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“In March 2017, I was stuck in my weight loss efforts despite limiting my calories and exercise efforts. Shedding 30+ pounds had been a struggle for years – my weight would yo-yo; sometimes being able to lose a few pounds with deprivation, but the pounds always returned once I started eating again. I was also experiencing fairly severe health annoyances like constant watery eyes and significant swelling in my knees – but my focus was really not on those things; it was on wanting to lose weight.

Convinced that my metabolism was permanently stifled due to my age and years of yo-yo dieting (I am 55 years old), I was ready to give up and accept the way I looked and felt as my unfortunate reality. My husband thankfully encouraged me to see a Dietician/Nutritionist, and I found Donna online.

My first appointment with Donna was in late March. We decided that I would do a 2 week cleanse (Detox) to rid my body of toxins – it was excruciating (but worth it!), proof that my body was full of bad things. I then went through testing for the LEAP program. The results were very interesting – things I had been eating for years in my efforts to lose weight – like certain fruits, garbanzo beans, cabbage, corn, chicken, and beef – and things like basil, garlic, and peanuts – were identified as intolerances for me. Donna explained that these foods led to inflammation and worked against my weight loss efforts. As well, consumption of these foods was causing/aggravating the other health symptoms I was experiencing.

Fast forward to six months later, and while I have not been perfect, I am over halfway to my weight loss goal! Thanks to Donna and the LEAP protocol, I have lost about 20 pounds, the swelling in my knees is noticeably reduced, and my eyes are only occasionally mildly watery. My physical and mental health has improved, and I am aware of how I feel when eating certain foods to the point that I embarked on a 10-week program to give up sugar on August 1st. One of the best things about the LEAP program is that it is not a Diet – this is a Lifestyle Change which I will be able to maintain.I highly recommend Donna and the programs she uses to others struggling with health issues, including the inability to lose weight. It is amazing how much what we ingest affects our health, and it’s not just avoiding those foods we know we shouldn’t eat! I was eating hummus and grapefruit regularly in my prior weight loss efforts, and it turns out those so-called health foods were working against me.  This program has been life changing for me, and I am so appreciative for Donna and her true concern about my health.”

Michele L. – Escondido, CA | October 16, 2017

Tips to Stay Hydrated

With summer in full swing, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated! But with so much advice being handed out left and right about hydration, it’s hard to know how much— or what— to drink. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you keep cool this summer:


1. Water is Key

Water takes up 60% of our body weight, and it is an essential nutrient to keep our body functioning. Water is lost everyday through normal activities, so it is important to fully replenish it. So how much? The Institute of Medicine recommends about 13 cups a day for men and about 9 cups a day for women, but the general advice of “eight cups a day,” is close enough to be safe for most people.


2. Physical Activity Means More Fluids

Everyone knows that as you exercise, you perspire. But did you know that intense  prolonged exercise, especially in the heat, can lead to up to 2.5. liters (about 11 cups) of fluid being lost through perspiration? Factors such as humidity, temperature, and clothing or protective gear can increase this rate as well. This means it is even more important for people engaging in physical activity to stay hydrated! Everyone has different needs, but a general rule of thumb for how much and when to drink for athletes is as follows:

  • 5-7 milliliters fluid per kilogram body weight 4 hours before exercise
  • 3-5 milliliters fluid per kilogram body weight 2 hours prior to exercise
  • 150-350 milliliters fluid every 15-20 minutes throughout exercise
  • 1.5 liters fluid per kilogram of body weight lost (of water weight) after exercise


3. There’s More Than Water

Water is ultimately the most recommended fluid to stay hydrated, but it is by no means the only option. If you find yourself struggling to drink enough water, try some healthy alternatives such as coconut or sparkling water. You can even add some fruit juice or fresh lemon or lime to sparkling water for a flavorful treat. Athletes may find consuming sports drinks to replenish electrolyte and carbohydrate levels to be beneficial if they exercise intensely for over an hour, but make sure to be aware of the sugar content. You can also gain fluids through the food you eat— mainly fruits and vegetables. Try some watermelon, grapefruit, cucumbers or even avocado to increase your fluid intake, and enjoy a delicious, healthy snack! Broth or chilled soups can also be counted towards your total fluid intake, and you could try some iced ginger, fruit or other flavored tea as refreshing, summery drink.

Hope those tips help you stay hydrated this summer. Check out the recipes below for some more hydration inspiration! 


Banana-Pineapple Smoothie



  • 8 oz. plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 (6 oz) can Pine-Orange-Banana juice



  • Freeze carton of yogurt and allow thawing slightly prior to blending smoothie.
  • Put all ingredients into blender.
  • Blend until smoothie consistency is reached! If drink is too thick, add orange juice.

Yield: 2 serving


Peach Smoothie


  • 2 medium peeled pitted and sliced fresh peaches or frozen equivalentpeaches.jpeg
  • 1 cup milk or yogurt (plain)
  • ¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 4 drops Stevia sweetener
  • 1 tsp  vanilla
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup ice cubes (1½ w/ yogurt)



  • In blender container combine remaining peaches, milk, juice concentrate, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Cover and blend until smooth.
  • Gradually add ice cubes through hole in blender lid, blending until smooth after each addition.  

Yield: 2 servings


Strawberry Cucumber Water


  • cucumber water8 ounces stemmed and thinly sliced strawberries
  • ½ cup thinly sliced cucumber



  • Place the ingredients in a pitcher and add 2 quarts of water
  • Refrigerate for 2-4 hours to allow time to infuse
  • Before serving, stir well and discard the solids




[Photograph]. Retrieved from

[Photograph]. Retrieved from

Dunford, M., & Doyle, J. A. (2015). Nutrition for sport and exercise. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Food Network Kitchens. (n.d.). Strawberry-Cucumber Water Recipe. Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2014, September 5). Water: How much should you drink every day? Retrieved from


Post by Janelle Tarmas, Healthy Directions For You Intern

Testimonial – Deborah Kimsey

I highly recommend Donna Wolf. She is a lifesaver!!

I had a intestinal virus that the doctor said would only last 10 days. After the virus was gone my gastrointestinal track was completly inflamed. I was losing weight and could eat almost nothing. I was in pain all the time and could not keep anything in my stomach. I would recover a little and then get sick again. I went to doctors and they kept running tests but no solutions. This went on for 1year. I then was referred to a gastroenterologist who ran a battery of tests and determined I had developed food sensitivities. He sent me on my way with a list of foods that could be causing the problem but I had to figure it out on my own.

I continued to try to figure it out for a year with very little success. After a year of this the doctor sent me to work with Donna. That recommendation saved my life. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get better. Donna immediately put me on the Leap MRT diet. The tests showed what foods were causing my inflammation. She had me on an elimination diet and my symptoms started to get better. It took some time but eventually my symptoms left and my whole system was healed.

I am so grateful for Donna’s expertise and gift of healing. She was with me every step of the way and was always available to answer any questions or concerns. Donna always follows up and quickly returns calls. Working with Donna has given me my life back!

Deborah Kimsey – February 10, 2017

I was overweight, tired and my joints hurt constantly. I thought I was eating healthy. After many months of trying to lose the weight on my own, nothing happened. I was frustrated and needed answers. I found Donna Wolf and found my answers.

With the MRT testing, it showed that all the foods I was consuming I was sensitive to. After eliminating the foods and completely changing my diet I started seeing better results. The LEAP Program has taught me all new concepts about what we eat, when and why we should eat the way we need to for our own individual bodies.

I doesn’t happen over night and if it wasn’t for Donna Wolf encouraging me throughout the process I wouldn’t have kept going and wouldn’t have understood that the foods we eat can change the way we feel. I now feel healthier, happier and I have so much more energy with my new found lifestyle.

Candice Lai – San Diego, CA January 5, 2017

Leaky Gut, What It Is & Why It’s Significant

Leaky Gut What It Is and Why It's SignificantSo many symptoms we experience on a daily basis are directly related to our nutritional fitness. The human body is a wonderfully made synergistic organism that continually seeks homeostasis, or balance, or as we understand it: good health. This is an ongoing daily process involving millions of cellular reactions, dependent upon adequate nutrients, and optimal organ function (stomach & intestines, brain, kidneys, liver, adrenals, thyroid, heart). When our bodies don’t get the proper amounts and combinations of nutrients, or are overwhelmed by ALL the toxins in our foods (sugar being a big one), medications, cleaning chemicals, pesticides, BPA from plastics and mercury, the body becomes out of balance, or “sick”. When we combine that scenario on a regular basis with lack of adequate sleep, and daily stress excesses, our bodies are well on the way down the road to chronic disease.

Health is a continuum. It goes from optimal health & wellness to chronic disease. One does NOT go to bed well and all of a sudden, wake up with diabetes, or heart disease, or cancer. These diseases are continually progressing from birth. We have cancerous cells circulating in our bodies all the time, and the job of an optimally functioning immune system is to find those cells and take them out!

We can determine how far down that chronic disease road we are, by the symptoms we experience. Symptoms are the body’s natural warning system that something is wrong, or out of balance. Symptoms do not occur because we are deficient in drug therapy! Symptoms occur because we are nutrient deficient and toxin overloaded. Putting more chemicals/medications into the body to alleviate these warning signals only makes your health problems worse. Focusing on WHY you are having symptoms and WHAT are the cause, is the key to regaining optimal health, AND the essence of “Functional Medicine & Nutrition practice.

In this post we are discussing the health of The Gut: the stomach and intestines. Most health problems start here. Hippocrates, the famous father of modern medicine called it years ago when he announced “All Disease Begins In The Gut“. He was one smart intuitive doctor.
Eighty percent of your immune system is in the gut, as is most of our microbiome. Our microbiome is the vast colony of microorganisms that live off of us. It includes symbiotic, commensal and pathogenic bacteria along with fungi and viruses. That microbiome is as numerous as our body cells and contains equivalent amounts of DNA. What goes on between the gut microorganisms, and our immune system pretty much determines our overall health status. All these cells speak to each other, and control all those cellular reactions I spoke of earlier. (If you really want to delve into this topic check out this website:


When we abuse our body, the Standard American Way, with toxin overload, too much chronic stress, infections, lack of sleep, BAD DIET- (including too much sugar & gluten), and then fail to nourish it properly with all the nutrients the body craves, from organic, non-GMO food, the gut eventually breaks down and becomes out of balance, or SICK. It breaks down to the point of becoming “”LEAKY” or “Permeable”. That means toxins and proteins (including allergens) are not being processed or eliminated properly and leaking into the bloodstream, through the damaged junctions between the cells lining the gut. This in turn causes a massive immune reaction. This happens because the immune cells recognize these toxins and proteins as foreign invaders, so a major attack is launched to destroy them. Leaky gut is extremely prevalent in America today. I see it in my practice on a daily basis.


Signs and symptoms of LEAKY Gut are easily recognized. Here are the major ones:

Food and Chemical Sensitivities- to more than just dairy, wheat/gluten, corn. You can become sensitive to the very super-foods you love and eat daily, which may never have bothered you before.

  • Allergies and Asthma
  • Fatigue, Fibromyalgia
  • Mood Issues: Brain Fog, Depression, Anxiety, & Mood Swings
  • Malabsorption: Diarrhea, Gas, Bloating, Abdominal Pain, Cramping, Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: IBS, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease
  • Inflammatory Skin Conditions: Eczema, Psoriasis, Dermatitis, Acne
  • Autoimmune Disease: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Celiac Disease, Diabetes
  • Hormone Imbalances


FIRST issue is to clean up your diet: remove the toxic load,, and have less exposure to all the toxins in the environment, including pesticides, herbicides, BPA—in plastics, mercury and other heavy metals. Cut out the processed, prepared and take-out foods. Eliminate “diet” foods and artificial sweeteners.

Cut back on all added sugar and gluten containing foods. Healing the gut also involves identifying triggers to inflammation, also known as food & chemical sensitivities. By identifying those, and systematically eliminating them from the diet, until they are no longer triggers, is a path to extensive gut healing. Replace those unhealthy foods by nourishing yourself with clean, organic “real” food, prepared at home, using simple ingredients that you recognize. For mild cases of Leaky Gut, this may be enough, especially if you are just beginning to notice symptoms and do not already have the chronic diseases mentioned.

NEXT STEP is lifestyle change.

Start getting daily restful sleep, of 7-9 hrs. AND manage stress effectively. This is easier said and done, but remember STRESS KILLS and so does sleep deprivation. The CDC has identified that 30 % of American adults (40.6 million) are sleep deprived (get less than 6 hr. restful sleep on a daily basis). It is a major cause of accidents, errors and lost productivity. Start by making small changes to your schedule to accommodate longer, restful sleep (sleep hygiene), and simple techniques to help relieve stress (meditation, yoga, music, reading, prayer, exercise, breathing exercises, positive mindset, gratitude journaling, etc.)

The next step is the repairing of that leaky gut.. Supporting the gut with nutrients known to heal is also important. Probiotics-(especially B. Clausii), prebiotics, L-glutamine and healthy fats support healing and feed that precious microbiome that needs to flourish with good bacteria.

If you still have symptoms after following the above recommendations, I would recommend you contact me for an appointment to analyze your case and do appropriate MRT and/or stool testing. MRT is the MEDIATOR RELEASE TEST, which is essential in identifying Food & Chemical Sensitivities. Combined with the LEAP dietary protocol, this medical nutrition therapy is the best for healing inflammatory gut issues. Using a dietary approach to handle a dietary health issue, is the only way to get true healing and resolution of problems. I am a CLT, Certified LEAP Therapist, trained in administering the MRT


Here is a great detoxing broth recipe to begin your journey back to health. It was developed by a CLT LEAP Practitioner.

Detox Broth: Makes 6 cups
10 cups filtered water (at least by Brita or better water filter, now’s your excuse to buy one!)
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 turnip, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, chopped
1-2 celery stalks, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
2 leeks, rinsed well, chopped*
2 cups cabbage or kale, rinsed well, chopped, packed
Chopped parsley
Fresh ginger
Dried sweet basil
Dried oregano
Spritz of lemon1.
Fill a large stockpot with the filtered water. Add chopped veggies and herbs and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 2 hours.2. Strain and drink warm 2 to 3 cups a day as a nutritional and filling snack. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.3. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the fridge for 3 to 5 days

Testimonial – Michelle B.

I found Donna earlier this year after I began seriously questioning my lifestyle habits and overall health. I was a 28 year old woman eating fast food and pizza everyday, tired, irritated, battling daily headaches and migraines. I had been caring for my ill father and then said goodbye and was watching myself follow in his unhealthy footsteps and wondering seriously if cardiovascular disease and diabetes were in my future (I’m sure they were). I knew I needed help to change so I searched “dietitian” on Yelp and Donna’s profile stood out to me so I called and made an appointment!

When I first met with Donna she had me fill out detailed questionnaires to get to know me and my habits and genes. I didn’t really know what to expect or if she would just put me on a diet to follow but after meeting with her and going over all of my symptoms (aches, pains, fatigue, anxiety, migraines and headaches) she suggested I sign up for a LEAP MRT testing and protocol to follow. I can’t explain this protocol as well as she does (call her!) but basically I took a blood test to see what foods I’m sensitive to and then started followed a strict guideline of foods that I tested ok for and then each week reintroduced more foods to see if I’m sensitive or not to them.

Long story short, after a few weeks into the protocol I started feeling better and better!! (I’m not gonna lie, the first few day were rough and I felt as if I was detoxing.) The best part of following this protocol is that it really makes you change your habits. Eating healthy, shopping and preparing foods, and exercising daily are new habits for me and I enjoy them all! I was a huge skeptic that by simply changing your diet you could really feel better and have more energy but I was so wrong. If you’re ready to start eating better, feeling better and preventing serious diseases and illness, call Donna!

Michelle B. -Valley Center, CA December 12, 2016

Testimonial – Deborah M.

I’ve battled to maintain a healthy weight for most of my adult years. In addition, I am now lactose and gluten intolerant and had my gallbladder removed last year. I have a family history of heart disease, hypertension, cancer and diabetes. Six months ago I decided it was time to work with a dietitian to make sure I was eating a nutritionally-balanced diet that would support my goals to be as healthy as possible, lose weight and make sure I’m making good food choices.

I always thought I could obtain these goals on my own. I totally understand how the body metabolizes food, the importance of exercise, how to plan good meals. But I undervalued the importance of having someone – an objective someone – to meet with on a regular basis. Donna Wolf holds me accountable. Not everyone needs that, but I do.

Donna has helped me – and is helping me – to have a better relationship with food, to be patient about weight loss because my metabolism needs to be repaired, and works with me to find tools and solutions that motivate me to achieve my goals. For example, a food diary is really important, especially in the beginning, but after keeping one for months I realized it was now a chore for me. Donna realized that with just one question, and offered me a different way to track my behaviors. And her handouts are awesome. They support with research and give practical tools you can implement.

Since working with Donna, I feel STRONGER. I now better understand the triggers that make me overeat, I am exercising more (and more frequently), I am eating a wider variety of foods, and most importantly, I have Donna on my side … she is sympathetic, knowledgeable, and guides me to understand what I need to do to realize my goals.

For those of you who are struggling with similar issues, I would highly recommend you work with Donna Wolf.

Debbie Murray, September 21, 2016

Testimonial – Mick S.

I’ve had psoriatic arthritis for 15 years. The severity of my arthritis during the first 14 years was mild: 1-2 painful fingers which were easily treated with NSAIDS and often went into remission. During this past year, however, my arthritis became much worse, making joints in my feet, legs, hips, arms, and hands very painful. I noticed that certain foods made my condition worse, and when I fasted for a medical exam my joint pain felt significantly better. Research into this phenomena led me to the concept of food sensitivities, to the LEAP Protocol/Diet, and to Donna Wolf.

Under Donna’s expert care I’ve been on the LEAP Diet for over 6 months. LEAP uses the “MRT” blood test to generate an initial list of foods that are likely to cause inflammation-causing food sensitivities, and foods that are not. The diet is phased starting with the least sensitive foods on the MRT list, then other low sensitivity foods are introduced to see how your body reacts. At the end of the phased diet a large list of foods was generated that were proven to not cause inflammation and pain. This process would not have been possible without Donna Wolf’s expertise. Donna ordered the MRT test and guided the LEAP process every step of the way. She instructed me on how the LEAP process works, made adjustments to my food list, answered any EMAIL/Phone questions I had, and recommended high quality supplements that dovetailed with my list of low sensitivity foods.

The results were nothing less than astounding. My joint pain is several orders of magnitude better than when I started LEAP. The pain in my feet, knees, and hips is vastly improved. The pain in my fingers, arms, and shoulders is significantly improved and getting better every week I adhere to my low sensitivity foods. Before I started LEAP I could barely get out of a chair. Walking was extremely painful, and using my hands for everyday tasks was very painful or not possible. 6 months later I am fully mobile and hope to be pain free in the coming months. A huge side benefit of the LEAP diet is that I’ve lost over 30 pounds and my blood pressure is down 20 points. LEAP is a whole foods diet which tends to be low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, and very high in fiber.

In summary, I URGE anyone with arthritis or other inflammatory disease to consider the LEAP Protocol/Diet and make an appointment with Donna Wolf. Your doctor/rheumatologist will likely not tell you about food sensitivities and/or LEAP because he/she likely doesn’t know about it (or doesn’t want to tell you about it!). The LEAP Diet is the closest thing there is to a cure for my arthritis, it has changed my life for the better!

Mick S., San Diego, October 6, 2016

Testimonial – Anna S

Donna Wolf and the LEAP protocol have helped me tremendously!

Prior to the protocol I had constant nasal congestion and hay fever and constipation. I tried on my own to eat better, drink plenty of water and exercise, but my symptoms never improved. I was desperate to find something other than going to my MD to be told to eat more fiber, drink water, exercise and take a decongestant…I knew there had to be another way.

Prior to my appointment, I completed a very detailed questionnaire of my medical history, and symptoms I was currently experiencing. On my first visit Donna discussed my medical history in great detail and explained in the value of the MRT blood test and how it identifies food & chemical sensitivities that could possibly be causing my symptoms.

Donna helped me to understand my results and my all phases of my customized food plan. LEAP protocol has really improved my symptoms, from a starting score of 52 down to a 2 in a matter of five months. I have more energy, no more waking with nasal congestion, hay fever and after taking her recommended probiotics, my constipation greatly improved and I’ve lost weight.

BUT the biggest surprise for me was my reaction to mosquito bites, since I was young – the bites would swell to the point where I’d have to go to the doctor’s office and get antibiotics. WELL, while on vacation a month ago… I did get bitten; BUT to my surprise, the mosquito bites did not swell or get infected! I know this was all due to my immune system finally being able to fight off infection…..where as before LEAP— my system was in an inflammatory state and unable to fight infection.

LEAP worked for me, I now enjoy trying new foods, planning meals and cooking again. I definitely recommend Healthy Directions to anyone who is suffering with constant allergies and constipation; but best of all…Donna is wonderful to work with!

Anna S., Fallbrook, CA October 24, 2016

Fall is a Great Time to Check Our Health Habits Before the Holidays Hit Us

Beautiful fall colors by the country road.This is a time of year when things can easily get out of control if we lack a plan of action, & established healthy behaviors. So much emphasis is put on overeating in our culture, especially this time of year: Halloween trick or treats, football tailgating, comfort foods to warm us up on chilly nights, & Thanksgiving. We also get so busy that time for sleep, managing stress and exercise are pinched. Optimal health and wellness is a maintenance project that is on a continuum. It is something that needs to be practiced daily—a habit. Yo-yoing from healthy to unhealthy and back is far worse for you than just staying in one position. However if that position includes an abundance of unhealthy behaviors, you put yourself at daily risk of suffering, pain, fatigue, poor function & rapid aging. This position is completely unnecessary and totally in your control to change. Daily small steps practiced over time make us successful at any goals we want to achieve. And, starting TODAY, NOW is the best time to begin your Healthy Direction back to optimal health & wellness.

I have hundreds of clients who have the “all or nothing mindset” about health, nutrition and dieting when they first come to see me. Lots of positional thoughts about right & wrong ways of behaving/eating, and many assumptions about what foods are “good” or “bad”.  They also assume I will agree with this “diet police” mentality, and tell them they can’t have what they already assumed they should not be eating. This is what I call a “dieting” mentality and serious nutrition misinformation. Believing the “sound bites” of what you hear on the news, or posted on “health” blogs are not always correct or the whole story. Each of us is unique and individual, starting with our genes. Each of us come with our own specific needs, emotions, histories, likes and dislikes, education levels, and ability to foster change in our lives. One diet does not fit all, nor are any of the current trending diets appropriate for all. Nutrition is a complex science and our God given, wonderfully made bodies are even more complex.

It is my mission to help you learn how to change your health behaviors so you can be successful, navigate life, especially through “difficult” times like the holidays, and feel GREAT. I want regained health & vitality for all, and the remission of symptoms without drugs or surgery. So many of my clients don’t even realize how bad they have been feeling and how long they have been tolerating illness, until they actually start feeling better. That part is shocking to them, but I see it daily! My motto is: “we are sick, tired and fat because we are nutrient deficient and overloaded with toxins, NOT because we have DRUG deficiencies.” Drugs don’t heal. Like Hippocrates said, “Let Food be thy medicine”. (He was an original doctor.)

In light of this mission, I plan to regularly post an email to you with information you can use, once or twice a month. If you don’t like the info please tell me why, before you unsubscribe. I certainly welcome comments, feedback and sharing with your network. Remember I am on a correct information mission. Some of what I will post may be reposts from other sources like the one below about reverse psychology, based on actual studies (evidence based). There is a lot of money spent on this kind of research by food manufacturers, and advertisers to get you to buy what they want to sell you!

OFFERING A NEW CLIENT SPECIAL FOR THE FALL. This is to encourage you, your family or friends to tune up, and tune in, before the onslaught of the holidays. In keeping with having a healthy plan of action, I am offering a THREE (3) VISIT PACKAGE FOR $199.00. It includes a nutrition & health assessment, and initial get going plan on the first visit. The following 2 visits we’ll get into more depth, education and coaching. I have many resources and recipes to share, to begin establishing and practicing healthy behaviors without suffering or feeling deprived! Come Dec. 31st those clients will be happy campers knowing they don’t have to overcome the damage normally done from Oct to Jan 1st, which can take easily take all of the new year to “fix”.

Here’s a recipe to enjoy the wonderful flavor and nutrition of the fall gourds, in season & plentiful now. I use butternut squash, which is my favorite, but any winter squash will do, including pumpkin. What is great about this recipe are; -the ease of preparation; -adaptable to any flavor profile you desire by changing or adding spices; and -nutrition packed: super high in Vitamin A, fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants and other nutrients that keep our skin, eyes and immune system working well, keep us regular, and eat up the free radicals that cause aging and damage to our DNA (ie cancer), and so many more benefits. Best of all it is delicious without a lot of calories. Good for tailgates, quick weeknight meal w/ salad & whole grain bread or crackers, or as a snack before a party/dinner, so you don’t devour unhealthy appetizers. Make a double batch & freeze leftovers for a quick, ready meal.


Spiced Butternut Squash SoupButternut Squash

1 large Butternut Squash about 3 lbs.

1 large sweet onion diced fine

2 Tlb. vegetable oil (olive, peanut or canola)

1 Qt. broth/stock–low sodium Chicken or vegetable (organic is the best)

2-3 tsp. grated fresh ginger or 1 tsp dry (to taste)

½ tsp. allspice

½ tsp. turmeric

Garnish: ¼ c freshly chopped parsley and (lowfat) sour cream

OR ½ c pine nuts toasted with paprika


Wash squash. Peel with vegetable peeler until dark orange flesh is revealed. Using a heavy gourd knife, cut squash in two. Scoop out seeds with melon ball tool, or sharp spoon. Continue to cut squash into large diced pieces. Place all pieces in a steamer with lid and steam until soft, about 5-8 minutes. OR place pieces in microwave safe pan. Add 2 Tlb. of water. Cover. Microwave on full power for 16 minutes. Place cooked squash and a small amount of liquid in into food processor. Process until pureed.

NOTE: Up to this point, recipe can be prepared ahead and stored in refrigerator (2-3 days) or freezer.

In a 4-6 Qt saucepan, heat oil. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until soft & translucent. Add pureed squash & mix. Gradually add broth, mixing well until you get desired consistency. (Add more broth, if mixture is too thick to your liking.) Add spices. Bring to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Garnish with parsley & dollop of sour cream. Serve.

OPTIONS: This soup can be spiced any way you like. Instead of ginger & allspice, try nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, curry, cumin, Chinese 5 spice, or galangal.

For a creamy consistency add 1 cup low fat sour cream in last 5 minutes of cooking, but do not boil. For a tropical and vegan version, try 1 cup lowfat coconut milk, and use coconut water or vegetable broth, instead of chicken broth.

Yields approx: 2 quarts, or 8- 1 cup servings

Per Serving (original recipe, no cream, nuts or coconut): 100 calories, 3 gm. prot., 14 gm. carb, 3.5 gm. fat, 2 ½ mg cholesterol, 50-285 mg sodium, and 2 gm. fiber. This dish is an excellent source of Vitamin A, phytochemicals & other antioxidants.

Reverse psychology: sometimes it works like a charm, sometimes it backfires.

Oftentimes, telling someone not to do something is the surest way to get them to do it. “Whatever you do, don’t look in the closet!” No, really, don’t buy me a birthday present!”

So what about when it comes to food? If people are given negative messages about certain ingredients—sugar, for example—do they tend to consume more of the foods that contain those ingredients, or less? Are reactions to negative messages different when the messages are coupled with positive messages? And do these results apply to everyone, or only to people who are already attempting to follow a particular type of diet?

A study conducted by researchers at Arizona State University, published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research provided preliminary answers to all three of these questions. The title of the research, “Messages from the Food Police: How Food-Related Warnings Backfire among Dieters” certainly hints as to the outcome. According to the study authors: “…dieters (but not non-dieters) who see a message focusing on the negative aspects of unhealthy food (vs. a positive or neutral message) increase their desire for and consumption of unhealthy foods. In contrast, dieters who see a two-sided message (focusing on both the negative and positive aspects of unhealthy food) are more likely to comply with the message, thereby choosing fewer unhealthy foods. Our research suggests that negatively worded food warnings […] are unlikely to work—non-dieters ignore them, and dieters do the opposite.”

Study Specifics:

The Arizona State researchers compiled the results of three separate studies. In the first, 380 participants read a positive, negative or neutral message about a dessert. Individuals who were dieting and saw the negative message paradoxically had more positive thoughts about unhealthy foods, while the negative message had a neutral effect on non-dieters. Study co-author Nguyen Pham speculated that negative messages made the unhealthy foods seem more attractive—perhaps a kind of “forbidden fruit” effect. more

During the second study, 397 participants saw a one-sided positive or negative message about sugary foods, followed by a brief video, and were then presented with chocolate chip cookies. Dieters who had seen the negative message about sugar consumed 39% more cookies than dieters who had seen the positive message. (Once again, however, participants not actively on a diet were unaffected.) In the third study, 324 participants were exposed to one of three messages about food: one-sided positive, one-sided negative, or a two-sided messages, which presented both positive and negative information. When subsequently asked to choose a snack, the negative message was associated with a 30% higher unhealthy snack choice than the positive message. Dieters who saw the balanced message selected 47% fewer unhealthy snacks than those who saw the negative message.

So what’s going on here? There could be a kind of reverse psychology at work, or perhaps dieters are simply fed up with conflicting messages about the healthfulness of foods and are either deliberately or subconsciously exerting their autonomy by “sticking it to the man,” so to speak, and intentionally consuming more of the foods they believe they’re being cautioned to avoid. One could hardly blame them, considering the fairly recent exonerations of dietary cholesterol and saturated fats, which had been health and nutrition’s public enemy numbers one and two for many decades. When evidence points to institutionally reinforced advice having been incorrect, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that negative messages about certain foods are not automatically trusted and taken at face value. The growing vilification of sugar and high omega-6 vegetable oils could well backfire: fool the consumers once, shame on the “experts.” Fool them twice, shame on them.

Study co-author Naomi Mandel noted, “negative messages about unhealthy food will backfire among dieters. If you want to change what they eat, a more even-handed message that contains both positive and negative information is the way to go.”

So how can healthcare professionals apply these findings in their practices? For patients who struggle with making difficult—but necessary—changes to their diet, it might help them resist temptation if they see certain foods as not being entirely off limits (because of negative messaging), but rather, that it’s their choice to avoid those foods most of the time, with a small amount of wiggle room to indulge once in a while. For example, even for refined flour and sugar-laden goodies, like cupcakes or brownie sundaes, there might be a time and place to consume them, such as a birthday or while on vacation. Special treats can fit into an otherwise healthful diet, provided they remain special treats, instead of becoming a nightly dessert ritual—or worse—dessert for breakfast. When forbidden fruit seems less forbidden, the desire to consume it may decrease just enough for someone to make a better choice—at least, until the next holiday!