Living Lite

Let's Play Some Football! Super Bowl Chili, Fresh Salsa & Guac

January 31, 2019

When The Washington Post was considering doing a feature story about my book, Diet Simple, among the recipes they tested was my chili. They loved it!  The whole-front-page "Food" section feature was written. No one would ever guess my chili is healthy. That's why I call it "stealthy healthy!"

Katherine’s Chili Non Carne
(excerpted from Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations (LifeLine Press)

Try making this recipe a day ahead of time so the flavors and textures have a time to develop. I love this simple, quick chili recipe.  It’s meatless but you don’t miss the meat because it’s so flavorful and the meat-like texture is deceptive.  You should use the amount of garlic or chili powder that appeals to you.  I like it hot and spicy! I double the recipe, using a whole pound of dried black beans,  so I have plenty for the week.  I use this dish as a lunch or dinner alongside a green salad.  I also serve it at parties as a dip next to my fresh tomato salsa, nonfat Greek yogurt, and guacamole.  It’s perfect rolled up in a tortilla or stuffed in a taco with some reduced fat cheese.  

Serves 4 as a main course, 8 or more as a dip or topping

1 Tbsp Olive or Canola Oil, or more
1 Large Onion, Chopped
3 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced (more or less)
3 Tbsp Hot Chili Powder (try 50/50 Chipotle Chili, maybe a dash of smoked paprika, called "Pimentón," and just a pinch of Cinnamon)
1 Large Fresh Green Pepper, Chopped
1 28- oz. Can Italian Plum Tomatoes, chopped, including the liquid
1 Pound Can Kidney or Black Beans, whichever is preferred
1/2 Cup Water (To Hydrate the Bulgur)
1/2 Cup Bulgur (Cracked Wheat)
2 Seeded Jalapeño Peppers, chopped, if desired
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil over low heat in a large pot until soft, 15 or more minutes.  Add the chili powder and simmer for a few more minutes.  Add the Fresh Green Pepper and cook until al dente.  Meanwhile, soak the bulgur in the boiling water for 15 minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients including the bulgur and simmer slowly over low to medium heat until flavors are well blended and vegetables are cooked to the desired consistency ... a few minutes or longer, if desired. Adjust seasonings to your preference.  Since many canned items were used, additional salt will probably not be needed.

Calories per serving 320, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 1g, Carbohydrate 59g, Fiber 13g,  Protein 12g

Katherine’s Spicy Fresh Mexican Salsa with Mild Guacamole
(excerpted from Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations (LifeLine Press)

Fresh salsa - Pico de Gallo - doesn't really need a recipe. These are proportions I have found pleasing. But you may want your salsa, with more or less onions, spice, sweet (try adding watermelon), parsley instead of cilantro... The options are endless.

22 servings


1 large onion, peeled and chopped (about ½ pound)
2 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (start with about 3-1/2 lbs) (Use canned tomatoes, if good tomatoes aren’t available)
3 – 4 jalapeño peppers (1 – 2 ounces), to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp salt, or to taste
3 – 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice or the juice from 1 – 2 limes (optional. I often skip the limes)

Add the onion to the tomatoes. Finely chop 2 of the jalapeño peppers to start with. Taste. If you desire more heat, add 1 – 2 more jalapeños. Mix in the cilantro. Add the salt depending on your taste. Mix in the lime juice. Best served within one or two days.

20 calories, 0g fat, 5g carb, 1g fiber, 1g protein

Katherine's Guacamole

There's a million recipes for Guacamole. You can keep it mild, or make it hot by adding hot peppers. Throwing in fresh salsa makes it chunky and yummy, too.

12 Servings


2 ripe avocados
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp lime juice (optional)
¼ tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Cut avocados in half lengthwise and pull out the pits. Scoop out the meat. Place in a medium bowl and mash, keeping some large chunks. Mix in the cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve the same day.

50 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat fat, 3g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g protein

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7 Steps For Realistic, Achievable New Year's Resolutions: A Second Chance!

January 27, 2019

The new year is a valuable opportunity to improve the quality of your life and happiness... Lose weight, eat healthfully, exercise... But most of us make impossible new year's resolutions, and have given up by now. Does that describe you?

Exercise (Photo by: Exercise

Don't get me wrong. Resolutions are good. For instance, losing weight, eating more healthfully, being more physically active, are often essential life goals leading to increased energy, health and happiness.

But "losing weight" - or achieving any goal - means nothing without deciding on shrewd, small, concrete changes which can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Look for approaches that complement, not dominate, your life.

Setting Goals, Keeping Goals
excerpted from "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" by Katherine Tallmadge

I can't stress enough that goals should be fun and liberating, not just another ball and chain that weighs you down and reminds you of your failures. (We all have them, believe me!)

Everyone's goals are different, of course. I don't presume to have a one-size-fits-all set of goals that works for everyone. Over the years, however, I have developed some goal-setting strategies that I think will make a real difference.

For success, your goals should be:

Realistic. Perfectionistic goals set you up for failure.

Small, behavioral steps. You can't set a goal of losing 2 pounds, but you can set a goal of doing the things that will cause you to lose 2 pounds. For instance, bringing a yogurt snack to work or adding delicious vegetable dishes to lunch and dinner.

Choose Realistic, Achievable Goals to Reach Your Potential (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Choose Realistic, Achievable Goals to Reach Your Potential

Positive. Instead of stating what you won't do ("I've got to stop eating chips every night"), state what you will do ("I'll prepare a delicious fruit salad to snack on in the evenings").

Flexible. Setting a goal to "exercise every day" may not be possible because of unforeseen circumstances. But saying instead, "I will be physically active 5 out of 7 days," or "I will increase my daily pedometer steps by 2,000 this week," is certainly do-able.

Measurable. "I'll eat more fruits and vegetables," is a noble goal, but how will you know when you reach it? Give yourself specific criteria so you can reward yourself for a job well done. "I'll make a delicious vegetable batch recipe this weekend," or "I'll add a vegetable soup or salad to lunches this week."

Important to you. Your goal must come from your heart, not your spouse's or parent's.

In a supportive environment. Does your home and work environment make healthful behaviors easier or harder? Do you need to have healthful, tasty, ready-to-grab foods in your refrigerator? Do you need your spouse to participate more fully with your healthy lifestyle? Take a look at your environment to determine if it is supportive enough and you have the tools you need to achieve your goals.

The battle of the bulge will be won at the margins. Sweeping changes are impractical and won't work!

This article is excerpted from my book, "Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations" (LifeLine Press)

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Anti-Sugar Extremists Take the Joy - And Health - Out of Life

January 20, 2019

(Photo by: Edvard Munch ( "The Scream"

I think most of us agree that extremism is, well, extreme! For most of you, extremism in politics or religion may first come to mind. But zealotry takes many forms and can hurt you in even worse, and more personal, ways when it comes to your health.

In the nutrition and food world, fanatics are far and wide, pronouncing this or that food as the death of us all, and others as saviors. Today, sugar is the demon. People exhaust themselves looking obsessively for grams of sugar on labels or on the internet.

I see too often, a look of shame when someone sheepishly "confesses" to eating a piece of chocolate or candy, a slice of birthday cake, ketchup, "too much" fruit, an ice cream cone when out with their kids, a latté, orange juice at breakfast, fruited yogurt, and more.

Fruited Yogurt with More Fruit on Top (Photo by: Fruited Yogurt with More Fruit on Top

I mean, really, could bananas or fruited yogurt be the cause of the world's obesity epidemic? Or, more importantly, the cause of your weight problem?

Obviously, I jest. But many people are so misguided that they avoid essential sugar-containing foods. My heart goes out to them!

Fruits and Fruit Juices (Photo by: Fruits and Fruit Juices

When health officials warn against too much sugar in the American diet, they're not referring to fruit, 4 or 6 ounces of fruit juice daily, or yogurt - even if there is a tablespoon of jam on the bottom. They're not referring to the occasional treat.

There is no scientific evidence that sugar in moderation, when included in an overall healthful diet, is harmful, except maybe if you don't brush your teeth!


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