Crunchy Asian Salad


Countdown to Easter: 2 Days!

This is a great springtime salad to contribute to an Easter banquet



  • 1 large head of Napa cabbage
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 1 package pre-chopped purple cabbage
  • 1 package pre-chopped carrots
  • 5 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • Soy Ginger dressing (Trader Joe’s) or other low-fat/low-sugar asian style dressing

Toss salad to spread dressing out thinly & evenly

Enjoy this crunchy salad & share with friends & family


You could also add chicken for some protein & make it a Chinese Chicken Salad

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Asparagus & Goat Cheese Omelet

Omelets are an easy way to start your day off right with a protein filled breakfast in order to suppress cravings throughout the dayIMG_0981


  • 2 eggs or 1 egg + 1/4 c. egg whites
  • 8 asparagus stalks
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp. goat cheese
  • 1 tsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional: Topped with chunky tomato salsa & avocado


  1. Snap asparagus stalks into smaller pieces & dice the onion
  2. Saute on medium-high heat until browned and asparagus are not longer tough
  3. Set aside onion and asparagus
  4. Whisk together the egg
  5. Add just enough olive oil to a small pan so that the eggs won’t stick
  6. Pour the egg into the pan
  7. Once the egg begins to cook along the edges, move the pan around to distribute the raw egg towards the edges; you can lift up the sides of the omelet and let the raw egg run underneath to get cooked
  8. When there’s only a little runny egg left, add the asparagus, onion, and goat cheese to the cente
  9. Take a spatula and flip one side of the omelet on top of the other to cover up the veggies
  10. Press down on top of the omelet to let the remainder of runny egg flow to the outside to cook
  11. Serve & top with avocado & salsa

IMG_0979Enjoy your beginning fuel for the day!

For another omelet idea click here


How to Order Healthier Coffee Drinks

Flavored coffee drinks are extremely high in sugar, fat, and calories:

However, this doesn’t mean you need to cut these drinks out of your diet completely.

Upon learning what truly goes into flavored coffee drinks while working as a barista, I realized I had to figure out some way to make them healthier.  I created this video to share the secret ways you can modify your favorite coffee drinks to make them healthier:


Now you can enjoy your favorite coffee drinks guilt-free.  Cheers!

Now you can enjoy your favorite coffee drinks guilt-free.

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Healthy Eating Misconceptions: Eat This Not That

Many misconceptions are made about healthy eating.  Some common foods are easy to mistake as a healthy option when in reality, they don’t have any nutritional benefits & negatively impact a person’s diet.  Some of the most common misconceptions are revealed below, along with a healthy alternative to replace them with:


Most cereals are solely sugar & carbohydrates. Even though cereals appear to be low in calories, these are empty calories that do not have enough nutrients to sustain the body for a breakfast and will cause cravings throughout the day.  However, if your heart is set on cereal for breakfast, there are other cereal options that have a lower sugar content & contain beneficial nutrients.

As far as milk to accompany your cereal, Dr. Susan Swadener, registered dietitian and professor at Cal Poly, said that fat free milk is better than whole milk (starting after the age of two).  Unsweetened almond milk is another healthy option and it still has the creamy consistency of whole milk.


Eat this: Kashi® GOLEAN® with Unsweetened almond milk, topped with strawberries
 Other cereals
(Photo Credit: Carly Haneke)

  • Replace cereals with: A Kashi cereal such as Kashi® GOLEAN Crunch!®
  • Kashi contains less sugar than other brands and is full of protein, fiber & whole grains to keep you fuller, longer & it is just as tasty as other cereals
  • 1 cup serving size:  Fiber- 10g (40% daily value), Protein- 13g (20% DV), Whole grains- 16g, Sugar- 9g, Cal- 160 (Kashi® GOLEAN® contains even more protein and fiber, but is not quite as flavorful)
  • Try adding your favorite fruit on top of your cereal
  • Also avoid: Granola which is high in fat & sugar, Replace with: Hemp granola with flax

Sauces & Dressings

Many overlook how such a small amount of sauces & dressings are full of fat, sugar & salt. Some examples include: Barbecue sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, caesar dressing etc.

My homemade chimichurri with: Olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, parsley, garlic, and other spices. Recipe coming soon!

Eat this: My homemade chimichurri with Olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, parsley, garlic, and other spices. Recipe coming soon! Chimichurri is a great marinate for meats
Dipping sauces
(Photo credit: Carly Haneke)

Dr. Swadener said olive oil is beneficial to a person’s diet because it is high in monounsaturated fatty acids which are good fats that aid in digestion.

  • Replace sauces with: Salsa, spices & rubs for flavoring
  • Replace creamy dressings with: Vinaigrette dressings; try to get a natural brand for dressings such as Annie’s or Briannas (some other brands contain high fructose corn syrup)
  • Also avoid: Creamy soups which are high in fat, Replace with: Broth-based vegetable soups

White Bread

White bread is made from refined white flour (where the good parts of the grain: The husk and bran, are removed) it has very little nutrients, such as dietary fiber, that are essential for a stable metabolism.

Trader Joe's loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Pain Pascal, better than any white bread you will ever taste. This is just one option for 100% whole wheat bread (Photo credit: Carly Haneke)

Eat this: Trader Joe’s loaf of 100% Whole Wheat Organic Pain Pascal, better than any white bread you will ever taste. This is just one option for 100% whole wheat bread
Not: White bread
(Photo credit: Carly Haneke)

  • Replace white bread with: 100% Whole Wheat Bread instead which stimulates the metabolism
  • Also avoid: White rice, Replace with: brown rice & white pasta, Replace with: Quinoa pasta or whole wheat pasta

Coffee Drinks 

It is easy to overlook the extent of sugar content in flavored coffee drinks.  Many people, including myself have made the mistake of thinking that just because it’s a liquid, it can’t be that bad for you.  This assumption is incorrect.  After working at a coffee shop for over a year now, I have learned what really goes into these drinks.  Many flavored coffee drinks have a higher amount of sugar than a person is supposed to consume in a full day.

Drink this: Plain Latte
Not: Flavored coffee drink
(Photo credit: Carly Haneke)

  • When ordering: Fat-free does not mean the drink has 0 g of fat, it just means it’s made with skim milk, there can still be fat in the flavorings used; sugar-free uses artificial (cancer-causing) sugar
  • Exercise moderation & customize your drink with a small amount of flavor or skip the sauces, powders & syrups altogether
  • Starbucks nutrition info of Grande Caramel FRAPPUCCINO®: 47.9 g sugar381.8 calories, 14.9 g total fat
  • Starbucks nutrition info of Grande Whole Milk Latte:                     16.0 g sugar, 223.1 calories, 11.5 g total fat
  • Replace flavored coffee drinks with: The pure & simple plain latte with whole milk or almond milk (iced or hot), you can start by adding one pump of your favorite flavor to it, but eventually you will learn to love it just the way it is

Other Misconceptions:

These are just some of the most common misconceptions regarding healthy foods.  Many other misconceptions are made regarding certain foods, certain diets, and how often to eat.  Dr. Swadener brought up misunderstandings about non-dairy & gluten-free diets.

Dairy: Dr. Swadener says, “[Dairy] is a good source of protein, calcium and riboflavin.” Mark Pazell, general manager of the Arroyo Grande Kennedy Club Fitness, emphasizes dairy in moderation.  He warns to monitor your amount of dairy intake because it adds a significant amount of fat to the diet.

Carbohydrates: Dr. Swadener also disproves of gluten-free diets unless necessary: “Eating gluten-free is not good for you unless you have a celiac disease.” Although it’s important to limit your carbohydrate intake, Dr. Scott Reaves says, “Carbohydrates are essential to the diet.” Carbohydrates are an important energy source before an intense workout. Dr. Reaves says, “Since oxygen is limited, more carbohydrate glucose is used.  Carbohydrates are necessary for energy to sustain a workout.” Dr.  Swadener also agreed that “Before [a workout], high carbohydrates is good.  Fat and Protein will slow down digestion [before a workout].”

Determining what’s fact & what’s myth:

 All we can do is to educate ourselves and do our best to follow what we learn along the way.  Dr. Swadener advises to beware of the source when reading or hearing about nutrition: “Look for peer-reviewed articles and evidence based information.” Although it’s important to beware of these misconceptions, there are always alternative options that will satisfy the body more because of their nutrition content.   It is not necessary to completely remove these foods from a person’s diet however, they should be eaten sparingly, for a treat.  As Dr. Susan Swadner said, “Moderation is the key.”

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Jamie Oliver’s The Food Revolution: Movement to Fight Obesity


Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution movement
(Photo Credit: Brittany Frederick)

Obesity is still a prevailing crisis within our nation.  According to the Center of Disease control, “About 1 in 3 adults and 1 in 6 children are obese.” Health conditions related to obesity such as Type 2 Diabetes and certain types of cancer have become primary causes of death in our country.

In an article in the LA Times, Jamie Oliver, a globally acclaimed health expert and creater of the campaign The Food Revolution expresses his concerns that the life expectancy for today’s children will be shorter than that of their parents today, “Our kids are growing up overweight and malnourished from a diet of processed foods.”


Jamie Oliver, known as the Naked Chef, advocates for fresh foods rather than processed foods
(Photo Credit:

The question is, what can be done about it? For Oliver, it is not about “policy changes” as much as it is about promoting awareness.  Rather than placing his faith in the government, he believes in the domino effect of public knowledge to promote long-lasting change, “Once people have a few skills and confidence, they make different choices in the grocery store. Once they make different choices in the grocery store — and on the Main Street fast-food restaurants — then companies will be forced to serve a higher quality offer.  That’s when the real change happens.”

Oliver initiated Food Revolution Day, a national movement within 60 countries to motivate people to take a stand for “real food.” He advocates for change in the food provided in elementary schools in hopes of tackling the epidemic of childhood obesity.  Oliver teaches children how to cook fresh food: “Kids really thrive when they’re just given some ownership over what they’re cooking.”


Oliver educating children about school lunches
(Photo Credit:

Oliver doesn’t think we should neglect ourselves of the occasional “indulgence,” he believes in moderation and quality food.

There are still extremely limited healthy options offered in the school systems today from grade school to college.  I was fortunate enough to have a mother who packed my lunch for me everyday through elementary school, but not every child has that privilege.  We cannot expect growing children to choose healthy at school rather than eating the pizza, fries, chicken nuggets, and chocolate chip cookies that all their friends are eating, at a time when they are trying to fit in. It is difficult enough for college students to find healthy options within the dorm food, how could we expect this from a child?


A typical elementary school lunch
(Photo Credit:


A typical dorm food meal…nothing’s changed
(Photo Credit:

It was after my experience with the limited and unhealthy dorm food during my freshman year, that I became eager to cook healthy meals on my own.

Abundant Food for an Abundant Lifeheart-iconCarly