You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there. –Edwin Lewis Cole

I am a woman much like you, struggling with weight issues, sincerely searching for workable solutions. I’ve learned that if you can envision the body you want, you can embody that vision; and it’s not the individual diet plan you choose that matters most, it’s the methods you use with it and your commitment to making permanent lifestyle changes.  You can choose ANY healthy weight-loss program and I’ll show you how to transform it into a supercharged success.  —Nadia Giordana

In the book THINKING SKINNY you will learn step-by-step how Nadia lost 88 pounds and you will learn how to apply the techniques she used to your own life. Click ‘the book’ (left) to get your copy. Also available at Amazon.com.

Cranberry Orange Chutney

pint jar of cutney

Cranberry Orange Chutney

The original recipe I used called for more than twice this amount of sugar. That’s unnecessary.

1 lb. fresh organic cranberries
1 organic orange
½ cup golden raisins
1/4 cup cane sugar or brown sugar (more if you like, depends on the cranberries)
1-3 teaspoons chopped ginger (Fresh ginger is fine but if you have a ginger bug, use it.)

Wash and clean the berries well, being sure to discard any that are not fresh. Using a peeler or zester, remove the zest from the orange. Then peel the white pith from the orange and discard. Place the berries, roughly chopped orange, orange peel, and sugar in a food processor and chop coarsely. Add raisins and mix thoroughly.

Let mixture sit for 1-2 hours. It will begin to shrink a little and make juices. Pack into a wide-mouth quart jar, cover and leave out at room temperature overnight so flavors marry. Cover and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 months.

My husband puts this on toast each morning, I sprinkle it on my salads. We’re happy to be getting plenty of antioxidants among other good things.

Also, this is fantastic as a relish alongside turkey, pork, fish and lamb.

stuffed acorn squash

Acorn Squash with Stuffing and Gravy

I first spoke with Debbie about her recipes and cookbooks in the fall of 2014 on my TV show. To this day I continue to use her recipe for Acorn Squash with Stuffing and Gravy. This is the 2014 episode. You will see the recipe demonstration at minute 16.05 after our conversation.

Garden Fresh Quinoa Stir-Fry

Excerpted with permission from the August 8, 2016 episode of It’s a Woman’s World: Registered dietician, Val Schonberg and Dr. Susan Strauss observe as Nadia Giordana prepares a quick, easy and healthy Quinoa Stir-Fry.

Cucumber and Red Bell Pepper Refrigerator Salad

7 large pickling cucumbers unpeeled sliced thin
1-1/2 cup sliced onions
1-1/2 cup sliced red peppers
1 T salt
1 c white vinegar
½ c sugar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed
2-3 fresh (or dried) bay leaves
¼ to 1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes

Makes 2 quarts. Most refrigerator salad recipes I found were way too sweet, so I made my own, reducing sugar by 3/4 and came up with a delightfully fresh and clean tasting salad. It was half gone the 1st day.

Mix cucumbers, onions, peppers and salt in one bowl and let sit for about an hour, then pack lightly into a 2-quart mason jar.

Put vinegar, sugar, celery seed, bay leaves and mustard seed in a cooking pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature before pouring over cucumber mixture.

Store in refrigerator, shaking to distribute brine once or twice the first day. Ready in 24 hours. Will keep for up to 2 months. Use as is or spoon over lettuce or tomatoes in a bowl.

Adjust ingredients to your own taste. My husband prefers fewer onions, I like lots of cucumbers. You can’t go wrong as long as overall volume of vegetables and brine are okay.

Cucumber and Red Bell Pepper Refrigerator Salad

Cucumber and Red Bell Pepper Refrigerator Salad

Green Beans with Sweet Red Peppers

Nadia recently demonstrated her favorite way to make green beans for a local TV show. It’s fast, easy and delicious. Try it you’ll like it:

California Roll Luncheon Cake

sliced and juliennedzucchini, carrots, cucumber and an example of the finished luncheon cake

Use only the freshest ingredients.

2 cups sweet rice grains
3-1/2 cups water
1 T. rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar in a pinch)
½ tsp salt
3 sheets nori seaweed, crumbled
English cucumber (thinly shaved ribbons)
2 Avocados (sliced or mashed)
Juice of ½ lemon
Zucchini squash (julienned)
Carrots (julienned)
12-15 whole, peeled, cooked shrimp (optional, for garnish or as top layer)
Sesame oil
Soy sauce (or your favorite sushi sauce)
1 T Flax meal (optional)
1 9 or 10-inch spring-form pan (9-inch is better)
Wasabe paste and pickled ginger

Measure two cups of rice and three and a half cups of water and 1 T vinegar into the pot. Let the rice soak for half an hour (up to four hours). Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir. Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat to medium low and cover pot, leaving the lid slightly off on one side to vent. Cook 10 minutes without stirring. After 10 minutes, check to see if the rice has absorbed all of the water by pulling the rice away from the center with a fork to create a hole. If there is still water, continue cooking until liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and place the lid on securely. Allow the rice to stand until cool before making this recipe.

Meanwhile, using a sharp knife or julienne tool, prepare the zucchini, carrots and cucumber. Then mash avocado and mix with lemon juice, covering with plastic wrap until ready to spread.

Cook, peel and cool shrimp. Drizzle with sesame oil. Crumble 2-3 seaweed sheets in bottom of spring-form pan. Add a thin layer of cucumber. Then press in half of the cooked, cooled, sticky rice.

Spread avocado on rice, then add another layer of rice and press gently and evenly (wet fingers and flatten pieces and fill in piece by pieces, as the rice is sticky and will pull the avocado out of position). Add another layer of seaweed, either sheets or shredded in 1/2-inch strips and pressed. Top with another thin layer of cucumber. Add julienned zucchini, then carrots. Sprinkle with flax meal.

Top with cooked, whole or chopped shrimp (optional, crabmeat is also okay). Cover with wrap and chill at least 30-minutes before serving.

To serve: Unmold, cut into wedges and drizzle with soy or other Asian sauce and serve with wasabi paste and pickled ginger on the side.

Spiralized Zucchini Salad

This is both easy and healthy. There is no real recipe, simply a method: Spiralize a zucchini, add a few of your favorite ingredients and use a simple vinaigrette-style dressing. You can use the dressing I show you consisting of honey, mustard and vinegar, or one of your own.

Hot or Cold Sicilian Pasta Dressing

pasta with dressing

Sicilian Pasta made two ways

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped (they come in a jar)
3 Tablespoons Kalamata olives, chopped
1/3 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup sunflower nuts (or chopped pecans)
salt and pepper to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
fresh cooked pasta or zucchini pasta


1. Scrub, prepare, chop or have ready, all ingredients. Cook 8 ounces of bowtie pasta (farfalle) while preparing sauce.

2. Saute’ mushrooms and zucchini in oil, then add sweet red peppers, Kalamata olives, parsley and garlic for a minute more of cooking, then remove from heat.

4. Spoon dressing mixture into a large bowl and cool to room temperature. Add feta and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Stir piping hot pasta (or zucchini pasta) into dressing. Top individual servings with sunflower nuts (or pine nuts for a more traditional touch).

Variation: Chill the dish (having added the feta and Parmesan cheeses) and serve as a cold salad. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and stir right before serving.

Buttermilk Parmesan Salad Dressing

Buttermilk Parmesan Salad Dressing
2 T minced onion
1 clove garlic
1/3 c. lite mayonnaise (or Greek Yogurt)
½ c. buttermilk
2 T. finely grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh or dried herbs: oregano, Italian, your favorite. Flavors are better if made a day ahead. Things to try: turmeric, ground bay, rosemary, sage.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese

Click on image to go to recipe

It’s not necessary to be vegan or vegetarian to appreciate the health benefits and tastiness of the cuisines. Why not incorporate meatless meals into your menu from time to time? Here’s an idea: Designate Tuesdays and/or Thursdays as meatless meal nights (that’s what I do). It’s fun to come up with new dishes and it’s much more interesting than the same old routine. To kick things off, try Gail Roddy’s Vegan Mac and Cheese (pictured).

My husband usually joins me and loves it. But there are times when he prefers meat as usual and that’s when we each do our own thing in the kitchen. I don’t make a fuss about that. I’m setting a healthy example and over the last several years, he has adopted a number of good eating habits and is now a solid 50 pounds lighter. Yaay!

Vegan: Zucchini Pasta Two Ways

I simply must share this one because zucchini pasta is something that is in my refrigerator all the time. Later on I will show you how I (Nadia Giordana) do it, but today, Gail Roddy is in the spotlight with her vegan versions and they are delicious and easy to make.

Three Fresh and Fast Party Snacks

Party foods can be light, guilt-free and satisfying. In this cooking episode of IAWW TV, we learn three fresh and easy to make party foods:

Release Sugar and Reclaim Vitality

Professional Coach, Rita Johansen shares insights on sugar, how it affects our bodies and how she reversed her own blood sugar disorder and revitalized her life.

Sun Drenched Cod

This is one of my favorite go-to, quick and easy recipes. It’s clean, it’s easy and it’s healthy.


4 cod fillets

1 Tablespoon minced fresh kale leaf

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2 Tablespoons butter

1/3 cup orange juice

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

1 teaspoon grated orange (or lemon) zest

Orange or lemon slices and kale leaves for garnish


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place fish in a 2×10-inch round baking dish (or a 11×7-inch oblong) coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.

In a small skillet, saute onion and garlic in butter along with chopped kale leaf until tender; spoon over fish. Combine juices and orange zest; drizzle over fish.

Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Makes 4 servings, about 155 calories per serving.

Golden Tea For What Ails You

yellow cup of tea

Golden Tea: Fights cancer, suppresses appetite, stimulates brain power.

They say Golden Tea has dozens of terrific health benefits for us. Among them, safeguarding against cancer, stimulating the brain and preventing Alzheimer’s, fighting bad bacteria in the body, helping you burn calories and suppressing the appetite, lowering blood sugar levels, helping the body absorb nutrients, improving circulation, clearing sinuses, strengthening the immune system, relieving headaches, improving digestion, fighting inflammation, easing depression, fighting allergies, and lessening arthritis pain.

I wasn’t 100% happy with the recipe I found on the Internet, so I came up with this version. I drink it first thing each morning and sometimes mid afternoon and rarely need coffee at all anymore. The upside? This tastes fantastic, not at all like a medicinal concoction. Here’s how I make mine:

Recipe: Warm a cup of water to 100-110 degrees (no hotter than you would use for dissolving yeast). Dissolve 1 teaspoon local raw honey in the water, stir in 1 tsp raw vinegar (with the mother), add 1 shake cayenne, 2 shakes powdered ginger, and 4 shakes turmeric powder. Stir with a silver spoon. Why silver? Because you’re worth it!

Note: As with any new food or drink, go easy and drink in small amounts until you are certain you don’t have an allergy to any of the spices.

Eye-Opener Smoothie

a yellow-orange colored smoothie

Make this Eye-Opener Smoothie with candied ginger, kombucha, apple, turmeric and grapefruit.

It’s Smoothie Week at Williams-Sonoma, and in honor of that, I decided to kick my routine up a notch. Ordinarily, I make my smoothies with almond milk, colorful fruit or veggies (like kale and beets), but today I decided to make a smoothie with unique ingredients, some not usually associated with blender drinks.

I whipped this sweet concoction together in just minutes using 2 Tablespoons of candied ginger (for zip), 1 cup kombucha (for probiotics and  fizz), 1 teaspoon turmeric (brain food), 1/2 of a pink grapefruit (vitamin C and bioflavonoids) and a half an apple (keeps the doctor away).

Did I get the eye-opener I was expecting? Yes. This sparkling, frothy, invigorating on-the-go breakfast (or afternoon pick-me-up) is my new go-to favorite.

Here is my method: Using a sharp knife, cut off the skin of the grapefruit and chop it into chunks. Cut the apple into chunks (don’t peel it). Put apple and grapefruit into blender. Follow with minced candied ginger, turmeric and kombucha (plain or ginger flavored). Throw in 3-4 small ice cubes, blend and serve immediately. Fills two, 12-ounce glasses. What’s not to like?

if you don’t have a blender, or are planning to upgrade soon, here is the place to start looking: blenders at Williams-Sonoma.

Quinoa Stir-Fry

I threw this dish together one day a couple of years ago and I’ve been making versions of it regularly ever since. It is a low-calorie, highly satisfying meal. I think it’s time I shared it with the rest of you. You can watch this short video to learn the basic ingredients and my method, but I also share the list of ingredients and proportions below.


oil – 1/3 c. chopped onions – 1/4 c. chopped celery – 1/4 c. sliced mushrooms – 1/4 c. diced carrots – 1/4 c. zucchini slices – 1/4 c. pre-cooked green beans (or diced sweet red peppers) – 1 c. chopped kale – 1/4 c. chicken broth – 1 tsp. herbs (your choice) – 1 or 2 T. soy sauce – 1-1/2 c. pre-cooked quinoa

Optional additions:  1/4 tsp. sesame oil and 1/2 c. chicken, turkey or other leftover meat.

In a hot skillet, saute’ onions in a little oil, adding each of the rest of the ingredients in the order listed. Serves 2 as a full meal, or 4 as a side serving. Quinoa is a good source of complete protein, containing all nine amino acids in addition to lysine, riboflavin, manganese and magnesium.

Pumpkin Spice Macchiato Lite

Creamy coffee in a floral teacup and saucer

43 calorie Pumpkin Spice Macchiato

Highly caloric coffee drinks don’t fit my lifestyle. But I love the idea of a creamy, pumpkin flavored, steaming, strong coffee in the fall. Not to worry! I came up with my own 43 calorie drink that in my book, is way better than sucking down a 380 calorie Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.




2 teaspoons heavy cream
½ tsp sugar
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 double espresso brewed coffee

1. If you have an espresso machine, brew a double espresso.

2. Meanwhile, place 2 teaspoons of cream in the bottom of a teacup along with ½ teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

3. Using a hand milk frothing tool, whip this until thick and creamy.

4. Pour espresso down the side into the whipped cream mixture. Top with an extra pinch of pumpkin pie spice.

If you would like to see a video demonstration of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

Rhubarb Crisp Lite

I’ve shared this recipe in the past. It is a favorite of mine, but this time, I’m showing you step-by-step how easy it is to make my Rhubarb Crisp Lite. I know you will like it as much as we do in our house. One of the reasons I have successfully maintained my 88-pound weight loss for the last seven years, is because rather than going on a diet, I made permanent changes in my lifestyle. This is one of the recipes that helped me do it. Indulgences and treats can be part of any healthy diet as long as we are mindful of the fat and sugars we are consuming (moderation rocks) and portion sizes are appropriate. Recipe makes 9 servings of rhubarb filling/compote, 58 calories per serving. The topping is 60 calories per tablespoon, so use sparingly. NOTE: For a text version of this recipe, click here.

Butternut Squash Soup

3/4 c. onion, chopped
5 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp. dried onion flakes
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 can (14 oz.) chicken (or vegetable) broth
1/2 c. water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce
1 T olive oil

Pureed, orange squash soup in a purple bowl and purple plate.

Butternut Squash Soup

In a large, high-sided pot, saute onions in 1 tablespoons olive oil until translucent. Add diced squash, onion flakes, diced apples, then chicken broth. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat off, allow to cool for a few minutes, add 1/2 cup cold water. Puree soup directly in the pot with a mixing wand (or you can do this with a blender).  It’s ready to serve. About 90 calories per 1 cup serving. Fore a video demonstration of this recipe, CLICK HERE.

Low fat ice cream made in your freezer without a machine

a bowl of blueberry-strawberry ice cream

Making ice cream (or ice milk) yourself, allows you to have better control over fat and sugar content.

Ice Cream – No Machine This is made with whipped milk, so it is lighter and lower in calorie than traditional ice cream. However, there is still sugar in here, so be wise in serving size. 1 can (13 oz.) evaporated milk (chilled in refrigerator overnight) 1-1/4 cup powdered sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract Pour chilled milk (the colder, the better) into a large mixing bowl and whip about one minute or until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar gradually, then vanilla and whip again until very fluffy. (At this point, you can add pureed strawberries, blueberries or other fruit if you are going for a flavor. Use your imagination.) Place the bowl in the freezer for an hour. Pull out from the freezer, whip for 1 minute and back to the freezer. Repeat one more time.

When Ice cream (milk) is desired consistency, place in a container with a lid and store in the freezer. Serve sprinkled with a handful of homemade granola. About 180 calories per 1 cup serving. Standard vanilla ice cream is around 300 calories per cup, and Ben & Jerry’s will be close to 500. This recipe is delicious and allows you to have ice cream with less guilt.

In this picture, I pureed blueberries into the mix, and then swirled chopped strawberries that had been slightly warmed in the microwave (to release their juices) then chilled before adding, making a blueberry-strawberry swirl.

Two things about homemade ice cream:  It freezes harder than store bought, and melts a little faster.

5 of the best tips to lose weight naturally

Head shot of author wearing white cap and sporty white sunglasses.

Mike Bravo

Guest post by Mike Bravo: 5 Of the Best Tips To Lose Weight Naturally

Everyone knows that losing weight naturally is not easy, however these great weight loss tips will have the fat melting away. Whilst these tips may not be classified as a scientific breakthrough, they are effective, healthy and will help you to shed your excess body weight. Furthermore, this is not a quick fix but more of a lifestyle change that could improve both your body shape as well as your health.

Weight Loss Tips To Allow You To Shed Weight Easily and Naturally

1. Drink Water

Drinking lots of water is a great way to suppress your hunger. However, if water is not your thing, you can replace with green or herbal tea but stay clear of flavored water as it may contain sugar and other fattening preservatives.

2. Be Careful About Snacking Before Bedtime

Snacking on treats and crisps in front of the telly before going to bed is a sure way to put on weight. In fact many people think eating cereals would be healthy replacement but again this is a big no-no as they contain sugar and are simple carbs which are addictive and cause weight gain.

3. Eat Eggs For Breakfast

Eggs have had a bad rap in the past as being unhealthy and bad cholesterol but this has been proven to be untrue. Having a few eggs for breakfast are healthy, satisfy your hunger and keep you feeling full longer and therefore discourage you from snacking on other things.

4. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

Alcohol contains empty calories which our bodies do not process well and they end up being stored in your gut as fat.

5. Avoid Addictive Foods

Foods containing sugar as well as convenience foods are neither healthy nor satisfying and will only leave you wanting more and causing you to pile on the weight. Eating these types of addictive foods are the major cause of obesity in the US not to mention causing other chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, etc.

Conclusion On Losing Weight Naturally

It is also worth mentioning that foods in the “simple carb” category (those that are high in sugar) can cause progressive weight gain. This would include convenience foods, fast foods, pastries, cookies, sodas and so on. They should be avoided permanently. The problem is that these refined, highly processed carbohydrates get dumped quickly into our systems without being processed properly causing us to feel hungry and wanting more minutes after finishing eating. This causes progressive weight gain leading to obesity and a whole host of chronic illnesses. So to avoid becoming obese or diabetic (or both) you need to take an honest look at your diet and commit to a lifestyle change. If you are willing to commit to making these life changing modifications to your diet you should begin to see a dramatic change in your body shape as well as an improvement in your health and the way you feel.

PS: Find out here how the Paleo Diet could be your ticket to magical weight loss, or go to the following link to find out how the Paleo way of eating could impact your life by causing you dramatic weight loss & a significant boost in vitality: http://paleopower.co.za/paleo-weight-loss-magic/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Bravo

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8530319

Enjoy a “Vinegar Cocktail” instead of alcohol on special occasions

a glass with ice and red, juce cocktail with straw and an orange slice

Aronia Berry Vinegar Cocktail

Enjoy a “Vinegar Cocktail” instead of alcohol on special occasions:

Yes, it sounds kind of funny, but hear me out. Vinegar cocktails are also called “shrubs” and they’ve been around for more than a hundred years, though not very common. They have fewer calories than regular cocktails and contain healthful probiotics, an added bonus. My favorite method is to make them with fruit juice, raw honey, raw apple cider vinegar, and sparkling water.


Start by making your vinegar-fruit juice base:

1 cup fruit juice (choose your favorite; I used Aonia berry (chokeberry) for this picture)

1/3 cup raw honey (more or less, depending on the juice and your taste)

1 cup organic, raw, unpasteurized, unfiltered apple cider vinegar

Lightly warm the fruit juice on the stove (about the same temperature as a baby’s bottle), stirring in the honey until it is completely dissolved. Cool completely before adding vinegar (you don’t want to kill the probiotics). Store in your refrigerator in a covered jar.

When ready to make your drink, combine 1 part shrub mixture with 3 or 4 parts sparkling water, and pour over ice. Garnish with fresh fruit (a slice of orange, or a strawberry slit and perched on the edge of the glass looks nice).

If you look online, you will find dozens of variations using different ingredients, and many that include wine and/or alcohol. I don’t add alcohol to mine, it defeats the purpose of having a refreshing, festive, healthy, probiotic, energy drink. The origins of these concoctions date back to the Colonial era.

Want more? Click here for some homemade energy drink recipes.

Lose weight and get healthy at any age

Nadia dressed in green jacket talking on camera to Jennifer wearing blue shirt

Nadia Giordana and Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami comparing weight-loss techniques.

I want readers to see this particular episode of WomanVision TV where Jennifer Espinosa-Goswami and I compare our similar yet different weight-loss journeys from the perspective of two different generations. Neither I nor Jennifer used traditional commercial diets. We designed our own individual plans, and each of us was successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Please watch our lively discussion as we compare notes and share techniques.

Nadia tells her weight-loss story on “It’s A Woman’s World”

Host Nadia Giordana, wearing green jacket, sitting at desk

As a guest on another show, Nadia gets a chance to tell her weight loss story.

On episode 17 of WomanVision TV, I share a clip of a guest appearance I made a few months ago on “It’s A Woman’s World.” It is a program produced in the St. Paul metro area at SPNN. Since I shared my personal story of weight loss and major life changes it will be of interest to Thinking Skinny readers. To watch the episode on YouTube, CLICK HERE.

Healthier party snacks

Nadia showing party snack mix in an oval aluminum bowl.

Nadia with her version of a popular party snack mix.

This episode of  WomanVision TV has direct relevance to weight-loss and healthier eating.

Going to picnics, homecomings, and football parties means bringing something to the table. There are always plenty of good-tasting things to choose from, but other than the gratuitous bowl of crudités, most of it will be highly caloric and laden with salt and fat. I’ll show how you can make crunchy, savory substitutes for greasy potato chips and overly salty snacks. The first one is a slow-cooker version of a popular party mix, and the second, is my best-loved, Sunbutter Kale Chips.

Healthy changes bring big payoffs twofold

Nadia-Chuck before-after 2006-2013 copy

Click to enlarge: Chuck and Nadia before and after

Healthy changes bring big payoffs twofold. It was six years ago this month, August 4, 2007, that I made the decision to get my life back into balance and started living a healthier, happier lifestyle. I’ll never forget it. I knew beyond doubt that this time I would do it. Why? Because I wasn’t starting a diet, and I wasn’t losing weight for an event, or any one of the dozens of reasons we all start diets and fail. I knew because I was changing my habits permanently. (Eventually I went on to write this blog, and a book, Thinking Skinny, about my journey.)

My husband, Chuck Kasun, got started on the same path four years later in 2011. Look at him today! We both feel renewed. The thing about it is, because we made permanent lifestyle changes, we’re in a more comfortable, happier place than we would be otherwise. We’re not waiting for a diet to end so we can get back to everyday life. We have a fun, new lifestyle that includes bicycle riding, daily exercise, excursions, travel, projects, etc. What could be better than that? The couch and the easy chair are still there in our living room, they just don’t get as much use. We look happier too, don’t we?

Special note: I recently changed my primary care doctor and it turns out he is a respected obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic. I wish I had known him a few years ago. Even though he became my doctor after I lost weight, I’ve had some great conversations with him on the subject. It was validating to watch a recording of a lecture he gave on obesity and notice that the formulas and recommendations in my book, Thinking Skinny are in line with what he was teaching. How great is that!

Soup and Salad 1-2-3

Two salads made with red cabbage

Cabbage Salads

The latest episode of WomanVision TV aired a few days ago. It is one of my cooking segments, so I know readers of Thinking Skinny will want to see it. I show step-by-step, how I make two of my favorite recipes: Salmon Chowder and Cabbage Salad. You can CLICK HERE to see it, or you can click on the image.

The Mayo Clinic cookbooks

Mayo Clinic Cookbook

Mayo Clinic Cookbook

When I developed my own weight-loss program a few years ago (losing 88 lbs. over a period of 14 months), a significant part of my research took me to the Mayo Clinic website and resources. I checked my choices and tailored my plan in a way that would work for me, as rapidly as feasible, and not be excessiely stressful to my body. Using the Mayo website helped me keep my plan in a healthy range. I still go there to stay current now that I am on maintenance.

I don’t often recommend cookbooks, there are so many. But the Mayo Clinic has several cookbooks and diet books I love, and I think you will too.

You may also like the Mayo Clinic Diet Community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The.Mayo.Clinic.Diet

Rhubarb (or Fruit) Crisp Lite

This lighter method of making crisp gives you a delicious and enjoyable summer dessert. The filling is baked separately from the topping which is served on the side, allowing you to control how much you use.

Rhubarb Crisp Lite

Rhubarb Crisp Lite


5 cups diced fresh rhubarb or frozen rhubarb, thawed

¾ c raw sugar for tart fruits (or ½ c for sweeter fruits)

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, mix together the raw sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Add rhubarb (or other fruit) and mix well. Spoon into an 8-inch baking dish, cover and bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 35-40 minutes or until bubbling. While filling is baking, make the topping as follows:


1/3 cup butter, softened (no substitutions)
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup flour

Cream the butter and brown sugar.  Blend in flour until evenly mixed. Spread on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet (about ¼-inch in depth) and bake separately at 400°F for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (You can save time and slide this into the oven while the filling is baking, but watch carefully.) Remove from oven, cool and later, keep in a covered container. It will be a lot like cookie crumbles.

To serve, sprinkle topping over “naked” crisp and drizzle with milk (optional).

When using apple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches or other sweeter fruit, reduce filling sugar to ½ cup.

Makes 9 servings of filling, 58 calories per serving. The crisp topping is right around 60 calories per tablespoon, so use it sparingly. 1% Milk is 6.5 calories per tablespoon. a quarter cup is a little over 25 calories, and it works well with rhubarb.

Rhubarb is a surprisingly high source of calcium, potassium and manganese. More nutrition info.

Surviving summer picnics

two feet with red toenails on a scale

Change your inner dialogue

Are you surviving summer picnics? When you are standing on the scale, do you sometimes have the following internal monologue?

Damn, I’m up a few pounds. How did that happen? I feel like I’ve been pretty good over the last three weeks. How could I have gained? I should have stayed about the same, maybe even lost a little. This isn’t working. I’m so disappointed. The 4th of July is coming up and I know there will be two, maybe three picnics and barbeques to go to. How will I manage without wrecking my whole summer? Just thinking about it makes me want to eat something greasy and comforting. I may as well top it off with a dessert. Then I’ll feel better and I can get back on my program. After all, I deserve some pleasure in life.

Stop, rewind, and reframe your thinking more like this:

What? I’m up a few pounds. That’s a surprise, but I know I’ve been doing most of the right things in my plan. I’m not that far off the program, and I also know sometimes there are setbacks and plateaus. I believe it’s still working. I will focus on the end result and not dwell on this. I don’t understand why this makes me feel like eating something comforting, but instead, I’ll get back on my program right now. The 4th of July is coming up so I’ll plan ahead, and bring a healthy dish to the pot-luck picnic and I’ll have a light snack before I go to the pig roast so I won’t be famished and overeat. I can enjoy the summer and be in great shape.

Probiotics for breakfast: Making fermented oatmeal and homemade yogurt

Nadia Giordana in her kitchen using a slow cooker to make yogurt.

Use a slow cooker to make yogurt for your fermented oatmeal breakfast. (Click on image to go to video.)

Today’s blog post is born out of WomanVision TV’s episode number 10: Probiotics For Breakfast . In that episode, I show you how I incorporate probiotics (healthy bacteria) into my diet. You’ll see a  step-by-step demonstration on how to make fermented oatmeal (it tastes much better than it sounds). If you like oatmeal, you will love this recipe. It’s oatmeal, only better. If you don’t like oatmeal, this is not going to change your mind.

Then I’ll show you how to make homemade yogurt in a slow-cooker. The homemade yogurt method produces creamy results head-and-shoulders above anything you can get in the store. The video covers all the steps in this simple and easy way to update your morning routine. You can view the video and get the written instructions by clicking here.

Clean, simple, basic foods are always a good way to balance a busy life and maintain a healthy weight.

If you are interested in more technical information about fermented foods, and some history and examples, this video by Dr. Saila Reddy will help you a lot.

Exercise apparel improves attitude and results

Nadia wearing yoga pants and leggings, working out on her favorite exercise bicycleFeeling good physically spills over into all aspects of our lives, and as a bonus, lifts our spirits. When I do my morning exercises in old pajamas, my efforts are okay, don’t get me wrong (and there are plenty of times I do just that). But when I invest the extra minute it takes to put on something nicer than pajamas or old clothes (yoga pants, a contrasting shirt, some colorful leg warmers or some other fun accessory), suddenly I’m emotionally invested in my routine. It is then I work out a little longer and a little harder. Are my results better? Yes, I always feel better than usual after a workout I’ve approached with enthusiasm, and preparation.

Easy vegetable smoothies

Green Smoothie

Green Smoothie

I don’t use a recipe, because I never have the same things on hand in my refrigerator on any given day. The following blender formula works best for me: 1/2 to 3/4 c. almond milk and a handful of ice cubes along with a small amount of fruit and some vegetables. In the smoothie on the left, I used a half of an apple (include skin) along with a handful of kale, a chunk of zucchini and a little bit of cabbage. For the one on the bottom right, it was red cabbage, rhubarb sauce (sweet), carrots, and again some kale.

Other options:  Broccoli is a favorite addition because of how well it blends, and celery brings high fiber to the mix. Use your imagination.

It’s a fresh, slightly sweet tasting way to work more vegetables into your diet, and only takes a minute to whip up. It is important to have a good blender. Keep the consistency about the same as a milkshake, adding a splash of almond milk, or ice cubes if it gets too thick.

Pink Smoothie

Pink Smoothie

There is no need to count calories with something like this, but if you do, the almond milk is 30 calories per cup (I use less than a cup), fresh vegetables are about 25-40 calories per half cup serving depending on the vegetable, and a half an apple is 50-60 calories. This formula will make about two servings, or 12-16 ounces total–less than 100 calories per serving.

You can enjoy this without reservation. I find that it makes me feel full for 2-3 hours and also give me an energy boost. I make this mostly for breakfast, but also sometimes as an afternoon pick-me-up.

If, it is evening, and I’m having this to curb a dessert craving, I will change the mix to something more like a milkshake, using a half banana and cocoa powder or fresh fruit (strawberries are great) and a splash of vanilla. Sometimes I will add Stevia sweetener. I usually add some vegetables even when I make a dessert smoothie. For example, sweet red peppers are good with strawberries and brighten the color.

Since I published this post a few weeks ago, I’ve received requests for a more specific recipe. In response, I shared my method via video as an episode of WomanVision TV. You can watch it below:

Quinoa is a great tasting source of protein

Cooked quinoa

Cooked quinoa

Quinoa is a great tasting source of protein, among other things. This is something you may not have known. A staple of ancient Andean civilizations, quinoa barely gets a second look in our modern society except for vegetarians and other health conscious individuals. It deserves more attention. I won’t bore you with the nutritional details, you can follow the link for that—and this one for additional background information. Quinoa tastes great! Yes, you can look up all sorts of creative recipes, but my favorite way to eat it is simply to cook it in boiling water (with a touch of salt) until you can see the germ separating (little white rings). For my taste, it is fully cooked in about 10 minutes, which keeps the grains slightly chewy. 15 minutes will give you a softer result, but still very good. Drain it and eat it as you would plain white rice. Quinoa is equally as good as rice, and in my estimation, beats couscous and millet hands down. Raw quinoa is known for having a bitter-tasting coating that needs vigorous rinsing to remove (perhaps that is why some people don’t attempt to cook it). But most pre-packaged commercial products are ready to cook with nothing more than a light rinse. Even bulk quinoa that I’ve purchased at local co-op stores has been pre-rinsed. At 222 calories per cooked cup, it is relatively low in calories. Quinoa is for me, one of the high-satisfaction foods in my arsenal. It’s one of my secret weapons.

Healthier lifestyle is good for men too

Chuck-before-after-Febr-2013-webIt took 5 years before my husband, Chuck, was ready to follow my lead and adopt a healthier lifestyle, but look at him now. I’m so proud. What’s even better, he is loving how he feels. He’s been at it a little over a year, making changes in his food and drink, replacing bad choices with good ones. It seemed effortless and one day he looked at himself in the mirror and was surprised to see himself so much slimmer and healthier looking. About two months ago, he added exercise to his routine, and now I can barely keep up with him. How much has he lost? 45 pounds. He started at age 70. It’s never too late.

You don’t have to be skinny to rock your blue jeans

jeansAmericans have had a love affair with blue jeans for as long as I can remember. They are never out of fashion, and whatever your age, even if you are a grandparent, it doesn’t mean you can’t rock a good pair of blue jeans.

I don’t know what is it with all the disparaging talk about so-called “mom jeans.” They were high fashion in the 80s, and yes, several styles popular at that time have deservedly gone by the wayside. Others are still around because they are universal. Buying a pair of jeans should be about good fit and comfort. Oh, and maybe it’s just me, but the jeans to the picture on the left look about an inch or so too short. Am I right? That doesn’t affect my overall point though.

Higher-cut, normal-fitting jeans work for a lot of women and men. It is best to buy from departments that have several lengths and cuts, letting you find what works well for your body type, not the latest low-rise teen-jean on the market. If you choose flattering jeans that look and feel good, you’ll feel younger, slimmer, and more energetic. What more can be asked of our favorite “go to” article of clothing?

Do I have a favorite brand? Yes I do (and I’m getting nothing in return for this recommendation other that the pleasure of sharing my favorite with you). Gloria Vanderbilt’s, Amanda, tapered, short, stretch jeans work best for me. Gloria Vanderbilt carries a wide range of sizes, lengths and styles (including plus sizes), and the price at around $35.00 won’t hold you back. I usually get them at Kohl’s, but have also found them at (of all places) Fleet Farm stores. Once you know your size, you can also get them online at Amazon.com.

Tami Cox lost three dress sizes and got her sexy back

tn_Tamis BEFORE AFTER Promo Pic JAN 2013bI (Nadia Giordana) met Tami Cox a few years ago at a networking event in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I don’t remember specifics, except that she bought my book, Thinking Skinny. It was some time later that our paths crossed again and she mentioned that my book had inspired her to lose weight. She took from the book, what worked for her and then devised her own weight-loss program. Tami lost three dress sizes and is looking and feeling great. She deserves applause for everything she is doing. She’s a writer, so don’t be surprised if a book comes out of this.

Catalyst, spark, inspiration. Whatever you call it, I’m pleased to have been a small part of her story. This is what I expect my books and my life example to do, period. After that, readers, you should run with what you learn like Tami did and make it your own. When you do, your transformation or life change will be real and permanent.

Tami Cox helps women and couples put the SIZZLE and the SEXY back in their marriage. She is a published author, speaker, and love coach. After reading Thinking Skinny, she was inspired to transform her body and get her sexy back! Click the bold type to read more of her story of success. Also, to check out her business and spice up your life, visit her website at The Business of Love.

Grow celery in your kitchen

An end cut from a stalk of celery on the left, and a sprouting celery plant in a pot on the right.

Sprouting end cut, left, and growing celery on the right.

We often think of celery as one of the most common raw vegetables to have on hand as a healthy snack food—and it is. Let’s talk about having some fun in your kitchen with this savory vegetable. This idea has been circulating for some time now. Here is a fun idea for you to do:

When you slice off the big end of a large bunch of celery, don’t throw it away. (The correct name for the whole bunch is the head or stalk. The individual pieces are ribs.) In the springtime, you can plant the end pieces outside in your garden and let them grow. But what can you do in winter? Take the clean end piece of celery and set it cut-side-up in a shallow dish with about one inch of water in it. Let it sit there for several days (up to a week) until you see a sprout coming out of it. Then plant it sprout-side-up in a medium-sized pot using ordinary household potting soil. See photo.

In days your celery will be growing like gangbusters. Don’t be afraid to clip and snip for salads, use as garnish, and in soups. It will recover and continue to produce. You can have as many as you need waiting on your window sill.

Thinking Skinny is an important part of the Lifestyle GPS System™

Book launch at Two Rivers Music Festival

At the recent launch of my newest book, “Reinventing New Chapters in Your Life at Any Age,” I was surprised (at first) to see copies of Thinking Skinny selling just as rapidly as those of my new book. And why not? The information is just as relevant as it was three years ago–and will continue to be. Now it is part of a suite of products designed to help you transform your body–and your life. I developed a customizable, goal planning strategy (GPS) that quickly became the Lifestyle GPS System™. It will help you create roadmaps for new adventures in your life.

Impromptu healthy soup anyone can make

I’ve been on maintenance now for a few years. That means I am always looking for new things to make for myself to keep my regular diet appealing and sustainable, thus avoiding the temptation to go back to my old ways. Here is something I whipped up today without a recipe. Soups are soups, a free hand sometimes makes for the tastiest of surprises. I had all these things in my refrigerator since I have a garden, but I’ve written this with substitution suggestion so you can do the same (measurements are approximate only):

Late Summer Garden Chowder

I started by sauteing about 3 T of chopped onion in 1 teaspoon butter.

In a saucepan, I brought to a simmer, 2 cups of chicken broth.

To that I added a big handful of chopped chard (spinach or kale would be good too).

I had about 1/4 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms (whole kernel corn is another choice).

Then came a handful of diced root vegetable: I used an exotic, white radish similar to daikon, but potato, turnip, parsnip or carrot will work as well).

The meat: about 1/3 cup of leftover canned salmon, but ham or chicken could substitute.

Seasonings were garlic salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, and some Italian herbs.

Optional: Immediately before serving, I drizzled in about 1/4 cup of evaporated milk. Makes two generous bowls of chowder.

Newspaper article in home town paper

I have always been partial to my home town and it’s newspaper.  I was immensely pleased to do an interview recently (Click the scanned image below to read.) Or read it online here.

Sid Korpi credits Thinking Skinny

Sid Korpi, film and stage actress, social dance instructor, and pet chaplain, is far too talented and accomplished for this author to take credit for

Actress Sid Korpi at 50th birthday

anything more than being an inspiration and catalyst for her recent weight loss, something she’d wanted to do for a long time. That’s good enough for me. Already athletic, fit, and beautiful, Sid became inspired after reading Thinking Skinny and decided to get healthier still. Losing those extra pounds gave her the edge she needed to pursue a film career with creative Minneapolis filmmaker, Christopher R. Mihm. I might also add that the same is true of the content in this article. Other than my questions, the words are Sid’s, and I would be remiss if I didn’t credit her as being co-author of this article. She is, in addition to the talents listed above, a gifted author and editor. I recently had a private interview with Sid, and this is how it went: Continue reading on Examiner.com.

Erik Estabrook interviews Nadia Giordana about Thinking Skinny

I had a great interview this evening with Erik Estabrook, a young adult with autism. His accomplishments help dispel some of the myths about autism. He was a thoughtful and charming host, and has a great Internet radio program. We talked about Thinking Skinny and my upcoming book, Reinventing New Chapters in Your Life at Any Age (to be released in a few months), we read some poetry, and talked about goal setting and making important changes in your life. To Listen, click here.

Holiday hints at the buffet for the heart-wise

The holidays are a particular challenge for those of us who know we must be vigilant every day to maintain our health through good eating. (Actually, that’s pretty much everybody.) Here are some of the challenges, and how to meet them.

The holiday party, with its buffet of delectable treats, many of them high-fat – cheese plates, crackers, cookies made with real butter, rich drinks such as egg nog – can be faced and handled by using some of the following tricks:

  • Drink a glass of skim milk before attending the party. It’s nutritious, filling, and will keep you from giving in and wolfing down too many hors d’oeuvres. And it’s great padding if you decide to have that one alcoholic drink you allow yourself at a party.
  • Bring a bottle of sparkling water with you, in case it isn’t available at the party. Fill your glass with this festive-looking drink, or dilute your one glass of wine with it, making two or more bubbly spritzers.
  • Station yourself as far away from the table as possible, so that you won’t be continually tempted by the sight and smell of food.
  • When you do approach the buffet, fill up on vegetables (easy on the dip) first; then select the richer “goodies.”
  • Decide in advance what you will eat, and how much of it. Want to treat yourself to a little bit of cheese? Pick the harder type of cheese (lower in fat). Try putting it on a vegetable, such as a celery stalk, rather than a cracker.
  • Avoid automatic eating by keeping your hands occupied with holding a glass (of the above mentioned sparkling water or spritzer) while you are engaged in conversation.
  • Don’t try to match the speed or amount that your partner is eating (easy to do), particularly if your partner is larger than you are. After all, would you put the same amount of fuel in a small compact car as you would a big SUV? No? Well, then…
  • Do mindful eating: savor each bite by leaving each one at the front of your mouth longer than you usually do. Then slowly let it move through your mouth, noting the point at which that particular food really stimulates your taste buds and enjoying it to the max.
  • If you don’t get a real thrill from a certain food, be willing to discard the rest of it uneaten. If you’ve looked the tray over and selected one brownie, be willing to get rid of it if you think it doesn’t taste like the best brownie the world (or at least you) has ever known.

In short, make sure the actual experience of the feast matches your anticipation by making mindful, better choices. You’ll end up not only healthier, but happier as you realize you savored the experience and at the same time maintained some control over your future.

Lynette Crane, M.A.(Psychology) and Certified Life Coach, has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of stress management. She currently works to provide stress and time pressure solutions to harried women, those women who seek “Islands of Peace” in their overly-busy lives. Visit her website at http://www.creativelifechanges.com/ to see more in-depth articles and to view her programs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lynette_Crane

Why some baby boomers brew their own kombucha tea

A significant number of baby boomers are interested in staying healthy and active. Many have discovered kombucha tea and are making it themselves at home. Some do it to save money, as it can be made at home for about thirty cents per bottle. (Commercial brands range in price from $3.00 to $5.00 per bottle.) Others, simply enjoy making their own and experimenting with the flavors. Still more are convinced that it helps boost their metabolism, guards against disease, and slows the aging process. Read more

Chokeberries: superfood said to promote weight loss

Nadia Giordana picking chokeberries

Black chokeberries are composed of significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. These flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants have proven health benefits through scavenging dangerous oxygen free radicals from the body. Total anthocyanin content in the choke berries is 1480 mg per 100 g of fresh berries, and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100 g (Wu et al. 2004, 2006). Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries on regular basis offers potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections. (- By Dr. Paul Gross, 2007-07-09).

Note: All this and more, I learned about chokeberries after my mother asked me and my sister Bev to take her berry picking. She had her eyes on some great berry-laden bushes near where she lives. We picked 20 gallons of the plump fruits, and barely made a dent in the available harvest. We left the rest for the birds, and anyone else who might come along. Now that I know what a fantastic food this is, I will work it into my diet regularly. Hence, I’m off in search of recipes and serving ideas.

THINKING SKINNY is MIPA award finalist

THINKING SKINNY from Cloud 9 Publishing is a finalist in the 20th Annual Midwest Book Awards (www.mipa.org) Social Science (psychology, family, self-help) category.  Here we are at the Award ceremonies May 12th at the Minnesota Center for the Humanities and although we didn’t take first place, I couldn’t be happier. Pictured below left to right: Connie Anderson (she did the final editing of Thinking Skinny), my husband Chuck Kasun, and me (Nadia Giordana).

Such a thrill to be included among so many great 2009 releases.

Sharing my conversation with Ali Vincent (season 5 Biggest Loser). Hear what she has to say, it’s infectious!

Nadia Giordana, left; Ali Vincent, right

On my latest venture, an Internet radio show titled Interviews with extraordinary Women, I recently had a terrific conversation with Ali Vincent, the first female Biggest Loser. Click on the image to listen to what Ali has to say about how her life has changed since losing 112 pounds and winning the title, what she does to maintain her new healthier body, and what tips she has for the rest of us.