Shift Into Clean Eating October

Avoid the Fattening Good Time Trap

Hi there,

Welcome to autumn!


After the free-for-all looseness of the summer, it is a great time to get back to basics and structure.  For me and many of my clients—this means starting with our eating. The relaxed mode of summer can cause even the most focused of us to stray off the path.

One of the easiest ways to get back to basics with food is to focus on a healthy plan that eliminates processed foods and focuses on whole foods.  I find that doing this for a month just helps to bring awareness to what exactly we are eating – and it feels great.

Of course, there are a lot of levels of processed foods and a lot of questions about what is really happening to food before it gets into our shopping cart (or market basket).  Good news—I have a great resource to help make this easy.  My friend Andrew Wilder has a great website and blog dedicated to this healthy whole food eating.  It’s an amazing resource and keeps things simple.

And this October, you can join a free community challenge on his site Eating Rules.  Each year, Andrew hosts the challenge to not eat processed foods for the month of October.  If you sign the pledge, you’ll get an inspiring email daily with great recipes and helpful tips.  More good news—the challenge and all the resources are free!  And you can still eat chocolate!  Here’s the link to the site and the challenge: October Unprocessed Challenge here

Andrew started October Unprocessed in 2009 when he decided to cut out processed foods for an entire month. The challenge has grown each year and since then, more than 30,000 people have taken the pledge along with him.  I did the challenge last year and found it to be a great experience, helping me:

* Overcome carb and sugar cravings

* Feel healthier and more energetic

* Get some great new healthy meal and snack ideas

* Release some weight and feel fitter heading into the holidays

I hope you’ll consider joining me this year– it’s a great way to get support and get healthy.  Here’s the link again: Enroll here 

Also, I interviewed Andrew about why he started the challenge and he gives some great tips for getting started. Please listen here.

One more piece of good news—I was asked by Andrew to contribute a guest post for the challenge.  So, I have created a new clean eating hypnotic meditation session designed to keep you motivated to stick with the challenge and to keep enjoying eating in the way nature intended. You’ll be receiving that from Andrew on the first day of the challenge!

I am excited to start a month of healthy eating before heading into the holiday season.  I do hope you’ll join me.

Happy eating!

Alone we diet, Together we Shift
Rita Black

PS – I know people often think that eating unprocessed is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. And to help you get started, Andrew’s scored some great discounts from Bob’s Red Mill, Mighty Nest, and Olisio to help make the challenge easier and more affordable than ever. He’ll be passing along coupons to us to take advantage. So join us today!

eating rules


How To Keep Hunger Away All Day

woman eating yogurt at desk

Did you just eat an hour ago and you are already hungry again?  Are you plagued with cravings for sugary foods or highly refined salty-crunchy foods?  Well, chances are you may not be getting enough protein.

As a hypnotherapist and cognitive weight expert, I will tell you one of the biggest nutritional Shifts that someone can make to take back their power from food is to make sure that they are eating enough protein on a daily basis.  If you have worked with me either privately or with the Shift 30 Day Weight Mastery Process or  Shift in a Box Process—you already know that I harp on a lot about the power of protein!!


If someone is complaining about being hungry, I will ask, “Are you eating enough protein?”

If someone is suffering from night eating, I will inquire, “Are you having a protein rich snack around 4pm?”

If someone has been binging or feeling really addicted to carbohydrates and sugar, I will advise, “make sure you cut the carbs and up your protein in order to break the sugar spell.”

At Shift, we don’t give you a diet.  I really believe that you must individually create a way of eating that you have ownership of–one that works for you and your lifestyle.  I believe you need to discover what works best for you and your body by becoming a loving scientist.  You do this by observing what foods work at what times for you and what doesn’t work and then making changes and choices based on your findings. We don’t have an ‘expert” giving you a list of good foods and bad foods.

I will, however, harp on about your getting enough protein—about 72 grams per day, which is about three 4 oz. servings the size of your palm. If your daily calorie budget is more than 1600 calories a day, you may need even more.



Why would a hypnotherapist blather on so about getting enough protein?

Two reasons and both have to do with your brain—

1)    Research shows that the lack of certain amino acids found in protein sets up the brain to crave sugar and carbohydrates. When you haven’t been eating enough protein, your brain is more prone to seek out the more sweet and refined carbohydrates in large quantities (binges).  Also, the more refined carbohydrates you consume, the more hungry you feel.

2)    Protein gives you the most bang for your caloric buck.  If you are eating relatively few calories in order to stay within your body’s calorie needs for weight release for maintenance, a serving of protein is going to leave you feeling more satisfied and stable than a serving of carbohydrates.

Having said this, I am not advocating a no carb-diet plan here–nor am I saying all is lost if you are a vegetarian or vegan.  I am just saying that upping your protein, no matter what the source, and lessening the starchy carbs usually helps my clients stay happy and satisfied within their caloric needs for weight release.


There are two times I especially suggest that the protein source be with you—breakfasts and afternoon snack time.  If I have learned anything from my own weight struggles, as well as the hundreds of clients I have worked with over the years, it is this: Starting the day with a good protein source sets you on a good course for the rest of the day.  And afternoon snack time is also key because if we stabilize our blood sugar at this time with some protein, then we head into dinner with a sane head and a belly that isn’t screaming to be fed with whatever we can put our hands on first (usually bread!)

Starting the Day Right: Breakfast

Eating morning meal that is right for your body allows you to head into your day with stable blood sugar levels—a must for weight management.  Every body is different in the morning so you need to tune into yours and your special needs.  Observe how your body responds to the breakfast that you currently feed it.  How does it feel a few hours later?  Are you hungry?  Tired? Light headed? Or are you feeling good and focused on what you are doing?

My clients and I have observed the following about different types of breakfast foods.

Help! I just ate breakfast!! (after eating these breakfast foods, one feels hungry in about an hour or so): 

-Sugary and sugar-free commercial yogurts (even fat-free ones)

-Most cold (non-bran) cereals even the “whole grain” ones (this depends on your system)

-Granola (very high in calories too)

-Bagels (also high in calories)



-Toast with jam (no protein)

-Juice only

-Quick-cooking oats or instant oats from envelopes

-Sugary coffee drinks

Wow!  I’m feeling great! (these foods tend to keep one’s blood sugar levels stable and hunger satisfied through the morning):

-High fiber/High protein cereals

-Eggs/egg beaters/ egg whites

-Low fat cheeses

-High protein smoothies

-High protein 0% fat Greek yogurt

-Low-fat cottage cheese

-Whole fruit with some sort of protein

-Slow cooking oatmeal and whole grain cereals

-Vegetarian sausages/links/bacon

-Lean bacon/ turkey sausage/ Canadian bacon

-High fiber muffins that have no sugar in them (Zen muffins and fibercakes)

-Whole grain or high fiber toast/ English muffins/ tortillas with protein on them

-Bean or vegetable soups


It is wise to not allow yourself to get super hungry—that is when many of us tend to overeat. Make snacks work for you—not against you.  Many snacks out of a vending machine or grabbed on the go cause you to feel hungrier and more tired—the exact opposite of what a snack is intended for plus many processed snacks contain more calories than some meals.

Avoid: Stuff out of the vending machine, snacks that are primarily sugar, fat and salt, anything highly processed

Examples:  Cookies, muffins, chocolate bars, sugary juice drinks, sugary coffee drinks, granola bars, chips etc.

Seek: Snacks that contain protein, snacks that contain fiber, snacks that have some protein and complex carbohydrate or fat and carbohydrate.


Fruit and peanut butter

Apple slices and a low fat cheese stick

0% fat Greek yogurt and fruit

Fruit and small amount of nuts

Fiber bar and yogurt

Cottage cheese and fruit

Lo fat ricotta cheese spread on a lo carb tortilla with a savory or sweet topping

Lo-carb tortilla and hummus,

Carrots and hummus etc

Veggie burger patty

Deli turkey slices

Hard-boiled egg with an apple (TJs sells hardboiled, shelled eggs in a bag)

Turkey jerkey

Tuna in a pouch


I could go on and on and on about protein’s power, but don’t take my word for it! If you are struggling with hunger after meals or sugar and carb cravings, try upping your protein intake a few hundred calories a day and removing the same amount of calories of starchy food.  See if this helps keep you more happily on your path to long term permanent weight release.  And let me know what protein swaps work for you!

Have a Shifted Month and May the Protein Source be with You!


Tips to Avoid the Fattening “Good Time” Trap + free hypnosis

Summer food

It’s official– the summer is now here. I can feel a part of me relax just by writing that. There is nothing like the idea of summer to bring back the kid in all of us—warm sunny days, letting our hair down and relaxing.  Unfortunately, it also is a time when we too easily relax into unhealthy habits, especially with the abundance of social outings of the season.

Being social is a very primal core part of who we are as descendants of cave men (and women) and our wiring to “let down our hair” runs deep. This primal wiring can create definite challenges to our desire to stick to a healthy lifestyle, especially if we are working to lose weight. We don’t want to feel deprived and “on a diet” when we are hanging out with others–and we don’t have to. To help keep summer on track, I am including a free 6 minute social eating hypnosis session.  This is to be listened to prior to going out to whatever social event may be challenging. Please give it a listen and then read the tips below. With just a few painless adjustments, you can stick with your healthy intention and learn to enjoy going out–from the inside out.


When we think about going out and having fun with friends, family, or co-workers, our brain sends out a shot of the neurotransmitter dopamine which immediately excites and arouse us. “GOOD TIME!” our mind thinks. Being with others in a social way is one of our deepest needs, but the challenge is that we also tend overeat when we are with others, sometimes almost twice as much, research says.

The other night, I went over to one of my oldest friend’s home for dinner. I had been looking forward to this night out all week as I knew it was going to be the weekend and we would be relaxing and having a good time.  When I was thinking “Good Time”, what did I mean? Did I mean the food was going to be good? Was it going to be good to drink some wine and relax? Was it going to be good to connect with my friends and share about our ongoing lives? What was going to be so good? It turns out the meal was burnt and the wine was warm but we sat out under the stars and talked and had a most wonderful time.


Often when we go out, our mind thinks “Good Time” and we fall into the trap of letting the food and drink be responsible for the good time rather than the deeper experience within ourselves.

When I struggled with weight, I would look forward primarily to what we were going to be eating and drinking before thinking about the people I was going to be with—my good time was defined by the food and not so much about the people. Therefore, I tended to overeat, always looking for the bite of food that would fulfill me and often I never found it—I just ended up feeling full but not “full-filled”. Consequently, most of my social eating added to my waistline but not my true inner satisfaction.

When I began to Shift to a healthier mindset and life (what I call the ‘Shift to Thin Thinking”), I knew that for long term success, I would need to change my social eating priorities. Maybe it wasn’t really about the food so much as the people I was eating food with. When I could change my focus from people first, food second, I could get more pleasure for less calories.

Here are some questions I learned to ask myself before any social event that help prepare my mind for social eating success by allowing me to get clear of what my specific needs are for the event—what “having a good time” means.  By getting clear up front, before the stimulus of the event, I am able to keep my focus on what is important to me. I end up feeling less FULL and more FULL-FILLED.


1.  WHAT IS THE FULL-FILLING PART OF THE EVENT FOR ME? WHAT IS MY TRUE GOAL?  Are you meeting with a friend? Is your family coming over? Is this a work party? How do you want to leave this gathering—what would you like to feel as you leave? Like you spent some quality time speaking with the people you were with? By getting clear on your true social goals, you focus your mind on other people rather than your stomach.

2. IS THE GOOD TIME IN THE FOOD OR DRINK? In our minds, food can mean “fun”. Social celebrations often have wonderful food to indulge in but the problem is when we over-indulge we end up actually feeling bad. Getting mindful about the food you will be eating beforehand also allows you to be more mindful about your choices and amounts once you are in the middle of the event.

Get clear on:
a. Taking small portions and eating mindfully and slowly. The 3 bite rule is especially useful for this. After 3 bites, your mouth experience diminishes greatly.

b. Think about how you can feed yourself in a way that allows you to stay within your weight goal needs but also have a bit of pleasure. We don’t need to gorge in order to have a good time. Take a moment to think about how eating lightly can be more fun—especially when heading home and not feeling like you over did it.

c. Think about alcohol and how much you need. Do we really need to drink in order to have a good time?Often, we socially associate drinks with getting the “party” going. It really helps to decide upon how many drinks you will have ahead of time before the first bottle is opened. Again, the more you focus on bringing your inner party, the need to rely on drinks to have a good time greatly diminishes.

3. HOW CAN I “BE” THERE? When thinking about going out, I think about the way I can connect with people, often it’s by listening and really hearing what people are saying and responding from the heart. Just being there. By being a true friend, I am bringing more to the social experience than a homemade dessert! I am giving of myself and allowing people to give to me. It’s these types of exchanges that are sweeter than any cake!

4. HOW CAN I LEAVE FEELING FULL-FILLED? Think through to getting home from the social event. What would you like to feel like?  Like you ate well but not too much? That you gave yourself a treat but not a tummy ache? That you brought something of yourself and shared it with others while you are bringing home a bit of the people you were with by letting them and who they were in to yourself—allowing yourself to be full-filled.


I encourage you to listen to the following short hypnosis session. This is to be used prior to going out to any social event that may be challenging for you.  If you have not experienced hypnosis previously, please listen to the Introduction track first and read more about hypnosis here.

1 Minute Intro Track
6 Minute Social Eating Hypnosis

Listen to this session on the morning of or right before social events. DO NOT USE WHILE DRIVING!

Feel free to share the download and tips with your family and friends so that everyone can share in a healthy, light and mindful summer.

Keep working on the full-filling practice of shifting your focus in social situations from food to full-fillment. Taking the time to really think through your social events and ask yourself these inner questions can go a long way to shifting the amount of true pleasure you get from all of your social  events.

ox Rita

Updated Trader Joe’s Products and Ideas

Updated Trader Joe’s Products and Ideas for Weight Mastery

Download Shopping List

Welcome to the Trader Joe’s resource list updated for 2015.  I am a big fan of the Joe’s because they have affordable products and a lot of them are weight mastery friendly.

This list was created by me and a number of clients over the years—scouring the shelves for healthy, lower calorie products. We even brainstormed meal and snack ideas here for you. Everything has been organized into sections to be user friendly.

The big lesson we learn again and again is you have to read labels!  Otherwise, seemingly innocent “health food”– that actually is really caloric– ends up undoing you because you think you are eating light but you are not.  Case in point—we looked at the sushi section the seemingly low cal “rolls” average about 600 calories per package!!! Yikes!

I hope you find this list a useful resource for ideas and inspiration for planning healthy meals and snacks for your week. Remember, if you don’t have a plan, the world has one for you and it usually isn’t a very healthy one!

The Dairy Section

You either embrace dairy or you don’t. We whipped by the milks because what’s there to say about milk—you either got it or you don’t.

For those of you who like your coffee on the pale side, the TJ’s Fat Free Half and Half has fewer calories at 50 cal per 2 tablespoons (note less fat though more sugar). There is now also a Coconut Milk Creamer which offers something for the non-dairy folk.  Just be careful with any creamer—the calories do add up faster than you think. It’s easy to pour 50-100 calories worth in a cup and not even register it as something you ate.

For those of you who are looking to cut down calories in your milk substitutes—like soy milk, rice milk, etc.—I cannot rave enough about Almond Breeze’s Unsweetened Almond Milk.  We were practically misty-eyed singing the praises of this slightly almondy beverage that doesn’t come from a mammal or throw your hormones into a funk.  40 calories a cup and it’s rich and creamy to boot.

Yogurt Rave: Many from this crew of Joesters agree about these products:

Fage 0% Greek Yogurt- Plain 120 calories per cup.

And Trader Joe’s 0% Greek version of the same thick and creamy, great for breakfast and snacks –topped with fruit or plain, stirred into savory dips.  I use it to top stewed apples, bananas, and other fruit desserts.

Pasturized Egg Whites: (Near the egg beaters) I love these things because you can spray a casserole dish, pour some whites in, nuke ‘em, and you can keep ‘em for a couple of days.  I sometimes make a breakfast from a tortilla, Canadian bacon slice-1 slice, one slice tofu cheese, and a bit of egg whites.  It’s like an Egg McMuffin but it’s only 180 calories and low in fat and it takes seconds to make when the egg whites are prepped ahead of time. They are great for cooking, baking, and omelettes, obviously. 

The Bread Section—
(reading the list is gluten free though eating may not be)

 Zen Muffins and Fiber Cakes: These little fruit juice sweetened baked goods are the fiber child of The Zen Bakery.  The fibercakes are 80 calories and 15 grams of fiber-wow going in, ‘cause they taste great—and double wow going out—if you get my drift!  The Zen muffins are a bit more zaftig—weighing in at 250 cals but with fiber low fat and the same size as those big Starbucks’ muffins but a third of the calories.  These go fast so store them in the freezer and take out as needed.  Great for breakfast or snacking or dessert when crumbled up over some of the above-mentioned yogurt.

Mini Pita Pockets are also in the bread section. At 60 cals each, they’re worth a mention.  Everybody has their own gluten or non-gluten thing going on, and TJ’s does seem to cater to everyone’s needs in the bread department.

Love the Sonora low carb tortillas only 60 calories

Ezekial tortillas, bigger, more grainy and good for veggie filled burritos and wraps

Look Pa Bread:  whole grain, no flour, 90 calories, but as whole grain as you can get.

Check out other breads—check labels. A slice of bread can range from 40 to 160 calories a slice. Just because it is gluten free does not mean it’s calorie free.

The Vegetable Area

TJ’s has mastered the art of being green: bags of different lettuces, baby spinach, arugula as well as power greens, kale, cruciferous green mixes all make it easy to throw together a salad at the end of a long day. Now it’s even easier to get your veggies with pre-chopped stir-fries and vegetable mixes. Most masters of long term weight loss eat 6-9 servings per day and TJ’s makes that easy.

Don’t forget to load up on grab-and-go healthy, crunchy snacks like sugar snap peas, baby carrots, celery and bags of broccoli and cauliflower florets. Try these as a snack at 4 pm with some of the healthy dips mentioned below.

TJ’s is great because they package up prepped veggies so it makes cooking them a cinch.  I buy the bag of Southern Greens and saute these all of the time.  Liz puts cumin and paprika on them and says it gives them that smoky southern thing without the ham hock.

Broccoli Slaw:  low in cals and super high in nutrients—add some dressing—toss in a salad, saute. When I met with Lisa Lillien (aka Hungry Girl), we both spent about 5 minutes just singing its praises.

Apples: We discussed slicing up apples, putting them in a microwave dish, adding cinnamon, a slice of ginger, some vanilla, and then microwaving for 5 minutes.  The result is a comforting bowl of what tastes like apple pie.  I will serve this as dessert to company with yogurt on top—always a big hit and great for breakfast, too.

The Deli Case:

Eggplant Hummus: the lowest calorie hummus in the case. At 35 cal a tablespoon, I spread it on whole wheat toast or the low carb tortilla, or as a dip for those sexy veggies that you all love to chomp on at snack time.

Hummus Quartet: It’s nice–4 different flavors averaging about 45 cals per 2 tablespoons.  Great to bring into work to share over the week in the staff room with a bag of carrots (instead of a dozen donuts!!)

The below tomato based sauces in the deli section are great over everything in my book—steamed broccoli, salads, in soups, veggie dip—heck, if they made a vat big enough I would bathe in ‘em!

Salsa Especial Premium—fresh, very tasty, salsa 2T=5 calories!

Pico De Gallo 2 T =5 cals

Tomato Bruschetta sauce (amazing and garlicky, I eat straight from the container) 2T=20 cals. This is great over eggs, steamed broccoli, fish etc—very versatile!

Reduced Guilt guacamole—tastes as sinful as it’s heavier sister but only 30 calories for 30 grams. 

Egg White Salad with Chives:  This bad boy come in the same type of container as the hummus.  I love this stuff; it tastes great, packs a ton of protein to keep hunger at bay and a whole container is 100 calories!  Put it on salads, over steamed veggies (this is actually awesome) on w/w toast or the low carb tortilla.

Just Chicken, Just Salmon, Just Beef and now Just Roasted Chicken Breast: calories vary  For the carnivore in us, these are packages of freshly poached and chunked meats and fishes that are prepped with no fat and have had all the fatty bits removed—they are located by the salads.  These products would be great over a salad, tossed in a stir-fry, or just kept in the office fridge for a protein packed snack.  Great for those of us who like to eat meat but don’t like cooking it.

Hard Boiled and Peeled Eggs in the bag: another great item to bring in and keep at work or in the front of your refrigerator to reach for some protein on the go.

TJs fresh Soups—a new line added to the deli section, these come in plastic containers

Heart Minestrone 110 cals per cup

Lentil 230 per cup

TJ’s Salads:  these are the prepped ones that I have already mentioned but worth repeating because they are so convenient, tasty, fresh, and low cal—

California Spa-Nicoise

Low Fat Southwestern

Low Fat Greek

Citrus Chicken

Low Fat Chinese Chicken

Low Fat Shrimp Louis

and more

NOTE: Some salads seem low in calories until you see that they are actually two servings—again a reminder to check the labels.

Chevre Lite, at 35 calories an ounce, is a great tangy topping to a salad, toast, apple slices—or dare I say it –a low carb tortilla, spread with a tiny bit of jam or a savory salty olive tapenade (just to impart a flavor).

Fat Free Feta 35 cals per ounce

Laughing Cow Plain, Herbed, or Bleu Cheese Flavors—35 cals per wedge—these are great melted over steamed veggies or spread on toast as a snack.

Any cheese that is pre-portioned and packaged like the Baby Belle or Laughing Cow or cheese sticks are a help because then your rebel isn’t tempted into having you continue slicing away at the bigger piece of cheese “Go on—even up that edge—you know you want to.”

Light String Cheese—many reach for this protein filled snack—60 cals. per stick. 

Hebrew National Franks 97% Fat Free—A good tasting hot dog that weighs in at 45 calories.

Canadian Bacon-Surprisingly, this Canuck breakfast meat is super low in fat and calories—Oh, Canada! 20 calories a slice.

Reduced Sodium Turkey breast slices 60 calories per 2 oz

Beef–less and Chicken-less Strips these are fabulous for stir-frying with 9 strips =110 calories.

Roasted Chicken Patties (pre-cooked and awesome tasting) 140 calories each.  I must admit when the hubby and kids were away last summer for a week, I lived on these—so easy to heat up and then cut up and toss on a salad or a bowl of steamed veggies with some sauce.

Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage 120 cals per link

The Freezer Section:

The freezer is your weight mastery friend. It is a wonderful hideout for all those healthy veggies and prepared dinners at your office and home for those days and nights that you just can’t put energy into cooking.  The microwave and freezer together can be your answer to the take-out or fast-food drive-thru.

TJ’s freezer section has a lot of dinners, but you do have to check labels.  Here are some lower cal items for snacks, meals, and desserts.

Chicken, Beef, or Black Bean Taquitos.  100 calories per taquito.  Great for a snack attack—one is pretty big and can hold off your hunger.  Or have a couple with a salad or veggies for din din.

Thai Frozen Veggie Gyoza: 50 calories each—not bad and decadent feeling.  Keep on top of the number you eat though.

Pizza Fromaggio:  These baby pizzas are very high quality and taste great. They have been the subject of my personal 3-bite rule many a time.  Now they aren’t what I would call a healthy dinner, but if you have to eat pizza, these are small and only 250 calories each.

Roasted Veggie Pizza: W/W crust, no cheese, and lots of cool veggies, 1/3 of the pizza is 260 calories and another idea for a pizza jonzing attack.

Frozen Just Grilled Chicken:  Slices of grilled chicken breast frozen and put in a resealable package. Need I say more—I see salads, stir fries, and romaine roll-ups in your future.

Asian Veggie Mixes:  TJ’s is your hub for frozen Asian veggie mixes.  Just look on the back-some have a ton of calories and some are down right low cal.  Another way to cut cals is to stir-fry one of these bags with another bag of just veggies.

Soy Nugget 4 pc =120 calories

Mahi Mahi burgers= 110 calories each

Chicken Cilantro Won Tons 4 pc=50 calories

Cucumber Won Ton Rolls 4 pc=100 calories

Misoyaki Turbot Fillets 2 filets= 210 calories

Fish Vera Cruz: my personal favorite, this easy to thaw and cook option is full of chunky olives and tomatoes. It tastes sinful but is only a few hundred calories per serving—I put it over salad, the sauce serves as an amazing dressing.

Pork Roast Florentine 1/3 package = 240 calories

Battered Halibut 3 pc = 200 cals

Steamer Clams (in a box you just microwave)=70 cals for 14 clams, rave reviews on this one)

Wild Turbot Filets 4oz =210 cals (great flavor)

Seasoned Mahi Mahi 4.5 oz =130 calories (love this one)

Morning Star Farms:  You either love the fake meat and soy burgers or you don’t and then sometimes you think you hate them but find a product that actually works.  Here is a list of the MSF products that TJ’s carries that us Joesters are fans of:

Tomato basil burger=120 calories AND AWESOME

BBQ riblets=230 cals a serving and hits the BBQ spot.

Veggie bacon=the best I’ve had

Veggie breakfast patties=80 calories each-good Jimmy Dean feeling and Wilbur gets to live.


Dr. Praegers Veggie Burgers=100 calories each

Veggie Masala: Indian spiced veggie burgers-I love these-no protein though

Lime Cilantro Chicken Patties=100 calories.

Chicken Skewers= Phyllis put in a good word for these and 120 cals each-we listened!

The frozen broccoli, green beans, and spinach are all great ways to cut time and get green into your diet.  Take the bag from your freezer, put it in your microwave, and hit 6 minutes—it will come out nicely steamed and ready to eat. Sometimes I will put out a bowl of salsa and dip the broccoli spears in for a snack or as I’m fixing dinner for the kids.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Mélange = 70 Calories per ¼ package

Grilled Cauliflower—so great with a curry sauce over it

Cauliflower “Rice”—can you believe it—this is better than sliced bread—just heat this and it will act like rice but is only 25 calories per serving and very nutritious and low carb!

 The frozen fruit is a must for the freezer for smoothies, sorbets, or eating out of the bag frozen—the cherries and mangos are great for this—they slow down your eating and it satisfies that late night sweet tooth.

Another idea is to thaw and top cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.  I will put frozen fruit in a cup and let it thaw on my desk at work and then eat it.

Dry Goods Aisle:

Here are some items from the always crowded pasta aisle:

TJ’s Tuscana Marinara sauce, no sugar low cal.

 Sesame Oil-high in calories but imparts tons of flavor so a little goes a long way in sauces (soy sauce+sesame oil+rice vinegar+some sweetener and ginger if you want) and dressings or toss a ¼ t. in a stir fry.

Tapenades:  Another higher calorie item but, as mentioned before, you can spread a bit on some goat cheese, on some toast or tortilla for a great lunch or snack.  Ideas: pesto, black olive, artichoke, red pepper and green olive.  Indian relish.

 Masala Simmer Sauce, Red Enchilada Sauce, Red Thai Sauce, all come in glass jars and are great sauces that are low cal to transform humble proteins and veggies or beans into an amazing feast of the senses.

 Roasted Corn and Pepper Soup in a carton=110 cal per cup—great!

 Organic Creamy Tomato Soup=110 cup

 Organic Lentil Soup in a can=110 cal per cup (kids love this one)

Low Sodium Chicken Stock: little packets=about 20 cals each. They deliver a ton of flavor. I toss my veggies with just a bit and it makes them taste amazing. Great to make soup in a pinch or to add to stir frys for more of a flavor boost.

Indian and Thai Boxed Pouches:  A lot of these have 160 calories or less for ½ a pouch and are great tossed into a bowl of broccoli instead of the more caloric rice.  Green Thai Tuna is my fave, and the eggplant Indian one is also full of flavor.

Canned Organic Pumpkin: I love making crustless pumpkin pie and eating it for dinner.  Take a can of pumpkin (150 calories),  add ½ c. egg whites, some sweetener (agave, stevia, applesauce splenda etc.), pumpkin pie spices, 1 cup almond milk, Put in a pie dish and bake at 300 for about an hour (depends—check).  The whole dish is only about 350 calories if you get carried away and eat the whole thing. (Calories depend on how you sweeten it.)

Protein Bars: My new favorite is the Power Crunch salted caramel bar. It is 200 calories and satisfies your sweet tooth but is mostly protein so doesn’t spike sugar cravings or drops.

Many of my clients like the “Kind Bar” as well.  Just make sure with any protein bar than you keep the carbohydrate level down under 24 grams.  If you feel like eating one protein bar just causes you to want to eat another, then maybe it’s not the best protein bar for you.

Please feel free to share you favorite items with me so that I may add them to the list. I hope you have found these ideas not only helpful but they have inspired you to go load up on some healthy foods and to really treat yourself to a pleasurable and nourishing week, thanks to our good Friend…Trader Joe!

 Bon Appetite

Ox Rita

P.S. Please send us your favorite Trader Joe’s product, meal or snack inspiration.

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Stop! Thief!!

Stop! Thief!

As you head out for your summer travels, I want to warn you about two thieves that are out there waiting to rob you blind and ruin your summer holiday experience.  Those thieves are your Inner Critic and your Inner Rebel.

That’s right– these two mental criminals work together masterfully and catch you by surprise.  First, the Inner Rebel appears—disguised in such fun time holiday thoughts as…

-“It’s my holiday I am going to let my hair down and drink three Pina Coladas with the umbrella!”

-“I have to try the local fudge…and pastries…and bread and cheese…it would be wrong not to since I will never get to taste this fudge again and I am sure it’s waaaaay different than the fudge I can get at home.”

-“Exercise?  Ha!  Lifting the beers to my mouth while I lie on the beach is all the exercise that I will be doing!”

Next, the Inner Critic swoops in spoils your fudge buzz …the Inner Critic is not so disguised and can really hit you hard with such thoughts as…

“Ugh, why did you eat that fudge, you didn’t even like that fudge, now you feel gross and it’s all your fault—you have no self control!”

“You said you were going to exercise on this vacation and you haven’t even gone on a walk, no wonder that’s why you feel so flabby!  Lazy bones—you blew it!”

“You can never manage being away—you are as out of control on vacation as you are at home!”

You can see when these two vacation thieves work in tandem, things get grim fast!  I remember when I struggled with my own weight, I would spend many vacations letting my hair down and then beating myself up, letting my hair down again and then beating myself up again.

I paid good money to be in a gorgeous holiday setting but it all looked like the prison of my own FAT THINKING too me.  That is why I urge you to plan ahead to be successful on your holidays.

Here are a few things to remember to stay in THIN THINKING:

1.  Remember to HAVE A VISION of feeling light and vibrant the day following the day you get back from your vacation. (not sluggish and bloated).

2. Remember to HAVE A PLAN as to how to make that vision a reality—
-Exercise (how much will you try to achieve on a daily basis?)
-Focus on getting lots of fruits and veggies, keep the starchy carbs to a minimum as they trigger the “eat more-I’m more hungry” valve in the brain.

3) MAKE A DECISION ABOUT YOUR OUTCOME— about how to stay within your calories budget for release or maintenance (make the decision early whether you are going to release or maintain this week).

4. Remember to show up for yourself with power thoughts by staying connected to your Inner Coach.
Here are some powerful Inner Coach Travel Thoughts:
-“If I eat that now how will I feel three hours from now?  Will that really make me feel good?”
-“If I walk for an hour I can treat myself to a local treat.”
-“I know I am going out tonight so I will eat more light and protein based meals earlier to save room for the calories.”

Personally, when I travel, it’s important for me to keep my blood sugar levels stable not only for my weight maintenance but for my brain.  I have happier saner thoughts and feelings when I keep away from the refined foods and keep my body and brain nourished with healthy fiber-filled and protein based foods.  I don’t know what is going to be out there on the road and gas stations are notorious junk food palaces so here is a list of what I always bring:

-Zen fiber cakes from TJs (80 cals each and full of fiber—great snack on road)
-Munchy veggies like carrots, peppers, sugar peas
-Mozzarella cheese sticks
-Little bags of almonds (portion control)
-Hard boiled eggs (great easy road protein source)
-Greek yogurt
-Air blown popcorn
-Turkey jerky

Also, I bring my workout clothes and make a point to move somehow—somewhere, if I can, because exercise =happy body= happy brain.

How are you going to set yourself and your brain and body up for a sane, shifted, enjoyable holiday??

Have a great and restful August!
Oxox Rita