several years later can contribute to a gradual weight gain of 10-20 pounds or more. This holiday season may not be the time to go on a weight loss plan that requires big changes in your lifestyle leaving you feeling deprived but you can be successful if you are able to maintain. The 2013 Maintain Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge can help you achieve your goal!

 Below is a weekly holiday weight log that you can print to track your weekly progress on your own over the next weeks.

Look Forward to Helping You Succeed with Your Health Goals!


Holiday Survival Eating Challenge

Weigh-In Log Sheet












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Oct 30 2013

Eating Local at the Apple Orchard

I took some time off from writing the past few weeks but I wanted to share with you the wonderful time that I had at Justus Orchard when I volunteered with ASAP’s annual farm tour. This beautiful place is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of Hendersonville. Once you get there, be prepared to relax and enjoy yourself because there is a lot to do and see. In September, U pick was in full swing but right now the apples are only available already picked. They will be open for about another week. Check out what is still available:
I walked alongside the beautiful orchard and stopped to take a few pictures. There were a series of “cow cars” that are pulled by the tractor that look like a lot of fun for children. There is also a bakery featuring apple pie, cider donuts, apple cider, caramel apples and apple bread for a little treat. If you are in need of a meal, there was also boiled peanuts and barbeque for sale. You will feel very welcomed by the family in addition to having a wonderful time and some delicious apples.
Local apples are rich in Vitamin C, quercetin, a plant chemical beneficial to health and the soluble fiber pectin. Some of my favorite ways to eat apples are with a little peanut butter, “sautéed with some cabbage” or try my very favorite way a fall apple crisp

If you miss out on the apples this year, be sure to put it on your itinerary for next fall for something fun to do. You can also visit to stop by for blackberries July-August and Peaches August-September. You can check out their website for availability or call at 243-2420 or 243-7235.
My daughter-in-law, Victoria, son, Noah and grandchildren Sparrow and Wiley were also on the farm tour that weekend. Victoria was one of the winners of the ASAP Farm Tour photo contest:
Here is Sparrow in the “Down the Row” photo:
Congratulations Victoria! I am so lucky to have a wonderful and talented daughter-in-law like you!

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Sep 12 2013

Local produce Main Ingredient for Katuah

This week I spoke with John Swann, owner of the Katuah Market in Asheville which will open in November. Katuah, the Cherokee name for the Southern Appalachian Mountains, will focus on local foods made with high quality ingredients. Some of the features of the market include a deli, hot and cold food bars, grab and go food section from foods all made from scratch. There will also be local dry goods, Appalachian grown produce and meat and other wonderful surprises. When I asked why we should support local farms, John shared with that when we buy locally grown foods it’s eleven times more efficient in stimulating a local economy. In addition, foods grown in our own community are grown more sustainable and taste fresher. Katuah’s motto is “Local by Nature” and I look forward to visiting soon. If you would like to find out more about Katuah Market and upcoming events, follow them on face book at:

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Sep 06 2013

Putting Away Local Food for Winter

Labor Day is a transition time for all of us. The nights are getting cooler and the summer garden is starting to look a little crispy so it is time to get the fall garden planted. My husband and I have a Labor Day tradition of making salsa with the last of the local tomatoes to last until next summer. This is the time to save up a little bit of summer for winter and spring. Some of the things we have done include freezing peaches from the farmer’s market as well as raspberries from our garden. We also made pesto and froze it also. Nothing tastes better than some pesto from your garden in December! We are also making some fresh made green salsa made from tomatillos from our garden and I hope to can a few more local tomatoes into spaghetti sauce and just whole to use in chili and soups. If you have a dehydrator, you can dry some tomatoes or fruit. Canning, drying or freezing a few items is a great way to support the local economy and lower your environmental footprint because it reduces the miles that your food travels to you and when you get food from the farmer’s markets, most of the foods are grown in more sustainable ways.

Saving for the season
Even if you can’t do enough to last the whole winter, every little bit helps. Kevin West’s new book Saving the Season is a wonderful book with a lot of great ideas to inspire you! You can find out more information on his cookbook and blog at
He has a lot of information on “jams, fruit preserves, pickles and other briny things, canned vegetables and condiments such as relishes, sauces and salsas”.
Winter Sun Farms
If you want to eat local throughout the winter, another great way is to become a member of the Winter Sun Farms CSA which is part of the Blue Ridge Food Ventures who partners with sustainable, local farms to get the freshest produce available. Local foods in the summer are frozen during their peak. Each CSA member comes to the AB Enka campus or a few other locations to pick up monthly. Sometimes they also have some special surprises each month which include a bag of Western North Carolina sweet potatoes and greens and local eggs. One of their slogan’s is: “From their farms, to our freezer, to your table.”

To sign up for a share of Winter Sun Farms

Farm to Freezer Idea

If you are looking for an easy way to save a little summer for winter, try freezing some fresh local berries. Right now, raspberries and wild blueberries are available but you better hurry because like the leaves on the trees, they will be gone real soon. They are super easy to do and they will be great for smoothies and fruit crisps a few months from now. Just stem, wash, dry and then I freeze mine on a baking sheet with parchment paper and then put them in freezer bags. Having some local berries that you froze yourself will be tastier than anything you can purchase at the store and can be more economical also.

Wild Blueberries from the Mountains of North Carolina

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Aug 08 2013

Western Carolina Local Dried Beans

Last weekend, I had an exciting surprise from our garden. My husband planted some pinto beans for the first year in our garden. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful plants climb on the string and lately with all the rain, our plants looked a little weepy. We thought the pods looked a little yellow and that the crop was lost. Refusing to accept defeat, I picked the pods and began to shell them and was in for a treat. We have almost a pound of pinto beans for our little garden which will be a great source of protein! Because these plants grow from the ground up, they take up little room except vertically so something for them to trail is necessary. This has inspired me to grow more types of dried beans. There is the lina criscos bird egg bean has recently been saved from extinction and there are many others to consider. For more information, check out: That would be a great one to grow and share the seeds with other home gardeners. What a great way to boost some health and nutrition with some beans in our urban Asheville garden. Now the challenge for us is what to make with our special locally grown bean! Should we made some bean tostadas? Plain beans and cornbread? The choices are unlimited!

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Jul 31 2013

Parsley, Basil, Rosemary and Time

Sparrow eating green beans at age one.

This weekend our granddaughter, Sparrow came for a visit. When she went outside, she asked if she could go see the garden. After that we picked some parsley, basil and rosemary. She and I smelled each one and tasted them and then she took them over to my husband to taste them as she tells him their names. As a nutritionist and registered dietitian, I care about what children eat and their health. As a grandmother, I am even more concerned about what my grand daughter eats. My son and his wife do a wonderful job raising Sparrow to eat a healthy, diverse palate. Even at two years old, she eats any food that she meets. I understand that some children may have more flavor and texture dislikes but there is a lot parents can do to encourage a variety of foods which include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Here are a few tips:
1. Let children be involved in meal planning.
2. Prepare a variety of foods and let children explore foods by touching and tasting.
3. Make meal time enjoyable and interact with your children. Turn off the televisiton and phone.
4. Don’t force your kids to clean their plate. Encourage a bite of everything. Sometimes it takes several tastes for a child to accept a new food.

Would you like more encouragement or ideas? Check out ASAP’s Growing Minds Program and if you live in the Western North Carolina region your children may be able to take part in some of their activities check them out at:

Take your children to one of the local tailgate markets for one of their events. Find out more at:

You may also benefit working with a registered dietitian. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and other plans now cover nutrition services for a list of North Carolina Blue Cross Providers, check out:

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Jul 24 2013

Worker Bee Has Sweet Treats Coming Soon!

This morning I had the pleasure to chat with Laurey Masterton, proprietor of Laurey’s “Gourmet Comfort Food” Café and Catering, about her new book The Fresh Honey Cookbook: 84 Recipes from a Beekeeper’s Kitchen available in September and her upcoming dinner with Firefly Farm on August 1st at 7 pm. During our time together, Laurey gave me a sneak peek of her book and shared her passion for protecting the bees and what a valuable part they play in our lives. She has been a bee keeper for over five years. Her desire to do something to make a difference for bees began when she catered an event for the ”Honey Bee Project” where she discovered that one- third of our food is exclusively pollinated by bees. As a nutritionist/dietitian, I had heard about this but when actually she showed me the list of foods that we would not have without bees, it was overwhelming. She told me that there are many ways we can all help the bees without being a bee keeper, which include not using chemicals on our gardens and lawn and much more which her book highlights at the end. Each chapter of her book is divided by honey varietals and includes many delicious recipes with pictures that were taken at her café. The Fresh Honey Cookbook is available now for pre-order from Malaprop’s at:
On September 19 at 7pm, join Laurey as she shares her story about bees at Malaprop’s Bookstore.
Another event not to miss at Laurey’s is a wonderful farm and dinner conversation with Firefly Farms featuring some of their foods including Devon Beef, Peaches, Poblanos, Tomatoes on August 1st at 7 pm. Call 252-1500. Seating is limited so call to reserve your spot!
For more information about Laurey’s Café and Catering:
Before I left Laurey’s, I picked up some shrimp salad featuring local radishes, peppers and cabbage and kale salad with roasted veggies.  I also saw my friend, Emily on my way out!

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Jul 20 2013

Urban Garden Paradise

I love hanging out in the back yard with our little gardens. In the vegetable garden, we are currently growing chard, green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, tomatillos (volunteer), pinto beans, corn, arugula, beets, lots of peppers, eggplant, spaghetti squash, butter nut squash and a mystery squash that came up volunteer yet to be determined. Our fruit patch consists of strawberries, blue berries and raspberries. With my flowers, I have rosemary, basil, dill, thyme, oregano, lemon balm and lots of lavender. Digging up your yard and replacing it with edibles and plants in general is a greener way to go and a great way to save some food dollars. If you haven’t done it this year, now is the time to create a plan for a fall garden. One of my favorite ways to start is to explore what grows best in my region for each season and explore heirloom seeds. We have a great seed company called Sow True Seeds. I like to sketch out my yard and then add my future garden and place my plants. If you don’t have a yard or can’t deal with digging up your yard, try some containers. Happy planning and then happy planting!

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Jul 04 2013

Fourth of July Celebration Using Local Fruits and Veggies!

I need a road map to plan my week. I use my work schedule to plan what days I need quick meals or to make something ahead of time. I love this time of year because of all the local veggies and my menus revolve around these seasonal foods. This week includes a veggie pizza on the grill with squash, eggplant, tomatoes and basil, Vietnamese bun which is actually a salad with cabbage and carrots, fajitas with bell pepper and onions. As a dietitian, I try to keep in the habit of going to the market on Saturday after planning my week. This includes the farmer’s markets. For July 4th, our menu will feature fresh lettuce and green beans from our garden, potatoes, fresh pepper relish from the farmer’s markets to add to the top of our local and vegetarian sausages on the grill. We will end the feast with a fruit pizza made with local fruit. Happy 4th!

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