Previous month:
January 2012
Next month:
March 2012

February 2012

Kale without fail


Cheesy kale chips
Nacho ordinary kale chips (see what I did there?).

My first attempt at making kale chips was a disaster. I think I baked them too long and at too high a temperature, and they came out like a pile of late autumn leaves. They would have been more enjoyable to jump in instead of trying to eat those crispy burnt things.


I was determined to try again, especially after I discovered dinosaur kale. It's flatter and tastier than regular curly kale with a smoother surface area to bake more evenly.

I also baked the chips at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, which worked really well. I cut the kale into bigger pieces, too, because it shrinks as it bakes. I sprayed the raw kale squares with a tiny bit of organic Pam spray (yes, there's an organic variety!). Then I very lightly sprinkled the kale with Kernel Seasons Nacho Cheese popcorn seasoning. Yep, nacho cheese kale chips!

They came out crispy, not burned, and seasoned perfectly.

I sliced up the rest of the washed kale and it's in the fridge for the next time I want my next nacho cheese kale fix.


Every weekday morning, I help put together the webpage for Health News Florida, a nonprofit website that compiles health-related stories from around the state and also features original reporting.

Tuesday morning, I was trolling for consumer stories and found this headline:

Total rethink needed on dieting: scientists


To sum up, researchers at the National Institutes of Health, speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver, have come up with a completely new way to calculate the amount of calories needed to lose weight and then keep it off.

The new model gives dieters a calorie target to reach your goal weight and another for permanent weight loss. Exercise is also calculated in.

I checked out the NIH Human Weight Simulator (you can check it out HERE) and plugged in my current weight, my target weight, how long I want it to take and my activity level.

As the Beastie Boys say, ch-check it out!


Human wt simulator

Not sure whether you can read it, but I decided I want to get to 175 pounds in 180 days (not my goal-goal but pretty darn close). And based on my current activity level (which is butt-kicking mode), I can eat around 1,300 calories a day, which is more in link with what I've been suspecting than the recommended 1,500-1,700 calories a day that basically have me maintaining my weight.

Intrigued by the notion of this ACTUALLY WORKING, I'm going to try and hit this target every day. Not a lot of calories but tests done on adults showed that this model was accurate.

You can click on various advanced controls, one of which shows how many calories you need to burn in a day to "make your burn" as they say on The Biggest Loser.

You can also tweak the percentage of carbs in your diet, your current body fat percentage and other variables.

It's pretty cool and validates what I've been experiencing all alone -- cutting my calories more than I want while exercising like a madwoman will take off the weight.



There are no miracles


Weight-loss "miracles" have been peddled for-freaking-ever. The ad above is more than 100 years old.

So is it any surprise that Monday's Dr. Oz Show had nearly a half-dozen groundbreakingamazeballswondersupermiracle supplements that he says will help you lose weight? After all, it's February and that means it's ratings sweeps month. So the show is going full bore on weight loss "miracles."

Here's a little thing I keep in mind when the next big miracle comes along.

Remember hoodia?

Drug companies were wrestling each other to harness the magical properties that were said to curb people's appetites. Then 60 Minutes traveled to Africa to chew on that plant with a bunch of bushmen and America went nuts. Would this be the weight-loss magic bullet?

But in 2008 this, from Unilever:

"Having invested 20 million pounds in R&D, Unilever abandoned plans to use the slimming extract hoodia in a range of diet products. We stopped the project because our clinical studies revealed that products using hoodia would not meet our strict standards of safety and efficacy."

The takeaway (at least for me): If there's a supplement out there that is actually effective at helping people lose weight, everyone would be taking it by now. And a giant drug company would be selling it.

No, there are no miracles, no short cuts. There is only hard work.

Tiny trail mix and other small victories

See this?


Gail trail mix

That's my new "go fuel." I call it Tiny Trail Mix because it's simply a tablespoon of raisins and a tablespoon of chopped walnuts. Around 70 calories, I eat this before I go running. I used to just run on an empty stomach but I was feeling a little sluggish during the early part of my runs and this clean little bit of carbs and healthy fats seems to do the trick. The two times I've used this I've had a much easier time getting up to speed and staying there.


So, the small victories.

I'd been pretty stuck on the scale the past month but over the weekend I was playing around with a retractable tape measure I got from Dr. Oz's Transformation Nation initiative. I wrapped it around my waist and was surprised to see that it was 2 inches less than the last time I measured my waist, which was probably in summer.

Then this morning, I got on the scale and saw that I dropped 2 1/2 pounds this past week. That's not a small victory -- that's a huge one.


Cut the yoyo

I'm now on the bottom of the yo-yo again. And my goal this week is to cut that damn yo-yo string.


Revolution Friday: What's your favorite breakfast?

image from
Today's tip is from celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak: Breakfast is the best way to start your day. Make sure every breakfast has a low-fat protein and a fibrous carbohydrate. Even a bowl of healthy cereal with non-fat milk and some berries is a great way to get started in the right way.

From me: Today's breakfast is what I'd call the "Weight Loss Blogger Special": A packet of low-sugar Quaker oatmeal mixed with a scoop of vanilla whey protein, a tablespoon of ground flax, a tablespoon of chopped walnuts, a giant dash of cinnamon and 6 ounces of almond milk. (Talk about healthy stereotyping, huh?) Lots of fiber, protein and healthy fats, and yes it did taste good -- thanks for asking!

Do you have a favorite breakfast?

The Revolution features a team of experts that will help complete transformations in all areas of life including body, health, style, mind and environment by providing tips and tools to motivate viewers and serve as a catalyst for change. Featuring design expert Ty Pennington; style guru Tim Gunn; celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak; OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Ashton; and therapist Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry. The Revolution airs weekdays at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on ABC. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter (@TheRevolution). For more information, visit (We were not compensated for these posts; we just like the show!)