Celebrating World Chocolate Day

The Aztecs and Mayans were the first to recognize the potency of chocolate – they’d celebrate the harvest of the cacao bean with festivals of wild orgies. Montezuma believed that drinking 50 cups of chocolate each day enabled him to better serve his harem of 600 women. For my NutriFit meal delivery service clients, I believe that it puts us in “the zone”. The zone of health, that is!

Science gives us another reason to enjoy this heady delight. Dark chocolate contains naturally occurring plant compounds called Flavonoids. These natural powerhouses are part of the polyhenol group.

Some of the key heart health benefits include:

  • Decreases LDL oxidation (Low-density lipoproteins, which are the unhealthy kind).
  • Reduces stickiness of platelets in the blood, which reduces risk of blood clots
  • May lower blood pressure
  • Increases blood flow in the arteries- (Increased blood flow can lead to brain health benefits, including boosting memory, attention span, reaction time and problem solving skills).

Some psychological benefits of chocolate include improved mood and pleasure, by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain.

Finally, flavonoids absorb UV light, and so have a beauty benefit of keeping women’s skin more moist, smoother and less scaly. After all, better blood flow in general also means increased blood flow to the skin!

For all these reasons, and because I love chocolate, I’ve designed hundreds of delivered, healthy diets that include daily doses of the best quality, most delicious, guiltless decadent desserts.

Mint Chip Brownies






Chocolate Bliss- the myth and the reality


SimpliHealth Growers Harvest Highlights

Highlights from our day of harvesting yesterday include:

81 lbs. of zucchini

17 lbs. of rainbow Swiss chard

14 lbs. of cucumbers

9 lbs. of tomatoes

4 lbs. of kale

5 lbs. of fresh herbs (mint, pineapple sage, thyme, oregano, basil, chives)

edible flowers, lettuce, purple and fingerling potatoes, bok choi…

Awesome Country Berry Tart featuring our own Mesa grown organic blackberries  (handpicked yesterday by yours truly), strawberries blueberries and raspberries !!!

Great news for us coffee lovers!

This from the Tufts Health & Nutrition Update this morning:
In a recent report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee for the first time addressed safety concerns about coffee, concluding that drinking three to five cups a day (up to about 400 milligrams of caffeine) was associated with minimal health risks. The experts also noted observational studies indicating that coffee intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Are you ready to get Fit in Five?


Summer is right around the corner and we want to make sure you are in the best shape for bikini season. Whether you are trying to lose weight, or just tone your body up, this program will work for you. Combined with your custom-built 5 week plan and our expert knowledge of nutrition, we will make sure that that you reach your goals safely, efficiently, and in great condition.

Take The Stress Out Of Getting Healthy

With our Fit in Five package, all the hard work is gone from your diet. We custom-build a 5-week plan based on your goals, then ship it straight to your door for every week. We don’t draw on some template that was designed for someone else – every meal is carefully thought out and put together with your needs, goals, and tastes in mind.

All-in, including delivery anywhere in the continental U.S, it’s only $399* per week for five weeks. That’s less than $5 per meal. Try getting dinner that’s tailored to your fitness goals anywhere for $5.


Great News for us Coffee Drinkers!

More scientific evidence affirming health values associated with drinking coffee: “A large new Korean study reports that people drinking three to five cups of coffee daily were 41% less likely to show signs of coronary artery calcium than non-coffee drinkers. This calcification is an early indicator of the artery-clogging plaques (atherosclerosis) that cause coronary artery disease, which afflicts nearly 16 million Americans.The findings should in any case perk up coffee drinkers, many of whom grew up hearing that their favorite beverage was bad for you. The recent report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee for the first time addressed safety concerns about coffee, concluding that drinking three to five cups a day (up to about 400 milligrams of caffeine) was associated with minimal health risks. The experts also noted observational studies indicating that coffee intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

5 tips to help you through the Super Bowl

Planning on super sizing your Super Bowl Sunday snacks? Whoa – slow down – you may be surprised at some of the calories you can consume in one (long) sitting.

Here are 5 great tips for making it through the game without eating yourself silly:

  1. Have a substantial, balanced breakfast on Sunday morning (seriously) – I’m thinking whole grain hot cereal with berries, maybe a poached egg or two, half a grapefruit or orange and even a piece of whole grain toast. Wash it down with a good cup of coffee or green tea, and at least 1 (8 oz) glass of water. That ought to hold you for awhile.
  2. Go for a FAST walk for an hour, about an hour after you eat.
  3. Make a platter full of raw vegetables and fresh fruit – and put it front and center on the table in front of the TV
  4. Put all the rest of the goodies on a table far away from the TV
  5. Lose the full fat cheese, full fat dairy dips (think low fat only), full fat chips, cookies or crackers- Try white meat chicken skewers, shrimp cocktail, vegetable kabobs, and air-popped popcorn for starters.

Need more ideas? Leave me a comment. If you’re a “Monday morning quarterback” and need some remedial coaching, I’ll be here….


Cancer prevention benefits from Spices

Herbs and spices are an important part of the human diet. Not only do they enhance the taste and flavor of foods, they also increase their shelf life by being both antimicrobial and anti-oxidant. Herbs and spices also exhibit a wide range of physiological and pharmacological properties.

Dietary factors play an important role in human health and in the development of certain diseases, especially cancer. In particular, many Phenolic compounds are attracting the attention of food and medicinal scientists because of their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties and their capacity to modulate some key cellular enzyme functions.

Several commonly used herbs have been identified by the US National Cancer Institute as possessing cancer-preventive properties. These herbs include members of the Allium sp. (e.g. garlic); members of the Labiatae family (e.g. oregano, rosemary, and thyme); members of the Zingiberaceae family (e.g. turmeric and ginger); and members of the Umbelliferae family (e.g. cumin)

Cumin, (garlic,) oregano, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, and others herbs and spices have remarkably effective anti-oxidant activities and are one of the most important targets to search for natural anti-oxidants from the point of view of safety. It is expected that natural antioxidants will lead to chemo-prevention of inflammation, cancer and aging. (Source: http://www.gaiaresearch.co.za/nutrispice.html)

Garlic & Onion – Many of us know about garlic and onions, each of which contains allyl sulfides, powerful and helpful antioxidants, and substances shown to lower cholesterol and thin the blood. The same group of compounds has anticancer properties.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and immune system enhancer, a free radical attacker, and it increases the enzymes that break down carcinogens in the body. Ample research has shown garlic to be one of the best foods to eat for cancer prevention, linking its consumption with slowing or stopping the growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, and stomach tissue, and preventing cancers of the skin and lung. The evidence is particularly compelling for garlic as a preventative agent against prostate and stomach cancers. The Iowa Women’s Health Study found that women who regularly ate garlic had a lower risk for colon cancer. Eat as much of this mighty food as you can stand!

* NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend, Lemon Garden Spice Blend, Calypso Spice Blend

Thyme – Thyme contains an essential oil that is rich in thymol, a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and a strong antioxidant. The oil of thyme is used in mouthwashes to treat inflammations of the mouth, and throat infections. It is a common component of cough drops.

Because of its essential oil, thyme possesses expectorant and bronchial antispasmodic properties, making it useful in the treatment of acute and chronic bronchitis, whooping cough, and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Thyme enhances the action of the cilia in the bronchi and directly acts on the bronchial mucosa. The terpenoids are responsible for the expectorant activity of thyme while a variety of flavonoids are responsible for the spasmolytic effect of thyme on the bronchioles.

All the members of the mint family, including thyme, possess terpenoids which are recognized for their cancer preventive properties. Rosmarinic and ursolic acids are major terpenoids in thyme that possess anti-cancer properties.

* NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend

Ginger – Ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer to migraines. Ginger is a rhizome that is related to turmeric. Gingerol, the main component of ginger and responsible for its distinctive taste. Have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor powers.

In some studies, gingerol inhibited tumor angiogenesis (formation of blood vessels leading to the tumor), and seemed to reduce metastasis of cancer cells. Gingerol also acts as an antioxidant, scavenging free radicals that might otherwise cause cell damage.

* NutriFit Spice Blend: Certainly Cinnamon Spice Blend

Turmeric – The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric is the spice most often used in curry powder. It has an active ingredient called curcumin that may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

* NutriFit Spice Blend: Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend

Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Parsley – The parsley family (parsley family of herbs and spices, the same family that contains anise, caraway, coriander, dill, fennel, and parsley) contains some unique phytochemicals, such as phthalides and polyacetylenes which show cancer-protective activity and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cumin has been seen to effectively decrease the incidence of chemically-induced tumors of the stomach, colon, and cervix. Its cancer-preventive activity can be explained by its significant antioxidant activity and the ability of cumin to modulate the metabolism of carcinogens. Cumin seeds are known to induce the activity of glutathione-S-transferase, a protective enzyme that helps eliminate cancer causing substances.

Cumin has a significant level of caffeic, chlorogenic, ferulic and other phenolics acids that have anti-inflammatory activity, as well as the phytoestrogen, genistein.

The activation of nuclear transcription factor kappa B has now been linked with a variety of inflammatory diseases, including cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, allergies, asthma, arthritis, and psoriasis. The pathway that activates this transcription factor can be interrupted by phytochemicals derived from spices such as cumin, turmeric, and garlic.

*NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend, Lemon Garden Spice Blend, Calypso Spice Blend, Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend, & French Riviera Spice Blend

Basil- One of the several herbs known to have anti-carcinogenic effects has been shown in studies to help in prevention of early stages of cancer development.

*NutriFit Spice Blend: Mediterranean Spice Blend, Lemon Garden Spice Blend, & French Riviera Spice Blend

Cayenne pepper – Capsaicin is the main ingredient of cayenne pepper and is used topically to treat everything from osteoarthritis to cancer.  Capsaicin promotes the natural cycle of programmed cell death, called apoptosis. Cancerous cells attempt to resist apoptosis and, if successful, eventually overtake the body with cancer. When cancer cells were treated with capsaicin, the chili pepper compound attacked the tumor cells’ mitochondria — which generate ATP, the chemical that creates energy within the body. Capsaicin also bound to certain proteins within the cancer cells and triggered apoptosis — natural cell death.

*NutriFit Spice Blend: Rockin’ Moroccan Spice Blend

*NutriFit Spice Blends available at www.nutrifitonline.com or by calling (800) 341- 4190

Super Simple Superbowl Snacks

Planning to watch the Superbowl on Sunday? Just in time to keep getting ready simple and easy, here are some wonderful recipes that you’ll surely enjoy!

Avocado-Corn Salsa
Servings:  6
Serving Size:  ¼ cup

2 ea. avocado, seeded, peeled & diced
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
3 ea. tomatoes, peeled, seeded & diced
3 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
½ tsp. green chile pepper, seeded & diced
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. NutriFit Calypso Salt Free Spice Blend

1. In a medium bowl, gently combine avocado, corn kernels, tomatoes, lime juice, cilantro, chile peppers, Calyspo blend and salt.
2. Refrigerate until ready to be served.

Nutrient information:
Calories: 182; Protein: 3.73g; Carbohydrates: 22.99g; Fat: 10.56g; Fiber: 6.68g

Gluten Free Vegetable Samosas
Servings:  4
Serving Size:  3 each

1 ½ cups zucchini, coarsely shredded
1 medium russet potato
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup spinach leaves, thinly sliced
6 tbsp. rice flour
¼ cup peas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. safflower oil
1 ea. egg, beaten well
1 tbsp. NutriFit Lemon Garden Salt Free Spice Blend

1. Grate the potato into a bowl of cold water. Prepare all of the other vegetables. Squeeze the water out of the potato and mix them all together in a large bowl. Season with Lemon Garden blend. Stir in egg.
2. Form 3 tbsp. of mixture into 4″ diameter patty. Place on large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
3. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add grapeseed oil and cook vegetable patties in batches until golden, about 4 minutes per side.

Nutrient information:
Calories: 171; Protein: 5.38g; Carbohydrates: 26.18g; Fat: 5.36g; Fiber: 2.88g

Lavosh with Peanut Butter & Dried Fruit Snack
Servings:  12
Serving Size:  3″ piece

12 oz. extra firm lite tofu
2 pieces lavosh
1 1/8 cups reduced fat peanut butter
2 oz. dried cranberries & raisins
1 oz. dates, chopped

1. Combine the tofu and peanut butter in the carafe of a food processor and mix well.
2. Spread each piece of lavosh lightly with peanut butter mixture.
3. Arrange the mixed fruit evenly over the top.
4. Roll and cut each lavosh roll into 6 even pieces.
5. Serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrient information:
Calories: 205; Protein: 9.32g; Carbohydrates: 22.04g; Fat: 9.81g; Fiber: 2.45g

Chocolate Chip Fondue
Servings:  12
Serving Size: 3 tbsp.

1 cup chocolate chips (you may used reduced-fat variety)
¾ cup fat-free evaporated milk
1 (2.5-oz) jar baby food prunes
Fresh fruit for dipping

1. In a heavy saucepan, combine chocolate chips and milk over low heat. Stir until smooth, making certain mixture does not burn.
2. Add prunes slowly, stirring constantly. If using as a fondue, keep warm in fondue pot.
3. Fondue is great with all fruits, especially bananas, oranges, and pineapple, and is also good with small pieces of cake or graham crackers.

Nutrient information:
Calories: 125; Protein: 2.3g; Carbohydrates: 23.4g; Fat: 4.9g; Fiber: 1.6g

Fruit, Nut & Raisin Spread
Servings:  12
Serving Size:  2 oz.

2 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
4 oz. fat free cottage cheese
1 tbsp. pecans, finely chopped and toasted
3 tbsp. golden raisins
2 tbsp. each dried figs & pitted prunes

1. Process the cottage cheese in the food processor until smooth.
2. Add the cream cheese and continue to process to form a smooth base.
3. Coarsely chop the figs or raisins (you may use either – remove the stems), and blend into the creamy base with the raisins and pecans.
4. Chill until ready to serve.

Nutrient information:
Calories: 108; Protein: 1.6g; Carbohydrates: 25.11g; Fat: 0.4g; Fiber: 2.3g

Power Snack Mix
Servings:  8
Serving Size:  ½ cup

1 cup small pretzels
1 cup shredded wheat cereal
¾ cup roasted soy nuts
1 cup raisins
1 cup chex mix

1.Combine all ingredients together and serve

Nutrient information:
Calories: 171; Protein: 7.051g; Carbohydrates: 29.68g; Fat: 3.523g; Fiber: 2.714g

Looking for specific healthy recipe? Leave me a comment and let me know. Or check out the recipe section for more deliciously healthy NutriFit recipes!


Heart Health

February is heart health month, and it is the perfect time to get to know the most important muscle in your body, and improve your relationship with it. Your heart is a powerful machine, pumping oxygen rich blood to your brain and other organs and transporting waste and carbon dioxide out. Taking care of your heart is one of the most important things you can do, and one of the most beneficial to your overall health and happiness.

More than 1 million Americans suffer from heart attacks each year, approximately half of them dying. Increased risk of heart failure and heart disease are influenced by a number of factors, not all of which we can control, such as age and race. However you can lower your risk through healthy eating and exercise habits. When plaque, a build up of cholesterol and other material, grows in your arteries, it can lead to blockages in blood flow and a loss of flexibility in the heart muscles, which can be potentially fatal. To manage this, limit your intact of saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol in your diet by choosing lean meats, such as poultry and fish. Fish are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower your risk as well. Whole-grain and high-fiber foods can also help lower your blood cholesterol levels. Maintaining a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables is essential to all aspects of health, supplying your body with the vitamins, minerals, and fiber it needs without the calories it doesn’t. Regular exercise is also extremely important for maintaining cardio-vascular health, and the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity five days a week. This includes running, biking, swimming and any other physical activity that gets you out of the chair and your blood pumping. The heart is a muscle after all, and you can make it stronger through exercise. Women have just as much if not more risk of heart disease, despite common belief, with 1 in 3 U.S. women living with heart disease today. Removing habits such as smoking and binge drinking from your life, as well as maintaining a healthy weight are incredibly important for a fit and healthy heart. But what about a happy heart?

We often look at the heart and the mind as two opposing components of our body, two equal but opposite forces that combine to give us life and conscience. But in reality they are two sides of the same coin, and in fact are more inter-connected than we may know. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that clinically depressed women had more than twice the risk of other women to suffer sudden cardiac death. Another study found that men who were aggressive and angry in their day-to-day lives (as opposed to professionally aggressive) had a 19% greater risk of coronary heart disease than those with a lighter demeanor. The idea that stress is bad for your health is certainly not new, but the clear associations between chronic stress and strain on the heart is becoming to clear, and potentially life-threatening, to ignore. A 2007 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients who had a heart attack and then returned to a stressful job were twice as likely to have a second attack than those who viewed their jobs as more stress-free. And while you may not be able to quit your job, you may be able to change how you cope with it. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and taking short walks outside when you are in stressful situations are important to building the awareness you need to realize when you are stressed, and taking the first steps to removing the stress from your life. Regular exercise will also reduce your stress, and help reduce your risk of cardiac diseases as discussed earlier. Getting enough sleep is also extremely important for not just regulating stress, but avoiding heart risk in general, especially for women. A 2008 study from Duke University showed a consistent correlation between poor sleeping habits and higher levels of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes in women.

While we all have stress, how we manage it defines our ability to stay fit and productive in our daily lives. That’s why this month you should examine your choices carefully, and choose ones that will build upon and reinforce a healthy and active lifestyle. Take the time out of your day to exercise, sleep, and eat right. Those choices will directly affect your capacity to have a strong and healthy heart, and therefore will lead to a longer and happier life.

Leftover Turkey Recipe!

Use that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving with this easy recipe for Harvest Turkey Wrap!

Harvest Turkey Wrap
Servings – 5
Serving Size – one 3″ piece

1 lb turkey breast
1/4 cup celery
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb lavosh
1 tsp NutriFit Lemon Garden Salt & Sugar Free Spice Blend
1/2 cup reduced fat blue cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp walnuts, chopped and pan toasted until golden
1 cup watercress sprigs

1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, turkey breast and seasoning and cook, stirring, until browned (no longer pink) and cooked through. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix together blue cheese, turkey, dried cranberries and celery. Moisten with a little fat free blue cheese salad dressing, if available.
3. Just before serving, mix in the walnuts. Spread the mixture over the lavosh in a thin layer, sprinkle with watercress sprigs and roll up, leaving the ends open. Cut into serving lengths.
4. If using as a lunch, roll as a burrito or wrap.