Cranberries, Cucumbers and More!

Here’s the scoop on some nutrition packed favorites and why you won’t want to leave home without them!

Let cranberries enhance your health!

These vitamin C packed berries don’t have to be pigeonholed as a side dish to a roast turkey dinner.  First discovered by the Native Americans, cranberries were used to fight infections and treat wounds.  Their high antioxident content helps fight cancer and prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s).  Cranberries contain a chemical called proanthocyanidins (PACS), which prevent bacteria, which cause UTI’s from adhering to the urinary tract.  Cranberries are not always easy to come by but you can find them in pill form at your nearest chemist.

Biologically they are classified as a fruit but regardless of what you call them cucumbers are your friend.  They are 96% water and contain silica, which helps hair, skin and nails stay radiant.  Cucumbers are great to apply topically to the skin or ingest internally to reduce water retention and swelling.  If you are suffering from a kidney infection, cucumbers help flush toxins out of your system due to their diuretic effect. They also contain an enzyme called erepsin, which assists with protein synthesis in the kidneys. They are delicious in salads or on their own.  Try my favorite tzatziki recipe to get some extra cucumbers into your diet.

Creamy, delicious tzatziki!

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe


  • 2 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt
  • 2 cucumbers – peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Process until well-combined. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor.

Serve and enjoy!

Schedule a free consultation for your personal nutrition plan at


Nutritiongal – AADP Certified Health Coach
Find your bliss. Find your balance

Missed a Nutritiongal newsletter?  Find them all on My Nutritiongal blog.

Nutritiongal’s Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions to Inspire You

Don't let another year pass you by, before striving to make your dreams come true.

We hear it every year, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” We may even make them but when it comes to New Year’s resolutions why do we let them drop by the wayside? I am as guilty as the next person. Mine has been “to not make a resolution,” for the past 10 years. Why should we make them if we never keep them? What is the point and does anyone ever keep a New Year’s resolution that they make? The short answer is, “Yes”. It is never too late to make changes in your life if, in fact, change is what you intend for yourself in the new year. Every year we have a new opportunity to start fresh, to make a change and to accomplish goals that we have laid out for ourselves, but, perhaps, have not had the courage to make them a reality. It’s OK to admit this and it’s OK to start fresh even tomorrow. We don’t need to ring in the New Year to make resolutions. We could do them in the next minute. Why delay any further?

One of my favorite quotes is, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” by Albert Einstein. Where there are things in our lives that keep on repeating and the outcome is always the same but never what we have intended, it may be time to interrupt the pattern. Where can we change the patterns and shake things up a bit? In my personal experience, no matter what maps or GPS devices I have at my fingertips I ALWAYS end up walking in the wrong direction and end up late to whatever event or meeting I have scheduled. The other day when I exited the public transit system I arrived on a street disoriented. My instinct was to go left but, instead, I decided to go right because whenever I follow the route I think I should go it is always in the wrong direction. Surprisingly I found that using the method opposite to what I normally used (which always got me lost) took me in the right direction and I arrived at my destination in the nick of time.

This is a very basic example but we all have unfinished goals or things in our lives that we would like to have turn out differently but somehow we keep on going in circles. Where can we interrupt these patterns and try a new method? If Einstein hadn’t followed his advice where would we be in science today? Would he have developed the theory of relativity and gone on to be one of the greatest legends in science?

Are you looking for ideas for resolutions to ring in the New Year? Here are Nutritiongal’s top 7 New Year’s resolutions you may want to add to your list or perhaps to inspire you to come up with your own.

1.) Get a piggy bank and save your loose change every week. After about 6 months take a tally of how much you have collected and treat yourself to a massage or vacation.

2.) Speaking of vacations, is there a place that you have always wanted to visit but somehow it seems like a distant pipe dream? Go to your favorite online travel site and make a booking. You can save the booking without purchasing it. If you start to visualize yourself booking a trip there you may be closer to setting foot in your dream destination.

3.) Is there someone out there who you care about that may not know it? Write them a letter telling them how you feel about them. You don’t have to send it but if you can if you feel inspired. That person may be very surprised and touched by your sentiments. It always feels good to get things off your chest.

4.) Do you fear speaking or singing in public? It’s time to get some friends together and do karaoke. The worst fear that most people have with public speaking/singing is sounding terrible. With karaoke it is expected that people sound terrible and, in fact, it is more fun. When you give yourself a break you may be pleasantly surprised at how good you sound!

5.) Are you stuck in a career that you do not like and wish for a change but, somehow, keep on getting the same kinds of jobs? Start looking in a field that you are passionate about and apply, apply, apply. Don’t have any experience? It doesn’t matter. Persistence will get you everywhere. You may have to start at the bottom for a bit but recruiters are not only looking for resumes. Cover letters that explain your passion and that are written with enthusiasm set your resume apart from the rest. Bosses are looking to hire people who are there for the long haul. Nothing is more frustrating than having to hire someone new and train them all over again. Life is short. Think about where you want to be 5-10 years down the line and if it is the job that you are currently at then bravo! If it not then it may be time for a career change.

6.) Do something that you have never tried before that scares you. It doesn’t have to be something that risks your life but perhaps baby steps. Are you terrified of cutting your hair? Have you ever tried sushi? Did you ever want to learn a new language? I am sure you can come up with even better ones for yourself. Do it!

7.) Are you feeling bored and uninspired in your life? Donate or volunteer at your favorite charity. Personally I like World Vision because they have an online catalogue. You can buy a family a goat or education for a child. In a way, giving is almost selfish because it makes you feel so good about yourself! 🙂

Australia Site

US site

The Nutritiongal wishes you a very happy and healthy New Year! May you be filled with prosperity, joy and inspiration in the coming year!

Soy – Junk Food or Health Food? Nutritiongal Volume 19

If you have been shopping at your local grocery store in the past six months you have, no doubt, seen an influx of different soy products in various sections of the grocery store.  Surely you have heard the health claims of soy foods promising you anything from increased metabolism, to protection against certain cancers and weight loss.  Sexy as these claims sound, are they really true? It may be in your best interest to know all the pros and cons before hightailing it to the supermarket for your favorite soy product.

Soy beans are a widespread and cheaply produced crop found in many commercial products.  Since 1999 following approval from the United States FDA for labeling, soy has proliferated the store shelves under various names such as : soy isoflavones, hydrolyzed soy protein, textured vegetable protein, soy lecithin and soy oil, to name a few.  Most of these names are found primarily on processed foods or junk foods, such as cookies, crackers, chips, ice cream, etc… Soy beans are powerful foods because they contain soy isoflavones, which alter the chemical state of your body to a greater degree than most plant foods because they are estrogen derivatives.  Because of the similar structure of soy and estrogen found in the human body soy can disrupt endocrine and thyroid function, causing hormonal disruptions and even weight gain.

Some medical experts recommend women who have had estrogen positive breast cancer to avoid soy products since the isoflavones found on this food may disrupt the anti cancer drug, tamoxifen.  Soy has also been linked to disruptions in thyroid functioning.

On the flip side numerous studies have shown that incidents of breast cancer among women in Asian countries who consume more soy products are lower than their Western counterparts.  Advocates of soy claim that it has a deleterious effect on testicular cancer, causing PSA (a measure of prostate cancer risk) to lower, which is the desired effect.  Women who consume soy in small amounts enjoy reduced endometriosis and PMS related symptoms.   Soy has also been implicated in reducing cholesterol in some studies.

Perhaps the controversy is not in consumption of soy but in the quality of soy products.  As mentioned, Asian women who enjoy lower incidents of breast cancer consume small amounts fermented soy products, which have undergone minimal processing, such as miso tempeh and natto.  These products are made from soy in the most natural state and the fermentation in these products creates natural probiotics which enhance digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body.  These women were not  eating soy burgers, soy cheese or soy ice cream.  They were eating small amounts of tofu in their miso soup or having small amounts of tempeh or natto with their meals.

I was pretty disappointed when I found out that when it comes to soy, you can have too much of a good thing.  I am sad to say that soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy crisps and soy milk are junk food.  That doesn’t mean that you can never have these things but they should be consumed in moderation, much like their dairy counterparts.

Whats a vegetarian, soy lover or lactose intolerant person to do with this new information?  Here is a complete list of soy products and their alternatives.  Make sure to choose organic, non genetically modified soy (non GMO) to get soy in its most natural form, even if you are eating the soy junk food.

Here is a list of some the different soy products out there. The jury is out as to whether or not soy is a health food.  As a nutritionist my stance is that each person is effected differently.  If you choose to consume soy and enjoy the benefits then it’s best to stick with the least processed soy stuff.  The comprehensive list is taken from “The Dark Side of Soy” and I have added the NUTRITIONGAL favorite substitutes in italics.

Soy milk, curdled and pressed into cubes of varying firmness. Often used as meat substitute. A nonfermented product, tofu contains antinutrients, which can block absorption of essential minerals. – Try seitan, which is an excellent soy free substitute made from wheat gluten which is low in fat and high in protein (not recommended for those with gluten intolerance).

Fermented soybean paste, used in soups and sauces. Rich in probiotics, good bacteria that aid vitamin absorption. Miso is high in sodium but is considered one of the healthiest soy products. – No substitutions here. This is a wonderful soy product.

Soybean Oil
To extract oil, soybeans are superheated, ground, pressed, mixed with chemicals, and washed in a centrifuge. Soybean oil accounts for 80 percent of all liquid oils consumed annually in the United States. – Look for products with vegetable or canola oils.

Soy Milk
A processed beverage made of ground soybeans mixed with water and boiled, which removes some toxins. Sugar is added to improve flavor. An eight-ounce serving contains up to 35 milligrams of isoflavones, which may change estrogen levels and hormonal function. – Substitute with almond or rice milk.  I have a wonderful almond milk recipe that you can make at home. E-mail stephanie ‘at’ if you’re interested.

Snack Food
Highly processed, a source of trans fat. Check your labels: Potato chips, tortilla crisps, and many other deep-fried things have been cooked in soy oil–straight up or partially hydrogenated. – Look for snack foods without any of the above ingredients or to have the most wholly unprocessed snack ever try rice crackers (brown rice is even better!) or granola/toasted muslei bars made with minimal ingredients.

Whole soybeans pressed into loaves, which are then fermented. Often used as a meat substitute. Tempeh is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. – This is an excellent soy product if you are going to consume soy meat substitutes.

Fast Food
A source of hidden soy. Processed soy proteins extend some burgers and chicken (nuggets, patties, even ‘grilled breasts’). Buns contain soy oil and to a lesser extent soy flour and lecithin. Soy oil also appears in dressings and dips, in American ‘cheese,’ and as the No. 2 ingredient in fries. There’s even soy in Big Mac’s secret sauce: Soybean oil nets top billing. – Look for vegetable burgers made with only vegetables or lentil burgers.  For a delicious lentil burger recipe contact stephanie ‘at’

Whole soybeans, commonly boiled in the pod and eaten as a snack. Most commercial edamame has been preheated to make digestion easier, but it still contains antinutrients. – I enjoy edamame just like the next person.  Just consume it once in a while as a treat.  They are still rich in proteins and vitamins A, B and C

One of the healthiest soy products made by fermentation of soybeans by natto bacillus, a healthy gut bacteria. Natto is filled with protein and rich with vitamin B2 and K2, helping to prevent osteoprosis. It is commonly used in omelettes or added to miso soup and tempura. Natto can be found in most Japanese grocery stores. – No Nutritiongal substitute for this. Natto is a very healthy soy product.

Soy products come in many forms. Choose the products that are in their most naural state for optimal health benefits.

ORGANIC… The Hype… Is there a Message? Nutritiongal Newsletter Volume 13

Hello Everyone and welcome to Volume 13 of Nutritiongal’s bimonthly Newsletter,

A highly effective way of attaining optimal health is keeping chemicals off your plate.  A lot of people have been talking about the organic movement lately. It’s all over the place from food products to skincare remedies.   More and more people are becoming conscious of sustainability and environmentalism, which is just as important as your health.  There’s also the local movement where you have your farmers markets and locally grown produce sometimes at your fingertips at your favorite supermarket.  There are so many options to eat “healthy” and select something that may cost a bit more but contribute to the eco friendly movement.  How does one sift through the messages, the hype and the truth while still being friendly to your wallet as well as your waistline?  Let’s deconstruct the differences in order to help you make choices that will help save the planet, save yourself and your dough. These three things can occur together!

What is organic?  Where can you find organic products outside the supermarket?  What to buy and what to hold of on until your trust fund matures? 🙂 The term “organic” refers to a method of farming that works in harmony with nature and people to produce healthy (higher nutrient content, natural foods), sustainable (crop rotation) and environmentally friendly foods (foods produced with minimal pesticides and chemicals).  I have heard “experts” report that there is no difference in the nutritional content of organic versus non organic food, however I can’t believe that foods with more pesticides or ones that have been genetically modified (GMO) are as easily processed by the body as well as organic foods.  If  all else fails try an organically grown food and then try a non organically grown food.  I have noticed that the organic food actually tastes better.  Many people who are not even interested in this subject have reported the same to me.

Local foods are foods that may or may not be grown organically but they are from local, smaller farms, which are less likely to use as many pesticides or GMO’s as the larger factory farms.  Local foods are good for the environment because they are not trucked or flown halfway across the world to get to your plate. They are fresher because, for example, the produce are picked when they are ripe rather than before they are ripened.  You are basically eating something which is freshly picked off the tree that arrives to your plate with minimal transportation, thus less petrol/gasoline is used.

By eating local you are supporting local, small farmers who face challenges competing with factory farms.  Unlike local farmers, the factory farms are in the business of using any methods necessary in order to produce the highest quantity of food at its lowest quality for maximum profit. They are subsidized by the government and supply fast food enterprises such as McDonalds to make you sick.  Does that sound like and industry you want to support?

Since it is not likely that you will be able to completely replace your shopping list with organic or local foods I have listed the ones below that are worth going organic due to either the high pesticide content in conventionally grown methods or uncouth, hormone laden factory farmed foods.  For example items that have an outer layer that you can remove, such as oranges or bananas are OK to buy conventionally if one has to choose.  In a perfect world everything would be fresh and healthy but unfortunately this is not the case.

Without further ado, here is my list of organic/local must buys below.  This list is based on the book “Diet for a Poisoned Planet” by David Steinman.


-green peppers

-soy products
-peanuts & peanut butter


-white bread
-whole wheat bread
-rye bread
-raisin bran cereal
-all fruit-flavored, sweetened and puffed cereals

For a convenient guide on where to get organic foods in your local area check out the link below.

For those of you who don’t live in the US (AKA us peeps in Australia) check out the link below.

There’s also a great site which has organic products below. You may not be able to order organic produce from this site but there are organic packaged foods, as well as supplements that can be shipped pretty much anywhere in the world.  I have and order on its way to me as we speak.
$5 discount code -HEC204

Locate your local farmer’s market.

You can make a difference with your fork.


The Nutritiongal
Find your bliss. Find your balance

“I am currently enrolled at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition and will graduate as a certified health counselor in 2010. Fire the diet police and take back your health!”

Visit and fill out a health questionnaire for a free consultation today!

Missed a Nutritiongal newsletter?  Find them all on My Nutritiongal blog.