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National Blueberry Month – a month to celebrate the blue gems

blueberriesCan you believe it’s July? It’s also National Blueberry Month. As a confessed and proud blueberry addict, I’m here to show you a couple of ways to celebrate. If you follow me you know I write about these little blue gems every year. (Blueberries – the blue jewel and Confessions of a blueberry addict—where I bought 34 pints for $40)

They’re in season now so don’t miss the chance to get them at a great price. I’ve been buying amazing blueberries for several years from Aldi. At the time of this writing, $1.19 per pint. Wow. (That’s up from the price they were a few weeks ago, 99 cents!) Continue reading

How to eat a lot and still lose weight

I love to eat. I love good food. And I like to eat a lot of it. But that’s a problem because I can’t. Not if I want to maintain a healthy weight. Many years ago I learned to volumize food. It’s a concept more common and popularized thanks to the terrific work of Barbara Rolls, PhD, her research and many subsequent books on Volumetrics, her first written in 2000. The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off is more recent. It’s not a new concept to lose weight. Volumetrics is based on the idea that people tend to eat about the same quantity of food per day, regardless of calories. Continue reading

DASH Diet for Dummies® – an interview with the authors Rosanne Rust and Cindy Kleckner


It’s time for another Neily on Nutrition book series post together with Kristine James, featuring a book co-authored by my colleagues Cindy Kleckner, RDN, LD, FAND and Rosanne Rust, MS, RDN, LDN—DASH Diet for Dummies.

Rosanne is co-author of several books in the John Wiley & Sons For Dummies® series, including DASH Diet for Dummies, Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies, Glycemic Index Cookbook For Dummies®, Calorie Counter Journal for Dummies®, and a chapter about Diet Quality and Sweeteners in the textbook Sucrose, Fructose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, and Health.

Cindy has co-authored What’s Cooking at the Cooper Clinic and contributed nutrition chapters for Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s Overcoming Hypertension, Preventing Osteoporosis, and The New Aerobics for Women. She also co-authored (with Rosanne) Hypertension Cookbook for Dummies and developed recipes for the second edition of the Gluten Free Cooking for Dummies®.

Here is Kristine’s interview! Continue reading

The New Year’s tradition of black-eyed peas — Bring on the luck and prosperity!

I moved down to Texas quite a number of years ago and when I had my first New Year’s was served black-eyed peas. It turns out it’s a Southern tradition—supposedly black-eyed peas bring luck and prosperity.

Apparently, the tradition started with the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. But if you are in the South on New Year’s Day or even New Year’s Eve after the strike of midnight you might be served black-eyed peas. Continue reading

Five Ingredients for Healthy Living with Chere Bork

Chere Bork is a registered dietitian nutritionist, Wellcoach® and Certified Law of Attraction Facilitator and 2014-15 Chair of Nutrition Entrepreneurs—a Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Chere helps make positive energy easy and has been a wonderful influence in both my life and business. We had the opportunity to sit and chat about her cookbook “Five Ingredients for Healthy Living.” Continue reading

Mediterranean Diet – simple dinner ideas w/ Wendy Jo Peterson (part 2)

Mediterranean dietsuper simple dinner ideas with Wendy Jo Peterson.

Mediterranean Diet cookbook photo

I had the privilege of talking about the Mediterranean diet with chef and registered dietitian nutritionist Wendy Jo Peterson—owner of Fuelin’ Roadie and Edible Nutrition—at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Food and Nutrition Conference last fall.

This is part 2 of our discussion. Wendy Jo is author of Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies (To view the video click here and to see part one of our two-part conversation, click here.)   Continue reading

Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce as demonstrated by Cindy Kleckner, RDN

Cindy Kleckner

Hypertension cookbok photo

In the US today about 68 million people are living with high blood pressure (hypertension). It’s a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease, kidney failure, heart failure, stroke and other health problems.

Two leading deaths related to high blood pressure include heart disease and stroke. The good news? There are lifestyle changes that can help including the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and low sodium cooking.

In this video, culinary expert and registered dietitian nutritionist Cindy Kleckner demonstrates another simple recipe from her book co-authored with Rosanne Rust – Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies. Recipe follows the video.

Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce

3 cups plain Greek yogurt, divided

3 garlic cloves, 1 minced and 2 crushed

3 Tbsp lemon juice, divided

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh dill, chopped

½ tsp oregano

1 tsp tarragon

1 tsp parsley

Freshly ground pepper

4 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

Lemon wedges for garnish


  1. For the tzatziki sauce, combine 1½ cups yogurt, the minced garlic, 1½ tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp of the dill and the cucumber.  Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to develop flavors.
  2. For the marinade, combine the remaining 1½ cups yogurt, the crushed garlic, 1½ tbsp. lemon juice, the remaining 1 tsp dill and the oregano, tarragon, parsley, and pepper in a large bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Cut the chicken into 2-inch cubes.  Reserve ½ cup marinade.  Toss the chicken with the remaining marinade in a shallow glass baking dish, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high.  Brush the hot grill with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking.  Thread the chicken onto skewers and grill for 8-10 minute.  Turn and baste with the reserved marinade during grilling until the chicken is browned and thoroughly cooked.  Do not overcook.
  5. Serve with tzatziki sauce and the lemon wedges.

Yield:  4 servings

Each serving:  245 calories  42g protein  3g fat  1g sat fat  130mg sodium  1g dietary fiber

Source:  Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies, December 2012, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Super Simple Low Sodium Cooking with Culinary Expert Cindy Kleckner


May is almost here and it will be High Blood Pressure Education Month. I was thrilled to spend some time with culinary expert Cindy Kleckner, registered dietitian nutritionist, and co-author with Rosanne Rust of Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies.

One in three people suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) and can greatly benefit from reducing sodium in the diet. The average American consumes almost 3,400 mg of sodium per day. The recommendation is 1,500 mg and the upper limit is 2,300 mg per day.

Interestingly the majority of sodium does NOT come from added salt at the table or in cooking but from processed packaged foods and food consumed away from home in restaurants and fast food places.

Years ago I learned that fish is “nature’s fast food” because as you will see it IS fast. Watch as you see my good friend Cindy whip up a fabulous dish! Sea Scallops with Pistachio Sauce placed on top of Sweet Potato Mash. Recipes are below.

Seared Scallops with Pistachio Sauce


1½ pounds large sea scallops

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup chopped unsalted pistachios

1 Tbsp unsalted butter


  1. Dry the scallops well with paper towels, removing as much water as possible.   Heat ½ Tbsp of the olive oil on high in a large nonstick skillet.
  2. Add half of the scallops and sauté without turning them until they’re well browned, about 2 minutes.  Turn the scallops and cook until the sides are firm and the centers are opaque.
  3. Transfer the scallops to a plate and place a piece of aluminum foil loosely covering the plate.  Repeat with the remaining oil and scallops.  Transfer to the plate.
  4. Add the chopped pistachios and butter to the skillet and cook until the butter in lightly browned.  Pour the sauce over the scallops and serve.

Yield:  4 servings

Each serving:  289 calories  41g Pro  12g fat  3g sat fat  98mg cholesterol  1g fiber  451mg sodium (sea scallops are naturally higher in sodium accounting for the majority of sodium in the recipe)

Sweet Potato Mash


4 medium sweet potatoes

Dash cinnamon, to taste

Dash ground cloves, to taste

Dash ground ginger, to taste


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Pierce each sweet potato with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking and place directly on oven rack.  Bake 45 minutes or until tender.
  2. Take the potatoes out of the oven and cut a slit in the top of each one.  Scoop out the potatoes into a bowl using a large spoon. The potatoes will be hot, so you may prefer to allow them to sit for 5 minutes or use a oven mitt to hold the potato.
  3. Mash the potatoes with a fork to your desired consistency.  A perfectly naked potato will mash almost instantly with a fork.
  4. Blend in a dash of cinnamon, cloves and ginger, to your desired taste.

Yield:  4 servings

Each serving:  112 calories  2g protein  0g fat  0g sat fat  72mg sodium  4g dietary fiber

Source:  Hypertension Cookbook For Dummies


Curious about the Mediterranean Diet? Interview with Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD

Wendy Jo Peterson photo

Mediterranean dietwhat’s it about? With Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RD

Wendy Jo Peterson is a registered dietitian in San Diego, owner of Fuelin’ Roadie and Edible Nutrition and author of Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies. (To view the video, scroll to bottom or click here.)

Neily: Let’s talk about the Mediterranean diet. What is it?
Wendy Jo: Mediterranean diet is based on research that has been done throughout the Mediterranean region about why the longevity of health has been so prevalent over there. People live longer and not only do they live longer but they live healthier, longer. So, the quality of life is improved. I always think back to my girlfriend’s grandmother. She is 96 and when I traveled to Italy for her   wedding, she literally—in a dress and all, and heels—was riding her bike to and from the grocery store. It just showed right there how people live their lives. That’s the base of it. Based on that research they looked and said let’s figure out what they are doing right. And so the obvious things that we have talked about for years—the olive oil, the fish-based diet, the plant-based diet, a lot of nuts and tons of legumes (beans). Legumes are a huge part of the everyday diet in that region.
Neily: Any particular ones?
Wendy Jo: You know, it depends on where you are. You’re not going to really see the black bean or the pinto bean that you would see throughout more South and Central American in the United States. But, more of the white beans, the chickpeas, the garbanzo beans, lentils. Lentils are stars—they take shape in a lot of foods over there. I have a lot of recipes that are lentil-based in my cookbook.But   the biggest thing that I found interesting is that they really grace their plate with 3 to 5 servings of vegetables or fruits at each meal. I always say to my patients—really look at breakfast as a great starting point to kind of boost it. Because you will find tomatoes or fava beans or spinach—those types of hearty vegetables—served as a breakfast starter for most people. They do a lot of paninis for breakfast or beans are a huge part of the breakfast food throughout the region. And so, what a great way to start your day but with something such as that. And not just berries and stuff, that we love here, which is great but to really complement and offset days where you do berries one day and get vegetables other days. Three to 5 servings per meal.IMG_0727 good veggie pix porch
Neily: So, what would be an example of a meal?
Wendy Jo: A meal would typically look like salmon, some type of fish, they like their fatty fish with capers or olives and then maybe some sliced cucumbers like spears of cucumbers, the Persian cucumbers are very popular, maybe some slices of tomatoes, and then maybe a handful of grapes. And right there, that’s 3 servings. All raw, all simple. No prep time. Quite easy to palette. Even the pastas, where people really think, oh pasta makes us fat. The portion distortion that we have in our country is outrageous. And it is so evident because when you go over there, pasta is a primi so it is a first course. And the portion is—I always tell my clients—when you think of a Mott’s apple sauce cup, a half cup, double that or the little milk carton that’s the   actual portion of one cup of pasta. And maybe, really don’t eat that much. That’s their primi.And then they do their secondi, which is usually meat. So, often times for them, proteins are combined with a lot of vegetables; they’re also combined with legumes. So, lentils may be paired with chicken or maybe white beans with fish. So they will be paired together.And then they do their anti-pasta. Over there, they have a belief about eating your digestive foods after. So they eat their salads after their meal.
Neily: Interesting.
Wendy Jo: And the idea is it helps push things through your system. Then they will also have a digestive drink. So like a grappa or some type of alcoholic spirit that will also help burn the system through.Some interesting techniques but, you know, over there as well they do… they drink wine like water but you don’t see the overconsumption as you see in our country or in our culture. And you just don’t see the overconsumption in the food. The other thing that I always look at is how mindful they are eating—really in tune with savoring every bite.
Neily: Enjoying it.
Wendy Jo: Yes. You sit down to a meal—they dissect the food. As a family, everybody is talking about the food, what they are tasting and whether or not Nonna (which is grandma) did the spices correctly or did she change it. Or what did she have on hand that they normally didn’t have in it. It is comical but it is so in tune with what you are eating which we know mindful eating really does help with satiation.
Neily: Absolutely.
Wendy Jo: So, to me, it think, there are many facets that make up the Mediterranean diet. It’s not just the food they consume but how they approach food.
Neily: So, it is a real plant-based diet, olive oil, fish and legumes.It’s a great book, Mediterranean Diet Cookbook For Dummies.
Wendy Jo: Or my website
Neily: Thanks so much. Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video.Mediterranean Diet cookbook photo

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