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Are you an emotional overeater?

By Andrea Metcalf, nationally renowned exercise expert, Certified Personal Trainer, and Author of Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Day Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain Free Body.

Take this short quiz to find out. Tick on Yes or No.

I turn to food when I’m sad, disappointed, or lonely.    
I often eat past the point of fullness.    
When I’m upset, I crave sweets or salty snack foods.    
When I go to parties or dine out with friends, I tend to overeat.    
If I eat too much, I feel guilty afterwards.    
I eat more than I should when I’m home alone or bored.    
My moods have the biggest influence on when and how I eat.    
I like to nurture family and friends with food.    
I think about food a lot.    
I am unhappy with my weight, but I overeat anyway.    
Eating is my favorite activity.    
I tend to clean my plate; I don’t like to waste food.    
I binge habitually.    
The large amount of food I eat embarrasses me.    
Sugary foods tend to calm me down.    


Count up your yeses and your noes.

If you answered yes to eight or more questions: Your feelings of anger, frustration, loneliness, sadness, boredom, or even happiness might be causing you to overeat. And you are probably an emotional overeater. You may be eating too much or eating chaotically, but what you are really feeding is something in your life: relationship problems, broken dreams, financial worries, or problems at work. Try the strategies in this chapter, but don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

If you answered yes to four to seven questions: You may be struggling with some emotions from time to time. You are a borderline emotional overeater. At this point, it will be easier to get your eating habits under control by applying some of the strategies in this chapter.

If you circled three or fewer yeses:

The above is an excerpt from the book Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Day Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain Free Body by Andrea Metcalf. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

© 2010 Andrea Metcalf, author of Naked Fitness: The Proven 28 Days Lifestyle Program for a Slimmer, Fitter, Pain Free Body.

A simple quizz.

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The Sneaky Chef’s Earth Day recipes

The Sneaky Chef workshops, promoted by Missy Chase Lapine, is a program of recipes, cooking classes and demonstrations that teach families how to eat healthier.

Sneaky Chef brainy brownies 
Makes about 30 kid-sized brownies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Purple Puree (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Flour Blend (equal parts white flour, whole grain flour, and wheat germ)
1/4 cup rolled oats, ground in a food processor
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Butter or non-stick cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter or spray only the bottom, not the sides, of a 13-by-9-inch or 9-inch square baking pan.

Melt the butter and chocolate chips together in a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water (or in a microwave, checking every 15 seconds). Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool a bit. Meanwhile, in another bowl, stir together the eggs, vanilla, sugar, and Purple Puree. Combine this purple egg mixture with the cooled chocolate mixture. In a mixing bowl, stir together Flour Blend, cocoa powder, oats, and salt. Add this to the chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Mix in the chopped walnuts, if using, then pour the entire mixture into the baking pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan before cutting the brownies and use a plastic or butter knife. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Keeps for a week in the refrigerator, covered tightly.

Sneaky Chef make-ahead recipe: Purple puree

3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no syrup or sugar added)
1/2  teaspoon lemon juice
1-2  tablespoons water

If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if the package says “prewashed.” Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If using frozen blueberries, quickly rinse them under cold water to thaw a little, and then drain.

Fill the bowl of your food processor with the blueberries and cooked spinach, (or collards) along with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of water, and puree on high until as smooth as possible. Stop occasionally to push top contents to bottom. If necessary, use a second tablespoon of water to make a fairly smooth puree.

This amount of spinach and blueberries makes only about 1 cup of puree. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of the puree. It will store in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or you can freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers.

You find a few sample recipes from the cookbook The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals by Missy Chase Lapine, former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa®. We thought they might be of some interest to you.

From the author of The Sneaky Chef

© Missy Chase Lapine

Earth Day milk shake
Makes 2 servings

2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt
4 to 6 tablespoons Green Juice (See Make-Ahead Recipe below)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Serve in tall glasses with a quick squirt of whipped cream and a straw.

Sneaky Chef make-ahead recipe: Green juice

3 cups raw baby spinach leaves (or 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, or frozen chopped collard greens)
1 cup water

If using raw spinach, thoroughly wash it, even if package says “prewashed.” Bring spinach or collards and water to boil in a medium pot. Turn heat to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into a fine mesh strainer over a container or bowl, pressing the green “pulp” with the back of a spoon until all the liquid is released.

Store in refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze 1/4 cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. This makes about 1 cup of Green juice. Double the recipe if you want to store another cup of juice.

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Money saving uses for a toaster oven

A toaster oven can be used for all the same things a regular oven would be used for. The only limitation it has is its size.

Yes, 20 lb turkeys will have to go in the oven, but it does not mean a toaster oven does not have advantages.

A toaster oven is far more economical and an excellent cooking source for those living in tight quarters such as college dorms. Toaster ovens are also portable if you’re heading to the cottage or having to stay in a hotel for any length of time. People who use them on a regular basis wonder how they managed without them.

Preparing food in your toaster oven not only saves time it also saves on energy bills.

The average oven takes approximately 20 minutes to preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  The average toaster oven takes less than half that amount of time.  Because the capacity space is smaller in a toaster oven, your food will be sizzling hot and ready to serve in approximately 3/4 of the time it would take in a regular oven.  Over time, these time savings amount to a good bit of saved money that can be used elsewhere.

Next time you are thinking about turning on your oven, think GREEN.  Dust off your neglected toaster oven, put it where it is easily accessible and start saving money right away. In most cases, if the food will fit inside the toaster oven, it can be cooked in it as well. The newest models are tall and feature 2 baking racks!

10 money saving uses for a toaster oven

Frozen Packaged Food – Anything you buy frozen that is prepackaged can be cooked in the toaster over.  Here are some examples. 

  • Personal pizza
  • Chicken fingers, nuggets
  • Meat Pies
  • TV Dinner
  • Entrees
  • Fish sticks
  • Pogos
  • Pastas
  • French Fries
  • Pies

Roasting – Anything you can roast in the oven, you can roast in the toaster oven.  If it is a food that drips juices it needs to be put into a small roasting dish.  Disposable pans are cheap at the dollar store.

  • Nuts, seeds
  • Potatoes
  • Marshmallows
  • Garlic
  • Small size meats

Baking – Your toaster oven bakes a cake just like a regular oven. 

  • Muffins
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Cornbread
  • Brownies
  • Any Pillsbury type rolls, biscuits, croissant
  • Bars

Melting – Good for melting an extra topping for another dish

  • Cheese
  • Garlic spread
  • Butter
  • Chocolate
  • Sugar

Defrost – Most toaster ovens have a defrost setting.  Defrosting in the microwave can sometimes cook half the food, especially if one end is thinner than the other.  Toaster ovens defrost your food evenly.  Defrost anything that is frozen and needs to be defrosted before cooking.  You can’t make homemade hamburger patties out of frozen hamburger. 

Warmer – Toaster ovens have the ability to warm at a much lower temperature than a normal oven.

  • Dinner plates
  • Serving containers
  • Homemade bread
  • Buns
  • Bagels
  • Pitas

Broiler – Some foods can be nicely seared on the outside while preventing the inside from over cooking.

  • Meat of any type
  • Vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Cheese on top of garlic bread, onion soup

Reheating – Microwaves many times destroy the foods texture when reheated (soggy, hard).  They also cook the foods unevenly, cold in the middle, hot on the edges.  A toaster oven will reheat foods evenly leaving their original texture intact.  You can reheat any type of food in your toaster oven.

Crisping – If you like your food crisp then the toaster oven does a good job of it.  Foods that were originally crispy can be reheated in the microwave bringing the crisp back to life. 

  • Potatoes
  • Garlic bread
  • Breaded meats

Other advantages of having a toaster oven on hand

  • You can always use it for a second oven when planning larger dinner parties.
  • You can whip up an entire mean breakfast in no time at all.
  • Toaster ovens don’t project the heat that a regular oven does. If temperatures are already soaring in your dwelling you don’t want to add more heat from your regular oven.
  • Toaster ovens are affordable for just about anybody.
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Stainless steel cookware, best tools for the cooking Job

There is diverse and wonderful food all around the world, and trying it all is a fun and challenging task.

Making special foods that are favorites anywhere on this big planet takes a mixture of learning the proper techniques to cook the foods and using the best tools available for the job. When it comes to cooking, stainless steel cookware is the ultimate tool.

When looking for cookware that will last a lifetime, stainless steel is your best bet. Of course, there are varying degrees of quality, and you should understand what to look for when shopping for your lifetime cooking tools.

Stainless steel cookware made of 18/10 stainless steel, with aluminum encapsulated in the bottoms of each pan are the best quality and most even heating available. These are the pots and pans used by professional chefs around the world. The aluminum in the base heats up fast and there are no hot or cool spots. This cookware does not react with your food, or alter the flavor of it. It also doesn’t discolor from cooking, and is perfect for all of your favorite cooking techniques. Rolling boils, reducing liquids, and simmering sauces are all jobs stainless steel easily handles.

Some of the best stainless steel cookware have handles that are also made of stainless, so it can go from stove top to oven, but they stay cool on the stove top. Tapered rims help prevent drips when pouring, and tight seals on the lids lock flavors in for healthy and tasty meals. These great stainless pots and pans also great straight into the dishwasher and clean up good as new.

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Ash diets

There is an alcaline ash diet and an acidic ash diet.

Maintaining a healthy body is important. It is linked to longevity and happiness. The foods that you eat have a role to play in this process.

It may not seem like it, but the internal workings of our bodies are quite delicate. Each cell has to do its job to keep the machinery working like it should.

Alkaline ash diet

Consider the alkaline ash diet to keep your body in balance.

What is pH?

The body tries to maintain a state of balance called homeostasis. Part of this includes maintaining a normal, neutral pH factor. PH determines whether something is acidic, alkaline (base) or buffered. The scale runs from one to thirteen, with seven representing the middle or buffered state.

Acidic pHs are on the lower range, less than seven. Alkaline pHs are on the higher end, above seven. For optimum functioning, the body seeks to return to a level that is in the middle. The fluid in the body that runs over and through every cell and organ is the biological matrix.

When it is neutral, it is not reacting with other chemicals leading to dysfunction. It has been theorized that a body that is too acidic can lead to problems such as cancers, gastrointestinal issues, decreased immunity and a lack of overall well-being.

Going basic

The body can’t maintain its neutral pH without help. Part of the equation is the foods that we eat. Sometimes, the foods that we choose don’t seem like a big deal but they can dramatically change the make-up of our inner life.

When foods are broken down in the body and digested, they leave behind a residue called “ash.” That “ash” determines what type of effect those foods have on the body, whether alkaline or acidic. To return your body from acidic to a more neutral pH balance, more alkaline ash needs to be added to your body through your food.

Experts suggest that a diet that ensures a proper balance in the body needs to contain both alkaline and acidic foods. About 20 percent of the diet can be acidic while about 70 to 80 percent is alkaline foods.

So what are these foods and where can you get them? They are foods that we already eat except that we don’t always eat them in the proper proportions for optimum health. Here is an example of acidic foods: meats, dairy, saturated fats, alcohol and sweets.

Sweets or processed sugary foods are best eaten in moderation anyway. Alcohol is also best in moderation. Saturated fats are a contributor to high cholesterol and not the good kind either.

What about the alkaline side? Usually these are the foods that are healthier for you in the first place. Think of green leafy vegetables, most fruits, healthy oils (olive, flax seed), onions, honey, syrup and herbal tea. Eating more of them tips the balance inside towards alkaline and a cleaner, detoxified body.

Are you looking to change how you feel inside and out? Try an alkaline ash diet.

Acid ash diet

The acid ash diet is one way that people can keep their inner workings running full steam ahead.


PH refers to the acid or alkaline level in the body. Think of an Alka-Seltzer. Its job is to neutralize the acid in your stomach. They work wonders when you get an upset stomach. Too much acid is churning up and a base (or alkaline substance) is what you need to neutralize that acid.

Well, the internal environment of your body loves to maintain a neutral state. It’s called homeostasis. But, sometimes, the foods that we eat can swing the pH level to the acidic or the alkaline side. To counteract that and the effects within the body (high blood pressure and the threat of illnesses like cancer) that same food can be used.

Acidic Ash

Foods are made up of all sorts of smaller substances: vitamins, minerals, chemical compounds and so on. It is some of this residue, or “ash,” that is left behind when the body digests food. That residue determines the pH of your body’s fluid matrix. Too many of one kind of food is not usually healthy.

Experts have talked about the benefit of an alkaline ash diet to help eliminate some illnesses and to also increase immunity and energy levels. So, why would you need an acidic ash diet?

Have you ever had a stone inside your body, maybe a kidney or a gallstone? They are calcified deposits that become lodged in an organ. Stones can also contain other minerals like phosphorus or magnesium. When they move, they can cause intense pain and damage.

Acidic ash diets may be just what the doctor ordered for people who have experienced stones in the past or who are susceptible to stones. Increasing your acidic intake means knowing the right types of foods to eat to lower the alkaline levels in your body.

Here are a few of the foods that you can eat: meats, dairy, yeast, grains, chocolate, sugar and some fruits. Remember to add to your diet in moderation. Too many acidic foods can lead to a condition called acidosis, where there is a lower than normal alkaline presence in the blood – which is not healthy. At each meal, add a bit of extra protein in the form of meat to increase your acidic load. If you aren’t keen on meat, you can add dairy products or another of the food items from the list above.

Food plays an even more important part in how your body runs than even you may have realized before. An acidic ash diet may be prescribed for those who have certain health problems (stones).

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Buying mortar and pestle

Mortar and pestle, or molcajete and tejolote, as they call them, are used frequently in Mexican cuisine.


Adding a mortar and pestle, or molcajete and tejolote, is a wonderful way to incorporate simplicity, flavor and ambience into your kitchen as well as your meals. If you enjoy Mexican cuisine or just want to take advantage of fresh foods, consider adding this easy to use kitchen tool. Don’t let its simplicity fool you. For the best results, you’ll need to know what to look for when buying a Molcajete. This is another one of those items where one size does not fit all.

What to look for when buying a mortar and pestle

Here are a few things to consider before buying a molcajete and tejolote or mortar and pestle set.

Price – The price can vary, depending on the material from which the molcajete and tejolote are made and the size you choose. Molcajete sets typically range from $10 to $60.

Construction – A molcajete and tejolote set can be made from a variety of substances. Traditionally, they are made from volcanic stone but can also be made from granite, stainless steel, glass and ceramic as well as other materials. Some of these materials stain easily so are not recommended for frequent use. The key to choosing the construction material is to think about the importance of durability and frequency of use.

Dimensions/Capacity – If you plan to use this manual grinding set on a daily basis, you may not need a large capacity molcajete, or bowl. If your goal is to grind items in bulk, the larger bowl may be your better option. The three compared below range from 3/4 cup to 4 cups.

Weight – While heavier mortar and pestle sets tend to be more durable and authentic, they can literally be a pain to move. If you have arthritis or other problems lifting 10 pounds, you may want to choose a light-weight version.

Product Care – Depending on the material your molcajete set is made from, you may have a bit of extra work to do in order to clean and maintain your grinder set. For instance, you may need to season the set before initial use or may need to clean it by hand rather than use the dishwasher.

Extras – Some manufacturers may include a recipe book, care booklet, or storage pouch to help you maintain the integrity of your grinding set.

Comparison chart of features and consumer performance ratings


Vasconia Granite

RSVP Endurance
Authentic Molcajete




Volcanic Stone

Stainless Steel


7.1 x 7.1 x 3.5 inches
4 Cup

3 x 3 x 3 inches
3/4 Cup

4.1 x 4.1 x 2.4 inches
1 Cup


10 pounds

13 pounds

1.2 pounds

Dishwasher safe





Recipes & Care booklet

Non-Woven Protection Pouch

In order to get authentic flavor or take advantage of fresh ingredients, sometimes you need to use traditional tools and food preparation methods. When it comes to grinding nuts, seeds, herbs and spices on a daily basis, you just can’t beat a molcajete and tejolote set.

However, if you buy in bulk to save money, you may have a significant amount of grinding to do. In this case, you may prefer to save the wear and tear on your muscles and joints by using an electric grinder.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what to look for when shopping for a molcajete set or manual grinder.