Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"You Look Good Fat!"

Over the past few months, I have had an epiphany. I realized that I have never truly been able to take a compliment. Mostly though, I had a hard time taking a compliment whenever I felt like I was fat. I have had friends tell me, “girl, you look so good! I need to go workout with you!” And though that is what they said, this is what I heard: “Girl, you look good…fat!” So why did I hear that when that is not what they said? Because of my mentality and view of self.
I recently heard Jesse Duplantis say: “you lose weight from the inside out.” Though he is a preacher of the gospel, I received this “health principle” as truth. It is an undeniable truth that weight loss, as well as sustaining that weight loss, starts in the mind. If you never change your mind to being dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle, you will never consistently do it. Likewise, if you don’t change your self-view of yourself, what will happen is that even when you get to the size you want to be at, it will still not be good enough (that was always my case). Because if your motivation is skewed, it will constantly be a “yo-yoing” of weight loss, to weight gain, with an emotional rollercoaster of your self-image based on your size.
For years, I struggled because I was caught up in the “scale cycle.” I would weigh myself daily, and if the scale did not say what I wanted it to say, I became depressed. My whole day changed, and even my outlook on life and self changed. In essence, I was a slave to the numbers on the scale. I am not quite sure of when it happened, but after much prayer and reading the right things and believing them, I started to change my mind concerning myself. I was able then to get on the scale, and if it didn’t say what I wanted it to say, I WAS STILL OKAY. That was a huge step. I began to say to myself, “Jenelle, you are not where you want to be yet, but you know how to lose weight. Keep doing what you are doing. But embrace yourself as beautiful exactly where you are at.” I had to learn how to love myself no matter what size I was. Now, this was not an excuse to stay where I was, especially being overweight and at risk for many health issues, but it was rather inspiration to believe that I could look good at the size I was, while working to be at the size I wanted to be.
This blog is not really so much about changing your mind to lose weight, though that may be what you need. More so, it is about changing your view of self while on your journey to getting to where you would like to be. So I want to give you 7 ways to Embrace Yourself by Changing Your Mentality:
1.        Accept a compliment for what it is; even if you don’t believe it. If someone sincerely gives you a compliment, take it. If someone says to you, “You look really good!” In response, don’t say things like, “who me?,” or “I have gained so much weight so I am surprised to hear that,” or “naw honey, I need to lose weight.” Though those statements may have truth in them, you don’t have to embrace them. Love yourself and accept compliments. Allow them to build you up and see yourself in a better light. If others see something good about you, why shouldn’t you?

2.       Let your self-esteem wrap itself in love rather than your size. My view of self should not change based on my size. I should love myself and embrace myself no matter what size I am. Wives and husbands do it all the time with each other…why shouldn’t you?

3.       Read some inspirational books. If you have a poor self-image, you need to fill your mind with words that encourage you and motivate you to change the way you see yourself. “So Long Insecurity,” by Beth Moore is a good book for this. “Battlefield of the Mind,” by Joyce Meyers is also good. There are many great books out there for helping to change your mind. Find one, read it, and believe it. One of my favorites is the Bible. If we start to see ourselves the way God sees us and loves us, we will greatly improve how we see ourselves.

4.      Talk positivity to yourself. I taught a nutrition education class to women at a church, and during a session on body image, I challenged the women to look in the mirror and say positive things to themselves concerning their physical attributes. For several of the ladies, this was difficult. Others found it to be weird. Many found it to be enlightening. Try it for yourself. Try looking at yourself and saying “(Insert your name here) you are beautiful! You have beautiful (Insert attribute here)(i.e., eyes, ears, face, nose, etc.)!

5.       Surround yourself with people who will continue to build you up. This can really be a challenge as you don’t always have control over who is around you (i.e., work). But whenever it is in your control, surround yourself with positive people who see great value in you. We are creatures of habit and also imitation. So if you hear others habitually saying positive things about you, there is an increased chance that you may start to say it and believe it…

6.      Get a reality check of what is really a normal size. Don’t use the television and celebrities as your target when looking at size. That is unrealistic. Many of them use extreme methods to get to their size. Many of their methods may be dangerous. Besides, they do not represent the general population. Set a “realistic” size goal…

7.       Lastly, if you are a heavier size, and are in the process of trying to lose weight, try to enhance your other physical attributes. Just because you weigh more and are trying to get to a smaller size does not mean that you have to let all other areas of yourself look bad until you get there. Get some nice clothes that compliment you where you are at (if you can afford it)! Get a new hairdo or a haircut! Women, put some makeup on! My point is, you don’t have to look a mess just because you think you are fat.  I have seen the show “What Not to Wear” transform all types of people into beautiful beings who seemed to feel better about themselves simply through enhancing attributes they already possessed.

I hope this blog helps you in improving the way you see yourself…until next time…

-Jenelle Robinson

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The best Christmas Gifts...for weight loss...

Christmas is Sunday. And just like Thanksgiving, Christmas day and surrounding days are heavy eating days. I like to call them “glutton days.” But this blog is not about eating. Nor is it about being a glutton. This blog is about giving. Yes, giving. This blog is about giving to a person who has told you over and over again that they want to lose weight but need help. I come across these people all the time. It seems they just need a jump start. And many will need it as they start 2012 off with a resolution of losing weight. So what better way to help them than to give them a Christmas gift that says, “I am helping you lose weight.” It would only be an insult if this person did not want to lose weight. But if you are like me, then you welcome anything anybody gives you to help you live a healthier life. So here are my 8 TOP WEIGHT LOSS GIFTS TO GIVE FOR CHRISTMAS:
1.       Resistance Band. I love using the resistance band…especially in my strength training regimen. When I was hit by a car while riding a bike, I could no longer run (see running blog). So I had to find other things to do to stay physically active. I found a pilates DVD that used the resistance band. This band changed my life. It strengthened my core like no other exercise has. If used correctly, this band will change a person’s life. It is a wonderful gift. Many are available with DVDS or instructions with different exercises to do for different parts of the body.
2.       Any exercise DVD by Jillian Michaels. This woman will work the heck out of you. I have tried 2 of her dvds (30 day shred, and Maximize Back in Action). She specializes in interval training. She incorporates cardio along with weight lifting to burn more calories and speed up your metabolism. This is a great starter for anyone wanting to lose weight. You feel like you have a personal trainer in your house. This is a great gift.
3.       Waist Band. These things are great. Though many say they only help you lose water weight, I will take all the weight loss I can get…when I need it…even if it is just water. I often would wear a waist band while walking or running, though it can get really hot and feel like it’s cutting your circulation off during running. So I suggest it be used more when walking. It will make you sweat out this world…this is a great gift for women who want to get rid of that stomach…it is definitely a gift that helps to shred the inches…
4.       Gym membership. Some people will never workout at home. They must leave the house in order to get any physical activity or exercise. Being at home makes them lazy when it comes to exercising. For these people, a gym membership is the perfect gift. What gym you choose will depend on the person and what physical activities they enjoy. Some like exercise classes, water aerobics, and an inside track with a basketball court. These will cost a little more. But for those who can just use the weights and cardio machines, you may find places for as cheap as $10 a month. I go to 10 Fitness, which is exactly that price. They have everything I need; and they offer Zumba classes at an additional charge of just $5 a class.
5.       Weight Watchers Membership. Weight Watchers has received great accolades as a weight loss program. I have found their nutritional part of the program to be sound and they offer much needed social support through weekly meetings. This program will help anyone jumpstart weight loss. The “point system” is a great alternative to counting calories, carbs, or fat.
6.       A digital scale. If a person wants to lose weight, they need a good scale to weigh themselves on a weekly basis. I suggest a digital scale because it may be more accurate, in addition, it gives weight with a decimal point. I will always take a 0.3 weight loss rather than a plain old 0.
7.       Healthy Cookbook. If the person you are giving the gift to cooks a lot, give them a healthy cookbook with some great options. There are many good cookbooks that offer modifications as well as healthy recipes where there is less fat, sugar and calories. Though you may not have diabetes, I still believe the diabetic cookbook could be useful for all people attempting weight loss ( Shop around for other cookbooks as there are many out there.
8.       Lastly, the greatest gift you may give someone may be pants, a shirt, or a dress 1-2 SIZES TOO SMALL. Whenever I have received gifts of this sort, it was inspiration to lose weight to get those clothes on! Matter of fact, I often buy clothes that may be a size too small in order to motivate me to lose weight to get into it (I have had one suit that I have been trying to get into for a year with no success; I am determined that I will get into it by fall 2012).

Some of these gifts may be insults if the people you give them to are not weight conscious, or are not trying to lose weight. So please make sure these are appropriate for whom you are buying them. Nonetheless, they are all great Christmas gifts and may give a person more than the satisfaction of getting a gift from you, but also the satisfaction of weight loss. Have a Merry Christmas! Jesus is the reason for EVERY SEASON!!!

-Jenelle Robinson
(P.S. I am accepting any and all weight loss gifts from blog readers…lol)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ketchup packages on my Fries...

Have you ever placed an order for fries, or chicken nuggets, and when you received your order, the ketchup packages were in the box touching the fries?  Or the chicken nugget sauce packages were in the box touching the chicken nuggets? I hate when condiment packages are touching my food. Mainly because I have seen these same condiment packages in random places in restaurants…the floor, on tables, in people’s nasty hands (where they pick all the packages up, then decide they don’t need all of them so they put some back), etc. I don’t like the fact that these same packages could be the ones touching my food…possibly carrying some awful type of bacteria. This brings me to my topic: Food-Borne Illness. Food-borne illness comes as a result of consuming food contaminated with harmful toxins, chemicals, bacteria, parasites, etc. Food can be contaminated with things like kitchen cleaning tools, lead (in some cooking pots/pans), copper, zinc, dirt, bones, metal shavings from cans, glass, hair, etc. Just about anything you can think of can contaminate your food. Now I know that this world is full of things that have these things on them and in them. I am not ignorant of that fact. I also know that our bodies were designed to protect us against certain bacteria, etc., and our bodies know how to eliminate them if necessary. I know these things. Nonetheless, I always like to decrease the risk of obtaining any illness from some less researched bacteria. Have you seen the movie Contagion? Then you may understand my point.  
Here are 7 things you need to know in preventing cross contamination…
1.     Cook your own food. You never know what is going on in the back of somebody else’s kitchen, so you cannot control what they are doing to your food.
2.    Inspect your food. If you are going out to eat (and even at home), look at your food closely to see if there are any visible contaminants. Smell your food to make sure it doesn’t have a funny chemical smell.
3.    Wash your hands in between dealing with raw meat and dry ingredients. If you are cooking something at home, always wash your hands in between dealing with everything.
4.    Keep your refrigerator temperature at 41 degrees. This keeps your food out of the temperature danger zone, which is where bacteria could develop in your food.
5.    Store raw meat, poultry, and seafood at the bottom of the refrigerator. We do not want raw meat drippings to get on other foods in the refrigerator.
6.    Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw meats. I even tell the cashier at the local grocer not to put my packaged raw meat in the same bag with ANY other food. I take no chances.
7.    Get rid of refrigerated leftovers after 3-4 days. You can’t always see or smell if a food is spoiled, so do this to be on the safe side.

There are many more tips I could give concerning this, but these tips are what I found to be most interesting because a lot of us don’t pay attention to them. If you would like more information on this, or more tips, let me know, and I might create another blog about it (I taught a food safety class, and this is not even a fourth of the information.). Until next time…

-Jenelle N. Robinson

Friday, December 2, 2011

Running...for exercise...

I have ran in 5 half marathons in my lifetime…one every year since 2005 (except 2009; I was in an accident where I got hit by a car while riding a bike and could not run for several months). I got into running in 2004, where I met a running group who ran 3 days a week. At the time, the most amount of miles I had ran was about 2. I had always thought that was pretty good. But this running group that I was introduced to averaged running 3-4 miles during the week (at each run), and about 6 miles on Sundays. That was a challenge for me. At least I thought it was. I remember running with them during the week, and for the first time, I was able to run about 3-4 miles each time. Then, I remember going with them to run one Sunday evening. And to my surprise, I was able to run 6 miles straight without stopping. It was amazing to me. It is amazing what you can do when you are doing it with the support of others. What was even more amazing was the way weight dropped off of me.
Running is the only exercise that I have ever done that has consistently made me lose weight. I have tried a variety of exercises including step aerobics, cardio-kickboxing/taebo, weight lifting, P90X, and Insanity. These were all fun and entertaining, and very challenging to my body. But it seemed that the only exercise that has always helped me to drop weight fast is running. Now I will say that participating in those other exercise activities definitely helped me run faster and have more endurance. But running has always been key for me.
On that note, I strongly advise you to make a goal of running in a half marathon. Maybe that is too strong of a goal for some of you, so try a 5K first. But those who believe they can train for a half marathon, start training. Lest you be intimidated, let me make this clear: I have never actually “RAN” the whole half marathon. There are many times where I have stopped and walked anywhere from one minute to 10 minutes several times throughout the race. The last race I was in, I ran 9.5 miles straight, and stopped for about 5 minutes, and then continued running the rest of the way. I had the fastest time I have ever had…2 hours and 18 minutes. In actuality, compared to many other runners, that seems to be pretty slow (10 minutes and 30 seconds a mile). But it was a challenge that I overcame, so I believe that counts for me.
If you say, I am just a walker, great! That is a start. What I would advise you to do is incorporate short bouts of sprints or jogs into your walking routine. For instance, if you are walking 1 hour a day, I would advise you to run 1 minute every 5-6 minutes of your walk. That way, you will get in at least 10 minutes of running. This will help get you started on the path to running on a consistent basis. It will become easier and easier. However, if you just want to walk and do the short bouts, that is fine. There are many people who do that the whole half marathon. Matter of fact, there are many who walk the whole MARATHON (26 miles). (FYI-I have no interest in running or walking a whole marathon. I am dog tired by the end of the half marathon, and don’t understand how people can keep running after 13.1 miles).
So what should you expect during the race? You should expect it to go by fast. Seriously. There are so many people walking and running, you will see the mile markers fast. You should also expect good music and entertainment as many groups will be located on your route. You should also expect family and friends (if they come), and people who you don’t know to be cheering you on.
So what should you expect after completing a half marathon? Maybe money if you are fast enough in your age division. But you may not want to bet on that as people travel from other countries to run in these races and win money (mostly for the whole marathon). So again, what should you expect after completing a half marathon? You should expect a pretty medal and some food. Other than that, your body will feel like jello. Your knees will be sore. Your body will feel shook up. You will more than likely me soaking wet (depending on the season). Later on, you probably will be sitting on the toilet for a while. Nonetheless, I am willing to experience all of this in exchange for the feeling I feel after crossing that finish line. It is an adrenaline rush! It feels so good! It feels like you have accomplished the supernatural! (lol). I wouldn’t trade that feeling for much of anything. I’m telling you, everybody should have the experience of feeling this at least once in their lifetime. It feels so good…
If this has motivated you to start training for a half marathon, 5K, or even a marathon, I have some resources below that may be of help to you. I hope this has been beneficial for you. Until next time…
Use this site to create your own running route within your neighborhood or surrounding areas.

This site contains a training guide for those who want to start training for a race.

Find races in your geographical area…

This site contains a list of races all over the United States.

-Jenelle Robinson

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm Not Eating Healthy on Thanksgiving!

Let me start today’s blog off by saying: I am not going to tell you to “eat healthy and eat less food at Thanksgiving.” In actuality, there are a lot of healthy options available at our Thanksgiving meal. Many lean meats, and vegetables are available. However, many casseroles and vegetables may be full of sugar and fat. Nonetheless, most of our problem on Thanksgiving is not the actual food, but how much of it we eat. We most often overeat during our Thanksgiving meal and don’t know how to push the plate away when we are full. Most of us will not be able to do it. Most of us see the holidays as our days to splurge. The allure of all the great looking, smelling, and tasting food is just too much for many of us to handle. And who wants to think about portion sizes, holding the salt or butter, or eating on smaller plates during this time(this goes against all I said on Monday’s blog, however, this is just for one day J)? So what is my advice to you on being healthy at Thanksgiving dinner? It is simple. Exercise it off before and after you eat it. The day before, the day of, and the day after Thanksgiving should be major workout days. Before you tune out, hear me out…
On Thanksgiving day, just for the Thanksgiving meal, you will more than likely eat anywhere from 2000-3000 calories. That does not include breakfast, snacks, or any other meals you might eat that day. If you don’t believe you could possibly eat that many calories at one meal, let’s do some math to add it up:
1 ½ med slice of turkey 
66 calories
½ cup cornbread dressing
180-200 calories
¼ cup of gravy for dressing
80-90 calories
1 med slice of ham
66 calories
Close to 1 cup of macaroni and cheese
250-320 calories
½ cup Cranberry sauce
105 calories
½ cup greens
40 calories
½ cup sweet potato casserole
200-250 calories
½ cup green beans and carrots
30 calories
½ cup Mashed potatoes and  ¼ cup gravy
140 calories
2 dinner rolls with butter
175-220 calories
1 cup of Something to drink (tea, fruit punch, or soda)
80-200 calories
1 slice of sweet potato pie
250-450 calories
1 slice of pumpkin pie
200-310  calories
1 slice of german chocolate cake
270-320 calories
Total Calories:
2132-2807 calories

(Calories are approximate averages and could be much more depending on how you cook, season, and prepare your food.)
What is reflected is one serving of each food. If you don’t eat all of this at one setting, take out what you don’t eat. But please remember, we often get more than one serving of WHAT WE DO EAT, so account for that too by multiplying what you do eat by 2-4, depending on how many servings you get. That is still a lot of food for one meal. If at all possible, don’t eat all of this food at one setting. Try to eat it throughout the day. Even still, that may be too many calories in even one day for a majority of us as most of us need a lot less than 2000 calories for the whole day.
So what is our goal on Thanksgiving when it comes to being healthy? Our goal is not to gain extra weight and feel like a glutton. At least, that is my goal. The best way to do this without abstaining from what we want to eat is to burn many more calories the day before, the day of, and the day after Thanksgiving. The point is to put your body at a calorie deficit before you eat so that it can be more fulfilled when you do eat that larger meal. My aim is to burn an extra 1500-2000 calories over the 3 days. Today, I plan to walk 30 minutes, and to do one of the Insanity DVD workouts. In the morning, I am doing the 4 mile Turkey Trot here in Little Rock, AR. I will probably also walk 30 minutes sometime tomorrow also. And on Friday, I will be doing an Insanity workout again, along with the 30 minute walk; and Saturday will be a 6 mile run. You may not have to do all of this. But my suggestion to you is for you to walk 30 minutes in the morning (or evening if you prefer) today, tomorrow, and Friday; and do a 1 hour vigorous workout each of those days. That should help you burn at least 1500-2000 calories.  A vigorous workout includes: running, jogging, power walking with weights, cycling, spin class, taebo, cardio-kickboxing, plyometrics, Insanity DVD, P90X DVD, dancing, and Zumba. If I didn’t mention something that you are able to do vigorously, just include it. The point is to just get moving, and do it vigorously! I promise you that if you make this sacrifice, the food will be worth it when you eat it on Thanksgiving, and you won’t feel as much guilt afterward….Happy Thanksgiving!!!
-Jenelle Robinson

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

8 R's of Eating...

I know how to lose weight.  I have done it at least 50 times in my lifetime. But what I have always had a hard time of doing, is creating a lifestyle of change to maintain the weight I loss.  What can help us create a lifestyle of change?  8 words.  Now I won’t say I always do things perfectly. But whenever I eat, I aim to meet at least one of these principles:

Replace fried sides with fruits or vegetables regularly. If you are eating a burger, instead of a fried side, have a fruit or cup of vegetables on the side. Replace caloric drinks with water, tea, or a low-calorie beverage.

So you ate a high fat lunch, eh? Or maybe you had a big breakfast. Redeem yourself by eating a low fat dinner, or a low caloric (<300 calories) meal for another mealtime.

Eat less calories. When you are full, stop eating…even if the food looks and tastes good. Another way to eat less calories during the day would be to let something go for the day. Don’t eat meat for a day. Or give up eating as much bread for the day. The point is, as a population, in general, we need to eat less calories.

Eat often. You need to eat at least 5-6 times a day.  This will help rev up your metabolism, as eating, in and of itself, helps you burn more calories. Aim to eat 3 full meals a day (protein, carb, vegetable/fruit, dairy), and 2-3 snacks (100-150 calories) a day.

Refuse to have meat at every meal. Refuse to have rolls every time you go out to eat. Refuse to have 3-5 refills of your drinks when you go out to eat. Refuse extra dressing. Refuse extra butter on your bread. Refuse something that you don’t normally refuse. Then make it a habit.

Use the bathroom regularly. It differs by person, but a good guideline is 1-3 good bowel movements a day. Again, it may differ by person. One of the biggest things that will help us stay regular is fiber. We are not getting enough of it. Major sources of it consist of whole grains, beans, and fruits and vegetables. So in addition to staying regular, fruits and vegetables should be eaten regularly.

Reform your body through exercise. Reformation usually comes through discipline. Discipline is more practiced than learned. Practice exercising 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day.

We eat to live, not live to eat. Constantly renew your mind to that principle, and the other 7 principles.  Remind yourself of these things often. Because more than these principles, what you need is A MIND CHANGE in order to commit to these principles.

If we can consistently meet these 8 principles, we will inevitably create a lifestyle of healthy eating and living, and will not suffer with yo-yo dieting. Learn the principles and incorporate them into your everyday life. I can only give you the information and principles…you must find the internal motivation to commit to them…

-Jenelle Robinson

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Kids Gotta Eat Too...

I have no kids. So, I do not make any claims to know how to raise them, nurture them, or feed them. I am sure you have that down packed. Though I have no experience in those areas, I do have a lot of experience in teaching kids how to eat healthy. I have taught nutrition and health classes for kids of all ages. I have also administrated a nutrition education program for low-income residents all across the state of Mississippi in which the major target group was kids. So I have just a little bit of knowledge in this area.  Though I worked a bit with kids, I often thought their parents should have been more of my focus. Most kids (looking at ages 10 and under) do not buy or fix their own food. That is usually the responsibility of a parent of caregiver. Most times, it is also the responsibility of a school or daycare.  So let me focus my attention on the adults…
I have many friends and family members (adults) who have come to me asking for “a diet plan” in efforts to lose weight or because their health was at risk. When I gave them a dietary regimen to lose weight, or just to eat healthy in general, they usually said, “Well, it’s going to be hard to eat like this, ‘cause I don’t know what I can give the kids to eat.” My response: What? Why can’t the kids eat healthy too? Is their health not at risk also?  It actually is….
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2011) report that obesity in children and adolescents (2-19) has almost tripled since 1980. 20% of 6-11 year olds are obese. 1 of 7 low-income preschool children (2-4) are obese. Obesity among children increases their risk of having to deal with other problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, breathing problems, etc.  The CDC’s claim is that childhood obesity is the result of “eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity.” I tend to more or less agree with this claim. So what do we do to help improve our kids health so they have a better chance of NOT having to deal with these issues?
8 things to do to improve the eating/health habits of your kids:
1.     Don’t let them eat whatever they want. If you have nothing but processed foods around the house (most anything that is packaged and put on your shelf), please do not just tell your kids they can have whatever they want to eat for lunch or dinner.  You are robbing them of a balanced meal.
2.    Let them eat whatever they want. In direct opposition to number 1, this only applies if you have only healthy options for them to choose from. I believe it is a great ideal to let kids choose what they want to eat…especially when all of the choices are good choices. For instance, if for dinner, you are giving them a choice of either rice, carrots, and baked fish, versus green beans, grilled chicken, and a roll…that would be 2 good choices.  Or if for a snack, you let them choose between 4 different kinds of fruit, that would be a way to give them all good choices.
3.    Pack their lunch for school at least 4 out of 5 days. Don’t always depend on the school lunch if at all possible (unless the school has made some major changes to what they are serving). Make sure to always pack a fruit and/or vegetable in their lunch.
4.    YOU practice eating healthy in front of them (and emphasize how much you like what you are eating). Don’t just cook it for them and then eat whatever YOU want to eat. You eat the healthy meal too.
5.    Stop giving them cookies and chips and cheese crackers for snacks. Yes they are convenient. Yes the kids like them. Yes you may do it every once in a while. But please don’t make a habit out of it (3-4 times a week). Wean them off of this stuff (because they will put up a fight if you just try to abolish it altogether), and get them to find a fruit or vegetable they enjoy that can be a frequent snack (I did ants on a log with kids and they loved them (FYI-ants on a log is a celery stick, laced with peanut butter, and raisins crawling across the top).
6.    Find food items that you and the kids can make together in the kitchen. Here are some great resources with recipes you and your kids can try together:;;
7.    Substitute the fries for a fruit. I know it is easy to just go through the drive-thru and get them a kid’s meal. Do what you have to do. Only don’t let them have fries with that meal all of the time. Also, please don’t let them have a soda pop with it every time. Opt for the milk (chocolate or plain).
8.    Make sure your kids get some play time---and that is not hand-held video game play time. Don’t depend on them to just get it at school. Make sure they get it at home.  This can be done through a game that includes lots of movement (Wii is acceptable), or just running and playing games outside. This is nutrition-related because it helps the kids to burn off any extra unnecessary calories that they may have consumed throughout the day.

I hope this helps you and your family! Until next time…

-Jenelle Robinson


CDC. Overweight and Obesity. Retrieved November 14, 2011 from

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Black beans...

Last week, Heady ( sent me a message asking about black beans. So I decided I would blog about black beans. I have always hated beans (legumes). When I was young, my parents used to make us eat our beans. They would always tell us, “when you get older, you are going to like to eat beans.” I am older, and I still do not like beans. What I can do, is TOLERATE beans. I tolerate them in my chili and in salsa.
Beans in general are usually great sources of fiber and protein. Studies have found lowered colon cancer risk with beans (black beans), better blood pressure management, and decreased coronary heart disease risk.
The beans that I usually can tolerate in my salsa are black beans. As well as having the noted health benefits, black beans are about 114-117 calories (1/2 cup), have 8-9 grams of fiber, 1-2 grams of fat, and 6-7 grams of protein. But watch out for the canned black beans. Though they boast these benefits, many are high in sodium, with 1 can giving a person over 1200 mg of sodium (only should have 2400 mg/day). So if using canned black beans, make sure to wash them off in order to lower the sodium content (the fresh/dried black beans have less than 1 mg of sodium).
Since I love tortilla chips and salsa (and also cheese dip J), I thought I would give you a great recipe for a salsa with black beans:
1 can of black beans (wash off the beans)
1 can of corn
2 cans of diced tomatoes
½ diced red onion
1/3 cup of cilantro
lime juice (2 limes squeezed)
(and mini tortilla chips for dipping!!!)

That’s all I have for today! Until next time…

Bazzano, L. A., Jiang, H., Ogden, L. G., Loria, C., Vupputuri, S., Myers, L., & Whelton, P. K. (2001). Legume Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in US Men and Women. Archives Of Internal Medicine, 161(21), 2573.
Black bean. Retrieved November 8, 2011 from
Consumption of black beans and navy beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) reduced azoxymethane-induced colon cancer in rats. Retrieved November 8, 2011 from

Lee, Y., Puddey, I., & Hodgson, J. (2008). Protein, Fibre and Blood Pressure: Potential Benefit of Legumes. Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology & Physiology, 35(4), 473-476.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fruitopia...starting with Grapes...

In the last blog, I talked to you about my fettish with cupcakes and what I experienced in San Francisco. Lest you think poorly of me (as if you could…lol), I would like for you to know that I also ate sweets that were full of nutrients….fruit. While in San Francisco, I went to Pier 39 on the bay. There was a small market (like a farmer’s market) outside that had a variety of fresh fruit. I took pictures of all the fruit I could, though I only bought some strawberries (I will talk about the strawberries in another post). However, I thought that today I would talk about the beautiful grapes I saw….
I like grapes. They are sweet, taste good, and are filling. In view of the picture above, the grapes looked so much better in person…better than what you see at your local grocer. Here are 4 things you may not know concerning grapes and their health benefits (
1.       Grapes may exert certain physiological benefits in protection against atherosclerosis, and coronary heart disease (Frankel, Meyer, 1998). Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death for U.S. men and women.
2.       Grapes may help lower blood pressure. About 1/3 of individuals have high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure may increase your risk of other diseases like stroke and heart disease.
3.       Grapes may help protect you against certain types of cancers. The American Cancer Society (2011) says that half of all men and a third of all women will develop cancer during their lifetimes. So it is important to use preventive measures (eating healthy, not smoking, being physically active) in order to reduce your chances of getting cancer.
4.       Grapes may promote brain/mental health. The Alzheimer’s Association (2011) states that  Alzheimer’s (attacks brain; most common form of dementia) is the sixth-leading cause of death in the country.

So in review of the health information above, I would say grapes are a great sweet that might help with your sweet tooth while providing health benefits at the same time. Plus, nutrition-wise, it is fat free, and low in calories (half a cup is about 55 calories). That is all I have for today…until next time…


Frankel, E., Meyer, A.(1998). Antioxidants in grapes and grape juices and their potential health effects. Pharmaceutical Biology, 36SS, 14-20.

Fresh Grapes and Health. Retrieved November 2, 2011 from

Cancer. Retrieved November 2, 2011 from

Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved November 2, 2011 from

Monday, October 31, 2011


If you know me, then it is no secret that I love cupcakes. For a season, I would go to the local grocer and buy one cupcake almost every day. One day I thought I would be smart and just buy the 6 pack to eat one cupcake a day for 6 days. I ended up eating all 6 in one day. I confess…this has been my most difficult part of trying to eat healthy. I have a major sweet tooth that targets mostly cupcakes.
While on one of my trips to San Francisco, CA, I visited the major mall downtown which had an oasis of great food within it. Bristol farms was also in that mall. I had never been there before, but they seemed to be a grocery store of sorts that sold both organic and healthier options. Except for certain items in the bakery…which had the most beautiful array of cupcakes you can imagine (picture above). There were red velvet cupcakes, chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes, fudge brownie cupcakes, mint chocolate chip cupcakes, key lime cupcakes, strawberry cheesecake cupcakes, fudge brownie cupcakes, raspberry lemon cupcakes, strawberry cupcakes…the list goes on. I was in a wonderland heaven….of cupcakes. Now, from a nutritional standpoint, these cupcakes were gigantic and had to have more than 700 (probably 1000) calories in each. In addition, I suspect the fat and sugar in them was excessive also. But what could I do when they looked so good and this was my weakness? The only thing to do was to… a cupcake. I had 1 almost every time I went to San Francisco (about 3-4 times). My favorite was the strawberry and red velvet. This seems to go against everything I like to teach, but one thing I have found is that sometimes we can give into our cravings if we follow some simple rules.
5 rules to follow in order for you to EAT THAT CUPCAKE (OR ANY SWEET FOR THAT MATTER):
1.       Eat light a majority of the day so you may indulge in that cupcake. Before I ate a big cupcake, I always had light meals like salads and water.
2.       Take the icing off. My cupcakes came with a lot of icing on top of them. Oftentimes, I took a majority of it off. A lot of the sugar, fat, and calories is found in the icing.
3.       Only eat half of the cupcake (or sweet). My cupcake was pretty big. I ate it all. However, I followed rules 1 and 2. If you can’t follow rules 1 and 2, make sure to follow rule 3.
4.       Do not eat the cupcake late in the day (after 6pm). Don’t eat sweets too late. Eat it earlier in the day when your metabolism is revved up.
5.       Eat the whole cupcake, but just make sure to exercise it off. Though I ate these cupcakes, I did some exercising everyday too. If you are going to eat a high caloric sweet, the least that you can do is also treat your body by burning it off as soon as possible. I would suggest a one to one and a half hour workout where you burn at least 700-800 calories. That is the price you have to pay to eat it.

Now some of you might ask, why not just take it out of your diet if it is not good for you? Why not just practice abstinence from the cupcake? Why? In reality, sugar and calories are not necessarily bad for the body. Excess of them is bad. In addition, it is not realistic for a lot of us to totally take certain sweets out of our diets. For me, I KNOW it is not realistic. Several studies show that when people take things out of their diets, they tend to splurge on other things in excess to account for what they loss. The other thing they may do is abuse the sweet (eat excess amount of it) once they decide to eat it again. So instead of telling you never to eat cupcakes or certain sweets, I’d rather give you some guidelines that help you eat it in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Whelp, that is all I have for today. Until next time….

-Jenelle Robinson