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It’s Fall, which means “pumpkin everything” around here. Even if the weather outside does not feel like fall, it is still fun to get into the holiday spirit and embrace the changing of the seasons. There are many different recipes and treats that include pumpkin, however I wanted to bring a little something different to your table. It’s my job as a Registered Dietitian to encourage balanced eating and give you healthy substitutions for foods in recipes to increase the nutrient density, fiber, and decrease the saturated and trans fat (bad fats). These moist, healthy pumpkin muffins are one of my favorites! Give them a try!


Preparation Time: ~25 minutes

Cooking Time: ~20-25 minutes



  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 cup nonfat (or low fat) plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 egg (cage free, omega 3)
  • 1 ¾ cup quick cook steel cut oats (Trader Joe’s) or gluten free oats
  • ¼ cup Plant Fusion protein powder (or 100% natural whey protein is fine also)
  • ¼ cup organic coconut sugar (healthier version than cane sugar)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)


Add- In’s:

  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Unsweetened shaved coconut (to top the muffins off with)




  1. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  2. Combine all of the wet ingredients into another bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Line 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray with coconut oil nonstick spray.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin tins, and place into the pre-heated oven.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until tops are lightly golden brown.
  8. Cool muffins for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
  9. Enjoy!!



Everyone travels…whether it’s for business, pleasure, a much needed vacation or a spontaneous weekend away. At some point, we all depart from the comfort of our own homes. It could be a quick trip to the next town for a business conference or it could be a 3-month backpacking trip halfway around the world! No matter what type of travel it is, there is one thing that is certain; our normal routines get thrown out the window making it difficult to stay fit and healthy while traveling.


If you usually work out in a gym, you might not have access to any equipment or machines. If you usually take long adventurous runs in your neighborhood, suddenly you no longer have a familiar route to follow. If you usually prepare your own meals, you suddenly may not have access to a kitchen or fridge. Your regular sleep patterns are usually thrown off because from taking a red eye or landing in a different time zone. When we travel, nothing is familiar which again makes it difficult to have any sort of routine. But, stay positive! I have some great tips to keep you healthy and fit while on the road.


I am here to encourage you that you CAN make exercise and eating healthy part of your “travel routine,” but it just takes a little bit of planning ahead. I know it is difficult to plan oftentimes because much of it is out of your control when we are traveling. However, here are a few of the tips that I use when I travel:


IMG_2087_2Rule #1: Pack snacks for the airport/plane

Your flight might be delayed, or you might be sitting on the runway while something is being checked out… and when hunger calls, you need to answer. The food in the airport and on the plane is usually packed with added calories, preservatives, sodium and fat; which can pack on the pounds quickly if you travel regularly.


Snack ideas:

  • Raw, unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, etc.) You can make your own trail mix by mixing 2-3 of these nuts with dried cranberries, raisins or figs. Eat about ¼ cup serving at a time.
  • Tosi super bites (with chia and flaxseeds – great source of anti inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid)
  • High fiber cereal (eat ½-1 cup, dry in a zip lock bag). Crunchy cereals that are high fiber, low sugar and contain some protein are a great option (i.e. Kashi Go Lean, Kashi Crunch, Kashi Heart to Heart, Nature’s Path Flax plus, etc.)
  • Turkey’s jerky, salmon jerky or beef jerky (I like the Trader Joe’s brands because they contain no nitrates, no preservatives, MSG, no artificial colors or ingredients).
  • Whole wheat pretzel thins
  • Kale chips (I highly recommend making your own if possible because many of the store options contain added cheese, salt and fat)
  • Dry packaged plain oatmeal (you can always add hot water to this in your hotel room and have it for breakfast or as a snack)
  • Portable fruit (if you’re able to fly with it) such as apple, pear, peach, banana, orange, pluot, tangerine, etc.
  • Granola/Protein Bar: Think thin, KIND Nuts and Spices, STRONG and KIND, Luna Protein, Lara bars, Go Macro bars, etc. These bars are lower in sugar, higher in protein, and lower in saturated fat (the unhealthy fat) then most of the other bars out there.

SaladFebruary is American Heart Month and I’d like to focus on bringing awareness to heart disease and how you can prevent it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news is that is can be prevented by making healthy lifestyle choices – focused around diet and exercise. That is why I am here as your Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer to help sort out the facts versus myths regarding nutrition and fitness and get you on the right track!


Here are a few ways to lower your risk:

1. Get Your Annual Doctor Evaluation: I highly recommend going to see your doctor for an annual check up, where you can get your labs drawn, and “know your numbers.” You might feel okay, but your labs will indicate that your LDL (low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are extremely high, which will put you at greater risk of heart disease. You will not know until you get your labs checked.

Lab goals:

  • Cholesterol <200 mg/dL
  • LDL (bad cholesterol) <100 mg/dL
  • HDL (good cholesterol) >60 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides <150 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure 120/80

Note* LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides are increased by foods that are high in saturated fat, and trans fat. Your Blood pressure is affected by mostly by sodium intake.


Make it a goal to consume <7% of total calories from saturated fat and preferably no trans fat (this is added to many processed foods for increased shelf life, preservation). Eating fresh food is always best. Make it a goal to consume approximately 2300 mg or less of sodium per day.


Fit2. Watch Your Weight:

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of heart disease. A healthy body mass index (BMI) range is between 18-24. Please note, that BMI does not always apply to individuals with large muscle mass (i.e. athletes and body builders) because BMI does not take into account muscle mass. Therefore, if you have a large muscle mass, you may fall into the “overweight” category, which is not accurate. I recommend getting your body fat % tested for a more specific measure and better alternative for those who fit into this category.


DeterminationHappy New Year! Each year thousands of people make a list of “New Years Resolutions” most of which include something related to losing weight and/or joining a gym. Resolutions are things that you want to change and resolve to do better. The difficult part is that many of these resolutions are created unrealistically, which results in a loss of momentum, a feeling of defeat and thoughts of “I’ll just throw in the towel” by the end of January. We start the year feeling excited for change, but in reality, we as human beings are creatures of habit and ‘change’ is not a comfortable feeling.


Change is defined as the act or instance of making or becoming different. The obstacle is that people like to stick to what they know and trust. Change can bring on thoughts of worry and anxiousness, followed by a long list of “what if” questions. Making the decision to change (yourself or something about your lifestyle) is the first step in the right direction. Once you commit to change (mentally), your body will follow (physically). Many people are scared of failure, but don’t be! I love the saying, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” Stay confident and believe in yourself. Success can mean many different things to different people. However, I view a sign of success as taking a leap of faith and allowing change to occur in your life. You have to be prepared for it and accept it with open arms, but when you do …there is endless opportunity.


MotivatePeople specifically don’t like change in regards to their eating habits. You might have been raised on a farm eating meat and potatoes, or you might have grown up eating vegetarian for cultural reasons. Each of you has your own genetic makeup and background, which has made you who you are today. Accept that and embrace it! Oftentimes people will order the same entrée at a restaurant even when there are 200+ menu options. Again, we are creatures of habit and we like to stick to what we know.





Nutribullet trainingWishing you happy and healthy holidays!!  Although this winter season is filled with JOY, it can also be bogged down by stresses that challenge our daily routines. For example, our morning yoga class is replaced by a drive to the post office to send out holiday gifts, or our evening cardio/strength training class is replaced by an extra errand and the tail end of holiday shopping. We all have our own obstacles to face, so it’s important to incorporate an exercise plan that can fit into your schedule and lifestyle, even during the busy holidays! Exercise can actually help to reduce stress, while increasing energy, motivation and those “feel good” endorphins that keep you positive and happy!

Photo (above) is of my Team Nutribullet (marathon training team) buddies and I dressed up for our Santa Monica/Venice 10K race. Feeling festive with our “happy feet!” 

I have created a few quick workouts that focus on high intensity interval training (HIIT) to boost your metabolism also known as EPOC (excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption). This is great news because your body will burn additional calories and fat even after your workout is complete (and you’re sitting at your desk for example), for up to 12-24 hours.

Please note: Consult your physician before trying this workout. If you’re a beginner to running or exercise, perform each interval no harder than a moderate effort level. Go at your own pace and walk the recovery intervals. Add a few extra seconds to your recovery intervals if you don’t feel fully recovered before starting the next cycle.  Stick with the first workout listed below. You can add more as you build your exercise base and cardiovascular capacity.

Listen to your body, and if you’re having aches and pains, slow down and focus on stretching and yoga to help lengthen and strengthen your muscles and balance out your body so you don’t pull any muscles. The Bryan Kest power yoga is one of my favorite ways to keep my muscles lose and aligned.  You can even do it while traveling which is convenient.

Here is a great example of a workout schedule and how you can incorporate HIIT into your weekly routine:

  • Perform HIIT 2 days per week (i.e. Tuesday and Thursday)
  • Perform Yoga 1-2 times per week (i.e. Wednesday)
  • Perform longer distance easier effort runs 2 days per week (i.e. Monday and Saturday).

Holiday HIIT Workout #1: Level 1 (introductory)IMG_1287

Don’t skip the warm up! Start by walking for 2 minutes and increasing your pace to a brisk walk, then a light jog (i.e. where you can still hold a conversation) for a total warm up time of 5 minutes.

Stretch or foam roll for 5 minutes to make sure all of your muscles are lose and ready for the workout. Increase the treadmill incline to 1.0-2.0, which is equivalent to the natural incline on most roads. Then, begin the workout below.

  1. Run at a sprint pace (hard) for 30 seconds
  2. Recover with 90 seconds of very easy jogging or brisk walking
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 eight to ten times (total of 16-20 minutes)
  4. Cool down by walking for 2-3 minutes after the last interval

Total Time: 25-30 minutes

Photo (above):

Holiday Oatmeal‘Tis the season to be jolly! It’s December and we are in the heart of holiday season, a time filled with love, joy, rich food and decadent desserts. We attend holiday parties with friends and dine out at some of our favorite restaurants with family and significant others. Weight gain is one thing that is feared the most during the holidays. Consumers have one (or a few) “bad day(s)” of eating and want to “throw in the towel,” which is the wrong approach! Life is about having balance, not about being perfect. We all have our own weaknesses to face and obstacles to overcome.


Finding a way to incorporate nutrition and exercise into your lifestyle presents a different challenge for each person, which is why I always provide customized nutrition and fitness consulting expertise to my clients. Every individual has his or her own food likes and dislikes, food allergies and/or dietary restrictions based on past medical or family medical history. No one is exactly alike, which is why each body is unique and requires different nutrients and proportions. You should never compare yourself, and following the latest “diet trend” will not solve your problems. It is about learning what nutrients your body needs, and how to incorporate them into your daily lifestyle. You’re in for a treat because this month I have a challenge for you! It’s called the Holiday Challenge to “Eat Smart, Burn More and Maintain Balance. My challenge is focused on lifestyle as a whole, not just the eating component. It includes the following:


Make ½ your grains whole: Make sure at least ½ of the carbohydrates you’re consuming are high in fiber (>3 grams of fiber per serving). Fiber is important for healthy digestion, regular bowel movements, reducing bloating, maintaining good blood sugar control and increasing satiety (which can help you maintain or lose weight).


Sleep at least 7 hours per night: Lack of sleep can contribute to depression and increase rate of aging. When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, we produce more of the stress hormone called Cortisol, which can increase abdominal adiposity. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin (a hormone that signals satiety) and elevations in ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates hunger). Your cravings will be revved up for high fat, high carbohydrate foods due to this shift in hormones. Our brain does not function as well with a lack of sleep, therefore we do not have the “mental strength” to make healthy food choices. For example, if we are presented with an option of a donut or veggies with hummus for a snack, consumers will be more likely choose the donut if they are sleep deprived.


IMG_7856Fit physical activity into your day: Goal of 30 minutes of activity 4 times per week (at least). If you are advanced and exercise at a high intensity on a regular basis, than 1 hour of physical activity 5 times per week is a good goal. I realize that we all have very busy schedules, which are even more compacted during the busy holiday time. However, we can’t make excuses everyday. I love the saying, “It’s not about having the time, it’s about MAKING the time.” We need to be strong and get it done! I encourage you to set goals, create a support system and grab a workout buddy to hold yourself accountable. Find a sport or activity that you enjoy, and make it fun, instead of a chore.