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Chocolate Chip Cookies (that might be gluten free too!)

I LOVE a good old fashioned chocolate chip cookie. It reminds me of the standard slice and bake Nestle cookies that I had at least once a week as a kid. Good news with this recipe, making a big batch once a week is no biggie! So enjoy with no guilt!


1/2 cup melted butter (grass fed, if possible)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 cup brown sugar (you can sub 1/2 cup brown sugar with coconut sugar here if you want to cut the sugar content even more)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoonsalt

3 cups almond flour (I have used the Bob Mills brand; however, if you have plain almonds on hand, you can grind in food processor to make a flour.)

1 1/4 to 1/ 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and/or chucks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, coconut oil, and sugar with a hand or stand mixer. Add in vanilla and eggs. Using mixer, beat for another minute. Add baking soda and baking powder and mix few seconds longer. Slowly add in almond flour. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake for 12 – 15 minutes.

New Food Rules: VEG OUT

Many people ask me, what do I need to do to be healthier? “Well… That depends… Healthy is such a relative term.” The answer is SO different for each person. Nonetheless, there is one universal piece of advice I give to absolutely everyone without fail: INCREASE your non-starchy VEGGIES DAILY.


Non-starchy veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals. They help you feel full and satisfied. They are very low in sugar, fat, and calories. Veggies enhance pretty much every body system from the circulatory to the skin.

Two distinct points to make with this (not so new) food rule. First, I did not say eat more FRUIT and veggies. I left all off the fruit apart of the usual phrase for a reason. Fruit is a very nutritious part of any diet; however, 2 servings per day is ENOUGH. Fruit is composed of vitamins, fiber, and yes sugar. More is not necessarily better with the sugary goodness.

Secondly, add more veggies of the NON-STARCHY type. Corn, peas, and potatoes are all examples of starchy vegetables. Just like with fruit, the main components of starchy vegs are vitamins, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates (which triggers an insulin spike.) Not to say that these types of foods are bad, we just do need more than 2 – 3 servings per day of them.

More than likely, you knew the WHYS to consume veggies more often. But actually getting the goodness from the frig to your mouth is much harder. Here are 3 tips to making it work.


Prep Your Fridge: When prepping a quick lunch or going for a speedy snack, a head of cauliflower or whole carrots are not going to make the cut. In the moment, bringing out the cutting board and breaking down the item will just not happen. Especially when crackers or chips are much easier to grab. Instead make it your intention to cut each veg right after you purchase your stash. You will be surprised how much more appealing a strip of bell pepper or a wedge of zucchini are when they are bit sized and ready to go!

carrots and broccoli pic 2cut carrots and broccoli pic


Make a Tasty Dip: Let’s face it… raw veggies are not that punch of flavor that your favorite chips might be. Why not change this fact? Explore different sauces, dips, or hummus recipes that get you excited about the afternoon snack time.

carrots and broccoli pic

Here is one of my personal and recent favorites:

Ian’s GrIans Green Dressingeen Dressing

One big handful of basil | One handful of           parsley | 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard | 2 – 3 squeezed lemons | 1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil |     2 – 3 cloves of garlic | Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients together. Enjoy! (NOTE: For a thicker version, sub half of an avocado for ½ cup of oil. Or try MCT oil instead of olive oil.)



Blend it Up: Have an “easy-out” on hand on those days that you just cannot seem to fit it all in. There are many brands of “green powders” on the market that you can add to either a full smoothie, a vegan milk, or even just water. I encourage purchasing a few different sample packs to do a bit of taste testing. Watch out for artificial sweeteners, added sugars, and preservatives. Vega One is currently the brand in my diet routine.

Vega One Mix Pic

Food For Thought: Food Policy

In honor of the upcoming elections, I am sharing a little FOOD FOR THOUGHT. While you will hear much about immigration, economics, and national security in the debates, you are not going to hear about something I believe is even more important than health care. Its our food supply! Below is a statement from one of my favorite Top Chefs: Tom Colicchio.


{Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal: “Tom Colicchio” by Alexandra Wolfe}

“What he [Tom Colicchio] really wants to do now is change the way people eat. With his nonprofit Food Policy Action, he is hoping to persuade Americans that food policy should be more prominent in politics. “The idea of food up to a leave of the Second Amendment and reproduction rights?” he says. The problem, he adds, is that “calories are cheap. Nutrition is expensive.”

His goal is to have the government make policy changes that direct farm subsidies away from commodity crops like corn (which often goes into processed food) and toward more fruits and vegetables, to make produce less expensive for consumer. Other changes he’d like to see are healthier school lunches and labels for foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.”

The Savage Mix: Mega Moves for 3 Workouts #2

Want the most effective workout possible? Cardio + Strength + Flexibility in one 30 minute set. Ask and you shall receive!

Here are 10 Mega Moves that will sculpt, tone, and whittle the WHOLE body. Add in more weights one day for greater muscle strength. Add cardio moves between each set for a heart pounding calorie burn.


How To: Watch each of the videos below and practice the moves. (The videos are double the speed for quick viewing.) Decide what your goal for the workout will be. Is it to power and shape your muscles? Equal balance for toning and cardio? Or do you want to get your heart rate up? (Don’t worry too much… you will get each type of burn no matter which route you choice!) Grab a mat, timer, a set of hand weights and go!

For hand weights, a set of medium to heavy weights are 8 – 15 for women and 20 – 30 for men. Light weights would be around 5 pounds for women and 10 – 15 for men.

Check out the weekly calendar at the bottom to get an idea of how to plan your week.

Super Girl Lunge

Cobra Curls

Saddle Row

Change Abs

Spider Lunges

Twisting Willow Tree

Princess Squats


Power 20

20 minutes, 2 rounds, 1 minute per exercise, heavy set of weights. Focus: Strength. 
Super Girl Lunge Right Step back with one foot into a deep lunge as the arms go out vertically in front. Return to standings, arms by side. Tilt body from hip as same leg extends behind and arms extend vertically front. Return to standing to complete one rep.
Cobra Curls Laying on stomach with arms extended in front and upper body weight on forearms. Perform 3 bicep curls with hand weight. Raise legs from glutes 3 times for complete rep one.
Super Girl Lunge Left Step back with one foot into a deep lunge as the arms go out vertically in front. Return to standings, arms by side. Tilt body from hip as same leg extends behind and arms extend vertically front. Return to standing to complete one rep.
Saddle Row Right Shift weight into the heel of foot while holding medium to heavy dumbbell in both hands. Bending standing leg, sticking buttocks behind, and free leg to the side. Pulse free leg 3 times. Bring free leg in toward body to lift same leg as performing front row. Repeat on same side.
Change Abs Laying on back with legs lifted at a 90 degree angle and hand weight in hands. Start with one leg crossed slightly in front of the other. Change legs 5 times. Pulse upper body towards legs. Lower legs and upper body and the same time. Stop before shoulder touch the ground. Raise to starting position to complete one rep.
Saddle Row Left Shift weight into the heel of foot while holding medium to heavy dumbbell in both hands. Bending standing leg, sticking buttocks behind, and free leg to the side. Pulse free leg 3 times. Bring free leg in toward body to lift same leg as performing front row. Repeat on same side.
Spider Lunges In the plank position, bring one foot to meet hands. Raise outside arm to extend vertically to the sky. Return arm to ground and place leg back to plank position. Repeat with opposite foot and arm to complete rep one.
Twisting Willow Tree Right Stand with weight on one leg and other leg extended to side. With arms extended overhead with or without hand weight. Reach up and over to the side of extended leg with upper body as leg lifts. Return to start. Bring arms down and across body as the knee bends in to hips. Return to start to complete one rep.
Princess Squats Standing with both feet parallel and hand weight in both hands, step foot diagonally behind the other while bringing the arms above the head. Squat down and lower forearms to perform tricep press. Straighten legs and arms. Return working leg to a wide stance and perform deep squat. Next, bring opposite leg diagonally behind with tricep press to complete one rep.
Twisting Willow Tree Left Stand with weight on one leg and other leg extended to side. With arms extended overhead with or without hand weight. Reach up and over to the side of extended leg with upper body as leg lifts. Return to start. Bring arms down and across body as the knee bends in to hips. Return to start to complete one rep.

(Repeat all ten moves)


Toning Blend

30 – 40 minutes, 3 – 4 rounds, 1 minute per exercise, light set of weights. Focus: Balance of cardio and toning. 
Super Girl Lunge Right
Cobra Curls
Super Girl Lunge Left
Saddle Row Right
Change Abs
Saddle Row Left
Spider Lunges
Twisting Willow Tree Right
Princess Squats
Twisting Willow Tree Left

(Repeat all moves 2 – 3 more times.)


Cardio Burn

20 minutes, 1 round, 1 minute per exercise, cardio move for 1 minute between each set. Focus: Heart and calorie burner.
Super Girl Lunge Right
High Knees
Cobra Curls
Jumping Jacks
Super Girl Lunge Left
Skating  (jump side to side)
Saddle Row Right
Jump Rope
Change Abs
Burpees   (jumping plank position to standing position)
Saddle Row Left
High Knees
Spider Lunges
Jumping Jacks
Twisting Willow Tree Right
Skating  (jump side to side)
Princess Squats
Jump Rope
Twisting Willow Tree Left
Burpees  (jumping plank position to standing position)


Weekly Schedule, Option 1:

Monday – Cardio Burn

Tuesday – Power 20

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Cardio Burn

Friday – Toning Blend


Weekly Schedule, Option 2:

Monday – Power 20

Tuesday – Cardio Burn

Wednesday – Off

Thursday – Power 20

Friday – Toning Blend


Weekly Schedule, Option 3:

Monday – Toning Blend

Tuesday – Off

Wednesday – Toning Blend

Thursday – Off

Friday – Toning Blend

New Years, New Rules: Stop Counting Calories #2

For those of you who want another reason to cut calories out of your vocabulary, watch the below video from one of my favorite podcast stars, Dave Asprey at Bulletproof. Dr. David Ludwig is his guest and describes how calories are POINTLESS to measure.


To sum it up,

The brain is hardwired to get enough nutritious calories. If you fake your body out with processed, high carb, low nutrient food, your brain uses your hormones to give your body a harsh signal with high cortisol, unruly cravings, and low energy. Your brain is much smarter than you are and knows what it needs.


{If you are lacking on time, start at minute 17:00. This is where the doc really hits it home.}



New Year, New Rules: Stop Counting!

If there has been on single mistake in my career as a registered dietitian, it has been preaching the notion of calorie manipulation and control. The theory makes perfect sense, eat fewer calories than your body needs and lose weight. However, in practice, I have many follow up visits where my patients have reported following the set calorie number and no movement on the scale. I have even more follow up visits were some successful patients have regained all of their shaken weight. Talk about a major credibility bummer. After a few years of trials (on behalf of those I counseled and even myself) and studying the latest research available, I have turned the corner and cut calories out of my life. Literally, I choose to forget that they even exist.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who got the clue that what we (and by we I mean the nutrition experts) were selling was not working. In Jonathan Bailor’s New York Times bestseller The Calorie Myth, Bailor shouts to the masses why believing calories are the end all, be all will cause just as much damage as the daily cigarette. Bailor and I are in agreement on two major myths:

Myth #1: Calories in = Calories Out

This argument is as old as time and as frustrating as trying to understand the lives of the Kardashians. The principle goes that our bodies need a certain number of calories to function. If they do not have that set number of calories then the brain sends out signals to break down your body’s own fat to make up for the deficit… aka weight loss. And the opposite side to the argument is that if the body is over the needed calories, the calories are converted to stored fat. Problem solved, now everyone go forth and eat less and be skinny! (Note the sarcasm).

Now consider the real life calculation Bailor describes. Comparing the years 1977 and 2006, the average person increased their calorie consumption by 570 calories per day. If calories in truly equals calories out, then the average person would have gained more than 100 pounds per year since 2006 and weigh somewhere around 1,000 pounds. Clearly this is not the case for the average person. So the question becomes when did does the mathematical statement become untrue? Or is it that the mathematical statement of calories in equals calories out was never true. I am opting for the later.

Myth #2: Calories are all created equal

A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. This was the classic weight watchers argument. Each food is labeled with a certain number of points (assigned by the calorie count) and participants are allowed a set number of points each day. Spending my points on Twinkies and Pumpkin Spice Lattes would equal the same weight loss as spending my points on kale and quinoa. Luckily, Weight Watchers has updated their stance; however, not many others have.

In one rat study, unlimited access of high quality, nutrient dense food was given to one group while the other group got unlimited access of low quality, nutrient poor foods. As one can expect, the low quality group of rats gained more weight. Even more, the low-quality rat group could not consistently lose the weight that they have gained while eating the poor choice foods. Where one gets its calories is the name of the game. It is not how many points or calories in food that matter. Source matters.


The SANE Food Rules:

Bailor proposes the use of four principles for judging the “healthiest” foods around. This system blows calorie counting out of the water.

FOOD RULE #1: Satiety

How full does a certain food make you? Do you want more food as soon as you finish your plate? Or does a certain food help to satisfy the craving as well as the 4 hours until the next meal? Consuming high quality protein, high fiber vegetables, and plenty of water are main ways to getting a high satiety rating.

FOOD RULE #2: Aggression

Our bodies react as a full system approach to food. It is not just our tummies doing the work. Hormones in the endocrine system play a major role in breaking down food particles and getting the nutrients where they need to go. Focus on limiting carbohydrates (grains, sweets, starchy vegetables, dairy, and fruits) and always paring a carbohydrate with protein or fat. This will help to limit the hormonal response to food entering the GI track.

FOOD RULE #3: Nutrition

Nutrient density has luckily been a major topic of experts of the last few years and for good reason. We need certain vitamins and minerals to actually be alive. Nutrient density is the amount of nutrients per calorie of food. 50 calories of kale has a vast amount more of nutrients than 50 calories of a pop tart. Getting your share of non-starchy vegetables goes a long way.

FOOD RULE #4: Efficiency

How quickly is a calorie stored as fat? Is it relatively easy for the body to make the chemical conversion from a whole food compound to a fat cell. Or does the body actually have do a significant amount of work to store the food item? Avoid excess starches and sweets as they are easily converted to body fat.


Here are some of Bailor’s tips for each of his recommended food group. I thought many of these were great thoughts to keep a hold of.

SANE Carbohydrate Pointers:
  • Cover half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables.
  • If it cannot be eaten raw, don’t eat it.
  • Stick with fresh or frozen.
  • Greens are great.
  • The deeper the color the higher the SANiety.
  • Raw is ideal but not required.
  • A swerving is about one to three handfuls depending on how “dense” the non-starchy vegetables are.
  • Low-carb diets are great, but your SANE Lifestyle doesn’t have to be one.
  • Ninety percent of what you see in the grocery store is carbohydrate.
  • Carbohydrate is nonessential, so focus on carbs that carry along with them the most essential nutrients possible.


SANE Protein Pointers:
  • Nutrient-dense protein should cover a third of your plate.
  • Eat protein in 30 – 55 gram servings throughout the day.
  • Eat a total of 100 – 200 grams of protein per day.
  • Eat protein every time you eat.
  • Eat seafood daily (ideally sources higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury, such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, oysters, etc)
  • High-quality, nutrient-dense sources of protein are critical.
  • If you avoid animal products, you can still be SANE.


SANE Whole-Food Fats and low-Fructose Fruits Pointers:
  • Whole-food fats are essential; low-fructose fruits are not.
  • Go out of your way to eat fatty seafood, cocoa/cacao, and coconut.
  • Avoid unnatural process fats completely.
  • If needed, use stable, natural processed fats such as coconut oil for cooking.
  • Do away with processed fruits (canned in syrup) completely.
  • Pair whole-fat fats or low-fructose fruits with non-starchy vegetables and nutrient-dense protein whenever possible.
  • Whole-food fats and low-fructose fruits are SANE desserts superstars.
  • If you really struggle with your weight, you will be likely to have better results if you focus on whole-food fats instead of low-fructose fruits.




Bailor, Jonathan. “The Calorie Myth.” Harper Ware (2014).

Keesy, RD, and MD Hirvonen. “Body Weight Set-Points: Determination and Adjustment.” Journal of Nutrition 127 (9) (1997).

Rolls, BJ, EA Rowe, and RC Turner. “Persistent Obesity in Rats Following a Period of Consumption of a Mixed, High Energy Diet.” Journal of Physiology 298 (1980): 415-27; Pub Med PMID: 6987379

Let’s Supper: 9th Edition!

The holiday season brings a ton of EXTRAS to the to-do list. De-stress with a comforting, nutritious, and simple meal at home.  *Note: All recipes serve 4.

Supper 1:

Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over roughly chopped butternut squash (1 – 2 pounds), 2 small sweet potatoes, and 1 yellow onion on baking sheet. Season with a tablespoon curry powder, teaspoon cinnamon, teaspoon nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 – 40 minutes until lightly brown and tender. Transfer veggies to deep stock pot over with 1 – 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Begin to mash veggies to release flavor. Add 2 cups of low sodium, veggie broth and 1 cartoon of culinary coconut cream. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes before blending with immersion blender or stand blender. Transfer back to stock pot and bring back to simmer. Option to add toasted and buttered, gluten free bread on side. (I prefer “Food for Life” flax and rice gluten free bread).

Supper 2:

Kale & Cabbage Salad with Rotisserie Chicken

In a large serving bowl, add shredded bunch of kale and 1 head of cabbage. Massage 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt to greens for 2 minutes. Set aside to allow oil to soften greens. Combine 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper in small bowl before whisking in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Add shredded rotisserie (organic if possible) chicken to greens with diced Fuji apples and crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper for finishing.

 Supper 3:

Pork Chops with Roasted Carrots & Greens

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 12 carrots into 1 – 2 inch slices. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon raw honey, salt, and pepper. Transfer to sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes. Season pork chops with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of curry powder. In cast iron skillet, cook chops for 1 – 2 minutes on each side. Place 1 pat of butter on each chop before placing in oven for 5 – 10 more minutes (depends on thickness of chop and temperature preference.) At the end of pork chop and carrot cooking, sauté 2 bags/bunches of spinach in 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil and chopped garlic. Season spinach with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Plate pork chop, carrots, and greens as soon as spinach is wilted.

Supper 4:

Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon and add large diced yellow onions. Once onions are softened, add 1 package of diced chicken and apple sausage. Allow to heat through before adding 1 pound, halved Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper, and stir to incorporate. Pour 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of chicken broth to pan. Cover and allow sprouts to steam for 8 minutes or until tender. Uncover and add 2 – 3 sliced apples to pan. Stir again to combine. Once apples are tender, the dish is ready to serve.


Grocery List:


1 large sweet potato (or 2 small)

1 medium butternut squash

2 onion, yellow

1 bunch lacinato kale

1 head cabbage

1 lemon

4 Fuji apples

12 carrots

2 bunches/bag spinach


1 bunch/1 pound Brussel sprouts



1 rotisserie, store bought chicken (organic is preferable)

4 small pork chops

1 package apple chicken sausage (I like Applegate brand.)



Butter (unsalted, grass-fed)

1 round goat cheese (grass fed, if available)



Extra-virgin olive oil

1 carton of culinary coconut milk

Vegetable broth, low sodium

Chicken broth, low sodium

Apple cider vinegar

Maple syrup, grade A or B

Raw honey

Dried herbs: Curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, red pepper flakes