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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Beach...and food on it!

Malibu, CA is a beautiful place. I had an opportunity to go to Los Angeles, CA to do nutrition and health seminars, and afterwards, I drove to Malibu, CA to go to the beach. I absolutely loved the water. It was so beautiful and serene. I felt at peace when I was close to the water…it was wonderful. What was just as wonderful was being able to EAT close to the water! I found a hotspot restaurant called Duke’s that was located right smack dab on the beach.
When I viewed the menu at Dukes, I wasn’t sure what I wanted.  I just knew I wanted mixed greens for starters (which I devoured quickly) and some fish. The only fish that I was really familiar with from home (Arkansas) was tilapia, and salmon. Neither of these did this restaurant offer. My waiter named about 5 fish, and I was not familiar with any of them. I told him to recommend something and he recommended Parmesan and Herb Crusted Opah (Hawaiian Moonfish) that came with capers, a side of this sweet slaw, sweet potatoe fries, and banana ketchup (I know banana ketchup sounds weird but it was actually really good).
The meal was delicious!!! I had never had Opah before, but it reminded me of a mix in texture between tilapia and chicken. So let’s break down most of the meal to see if I got anything healthy out of it.
Mixed greens-mixed greens are a good source of vitamin K and folate. Vitamin K helps with preventing blood clots, and helps strengthen bones; while folate participates in metabolism and helps prevent megaloblastic anemia. Now I did add dressing to my mixed greens…ranch, of course. However, I had the dressing on the side and dipped my fork in it (instead of pouring it over all the greens) before touching the greens with my fork to limit calories.
Opah-According to, seared opah (4oz) is about 130 calories and 1 gram of fat. That is really good for limiting calories. Though, my opah had a little breading and parmesan on it. So we can add a few more hundred calories to that…and I’m sure some sort of frying oil was involved so add a few more fat grams to it. This shows that a simple fish is great for being low in fat and calories, but when we add breading and fry or deep fry it, we add a significant amount of calories and fat to it. I still enjoyed my Opah.
Slaw-coleslaw is an adequate source of Vitamin C which helps with wound healing, tissue formation, stress reactions, and fevers and infections.
Sweet Potato Fries-Sweet potatoes are great sources of Vitamin C, but also Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent night blindness, helps develop tissues which provide barriers to infection, and is essential for growth of bones and soft tissues. Though these sweet potatoes were fried, I imagine there is still a certain amount of nutritional benefit that was gained from them.
Banana Ketchup-Though I am sure there was a lot of sugar, and only a minimal amount of banana in this ketchup, I would still like to note one  of the benefits of bananas…Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is needed to prevent certain types of anemia, to help prevent preeclampsia in pregnant women, to control brain function, and to prevent a rise in homocysteine levels which may contribute to arterial disease.
So overall, I don’t think I did too bad. I may have had more calories than necessary ( I did eat a couple of the Hawaiian roles that came before the meal…it was so good…gotta stay away from all this bread!!!), but I did get a few needed nutrients from some of the veggie selections. Did I mention I didn't have dessert? Yet, another great way to limit calories. Man, I wanted dessert so bad. (they didn't have any pictures of the desserts, but the descriptions on the menu made them seem undeniable). However, I listened to my body, which told me I was full and didn't need another crumb. I obeyed. Great job Jenelle! (I am a desserts junkie so everytime I resist, I have to pat myself on the back).
Until next time…

-Jenelle N. Robinson
For more information on food I ate at this restaurant, visit:

Monday, October 24, 2011


I’m back. It has been a couple of months since I have blogged. I have missed it. But I have been traveling to California for the last couple of months to do nutrition and health seminars and…no excuses…I just didn’t blog. But what I did do while I was out of town a lot is … I ate a lot of new foods….and I enjoyed it! (didn’t enjoy the extra pounds though). Now I will not tell you that I always made healthy choices, but I did always try to INCLUDE a healthy choice in whatever I ate.
For the next few weeks, I plan to give you a glimpse of some of the food I encountered. Most will probably not be new to you, but I hope to elaborate on some of the nutrients that are present (or not present) in some of the foods that I ate. I also will have pictures of the food!!! (exciting)
So today, let’s take a trip to Sacramento, CA to the all familiar restaurant MiMi’s Café. I love this place. And while I was in Sacramento, I ate there like everyday. One of my favorite entrees was the Filet of Soul. It was a light white fish, with mixed vegetables (squash, zucchini, and broccoli) on the side. (There was some sort of cream they put on top of the fish, but I scraped it off.)
So let’s break down the meal:
I had a lovely sautéed white fish that was approximately 250 calories or so. It was said to have about 9 grams of fat, but I would charge that to the oil that was used to cook it and not coming mostly from the fish itself as most are low in calories and fat.
My mixed vegetables included squash, zucchini, spinach, and broccoli. These vegetables are virtually fat free (unless cooked in some sort of oil), and are low in calories (the medley had to be under 100 or so calories). In addition, all these vegetables are a great source of phytochemicals which have cancer fighting properties (we will talk more about phytochemicals as the weeks go by).
So this meal was most likely less than 400 calories. I had water with lemon to drink, so that was an added 0 calories. Incidently, I had this meal at least 4 times while in Sacramento. I believe it was a great healthy choice.
Key Point for today: At least one meal a day, or every other day should include fish and vegetables (no bread included). In this way, you are automatically limiting calories and fat, and increasing vital nutrients your body needs.
That is all I have for today. Until later…
-Jenelle Robinson