Building Walls

Today is Wednesday, May 28th

The Topic or Question of the Day:

Building Walls

People have a great deal of nutrition knowledge, they want to practice healthy lifestyles, but have difficulty putting it into action.  Others mean well, but struggle with the knowledge needed for success.

For example: We wanted a bumper crop of tomatoes one year and thought that miracle grow was the answer (and may well have been in the proper amount). But we used too much and produced mutant tomatoes. We also knew that water is needed for plants, but did not know how much or how to care for our azaleas, therefore, we killed an azalea garden 30×20 feet or more at our first house.

Knowledge is important, but how to use it and what to do is the most important.


  1. We ought to have a plan. (I know I always repeat this)
  2. Build a wall
  3. Stay on your wall

The Plan:

  1. Write or “scratch out” daily menus and visually post them.
  2. Track what you eat either write it down, or keep it to memory.
  3. Shop from a grocery list or plan what to order before going into a restaurant.
  4. Plan your day (time wise)

Building the Wall: (for protection)

  1. Purge pantry of trigger foods to protect you from overeating.
  2. Learn portions to protect your caloric intake.
  3. Practice good food mechanics to protect you from eating too fast.
  4. Drive a different route if certain places “call out your name” to protect you from impulse decisions.

Staying on your wall:

  1. Don’t give up – Nehemiah didn’t.
  2. When friends ask you to lunch, quickly decide how to manage it.
  3. When temptations arise, use distractions/revulsion technique.
  4. Go for a walk or another type of movement therapy.
  5. Response card…Dr. Beck encourages a card with a saying or statement.

Quote or Tip of the Day:

“You can’t eat whatever you want, whenever you want and for whatever reason you want and lose weight. You must make a choice”. – Dr. Judith Beck

Take Action Today:

* Write your response cards

* Build your walls

* Practice staying on your wall

Note:  I realize, many tips or blogs i write are similar with ideas written in different ways.  I have found in the 33 years in the nutrition field that people need the information in different ways so I try to strike a cord with all types of people.  I encourage you to go back and read some of the older blogs again because you never know when you are ripe for one of the tips.

10 lbs. of potatoes

Today is Monday, May 12th (Happy Birthday Ron, Gregg, and Ivan)

The topic or question of the day is:

The 10 lb. sack of potatoes

      One of the known experiential methods to help people want to improve their health is for them to frequent the supermarket and when they step in the door, pick up a 10 pound sack of potatoes and carry the bag throughout the entire grocery store escapade. Ten pounds will become heavy over time! At the end of the shop, the bag is placed back on the rack. It is at that point when people notice how light they feel and what a relief on their bodies. This is what losing 10 lbs. feels like. Hearts will pump better, insulin will work better, the back is relieved and many times blood pressure will improve.

Did you know 10 lbs. of weight carried in your gut places 100 lbs. of pressure on your back?  Losing 10 lbs. in 6 months is not very difficult. It is a matter of trimming those calories. Look at your plate, every time you eat and try to skim 100 calories. I know I have said this before, but we all need reminders.   Watching visible fat intake or the number of almonds eaten is a good start. Leaving a piece of food or sharing your food with others works well too.  Avoid “free” food because we usually eat it when we are not even hungry. Saving 100-200 calories per day adds up to 700-1400 calories a week (0.5-1 lb.) weight loss. Consistency is key!

Practicing “trimming” also leads a sense of empowerment. To be able to walk away from free food, say no to second helpings, cutting a tiny piece of whatever and really enjoy the controlled feeling helps one stay on course.

Quote or tip of the Day:

“Make slow changes in your ordinary life” – Richard Watson

Take Action Today:

  • Try the sack of potatoes experiment next time you are grocery shopping.
  • Practice “trimming” your intake.
  • Remember, the first 3 bites taste the best! Share the rest.

“Free Fall” Weekends

Today is Saturday, May 10th

The Topic or Question of the Day:

Do you typically “Free Fall” on the weekends?

     I often find that many people trying to drop a few pounds are very organized during the week.  People may drink a protein shake or eat a small bowl of yogurt with cereal for breakfast.  Lunches are planned and packed, or a TV type dinner is brought to work for a quick heat in the microwave. Snacks are portioned and planned and then Friday arrives!  All control departs and mega calories are consumed over the weekend. These extra calories will upsurp all the good choices made during the week and most people will only maintain their weight at best and never lose.  This is one reason I found that people give up because they refuse to change their “Free Fall” Weekends and they “over celebrate” weekends.

     I urge anyone trying to lose weight to plan your weekends a little better and make a commitment to go on a very long walk if possible.  I once read if a person walked 2.5 hours on a Saturday, it could positively affect your health in many areas.  Time is a problem for most people, but like my friend Bill says, you’ll find time if you want to.  I also heard about a new book called Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung.  I have not read it yet, but plan to soon.  I find myself saying and hear others saying, “I am so busy”. It is sad when the “world” gets too busy for real people.

Tip or quote of the day:

Let’s not get too busy. People are important and we all need each other in this world.

Take action today:

Review your schedule. What can you adjust to make room for someone needing your friendship or help? When can you go for a long walk? For quiet time? Can you have someone to dinner instead of going to a restaurant that serves too much food anyway?

Re-evaluate your busy-ness.  

Working 9-5, What a way to help your Eating!

Today is Friday, May 9th

The topic or question of the day:

Working 9-5 and routine eating

     Routine is usually the best way for top performance when it comes to your health.   Most bodies that are fed on a schedule simply function better. Working 9-5 or specific hours, places your breakfast meal in a limited timeframe while lunch is usually taken around noontime. Most people need a little afternoon “lift” before their dinner meal. It is best to try not to eat anything after dinner unless your dinner is early evening and you go to bed late. The commercials are usually what entice people to eat at night whether they are hungry or not.

   The problem I often see with “routine” is that many people get bored with it. However, your body runs better when it is daily fed foods that agree with it and roughly the same amounts, at the same time. I know a man in his nineties who has been eating on a schedule for many, many years. His breakfast and lunch are always the same. He usually eats some nuts in the afternoon with a cup of black coffee and his dinner encompasses the same types and amounts of food, the food just varies. He has diabetes and his blood sugar is always controlled.

     To those of us who whine and complain about being bored, I think back to the grumblings of the Israelites out in the wilderness wanderings who were miraculously fed Manna day in and day out. As the groaned of missing the exotic foods of Egypt, they were given a rainstorm of quail until they vomited it out their nostrils. Lately, I have become more grateful and thankful every time I am graced to eat something delicious and am careful not to complain.

Tip or Quote of the Day:

“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of GOD” – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Take Action Today:

Remember to be thankful for the bountiful variety of food we are blessed with.  Situations can change overnight.




Daughter’s Treat

Today is Thursday, May 1st

The topic or question of the day is:

Flavored Coffees

     The flavored coffees at various coffee shops and restaurants can be chock full off calories or diet syrups with chemicals.  The other day my daughter was telling me her secret of saving money, calories, and chemicals.  She makes black coffee, adds a little ditty of milk and sprinkles with a good cinnamon.  For most people, this concoction will not taste as delicious as a full blown sugary tasting, creamy coffee, but it will certainly be healthier, cheaper, and help one get away from the desire for sweet tastes.  It is worth the try.  Remember, the brain is the control center of your body.  When I gave up coffee with cream and sugar back in my 20’s, I had to tell myself, “You are going to like this, there is no other choice if you want to prevent weight gain or stop cavities.

Tip or quote of the day

“You can’t eat or drink whatever you want, whenever you want and lose weight.  You have to make a choice” – Dr. Beck, Penn State

Take action today:

* Talk to yourself, don’t listen to your desires and try black coffee with a bit of milk or cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon!

* Go to and check out the different cinnamons they sell!  


Today is Tuesday, April 29th

  The topic or question of the day is:

What should I do with cucumbers?

Cucumbers will be in season soon and my garden usually pumps them out like rabbits.  Last year we made a lot of pickles:  very time consuming.  Of course cucumbers are good with vinegar, and a touch of sugar or with a sour cream and red wine vinegar dressing, but my favorite summer dinner is a cold grilled and Greek seasoned chicken breast cut up on ice cold and crisp lettuce green smothered with tzatsiki sauce.  Tzatsiki sauce can be easily made by blending 1 cup of fat free plain Greek yogurt with 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 clove of garlic, 1 seeded cucumber, 1 T dill weed and lots of cracked black pepper.  Chill well and use generously.

Tonight I will try tzatsiki sauce with our delicious leftover Easter lamb  (I sliced thin and froze) that our son so meticulously prepared by marinating it for over 24 hours in wine, dijon mustard, garlic and rosemary.  He then grilled it to perfection!  Served on a pita pocket topped with tzatsiki sounds good!  Tzatsiki is versatile and can even be used as a low calorie salad dressing.  It is full of protein, fat free, and refreshing!

Tip or  Quote of the Day:

In the 1930’s, “cucumber” was a slang word used for a one dollar bill.

Take Action Today:

Try making tzatsiki sauce for a salad, Greek Chicken or Lamb (Gyro)

Season cucumbers with mint, garlic or dill

Food Shrinkage

Today is Wednesday, April 23rd

The Topic or Question of the Day:

Food Shrinkage

I have been experimenting with purposely taking smaller portions of food.  Eating less food has many benefits.  I will name a few.

1.  You will not feel so sluggish.

2.  You gain some control of your appetite and decision making.

3.  You decrease your calorie intake and over time, you can drop a few unwanted pounds or improve your blood chemistry.

4.  You save money on your grocery bill.  

5.  You may save money on your medications that may be reduced or possibly no longer needed.

Quote or Tip of the Day:

“Calories cost money” “Time, calories and money must be budgeted” – Gary North

Take Action Today:

Begin shrinking your food portions and pay attention to how your feel.  

Remember distractions can get your through a hunger pang.


Today is Monday, April 7th

The topic of the day is:  


Another new book came out touting “the secrets” to a body like the author’s physique and the same day I heard of an app you can purchase that makes you look skinny in your “selfies”.  I encourage you to think about this craziness.  We are all different and supposed to be different.  

Some “secrets” from the new book we are told is to drink green tea, and take probiotics/prebiotics.  Does everyone have to drink green tea?  Is it the fountain of youth or answer to health problems?  Will it really make you thin as many suggest?  I am not saying green tea isn’t good because I know it has some wonderful properties.  I want you to think and be careful not to fall into panaceas for weight loss and health claims.  Remember, what may be helpful for one person, may be like poison to another.  I think it best to encourage someone to try green tea, see if you like it and how it affects your taste, GI tract, and general well being, but don’t believe it is going to make you skinny.  The same with probiotics.  Has anyone seen the recommended amount that is safe for each age group, weight, gender?  Where is the research for dosage? (found it WIDE range)  Does it translocate?  In other words, do you think it just stays in your gut?  Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics.  Probiotics are living bacteria.  They are naturally found in foods such as yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut and can be added to various foods as well.  Whenever we take in too much of one type of food or drink, I always see a problem.  Remember a past blog about drinking too much water, eating too many carrots or celery and what happens?  Please think!  Tomorrow I will begin sharing what I learned this past month, and how these experiences may help you to eat more intelligently.

Tip of the day:

Do not believe everything your read in diet books.  

Plan of action:

1.  Do some of your own research on these topics and ask yourself questions.

2.  Try some real green tea.  Take good notes how you feel.  The best way to know what foods work well for your individual body is to keep a good food record, even down to the times of day.  For some people, many foods that can be tolerated in the morning, may not be tolerated in the evening.



Changing LIves

Today is Saturday, April 5th, 2014

The Food Thinkery was “out of service” for almost a month.  We moved unexpectedly, I started a new position and then contracted bronchitis.  It took time and energy to pack up a house, learn a new job, while trying to get the rest needed through it all.  Today I want to share three reasons why I am compelled to keep writing.

1.  To share lessons I learned during this move regarding stress, eating, movement and positivity.

2.  My last client’s comment on the last day of my job.  “Suzanne, you changed my life.”

3.  To continue sharing “thinking skills,” providing tips, good quotes and to encourage action!

I realize, I did  NOT change my client’s life.  God used me to give her the help she needed and she was willing to do the work.  Many people are sitting on the road these days for many reasons.  Some are frustrated, lonely, sad, angry, worried, or lack motivation to name a few.  It is time to get up and keep walking the trail.  Let us continue to encourage each other to practice intelligent eating, and also to live intelligently.

Quote of the day:

“We are all changing.  Either it is for the better or worse” – (Can’t think of who said this)

Call to Action:

Go back and read a few of the past Food Thinkery blogs to reacquaint yourselves with our desire for helping people either lose weight, eat better, improve their health and wellness and cook more.  Please tell your friends about The Food Thinkery, and continue walking….

Ride the Tide

Today is January 30th

The topic or question of the day:

Ride the Tide

     Sometimes we just get a ‘little’ hungry, or a particular smell conjures up an urge for something yummy.  We might be driving and pass the golden arches, Quick Trip or a Braums, and drop in because we think it’s time to refuel.  Maybe we strolled into a co-workers office and saw candy on the desk.  Our taste buds start salivating, and our stomachs prepare for “incoming” treats.   We are not really hungry because hungry is when you are lost in a forest and haven’t eaten for days!

     Do we really need to give into these cravings? When these happen, I urge you to “Ride the Tide”.  Try to get through a little hunger pang and you will save yourself many calories. This is helpful when you are trying to lost weight.

Three of my favorite ‘Tide Riders’ are:

  1. Get out my “to do” or distraction list and pick one to complete (I usually forget about food).
  2. Eat a honey stick or 1 glucose tab and drink a big glass of water (only one).
  3. Set my phone alarm for 1 hour and see if I can deal with the hungry feeling (It usually goes away).

Tip or Quote of the day:

We access our emotions by our thinking. 

Thinking verses Feelings. 

Do not listen to yourself, talk to yourself and Ride that Tide!

Talk to your self  

Take action today:

  • Buy some honey sticks and glucose tablets (15 calories a piece)
  • Write a list of distractions that take no longer than 5- 15 minutes.
  • Practice ‘Riding the Tide’