My New Site is up!

I am so excited to announce that my new blog, The Happy Gal, is up and running. Don’t worry – I’m still sharing all of the same great information. It’s just a lot more fun and user-friendly than before. My mission with the Happy Gal is to inspire women to love their lives. I believe that life is short, and you just get one shot at it, and The Happy Gal is there help you make it a happy one. So be sure to check it out – Hope to see you soon!

Long Time No Hear

Dear Followers,

You’ve probably noticed that my posts have dried up. I’m still here, don’t worry. There is no end to the fantastic things I want to share! I’ve just decided to make some major changes to the way I am giving it to you.

My goal is to have a brand new blog ready by the end of April. It will have a new name ( and a new look, while still offering all of the same great New View Better YOU information – just organized in a way that is much more user-friendly.

So get ready for a new experience with me. If you are feeling overwhelmed or burned out in life, this blog is for you. If you want to feel better about your body, or learn to take the time you need for yourself, stay tuned. If you dread what you wake up to each morning, if you feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it, if your life or home is disorganized and chaotic, or if you can’t seem to make permanent changes no matter how hard you try, then The Happy Gal might be just what you’ve been looking for. I am excited to share systems and solutions with you to help you overcome all of these challenges, so you can feel happier and love your life.

So get ready!  The Happy Gal is only three weeks away.

Can’t wait to connect with you again.  Talk to you soon!


Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad With Poppyseed Dressing

I am a shameless copycat.  If I have a good salad at a restaurant, I come home and do my best to recreate it. Over time, I’ve realized that this isn’t hard, especially if you have some great salad dressings to serve with it.  This spinach salad was one I had at a restaurant called “Trio,” and I think I have improved it because it’s healthied up for you.  Remember, these salads come together quickly and easily when you have things chopped up in advance.  My strategy is to grill each Monday night for dinner, and prepare a great salad to go with it.  Then I have eggs cooked, chicken ready, veggies chopped, and nuts carmelized.  It’s just a matter of tossing it together in a bowl when it’s time for lunch.

So invest in yourself and plan a good salad for lunch.  It’s healthy, it will taste great, and you will feel taken-care of.  Can’t beat that!

Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Spinach leaves

Hard boiled eggs (no yolks)

Bacon bits

Chopped tomato

Low fat blue cheese

Sliced Green onions

Combine and serve with Poppyseed Dressing

Poppy Seed Dressing

2 Tbsp. Onion, freshly chopped

1/2 c. Sugar

1 Tbsp. Dry Mustard

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/3 C. Cider Vinegar

3/4 C. Olive Oil

1 1/2 Tbsp. Poppy Seed

Few drops of lemon juice

In a blender, mix onion.  Then add sugar, mustard, salt, cider vinegar and onion juice. Beat oil in gradually until smooth. Stir in poppy seeds. Chill before serving.

I will use this dressing for other salad recipes in later C.H.O.W. posts.  It stores conveniently in a small blender bottle and later, when you need it, you’ll be set to throw together a great salad in a pinch.

Rubbermaid Salad Kit

Salad Kit

I think everyone should be as excited about this product as I am!

Okay, if you haven’t ever considered buying any of the other products I have featured on New View, this week should be the week to seriously think about it.  I’m not kidding.  As I have invested time and energy into creating a healthy body, I want to be able to continue that lifestyle—even on the go or at family picnics. And what is the ultimate picnic food?  A sandwich.  And sandwiches are fine, especially if you use sandwich thins and use fat free dressings…but why not eliminate the processed carbs all together and enjoy one of your favorite salads instead?

Let me step into salesman mode and give you all of the features:

* I love that it has a separate compartment for lettuce so it will stay crisp (and won’t absorb all of the moisture from the other salad ingredients.)

* In the spirit of freshness, the kit has a top tray where you can store those salad ingredients, so toppings like nuts or carrots can stay crunchy.

* That top tray that has a little container for your salad dressing. (No more small salad dressing containers floating around in the picnic basket.  It’s contained with the salad kit.)

* In the ultimate spirit of pampering, it even has an ice pack that seals to the bottom of the container to keep your salad cold.  Does it get any better than that?

So you can probably tell how much I love this little container. It has made it easy to pick friendly foods when on the go.  These have even made great gifts for friends.  So order one today.  You know you want one!

Protein Fruit Smoothie

Protein Fruit Smoothie

1 scoop vanilla protein powder*

1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

1 sliced banana, frozen

2 T. crushed pineapple, drained and frozen

8 oz. water**

dash of coconut extract

Blend and enjoy for breakfast, snacks, or dessert.

  • I recommend the Body Fortress Whey Protein – (vanilla) – I love the flavor.  When choosing a protein powder, you’ll want to look for the following nutritional guidelines:  20-30 g. carbs, 12-25 grams protein, 2-6 grams fat, 120-220 calories.
  • I use water instead of milk to reduce calories.  The frozen banana provides the creamy texture you look for from milk.


Can’t wait for Lunch!

It’s time to take back lunch, ladies.  I’m serious.  Ask yourself (and be honest:) do you look forward to lunch?  If the answer is no, then take a good look at what you’ve been eating:  crusts from the kids’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  The half of the grilled cheese that your two-year-old rejected?  Leftover lasagna from dinner for the third day in a row?  Would you ever feed this to anyone in your family and expect them to eat it?  So why do you do it to yourself?

Without getting too deep, (this is a lunch post, after all) I wonder if the way we take care of ourselves at lunch time isn’t a metaphor for how we take care of ourselves in lives.  Would we talk to anyone else the way we talk to ourselves?  (You know what I mean; those times you think to yourself: “I look fat in those pants.”  “I can’t believe I just said that!”  “My kids are a disgrace.”)  Would we expect from anyone what we expect of ourselves?  (such as the unrealistic to-do list, perfectly behaved children, flawless home…)  But I digress. This is a subject for another day.

Well, let’s get it right in one area of our lives.  Let’s do lunch, and let’s do it right!  You deserve it!

Based on the nutrition philosophy I’ve shared with you, I focus my lunch around a lean protein, and I skip the bread.  Those standards would have paralyzed me a few years ago.  I couldn’t think outside the sandwich box.  But with a little insight and experience, I’ve discovered some great solutions.


Hold on!  Don’t go anywhere.  I’m not talking about the open-a-bag-of-lettuce-and-pour-ranch-over-it kind of salad.  That is the emotional equivalent of the kids’ crusts. I’m talking about gourmet, out-to-lunch, makes-my-mouth-water-just-thinking-about-it kind of salad.  I have a whole army of them, and I’ve already shared several with you on my C.H.O.W. posts, such as Chicken Craisin Salad, BBQ Chicken Salad, Buffalo Chicken Salad, and even using Salsa Chicken to make a great salad.  This week ‘s C.H.O.W., Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing, is another great recipe to try.  Salads come together easily with just a few strategies (which I will share soon in my upcoming post, “Salad Strategies”) and give you a lunch you can look forward to.

Craizen Salad Edited

Sandwiches and Wraps

Remember, the idea is to minimize or eliminate the amount of bread you consume.  Any of your favorite sandwiches can be adapted by substituting a low-carb wrap or bun…or better yet, skip the bread altogether and wrap in a romaine leaf.  Replace mayonnaise with fat free honey mustard, mustard, or low fat salad dressings.   Taco fillings also make good wraps.

lettuce wraps

Baked Potato Bar

Regular potatoes are high on the glycemic index, so as someone who has never been overly attached to potatoes, making the switch to sweet potatoes and yams has been natural and easy.  Explore a variety of toppings.  One of my favorite tricks is piling on the green onions, pecans, feta cheese, and craisins (see my upcoming C.H.O.W. post called “Loaded Yam.”)  I know it sounds like a weird combination, but you’ve got to try it!

Loaded Potatoe


I love soups in the fall and winter.  Some of my favorites are taco soup, chicken tortilla soup, and white bean chili (All coming soon on C.H.O.W.  Give me some time, ladies! I can’t post everything all at once.)  I love these recipes because I can top them with so many delicious and healthy garnishes – green onion, chopped tomato, sliced avocado, olives, fat free sour cream, fat free cheese, cilantro.  Yum!  Now, surely you know me well enough by now.  I’m not whipping up a fresh pot of soup at 11:30 every morning.  Think smarter, not harder.  I am cooking ahead and utilizing my freezer meals.  I simply plan to make dinners that will give me good leftovers for lunch, or freeze dinners in single-serving portions to pull out for lunch.

Tortillia Soup

I could go on, but you have other things to do today besides read this post.  What I’m trying to say is, there’s no need to dread lunch.

Sometimes I have a stray thought suggesting to me that I’m selfish for preparing myself such a nice lunch.  After all, my poor kids are still eating peanut butter and jam!  But here is the reality:  my body deserves to be nourished, and no one else is going to do it for me.  And maybe the best part about it is what I’m teaching my children- that you can easily take good care of yourself even when you are taking care of other people, too. So invest in yourself, because no one else will.  Plan good lunches for the week that you can both look forward to with anticipation, and remember eating without any guilt.

The Skinny on Carbs

“Man cannot live on protein alone.”

Okay, so I am taking some creative liberties here.  But it’s true.  Contrary to some of the fad diets that have emerged in recent years, our bodies need more than chicken and eggs.  That’s mostly because we have requirements for our bodies beyond looking good.  (I feel pretty strongly about that one.  See my post about “Body Image.”)  Protein does promote muscle growth and development (which is the key to a fat-burning metabolism, – and that’s cool…) BUT carbs are what fuel us to do everything else.  And personally, I value a good night’s sleep, a thick head of hair, a healthy immune system, plenty of energy, and balanced hormones, to name a few.  That’s where the carbs come in.  But carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap lately.  “Low Carb” this and “No Carb” that…Let’s get the skinny on what is really going on.

Carbohydrates are our fuel.  Too much fuel can make us fat, but here is where we need to remember those old lectures from health class about complex and refined carbohydrates, You know what these are.  Refined carbs are the processed, packaged, foods – like crackers, chips, and candy.  Complex carbs are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.  Isn’t it interesting to note that in this society that preaches against being overweight, we have a HUGE double standard?  All of the “good food” that we celebrate with, reward with, and indulge with, are refined carbohydrates.  And we do a lot of celebrating, rewarding, and indulging.  Like, almost every day.

So let’s focus on the good stuff, the complex carbohydrates.   Remember the diagram on how to fix your plate? One-fourth of that plate gets to be filled with carbohydrates.   The following are some tips on how to choose those carbs that will compliment your proteins and work with your muscles to burn fat.

The Happy Gal Food Diagram

Choose Whole Grains

This means brown bread over white, brown rice over white, and brown tortillas over white ones.  (Basically, the only whites in your life should be coming from eggs.)  Get the picture?  And yes, this even means saying goodbye to white sugar (I’m sorry!).

Watch your Serving Size

Hold your hand out in front of you, and make a cup as if someone is pouring something into your hand.  Viola!  This is your own signature serving size when you are dishing up rice, pasta, or other grains.

Question Protocol

Okay, so you are making the shift.  You order your hamburger with a whole grain bun.  That’s the best you can do, right?  Think again.  Just because tradition has us using both sides of the bun doesn’t mean that we can’t think outside of the box (or fast food wrapper.)  Yes, a whole grain bun is an improvement over a white one.  But what if you ditched the top half of the bun?  Same thing with sandwiches?  Look for ways that you can not only shift from white to wheat, but also eliminate a portion of the traditional serving size.  As always, being full and satisfied is important (see Food is Your Friend,) so fill up on more salad, fruits, and veggies if needed.

Know What to Avoid

It is easy to fill your meals and snacks with crackers, rolls, pasta, and other refined carbohydrates.  Keep in mind that even with the shift to whole grains, these foods are still processed.  If it doesn’t grow naturally, ask yourself is there is a healthier substitute.  For example, I used to snack on deli turkey and a thin slice of cheese on whole grain crackers.  One day I realized that I could substitute the crackers with a cucumber slice. (see the C.H.O.W recipe for Turkey Cucumber Slices)   It was good, just in a different kind of way. I found that over time I actually preferred the cucumber to the cracker.

For Faster Results

If you desire faster results in your body, I have a little secret.  If you look at the definition of a carbohydrate, fruits and vegetables technically fall into the carb category.  Are you picking up what I’m dropping?  This means that you can actually substitute your grains and starchy carbs with vegetables (and sometimes fruits) and see a marked difference in your body.  It is definitely worth the experiment.  I never thought I would prefer a hamburger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun, or lasagna baked with zucchini strips instead of noodles…but I do.  (See my upcoming post on “What’s for Dinner” for more ideas on substituting for grains and starch.)  Trying out these ideas will give you more flexibility in indulging when there is something you really want to have (for me it is homemade rolls) by exposing what you are really not very attached to (for example, I have learned that I can live without mashed potatoes.)

So move over, South Beach!  The truth is out.  The Skinny on Carbs is that Carbs (the right ones) help us get skinny.  More importantly, they help to create a healthier body, a sharper mind, and a Better YOU.

What Do We Do About Sugar?

Oh, Sugar.  Why do you have to taste so good?


Let’s daydream for just a moment, shall we?  In the perfect world, cookie dough would be an essential part of a healthy diet.  Anything dipped in chocolate would provide needed vitamins and nutrients. There would be no such thing as proportions.  (My favorite comedian, Brian Regan, says a serving size should be when your spoon hits the bottom of the ice cream carton. Touche!)

Well, that ain’t happenin’!  Back to reality…

What are we going to do about sugar?  Does anyone else out there have a sweet tooth, too?

I am not the authority on this subject, largely because I have strong emotional ties to dessert.  But this much I do know – I find that when I deprive myself of all sugar, there is always a price to pay.  The pendulum always swings the other way, if you know what I mean.  And yet, there is this annoying idea that sugar is it’s own kind of addiction.  Reading between the lines, this means that once it’s in our bodies, we want more and more.  So what is a girl to do?

Also consider the big debate over what is better for you – actual, refined, processed white sugar – or sugar-free substitutes.  Well, here is the truth:  neither is great.  So either way, you pick your poison (literally.)  But there is this whole component to eating called “enjoyment,” and I believe in that.  Yes, I want to be healthy and fit and all of that, but sometimes food can be part of the celebration.  It’s not reality, nor is it lifestyle, to think that you will never eat any treats.  So I just try to choose treats that are my friends.

Yes, you read that right.  Treats can be a friend to your body.  Here is what to look for in a good friend (dessert friend, that is):

Look for a low-calorie version    I used to mock low-fat desserts.  “If you’re going to have dessert,” I reasoned, “Shouldn’t you just have what you love and enjoy it?”  On certain occasions, I think that is fair.  But tell me why I am getting up out of bed each morning and working hard to burn calories, if I’m just going to turn around and fill my body back up with them later in the day?  What if I could have a treat that would still give me some satisfaction, without undoing all of the benefit from my workouts?  I choose having the occasional low-calorie treat AND a fit body.  (Have your cake and eat it too…no pun intended.)

Incorporate protein into the dessert to make it into a meal  If I get a hankering for something sweet, and it is time to eat a snack, I can kill two birds with one stone by using a recipe like this week’s C.H.O.W., protein pudding.  In this dessert, I use sugar-free pudding and sugar-free cool whip (thus eliminating sugar from my body and re-introducing THAT addiction), and mix it up with skim milk and chocolate protein powder.  Create a lot of versions to keep it interesting:  stir the cool whip into the pudding to make a mousse; use different flavors of protein powder and pudding; put the pudding into a low-calorie graham crust and top with berries.

Search the Internet for “Healthy” Dessert Recipes   Some of my favorites are Chocolate Covered Katie, Fit Sugar – see this link for a year’s worth of Fit Sugar’s favorite desserts, and Green Lite Bites – this link is to her dessert page:

Also see my pinterest board for more great dessert recipes.

Last But Not Least…Investigate the Emotions Behind Your Craving    As I mentioned in this week’s post on emotional eating, there are reasons that we suddenly have cravings for certain kinds of foods.  Maybe for you it’s soda, fried foods, fast foods, or potato chips.  Sudden, impulsive desires for your favorite foods that sabotage your fitness and health don’t make sense – at least on the surface. But if you look deeper, you’ll discover a habit that has developed because of its ease.  It is easier to turn to food than it is to deal with the stressful, discouraging, or upsetting situation you are presently in.  Use these sudden cravings as an alarm system; they are warning you that you need to take care of yourself emotionally.  Snuff out those emotions with food, and you snuff out the opportunity to make yourself really happy.  So learn to distinguish between an impulsive craving and an appropriate time to have sugar (or something sweet.)

We make sugar into such a bad guy…but I don’t think he’s so bad.  I don’t mind having a few positive associations to dessert.  Life is meant to be enjoyed, and food is a part of that.  But I know when I am crossing the line, and that’s when I know I need a New View on what to do about sugar.

Related Posts:  Emotional Eating, Food is Your Friend

Emotional Eating

If you find yourself digging through the pantry at times of stress, boredom, or despair,then you need to read this post.

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart.  For many years, my secret shame was my habit of going to the pantry at night after the kids were all in bed, and eating away all of my stress, troubles, and lack of fulfillment.  Okay, and let me be honest.  It wasn’t just at night.  Late afternoon was a problem, and sometimes it would hit at other times during the day.  Deep down, had I allowed myself the awareness, I would have realized that I was trying to avoid difficult and unpleasant parts of my life.  But I didn’t have the tool of awareness in my toolbox until recently, and so the junk food continued to fill many voids in my life. Continue reading

Jungle Hour

I call from 5-6:00 “Jungle Hour.” Why?  Because otherwise civilized little human beings in my home suddenly turn wild at that time.  It truly stumps me.  I can’t decide if it’s low blood sugar before dinner, or the transition from afternoon to evening, or overstimulation from the day.  Whatever the case, teenagers become even more unreasonable, tweenagers don’t want to do their homework, and children age six and under begin to cry, tease each other, and stay within a 3-foot radius of me, no matter where I go. Including the bathroom.

One of the strange ironies of that hour is the simultaneous necessity of preparing dinner.  So let me give you the equation:  Ornery kids + browning hamburger + baby crying at your feet + everyone trying to sneak goldfish crackers and string cheese “because they’re hungry!” (I know they’re hungry.  Isn’t that why I am making dinner?)  You do the math.  That equation generally equals mom freaking out at some point, and then feeling guilty for the rest of the night because she doesn’t have more patience with her five spunky children. Continue reading