Monthly Archives: September 2014

White Turkey Chili

White Turkey Chili

whitie chili

This recipe comes from Ellie Krieger’s cookbook, “So Easy”.  Ellie is a registered dietician, ccokbook author and host of “Healthy Appetite” on the Food Network.  Because she is an RD, she always gives the nutritional information for all her recipes, which I love.  I have made this chili many times, my husband loves it, and it is a nice alternative to the traditional red chili.  And of course, it’s healthy – high in protein and fiber, low in sodium, and delicious.  For me, squeezing the lime wedges into the chili puts it over the top!


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 medium poblano peppers (about 4 ounces each), seeded and white ribs removed, finely diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste
1 pound ground white meat turkey
2 (15.5-ounce) cans white beans such as cannelini, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over moderate heat. Add the onion, celery, poblanos, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander and cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the meat is no longer pink about 2 minutes. Add the white beans, broth and oregano. Cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.

Add the hominy and salt and more cayenne pepper, to taste, and continue cooking, partially covered, 10 minutes longer. Ladle into individual bowls and top each serving with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cilantro. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Makes 6 servings; 1-1/2 c. each
Per Serving:
Calories 320; Total Fat 6 g; (Sat Fat 0.5 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 1 g) ; Protein 31 g; Carb 37 g; Fiber 9 g; Cholesterol 30 mg; Sodium 310 mg


A “Secret” To Happiness

About seven or eight years ago, my sister-in law gave my husband and I a dvd called “The Secret.”  Many of you may already be familiar with this, whether you have also seen the video, or read the book, or any of the follow ups.  “The Secret” affected me very strongly – it is a video I have watched over and over, and I especially like to watch it at the beginning of each year.

“The Secret” is, in a nutshell, the law of attraction.  The theory that like attracts like, what you put out into the world is what you get back, etc.  It is more than simply positive thinking.  It teaches you how to shift your energy (what I believe the universe and we all are made of) to attract more good thoughts, people, and experiences into your life.  Some of the strategies include creative visualization, gratitude, vision boards, and consciously shifting your thoughts when you are feeling bad.

Staying as positive as possible is so important to breast cancer recovery and survival.  Your thoughts and emotions have so much control over your physical body, it is critical to try to learn how to control them.  A cancer diagnosis is certainly devastating to anyone who receives it, and negative emotions are an automatic reaction, and yes, sometimes crying makes you feel better.  If it does, then do it, but then move on.  Start trying to shift your energy – watch a funny movie, meditate, bake cookies, play with your dog or cat, take a walk in the park, whatever works for you to ease the sadness.  Your body may be more capable of fighting this disease when your mind and spirit are more at ease.

If you have never seen “The Secret”, I encourage you to buy the book or dvd. I know you will derive some benefit from it, if not more.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  It is a great reminder of how much control our thoughts and state of mind have over the rest of our lives.

My Services

In-Home Recovery Fitness

Exercising after surgery, or during radiation or chemotherapy, can seem incredibly daunting.  You may not know how to begin; you may feel uncomfortable going to a public facility if you have lost your hair; you may not have the energy to leave the house some days; you may need to avoid public facilities if your immune system is compromised.  In addition, depending on the type of surgery you had, and reconstruction, if any, the approach to recovery exercise will vary. If you are currently dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis or treatment, and live in the Coachella Valley, please contact me for personalized, private, in-home fitness recovery sessions.

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Meatless Protein Options

Whether or not you were on a vegan based diet prior to your breast cancer diagnosis, protein is one of the three essential nutrients (carbohydrates and fats the other two) and is responsible for the repair and rebuilding of all cells and muscle tissue, and even helps to strengthen the immune system. If you have sworn off meat due to your breast cancer diagnosis, or have simply decided to include more vegetarian meals into your diet, here is a list a great plant-based protein sources:
Lentils – 18 g. per cup, cooked; also low in fat and high in fiber

Beans – 13-15 g. per cup of pinto, black or kidney beans; also good source of fiber

Hemp seeds – 10 g. per ounce; also rich in EFAs, including omega-3s

Quinoa – 9 g. per cup; this versatile relative of beets and chard is also gluten-free

Tofu – 9 g. in 4 ounces; I suggest buying organic to avoid tofu from genetically modified soy beans

Nut butters – a couple of tablespoons will provide around 8 g.; choose all natural nut butters, and remember – nut butters are high in fat – albeit a heart healthy fat. Be careful to stick to a serving. Fat is still fat, and will add pounds if too much is eaten.
Veggies – French beans – 13 g. per cup; cooked Green Peas – 9 g. per cup; cooked Broccoli – 6-7 g. per cup; cooked Spinach – 7 g. per cup; cooked Kale – 5 g. in two cups; plus all the fiber, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidents and immune boosting properties in vegetables!

Sprouted Grain Bread – 5 g. per slice; one sandwich will provide 10 grams of protein.

Sources: IDEA Fitness;

Is Soy Safe After Breast Cancer?

Should you eat soy if you have breast cancer?  A big question for many breast cancer survivors, especially those with hormone-receptor positive tumors, is whether or not it is wise to include soy in their diet. After completing my chemotherapy, I had several people (none of whom had breast cancer) tell me I shouldn’t eat soy. But I like soy and feel it is a healthy component of a balanced diet, and did not want to omit it completely.

Good news – according to some of the most recent studies, soy is most likely safe for breast cancer when eaten in moderation. Three studies involving breast cancer survivors in the United States and China showed that women who conusmed 10/mg or more per day had a 25% lower risk of recurrence. Soy is also linked to a lower rate of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and is an excellent source of protein.

Personally, I stick to whole soy foods and products like soybeans and tofu. And since the majority of soy beans grown in the United States are genetically modified, I always purchase organic soy products.

I urge to read the following blog posted on the American Cancer Society website:
The Bottom Line on Soy and Breast Cancer Risk
This is an excellent explanation of the soy/breast cancer risk issue.

Apple, Cabbage and Carrot Chopped Salad
This recipe is from Eating Well magazine. It is a beautiful twist on a slaw – colorful, nutritious and delicious! Don’t save it just for summer with the burgers and dogs – the hint of cinnamon in the recipe makes it a wonderful fall side dish as well.


2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon orange blossom water or orange juice
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups shredded carrots (3-4 medium)
1 cup chopped red cabbage
1 large crisp red apple, chopped
1 cup sunflower sprouts
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, lightly toasted
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Lime wedges for serving

Whisk oil, orange blossom water (or orange juice), vinegar, salt, cinnamon and cumin in a large bowl.
Add carrots, cabbage, apple, sunflower sprouts, cilantro and sunflower seeds; toss to combine with the dressing. Season with pepper. Serve with lime wedges, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 124 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 7 g total sugars; 2 g protein; 3 g fiber; 137 mg sodium; 305 mg potassium.


Beginning a Fitness Program after Breast Cancer

It is important to engage in a fitness program after breast cancer surgery and treatment, as soon as you are able and have been cleared by your surgeon or oncologist.  A good fitness program after breast cancer should include a combination of cardiovascular, balance, stretching and strength exercises.

When beginning an exercise program after breast cancer, there are several factors to consider.

1. First and foremost, obtain permission from your surgeon or oncologist. Most people can safely begin to exercise six weeks after surgery, but everyone is different, so be sure to get your doctor’s ok.

2. Start slowly, especially if you are new to exercise. Start by working on regaining posture, balance, flexibility (stretching) and range of motion exercises, along with moderate cardiovascular exercise such as walking.  Try to walk every day, or three days a week at the least.  Visit the Beat Fatigue post for more information on beginning a walking program.

3. When you have regained a good amount of flexibility and range of motion, then begin strength training exercises. Start with no weights, or very light weights, 1 to 2 pounds.

4. If you are new to exercise, or have very limited functionality, find a fitness professional to work with – someone who has knowledge of working with cancer patients, or even a physical therapist.

5. If you have lymphedema, wear a compression garment during exercise. You may want to consult with a lymphedema specialist. If you have neuropathy, avoid using hand held weights, especially if you are experiencing neuropathy during exercise sessions.

6. Warm up and cool down before and after each session, rest when needed, and stop if you experience any pain.

7.  Stay hydrated.  Many factors can cause dehydration – heat, medications, chemotherapy, and drinking too little.  Try to consume 12 ounces of water prior to exercise.  Have a bottle of water available to sip from during exercise, and drink at least another 12 ounces of water after exercise.

Effects of Exercise on Breast Cancer Recovery

Exercise is an important, if not imperative, part of the cancer recovery process. Adapting a regular exercise program will:
– help restore functional capacity lost to inactivity or medical treatments
– increase lean muscle mass
– decrease body fat
– reduce loss of bone density (important for post-menopausal women taking hormone blocking medications)
– stimulate the immune system (very important during and after chemotherapy)
Exercise may also help reduce treatment-related nausea, fatigue and pain.

An article posted on the American Council on Exercise website states:

“Compared to sedentary women, regular exercisers, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, have a much lower risk of breast cancer recurrence, breast cancer death, and all causes of death.

About 50-96% of female breast cancer patients experience weight gain, with an increase in fat weight and a loss of muscle weight. Regular aerobic exercise and resistance training can help mitigate and reverse these effects.

Breast cancer surgery often reduces shoulder mobility. Flexibility exercise helps restore a normal range of motion.

Increased physical activity after cancer treatment has been consistently linked to better physical function, reduced fatigue, and bodily pain.

Physically active survivors typically score higher on measures of emotional well-being and overall quality of life compared to their less active or sedentary peers.

Despite these well-established benefits of exercise after breast cancer, only half of all survivors exercise regularly, often due to concerns about lymphedema and a lack of information about safe and effective exercise. Recent studies have shown that neither aerobic exercise nor resistance training is linked to developing or worsening of breast cancer-related lymphedema. Better yet, one study found that women who followed a slow, progressive strength-training program lowered their risk of developing lymphedema by 35 percent; women who had at least five lymph nodes removed and started lifting weights reduced their risk by 70 percent. Not only is strength-training ideal for preventing lymphedema, it also helps build strong bones, good posture, and overall strength.”

Gratitude and Breast Cancer

Gratitude is a key component to obtaining and maintaining a positive mental attitude and state of happiness. Many breast cancer patients experience various levels of anxiety, depression, lack of control and low self-esteem, and may feel very little or nothing to be grateful for. But I feel there is always something that earns our daily gratitude, and that everyone can find it, if they dig deep enough.

First and foremost, if you are reading this blog, you are blessed to still be on this earth – be grateful for that! Like meditation, gratitude can be “practiced” everyday. You may even want to combine the two, and at the beginning or end of your meditation, incorporate feelings of gratitude towards those people, circumstances, objects, situations, etc. in your world.

Some people have a gratitude journal, writing down everything they are thankful for. I encourage you to start your own gratitude list, adding to it as often as possible. Read it every day, really focusing on each item and feeling deep gratitude. Feeling gratitude helps you focus on the positive, pushing the negative out of your mind and tension out of your body.

Another book you may find helpful is The Magic by Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret.  In The Magic, Ms. Byrne puts forth a 30–day plan for practicing gratitude.  Try it – what have you got to lose? the-magic-book-cover

A couple of things that I think we as cancer survivors can be grateful for:
– All of the wonderful researchers and doctors working hard to create better screening programs, less invasive surgery techniques, gentler follow up treatments, and hopefully, a cure.
– All of the people who are donating money to help the researchers and doctors.

Personally, I am grateful for all the love and support from my family and friends, especially my husband. I am thankful for my home and my pets. I am thankful that I have a job that provides me the opportunity to help others. I’m thankful that you are reading this blog!

Curried Lentil Stew

After a breast cancer diagnosis, some people decide to eat a more vegetarian-based diet. I found this AMAZING recipe out of the Trader Joe’s Skinny Dish cookbook. With surprisingly few ingredients, it packs huge flavor and is absolutely delish! It’s a super easy, vegetarian one-pot meal full of fiber, protein, Vitamins A and C, calcium and iron. Enjoy!

CTJ_SkinnyDish_COV_Low res_0

Curried Lentil Stew

1 T. olive oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. curry powder
2 T. turmeric (I added this for the anti-inflammatory bonus)
3 c. filtered water (I use non-filtered)
2 tomatoes, chopped (I used one BPA-free can of No Salt Added Organic Diced Tomatoes)
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced (preferably organic)
1/2 of a 16-oz bag of kale, collard greens, spinach, or other dark leafy green, ripped into pieces
2  17.6 oz packages of Trader Joes Steamed Lentils, or 5 cups cooked lentils
1 t. salt

In a large pot over medium high heat, saute onion, garlic, curry, and turmeric in olive oil until onion is translucent, about 4 min.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, 10 minutes. Serve hot.
Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.