One of my favorite nutritionists is Dee McCaffrey. She is a local person, if you live in the Phoenix area. She often speaks at Sprouts stores, so if you have one near you, check out their calendar of events and chances are you’d have a chance to meet her. Anyway, she has two great books out with recipes in them that are healthy and yummy! This is one of my favorites. It is different but in a very pleasant way, and tastes wonderful. There are so many different flavors and they blend together so well. Try it sometime! It’s easy to make, too!

Southwestern Sweet Potato Wraps

Makes: 6 burritos

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans (15 ounce) red kidney beans (preferably organic), drained and rinsed

1 cup water

1  1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons yellow mustard

1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

1  1/2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce or reduced-sodium wheat-free tamari sauce

1  1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, baked and then peeled and mashed

6 (10-inch) whole-wheat tortillas or whole spelt tortillas, warmed

4 ounces cheddar cheese (preferably organic), shredded, about 1 cup

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F. Place whole sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft through the center. Remove from oven but leave the oven on for warming the burritos.

Allow sweet potatoes to cool, then cut open and scrape out all of the inside part of the potatoes and place them in a bowl. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. They can still be slightly lumpy. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft. Stir in the beans, and mash them with a masher. Gradually stir in the water, and heat until warm. Remove from heat, and stir in the chili powder, cumin, mustard, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce or tamari sauce.

Warm tortillas by placing them in a dry skillet over medium heat. When the tortilla is warm to the touch, remove from the skillet and lay the tortilla on a flat surface, such as a cutting board or a plate. Add equal amounts of the bean mixture and the mashed sweet potatoes down the center of each tortilla. Top with cheese. Roll up the tortilla burrito style, and place burrito on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas. Bake the burritos for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, just enough to lightly brown the tops of the tortillas. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted with permission from  Plan-D: The Amazing Anti-Diet That Will Change Your Life Forever by Dee McCaffrey, CDC. © 2009 Center for Processed-Free Living,

 http://www.plandee.org

A friend of mine was doing research for a legal matter-she is a lawyer. She needed information regarding a chemical used in packaging for cat food. During her research, she was gathering information about an additive called propylene glycol. I have been on a soapbox for a while against propylene glycol, since I heard that it is a main ingredient in antifreeze. Well, my lawyer friend found new information—propylene glycol is BANNED from cat food! It’s not from human food, though! Propylene glycol is a solvent and a stabilizer, so it is used in many foods to lengthen their shelf life. This helps increase the profit margin for food companies. Please make a difference and don’t buy products with this ingredient. I’m sorry that food products may spoil faster without propylene glycol, or not be as evenly consistent as far as texture or ingredients, but is that so bad? We should be doing better as far as buying more natural foods, which do spoil. It is so much healthier, and probably lowers our risk of cancers! Please read ingredient labels to see if propylene glycol is in the food items you buy, and put them back if it is listed as an ingredient. Thanks for helping make our food options healthier!

I have been wanting to add more testimonials, before and after pictures, etc, to my marketing materials (like brochures and my website). So, I thought, what better way to get the word out about me but by offering FREE personal training! I do in-home (or in-office, or in your apartment or condo fitness center) personal training for all shapes, abilities, and goals. I am looking for some specific types of clients to give testimonials to show the wide variety of people that myself and my trainer-partners can work with (and deliver amazing results). I will offer a reduced rate on personal training in exchange for testimonials and before and after pictures. But, I am offering FREE personal training to any clients matching my “wish list” who not only gives testimonials and before and after pictures, but also pays it forward–meaning, you do something good for someone else, and I will completely eliminate fees for in-home training for a period of time. The time period will depend on how great their contribution to someone else is. For example, if  a potential client adopts a pet from a shelter, that pet is helped for the rest of its life. So, the payback in free training will be longer… perhaps three months time (depends on person’s location, etc). Keep in mind that my fees for in-home personal training are already incredibly low compared with gyms or other trainers—I charge only $45 per one-hour session for most locations in the Phoenix metro area. So, even if you are not wanting to pay it forward–even the reduced rate for testimonials or before and after pictures makes training in your home incredibly affordable!

      So what is my “wish list” of people I would like to extend this offer to?

1. A lady in her 80s or 90s

2. A young lady in her 20s or 30s who wants “butt-kicking” or “boot-camp” kinds of workouts

3. A person with orthopedic problems, any age, man or woman

4. A person, man or woman, any age, who wants to lose over 100lbs

Do you know anybody who fits any of these descriptions? If so, please let them know about my huge deal! Or, if you fit one of them, please contact me immediately–it’s a first-come, first-served deal! Contact me at Jacky@BodyDefinitions.com.

My boyfriend and I went out for dinner last Saturday evening. We wanted to be mostly good, meaning, staying within the boundaries of acceptably healthy without being strict. We had seen a sign for Vietnamese cuisine in a little strip mall maybe a week or two earlier, and thought we should try it out some day. Neither of us had tried Vietnamese food before, though, so weren’t really sure what it was. So, last Saturday night, we walked up to it and looked at the menu posted outside to see if it would have something for me to eat (since I’m veg that can be tricky occasionally but not often). The menu looked ok, so we went in.

Wow, were we impressed! The food was GREAT! It was inexpensive, too, which is something we are definitely looking for these days. I had a veggie curry dish, and it was so good! There was some fresh basil leaves sprinkled on top of my dish, which initially I pushed off to the side since basil belongs in Italian food, I thought. I do love basil, though, so at one point I pulled off a little corner of a leaf and put it on a forkful. Oh, my gosh, could my meal actually get better?! That made it excellent!

We also had the veggie dumplings to start as an appetizer, which the menu had said come fried, but I asked them if it was possible to make them not oily, and the waiter said he could bring them steamed. They were also very yummy.

So, overall, I think Vietnamese cuisine is sort of like a mix of Thai food and Chinese, so think Asian fusion. We will definitely go back to Noodles Ranch. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but definitely is a pleasant surprise inside! Look for it in the ACE Hardware/Albertson’s shopping center on the corner of Scottsdale Roads and Thomas.