Living Lite

Ten Tips for Enjoying Halloween Candy Without Guilt or Consequences

October 31, 2017

Now that you have all that Halloween candy, what is a healthy way to handle it, especially for your children? You don't need to think of candy as "bad." Studies over the years have found there is no association between candy eating and poor health or weight gain. But eating candy in moderation helps.

There are a few simple strategies designed by behavioral scientists and nutritionists to help your children (or you) enjoy candy without guilt or even weight gain. Remember:

1. Moderation is more realistic than complete elimination,

2. Eat about 10% of your daily calorie needs as candy and you can still maintain a healthy body and weight (most women consume about 1800 calories/day, so their candy allottment might be 180 calories daily. For men, perhaps about 220 calories),

3. When candy is in the house, it's fair game for everyone. Denying access to candy your child knows is in the house (and they always know!)  is counterproductive and can eventually lead to bingeing when it becomes available, 

4. Remove the emphasis on restriction. If you don't want someone in your house eating candy, don't have it in the house. This changes the emphasis from what you "can't" have, to what you "can" have,

5. Structure your family's eating. Eat regularly scheduled meals at predictable times through the day,

6. Provide reasonable guildelines for eating the candy that is in the house, and practice what you preach,

7. If you'd like your child to eat candy moderately, limit how often it is brought into the home and serve small portions, or use pre-packaged candy in small amounts,

8. Serve all food positively. Fruits, vegetables and other wholesome foods should be presented just as positively as candy,

9. Don't use candy as a reward of any kind,

10. Above all else, provide a consistently positive atmosphere in which all food is eaten. There is no "good" or "bad" food. All food fits, but you may need to define the balance, amounts, and timing that candy or any food is eaten in the household.

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Nora Pouillon's Ratatouille

October 22, 2017

Nora Pouillon’s Ratatouille

Adapted from "Cooking with Nora"

And Excerpted from Diet Simple


Ratatouille is an authentic aromatic Provençal ragout of onions, eggplants, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes, stewed slowly in olive oil and flavored with garlic and fresh herbs. At the Dupont Circle Fresh Farm Market, I recently found every vegetable and herb needed for this amazingly tasty and versatile dish - all from Twin Springs Fruit Farm stand from Ortanna, Pennsylvania. The farmers travel 90 miles to provide us city folks with the freshest, juiciest, most delicate fruits and vegetables to be had - not to mention the extraordinary nutrition they provide!

Cutting up the vegetables is time consuming and that is why I like to make double or more than the amount I need and use the leftovers ...

at room temperature the next day with grilled chicken or fish.

mixed with eggs and cheese for a Quiche Provencal.

heated up and stirred with beaten eggs, spiced with chilis and served with sliced ham, Prosciutto, or cooked lean sausage  as Piperade or Basque dish.

reheated and used as sauce for freshly cooked pasta, garnished with feta or goat cheese, with the addition of pitted black olives if desired.

As Minestrone, heated with vegetable or chicken stock, adding a can of drained cannellini beans and maybe a spoon of pesto on top.


The trick of a good ratatouille is not to overcook the vegetables.  They have to be added one after the other, depending on the amount of time they need to cook to be just tender.  Of course, Nora recommends all the vegetables be organic.


6 - 8 servings


1/2 cup olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tablespoons garlic, minced

1-2 eggplants (2 lbs) cut into 1-inch cubes

2 peppers, red, green or yellow, cut into 1-inch squares

2 zucchini (1.5 lbs) cut into 1-inch cubes

1.5 lbs tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tablespoon thyme, minced

1/2 Tablespoon rosemary, minced

2 Tablespoon parsley or basil, minced


Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until hot.  


Add the onions and stew for 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, then the eggplants and peppers, cover and cook slowly for 20 minutes. 


Add the zucchini, cook for 5 minutes, then lastly add the tomatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes or less.  


Season with salt and pepper and the minced herbs.


Calories 220  Percent of Daily Value

Calories from Fat 150 

Total Fat  16g 25%

Saturated Fat 2g 11%

Cholesterol 0mg 0%

Sodium  15mg 1%

Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%

Dietary Fiber 6g 22%

Soluble Fiber 1.13 g

Omega 3 Fatty Acids 0.14 g

Sugars  10g 

Protein  3g 

Vitamin A  60%

Vitamin C  160%

Calcium   4%

Iron   8%

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Yoga for Lower Back Pain

October 1, 2017

"At least 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime... In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults experienced low back pain in the past 3 months," according to the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

"Recent studies in people with chronic low back pain suggest that a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may help reduce pain and improve function (the ability to walk and move). Studies also suggest that practicing yoga (as well as other forms of regular exercise) might have other health benefits such as reducing heart rate and blood pressure, and may also help relieve anxiety and depression," according to a NCCIH article.

Yoga, meaning "unity" in Sanskrit, "unites a mind and body practice," according to a National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH)

Yoga is believed to have originated in the 5th or 6th centuries BCE in India. But it didn't become popular in the west until the 20th Century. Just twenty years ago, if you practiced yoga, you may have been skeptically regarded as a "hippie" or "a little too new age." But today, there seems to be a yoga studio on every corner. In fact, it's become so mainstream, that my physical therapist recommended yoga to me for healing from my particular knee and back surgeries of last year (I've been a practicioner for at least ten years), though I adapt poses to my individual needs, per her instructions (and which you should do per your doctor's instructions).

I recommend yoga or any other mindfulness meditation practices for my clients when changing their lifestyle habits. It is a simple yet powerful tool that can help you transform your health and your life. The mindfulness you can experience with yoga (or other forms of meditation) can help you become more focused and clear, for concentration to be more sustained. It can help you handle emotional situations more effectively by improving decision making and reducing impulsivity, as I relate in my article, "Mindfulness in Eating and Living," and I describe in my book, "Diet Simple." 

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