Living Lite

Coping with Halloween Sweets ... and Beyond

October 28, 2012

The holidays – starting with Halloween - can trip up even the most conscientious dieter. This happened to a client who had lost and kept off 20 pounds successfully. The Halloween trap caught her by surprise. She bought several bags of Snickers, her favorite candy bar, and began a binge that didn’t end until the candy was gone – long before Trick or Treat even began! That brought her up a couple of pounds. The holidays came and before you know it, she had gained almost ten pounds before winter was out.

With Halloween and the holidays looming, it’s important to determine your strategy for dealing with the temptation of sweets: what you eat, what you bring in your home, and what you serve others. My philosophy is that all foods can be enjoyed in moderation. But there are special challenges posed with some foods, particularly sweets, which have been confirmed by solid science – it’s not just in our heads! Understanding the science behind sweet craving and overeating can help us eat in a more moderate and healthy way.

People have an inborn attraction to sweets. If you don’t believe it, simply watch an infant’s response to something sweet versus, say, a vegetable. There’s an automatic acceptance, even joy, after eating something sweet. On the other hand, vegetables are an acquired taste, which may take 10 – 20 tries before acceptance. This is partly explained by evolution. We’ve been eating naturally sweet foods such as breast milk and fruit for millions of years. They contain life-sustaining nutrients, and a love for those foods helped keep us alive. Also, during evolution, an attraction to scarce calorie-dense foods, such as sweets and fats, improved our chances for survival.

But there are other explanations.  The research surrounding our attraction to sweets has stepped up in recent decades. Scientists are grappling with understanding the calorie imbalances causing the obesity epidemic, which is partly fueled by eating too many sweets.

Our brain chemistry holds an important clue. Learn more about mastering your sweet cravings. Have your cake and eat it, too!

Nathaniel Celebrates Halloween (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Nathaniel Celebrates Halloween

Georgetown Neighbors R.I.P. (Photo by: Katherine Tallmadge) Georgetown Neighbors R.I.P.

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Katherine's Market Recipe: Cauliflower 'Vichyssoise'

October 23, 2012

This is one of my favorite soups and is adapted from "The French Culinary Institute's Salute to Healthy Cooking," an inspirational cookbook for me. A "Vichyssoise," is normally cold, but I recommend you serve this hot. A traditional vichyssoise is made with cream, potatoes and leeks, but I think you'll love this version even more - made with the more flavorful cauliflower, a little potato lending texture, and milk making it lusciously smooth.

Today is the 10th "Katherine's Market Recipe," in The Georgetown Dish, all of which are designed to be delicious, easy, quick, family-friendly, nutritious (heart-healthy & diabetes-friendly), and to highlight produce found at our local Farmers Markets this week. At your Farmers Market, you'll find produce picked at peak ripeness, which means maximum flavor, texture and nutrition. You're also helping save the environment when you buy at your Farmers Market. Here's how...

For my "Cauliflower Vichyssoise," I recommend you buy the cauliflower, leeks, and potato at Georgetown's Rose Park Farmers Market (there are only two market days left!) on Wednesday, the Glover Park - Burleith Farmers Market on Saturday, or Dupont Circle's Fresh Farm Market (open year-round) on Sunday. 

Cauliflower "Vichyssoise"
By Katherine Tallmadge, M.A., R.D.
Author, “Diet Simple: 195 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspirations” (LifeLine Press, 2011)

Cauliflower is in the species of foods called “brassica.” The brassica family of foods has extremely high nutritional values and contain high levels of antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin C, selenium, calcium, potassium, folic acid and choline - important for the brain, as well as soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol and helps level blood sugar. Brassica, a huge category of foods including broccoli, cabbages, mustard seeds and greens, also contain potent anti-cancer compounds which help detoxify carcinogens in the liver before they continue to circulate in your bloodstream. These compounds also aid your immune response with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

4 to 8 Servings


1 Tbsp Canola Oil
2 Leeks
1 Head Cauliflower
1 Medium Potato
6 Cups Chicken Stock (or vegetable stock), fat removed
1 Cup 1% Milk
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
8 leaves Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Slice the white part of the leeks, cut the cauliflower into florets and set aside. Heat canola oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Add sliced leeks, stirring frequently for about ten minutes until soft. Stir in the stock, cauliflower and potato. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about twenty minutes or until vegetables are soft. When mixture has cooled a bit, puree with the  The Cuisinart Smart Stick... No mess, no fuss! (or blender or food processor), add the milk. Serve hot in the cool weather, cold in the hot weather. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley.

700 calories in the entire pot of soup

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Autumn Reflections

October 22, 2012

"This poem reminds me of how Autumn is a threshold—in the midst of the abundant autumn landscape of color and light, there is also a sense that the grey bare days of winter are just around the corner," says Terri Lynn Simpson, Consultant for Contemplative Programming, Washington National Cathedral Center for Prayer and Pilgrimage.

"These liminal times are like open doorways that invite us to a particular kind of mindfulness where we are aware that we’re moving from one way of being to another. One foot is in the past and one foot is in the future, and in the midst of the two is the present. We can put our weight on one foot or another, superficially living in the past or the future, but true balance comes only when we live deeply in the moment." Learn more about the health benefits of mindfulness...

Song for Autumn 
by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems:  Volume II (Beacon press)

In the deep fall

don’t you imagine the leaves think how

comfortable it will be to touch

the earth instead of the

nothingness of air and the endless

freshets of wind? And don’t you think

the trees themselves, especially those with mossy,

warm caves, begin to think


of the birds that will come — six, a dozen — to sleep

inside their bodies? And don’t you hear

the goldenrod whispering goodbye,

the everlasting being crowned with the first

tuffets of snow? The pond

vanishes, and the white field over which

the fox runs so quickly brings out

its blue shadows. And the wind pumps its

bellows. And at evening especially,

the piled firewood shifts a little,

longing to be on its way.


In Spring, 2013, Ms. Simpson is leading a religious pilgrimage to Wales focusing on poetry, in the Welsh tradition, which she says is "an exhalation of an experience of the holy, the primary language of spirituality.  As we explore the history and sacred sites of this thread of the Celtic tradition, the words of Welsh poets will guide us on our pilgrimage together and encourage us to reflect upon the ways our personal stories and landscapes shape our individual journeys."

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