Weigh 20 lbs. More Than Your Neighbor?

Do you weight 20 lbs. more than your neighbor because of this simple mistake?    10441244_546787338780470_629748497808751182_n

If you keep only ONE box of cereal anywhere in sight you will weigh 20 pounds more than your neighbor who keeps food out of sight.

This interesting piece of information was found in research by Dr. Brain Lansink, the Director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University.

Please consider following this blog, follow me on Facebook or check my web which is FILLED with a great deal of information that may help you and those you care about.

A NEW FEATURE:  If you are a California resident you may be interested in online (e-mail) therapy, which is very affordable and available at your convenience, your timeframe with no commute, childcare or other obligations to arrange. For more information please go to: http://www.valentinotherapy.com, click ME on the Home Page, then SERVICES, then ONLINE THERAPY.  

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
                                      Sharon Valentino, Valentino Therapy, CA LMFT, MA, ChT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
                                       sv@valentinotherapy.com,  415.215.5363
Web: http://www.valentinotherapy.com
                                                  3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, Sausalito, CA 94965
                                                                 Serving individuals & couples in the San Francisco Bay Achairs for sq cardrea
Psychotherapist, Registered Addiction Specialist, Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Masters Counseling Psychology – Stress, Anxiety Therapy, Relationships, Depression Therapy, PTSD, Pain, Relationship Issues, Self-Esteem Therapy


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Binge Eating – Compulsive Overeating – How to Conquer It Before It Conquers You

There are times we all eat too much. Thanksgiving certainly comes to mind and its close friend “all of December”. Maybe when you’ve had a bit of alcohol and relaxed your healthy choices and then didn’t ask for a doggie bag when faced with a huge restaurant meal? Over eating happens, but more often it is anxiety driving you when you are home alone after a long difficult day. Maybe you are eating in private when you can stuff down feelings by stuffing down food? Lonely? Angry? In a difficult relationYou are not Hungryship, or no relationship, do you feel a bit lost, left out? These feelings cause anxiety and feeling uneasy for us all.

Everyone knows food has mood altering qualities and it can make us feel better, especially if it is rich, sweet and abundant. We rarely turn to plain kale when upset. Eating to quell anxiety and eating for emotional reasons happen to be normal. “From the moment we’re born, we’re nurtured with food, rewarded with food, and so emotional connections to food are normal,” says Michelle May, MD, author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat. The older book, What’s Eating You, by Eugene Kaplan, says the same.

Too Often We Use Food As A Recreational Drug

When you eat too much, too often as a way to feel better, or more specifically, in order to not feel your discomfort, you get fat. You get very unhealthy. You get upset about how you look and how your clothes fit. Then you get a new problem to deal with: negative body imagine. Often then your doctor says your test results don’t look good and you are pre-diabetic or worse. You are not as attractive to the opposite sex and you often start to hate not only the way you look, but also hate yourself. You feel awful about the situation and so you eat some more to feel better, or to be distracted, and suddenly you realize your eating is out of control – in terms of choice, amount and frequency.

And then you may well discover that you are depressed and unhappy. You have created a whole new set of ANXIETY feelings, unhappy thoughts and you may eventually be diagnosed with DEPRESSION during this unfortunate cycle. Which came first?

So…let me say that there is help for you and you don’t have to deal with this alone.

Millions of people in the US alone have this problem, but the fact that you are reading this means that you are looking for help and a healthier, happier way. Therapy can make all the difference. In fact, research shows that it can be very hard to conquer this entirely on your own, especially if there are deep-rooted emotional problems involved, trauma or you have never been supported in learning to tolerate negative feelings. A good therapist can help you uncover the psychological triggers that you may be unaware of that are seriously undermining you. Clinical support can make all the difference in success for many.

If you meditate, or have ever tried to, you know that unwanted thoughts crop up constantly and you know that if you just think, “I see you, you can go on now.”, they will leave. In fact, you can’t stop them. The thought, and any feeling you might have attached to it, will go whether you want it to or not. A new thought will come right along interrupting the stillness and the blissful rest meditation can provide. Oddly, the same is true with negative feelings. If you just say, “I see you and you can go now.”, you can be assured that the feeling will leave and you CAN cope with the feeling until it does leave. You CAN experience it for a bit and it will dissipate. That is, if you do not choose to dwell on it, obsess on it and thereby encourage it to stay. It is very empowering to stop, feel a feeling and just let it die down when you stare it in the face. Just try it. What have you got to lose?

Many who overeat chronically may well have developed BED, which is how clinicians refer to Binge Eating Disorder. We can formally diagnose it as such if you eat large amounts of food in a relatively short period of time, feel guilt or shame after and that you do this at least once a week for at least three months or more.

People usually pick high fat or high sugar items to stuff down their feelings. One problem with this (and why you feel SO physically bad afterwards) is the effect this has on blood sugar, which rises quickly and you do feel better – no question. But then you feel much worse soon afterwards because the body rushes to try to compensate for this dangerous overload, causing blood sugar to drop. What happens next? Intense cravings for more of the same! This is the perfect path to diabetes, which changes your life forever, shortening your life, affecting your sex life, downgrading the quality of your life. Sadly, this happens to many.

I find that when I have white carbs or sugar for breakfast (oatmeal or a muffin or toast with jam), or any other meal, I want more quite soon afterwards. It always surprises me but I recognize what just happened. However, if I ate those foods regularly, I might not be able to notice what was going on because it would have already become familiar to me and not so noticeable.

If you adjust your diet to add healthier foods that you like, ask yourself this: “Would I feed this, or a large serving, to a beloved toddler?” “Do I want anyone I admire to seeing me eating this, or eating so much of this?”

Often we don’t think of what we are doing to ourselves and how it looks. Surprise! Your unconscious mind, and mine, are well aware of what we are doing and that is another reason bad feelings follow – it does not go unnoticed.

If you can make it work in your circumstances, eating with others may help. Overeating likes to be alone and not be seen by others. Just like addiction, it grows in the dark and doesn’t like others to observe it going on.

instead of giving         There Is No MaExcuses or Resultsgic Fix

Sorry to say, there is no one magic pill or magic food that will stop this cycle. If that were true, you would have bought it long ago and would not be reading this, but many actions (large and small) can make a big difference.

To recap some practical beginnings of change:

  1. Numerous studies show that vinegar (yes, apple cider vinegar & the other less harsh tasting ones) has some benefit to make you filled if used in a salad before your meal. It helps lessen the effect of naturally occurring carbs (no, not extra helpings of bread) and defends against blood sugar spikes – plus eating the salad first lessens your overall calorie intake. Some research indicates it helps to stave off D2 (diabetes 2). However, vinegar is not magical. It is just helpful. Don’t take it on an empty stomach, or swallow it straight or you will truly be sorry.
  2. Feeling your feelings will change your life – and yes, you can handle it. What you feel will dissipate. You don’t have to hide from them or stuff them down with food. Using food as your drug, never works. Just as turning on the light when you first come home, makes it less scary and you feel safer, and so will letting your feelings come into the bright light of day. You might as well, because if you eat two pieces of cake, for example, you will only feel good a short while and then you will feel much worse anyway – and you will get fat, something else to feel bad about. I’m not being flip, this really is the cycle for far too many. If it is too scary just to feel uncomfortable feelings and thoughts, see a good therapist ASAP and get support. Get free so you can enjoy a good, healthy life.
  3. Begin to incorporate healthier foods so you will be squeezing out how much room there is in your stomach for choices that will make you feel physically bad and feel bad about yourself. Don’t start the latest craze diet or highly restrictive diet with too many “dont’s”. Come on, you’ve tried them before and they didn’t work (they may have even made your binge eating worse) and when they failed you again, you felt really bad about yourself. Start by being kind to yourself and finding more and more healthy foods that you do like and eat them more often. If your stomach is full of healthy food that doesn’t play havoc with your blood sugar, it is much easier to resist or not even think of having two desserts or a whole bag of potato chips while watching TV after dinner. That may have become a habit you can eliminate. Also, if you stuff yourself on a stomach full of healthy food, there will likely be a rapid consequence to discourage it in the future.

Keep reading this blog for more articles to help you, as beating this problem is critical to us all. You don’t have to fight this alone. Keep help and support.

Please consider following this blog, follow me on Facebook or check my web which is FILLED with a great deal of information that may help you and those you care about.

A NEW FEATURE:  If you are a California resident you may be interested in online (e-mail) therapy, which is affordable and available at your convenience, your timeframe with no commute, childcare or other obligations to arrange. For more information please go to: http://www.valentinotherapy.com, click ME on the Home Page, then SERVICES, then ONLINE THERAPY.  

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
                                      Sharon Valentino, Valentino Therapy, CA LMFT, MA, ChT, Psychotherapist
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
 E: sv@valentinotherapy.com,                    415.215.5363
 – Web: http://www.valentinotherapy.com
                                                  3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, Sausalito, CA 94965
                                                                 Serving individuals & couples in the San Francisco Bay Area
Psychotherapist, Registered Addiction Specialist, Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Masters Counseling Psychology – Stress, Anxiety Therapy, Relationships, Depression Therapy, PTSD, Pain, Relationship Issues, Self-Esteem Therapy

Posted in Healthy Eating | Leave a comment


Valentino Therapy is now offering online e-mail counseling.

E-mail Online Therapy –  phpThumb_generated_thumbnail

Valentino Therapy is now offering online e-mail counseling for your convenience

By Sharon Valentino, CA LMFT #51746

What’s in it for you or those you feel may benefit?             


  •  Convenience. With e-mail counseling you compose your thoughts anytime, anywhere you want on your computer, tablet or mobile device. This can be especially effective for those who may be challenged to verbalize quickly or who like to think a bit before they speak.
  •  Online therapy is very convenient and affordable.
  •  Most people recognize the many documented benefits of journaling and that writing, itself, is a powerful form of therapy. Others say it is how they keep themselves mentally healthy and resilient.
  •  Online, or e-mail, therapy’s aim is to be therapeutic writing wherein you collect your thoughts and feelings unhampered by a clock about to indicate your in-person session is at an end.
  • Writers can clarify (especially to themselves) their feelings, situation and thoughts during their own quiet time.
  • The art of writing, ideally including rereading and rewriting a bit before sending (on the part of the client and the therapist), increases objectivity in a natural way by externalizing and re-framing the feelings and issues. This encourages deeper understanding of situations without being overtaken by them, as they can seem to encompass, or at least affect, your life in so many areas. Even before the therapist responds, you often see the situation a bit differently and start the process of helping to heal, or center, yourself.
  •  You are able to get away from distractions to practice important self-care doing something just for you. You can find a favorite place, get comfortable with music or a beverage, even go outside in nature – whatever calms you and gives you moments in solitude.
  • Research shows that writing during disturbing times, or change, is particularly useful.
  • Therapist insight and interventions may be very effective due to the ability for you to read and re-read messages, plus you have a record to review, perhaps more accurate than your memory of a session, that allows you to track your own progress over time.
  • The experience of therapeutic writing can encourage clients to express themselves more thoughtfully and precisely in their daily lives as well.
  •  In today’s society many have difficulty scheduling in-office visits due to conflicting schedules – the therapist is already booked at the time most convenient to you, travel considerations (distance, bridge tolls, parking, gas, travel time, time away from work), or child-care obligations, professional travel, and those simply too busy to fit regular therapy sessions into their busy lives, health, disability or limited mobility issues, time restrictions or cost.
  • E-mail, or online therapy (e-therapy), may be useful for persons seeking support and insight at the client’s total convenience, making a specific time and place unnecessary.
  • Some people prefer to express themselves in solitude via writing and can be side tracked in a clinical office setting, or find that they say far more – and more to the point – in thoughtful writing rather than in session.
  • You can expect unconditional positive regard and respect for you and your unique life circumstances (even if being encouraged to improve them), compassion and understanding clinical strategies, interventions, methods and insight to institute a process of improvement or healing from a highly trained, experienced clinician.


  • Privacy is provided via We Counsel’s portal for the therapeutic industry, which they contend surpasses industry encryption and HIPPA standards via your own private access portal – NOT regular e-mail. Regardless of encryption protection, privacy can never be guaranteed in today’s society and clients must take care not to compromise theirs by their careless actions (leaving a mobile device on unattended during a writing session, passwords out, etc.).
  • While privacy, safeguards, password protections – security is a challenge all therapists deal with, the client is responsible on their end to safeguard their own private messages to and from the therapist so that no one may access their information on the client’s end. You do not give your private portal encryption passwords to anyone or allow them to be accessed by seeing your phone, address book, etc.
  • There is no chance of running into anyone at your therapist’s office building when you are meeting your therapist online.


  • Simply put, online or e-mail therapy is not for everyone. It does not take the place of an office visit where face-to-face reactions, non-verbal messages and body language can be accessed in conjunction with dialogue.
  • Clients must be able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly, and to interpret messages carefully, with a willingness to ‘give the benefit of the doubt’ when humor or the intended meanings miss the mark.  Humor is often lost or misinterpreted via e-mail exchanges.
  • E-mail therapy is not for emergencies, not for people having suicidal thoughts, domestic or other violence, serious-severe substance abuse or a variety of other difficult diagnoses and issues. There are many situations and problems that are not suitable for my e-practice, among them: schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, some types of depression, crisis interventions for substance abuse, people who need medications coordinated with local physicians, those who cut or are suicidal, persons who like to rant instead of solve, people in crisis, and many others conditions that need to be considered on a case by case as there are clinical limitations. Each person’s situation will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to determine if it is suitable for this milieu and this clinician.
  • E-mail therapy is not as good as in-person as the instant reactions and positive non-verbal affirmations are not present.
  • Not everyone likes the process of writing. Some people are more verbally inclined, so online e-mail therapy is not for those who are “talkers” and need to verbalize their thoughts and experiences in order to work them out.
  • Major studies and research claim online counseling is as effective as in-office, but it is doubtful that is true for everyone.
  • A potential drawback of online counseling is the inability for instant, spontaneous clarification. Clients lose the visual and verbal cues which would reassure them, or correct, misunderstandings that occur in all communications, whether in person or online.
  • Diagnosis and help is only as good as the complete, honest information shared by the client – although this is an issue in face-to-face therapy also.
  • Therapists cannot respond to crisis situations. Online therapy is not appropriate for those with serious psychiatric illnesses. The scope of the help provided can be limited.


  • Online e-mail therapy is a bargain compared to weekly in-person sessions, gas, parking, childcare, bridge tolls, etc. You pay $50 per week for one hour of a Licensed California Marriage and Family Therapist’s time to read, respond and counsel based on your messages to the therapist.
  •  This service is available only to California residents (licensing requirements), meaning those you earn CA income, file CA taxes, live here in CA, etc.
  • You will be asked to complete an extensive Intake Information Form and an Informed Consent Agreement for Online E-Mail Counseling before any sessions may commence. This is to be sure that your concerns appear to be a good fit for this medium and to save you time and money in case they are not.
  • We Counsel collects the money on its site from you and forwards to the therapist periodically. Your financial interactions are strictly with their website, not wasting clinical time.
  • Most insurance companies do not cover online therapy, though some are starting to. If your insurance does, it is up to you to turn in for reimbursement, though any information or diagnosis they ask for will be provided for your use.
  • If you want to take advantage of online e-mail counseling, send your name and e-mail address to: sv@valentinotherapy.com and you will receive and invitation and instructions as to how to access the encryption portal.
  • VISIT: other pages here at http://www.valentinotherapy.com for more information about the clinician.

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
Sharon Valentino
Valentino Therapy, CA LMFT, MA, ChT, Psychotherapist
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
E: sv@valentinotherapy.com
Web: http://www.valentinotherapy.com
ASK THIS THERAPIST BLOG: https://askthistherapist.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/valentinotherapy
Blog: https://valentinotherapy.wordpress.com
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/valentinotx/valentino-therapy/
3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, Sausalito, CA 94965
Serving individuals & couples in the San Francisco Bay Area
Psychotherapist, Registered Addiction Specialist, Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Masters Counseling Psychology, Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Pain, Family & Couples

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I urge you to check out Oprah & Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation Experience™, Finding Your Flow! It’s free.
These guided meditations are very useful, healthful and peaceful – very high quality music, sound and visuals.
All you do is sign up online well before it begins at:https://chopracentermeditation.com/challenge
FREE is good.
So is doing something nice for yourself.
Mark your calendar – Finding Your Flow begins April 14, 2014.

Sharon Valentino, CA LMFT, MA, ChT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746)
Web: www.valentinotherapy.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/valentinotherapy

Blog: http://valentinotherapy.wordpress.com
Blog: http://addictionhurts.wordpress.com
Blog: https://shrinkmeshrinkyou.wordpress.com
E: sv@valentinotherapy.com
3030 Bridgeway, Suite 108, 
Sausalito, CA , 94965, phone 415.215.5363
Serving the San Francisco Bay Area
Follow my primary Blog: http://valentinotherapy.wordpress.com
 for updates on this and other matters than may interest you and can help you live more of the life you want.

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Can Drinking Espresso Help You Lose Weight?

Can Drinking Espresso Help You Lose Weight?

Many have asked this. I am hardly the first, but I’m asking it now.

I’ve enjoyed tea all my life; primarily white tea for anti-cancer, because I’ve always found coffee too bitter. I grew up in a family of constant coffee drinkers, who tried a number of additives to seduce me into enjoying coffee, but it never worked and just added calories.

Who isn’t concerned about losing weight? I certainly am. Being a therapist, I sit on my bottom most of the day, with clients often back to back and hours of paperwork, treatment plans and process notes, not to mention blog & web maintenance, afterward. What, you thought we just got to listen, intervene and go home? Not a chance.

Recently I had an eye opening experience in Williams Sonoma when an employee offered me coffee and I refused, telling him I’ve never liked it. That challenged him, as he asked if he could please make me his own favorite pod choice, as he was sure I’d like it? I tried, but failed, to politely decline. This charming young man made me a cappuccino, which was actually good. As unknowledgeable as I am, I didn’t realize it was actually an espresso with some low fat steamed milk. He claimed that Nespresso made the best coffee pods, many quite mild in taste, and the pod process makes it a no brainer even for people like me or those in a rush or who live with someone who prefers different tasting espresso.

This tasting experience was pleasantly surprising, but I didn’t think much of it until later in the day when I realized it was several hours past lunch and I was neither hungry nor tired. It must have been the cappuccino, as that is very unusual for me.

That experience sparked my curiosity and started me on considerable research, including trying the drink as plain espresso at Sur La Table with no milk. Again it was good. I also tried Starbucks, whose employee told me firmly there is no such thing as a milder tasting espresso; theirs wasn’t as good and neither was another coffee store I tried – the same with Keurig pods at my bank.

My research turned up conflicting claims about whether coffee can help with weight loss. There are many studies that show it does, others show decaf beats regular for that purpose, and some show no help. I concluded, after a few hours of work on this, that the effect of caffeine varies by the individual.

Few argue that caffeine affects the peptide PYY, found in the lower bowel/intestine, lowering appetite and also the peptide Leptin, found in (fat) tissue (primarily) as well as GI tract & other places, reduces hunger. No studies, as yet, seem to show exactly why that is or exactly how coffee helps some people lose weight.

Clearly it is a stimulant. Besides waking us up in the morning, or perking us up in the afternoon, the pluses seemingly agreed on are decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, plus tea has been linked to lower risk for some cancers, which is why I’ve used iced white tea and hot Earl’s Grey for so many years.

However, too much coffee or caffeine can also have numerous negative effects, which most of us are well aware of. Coffee might increase the risk for heart disease in some, and coffee is subject to addictive abuse, which is how my father used it.

I wondered: If coffee can reduce appetite and increase energy in most people, and if most folks use caffeine, then why are folks in the US getting so fat?  Many sources claimed it was because many developed a habit of piling on the sugar, cream, flavorings, etc. in the drink and also having sweets and white carbs with the cuppa Joe. Maybe that explains it.

One medical affiliated article suggested using 23andme DNA testing to see if one’s markers showed a likely tendency for coffee to become a problem, or even addictive. Since I had ordered a report from them only last month, here’s what I found:

Caffeine Consumption: Find it hard to keep those eyes open in the morning without that cup of coffee? Always have a cup of tea or a can of Coca Cola nearby? You’re not alone. 90% of people consume caffeine on a daily basis worldwide, making it the most commonly used stimulant. Tea is most popular, but coffee is more commonly consumed in developed countries, with 150 million regular coffee drinkers in the United States alone. Besides giving us a kick start in the morning, coffee consumption has been linked to decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, and tea has been linked to lower risk for some cancers. However, too much coffee or caffeine can also have negative effects. Coffee consumption may also increase the risk for heart disease in slow metabolizers of caffeine.” This is a direct quote from my 23andme page, which shows my caffeine consumption and risk of Genotype CC is average, with no expected problems “on average”.

I realize everyone’s body and metabolism is different. It’s also possible that the positive effect I’ve experienced will wear off.

So, what am I going to do? I will likely buy the Pixie Nespresso machine and Aerocino (milk frother). Their offerings of the milder espresso blends were clearly better than the others I tried – for my taste buds.

What are your thoughts?

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters                                                                                                                                   Web: www.valentinotherapy.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valentinotherapy

Blog: http://valentinotherapy.wordpress.com                                                                       Blog: https://shrinkmeshrinkyou.wordpress.com

Image by Mark Prince, CoffeeGeek.com, 2006, ri...

Image by Mark Prince, CoffeeGeek.com, 2006, rights released for wikipedia. Image can also be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/coffeegeek/113110988/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted in Weight Loss | 2 Comments

Healthy Eating – New Cookbook Improves Health

Here’s a first! Occasionally I’m asked to review a cookbook for the newspaper. This one was so compelling and easy to use that I decided to post it due to it’s ability to make you feel MUCH better. You decide.

Review: The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods

By: Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Photography by: Leo Gong, Publisher: Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1 edition, February 26, 2013, Pages: 243, hardcover, Recipes: 126, Cost: $29.99 on the cover, ($19.98 Amazon)

I got excited about eating healthier by new cookbook out by San Francisco food guru, Rebecca Katz, filled with easy, truly tasty recipes. I read it like a book. I think you may too. The beginning of the book deals with health, healing and prevention foods with great photography and amusing personal anecdotes.

I love to cook, having reached an age where the health benefits of foods are more interesting than ever. Maybe you were wise enough to get there sooner. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I find that when clients eat healthier, it positively affects the outcome of their therapy and mood, surprisingly soon.

This cookbook leads with a heavy hitter endorsing it with “I say, ‘Good health begins in the kitchen.’ Life is too short—and eating too regular—to not make every meal both healthy and delicious. You can learn to live and thrive this way, throughout all your years. All you have to do is peer inside this book.” – Andrew Weil, M.D.

Generally, the ingredients are easy to find, though the book is nearly gluten free. My friends and I greatly enjoyed these: Kale-Basil Pesto, Chive Oil, Golden Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Olives with Citrus and Herbs, Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts, and Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies. I sliced the cauliflower into slabs instead of florets for more roasting area, plus more dramatic presentation, and I added a full cup of walnuts instead of the ½ called for to the brownies. Otherwise, the recipes were simple and were followed to the letter – all were unusually flavorful. There were no leftovers. The Roasted Olives were an unusual twist on an appetizer that had guests asking if there were more in the kitchen.

The author focuses on just 16 super foods: avocados, asparagus, blueberries, basil, garlic, green tea, kale, mint, olive oilpomegranates, thyme, salmon, sweet potatoes, walnuts, yogurt, coffee and chocolate. These are foods that fight disease, turn on cancer fighting genes and turn off cancer growers, even positively affecting DNA. Thoughtfully, the nutrition, calories, prep time and cooking time are all listed and most of the recipes are surprisingly low in calories.

 Roasted Olives with Citrus and Herbs

  • Makes 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 2 cups assorted olives, rinsed
  • 1 Meyer lemon, cut in quarters
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, slivered
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary
  • Cook’s Note
  • If you don’t have access to Meyer lemons, omit the quartered lemon and replace the Meyer lemon juice with the juice of 1 regular lemon and ½ orange.
  • Directions
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Put the olives in an 8-inch square nonreactive baking pan. Squeeze the juice from the lemon quarters over the olives and add the lemon quarters to the pan, along with the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, red pepper flakes, and rosemary. Stir until well combined.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Per serving: Calories: 80; Total Fat: 7.5 g (1 g saturated, 6 g monounsaturated; Carbohydrates: 3 g; Protein: 0.5 g; Fiber: 1 g; Sodium: 370 mg.

 Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula and Hazelnuts

  •  Makes 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off and discarded, then peeled (see note below))
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula

Cook’s Note

  • Peeling the asparagus gets rid of the stringy, sometimes tough outer layer and exposes the sweet flesh underneath. To peel it, use a regular vegetable peeler with a light touch to shave off just the skin. This technique is not necessary with thin asparagus spears.


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Put the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes as it preheats, until aromatic and browned. Transfer to a plate or, if you’d like to remove the skins for a more refined texture and appearance, wrap them in a towel and give them a good rub. The majority of the skins will come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.
  • Put the asparagus on the same baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to evenly coat the asparagus. Bake for 8 minutes, until just barely tender.
  • Put the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk.
  • Put the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Mound the arugula on individual plates or a platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.
  • Variation: Substitute toasted pistachios or walnuts for the hazelnuts.
  • Per serving: Calories: 190; Total Fat: 15.5 (2 g saturated, 12 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 12 g; Protein: 7 g; Fiber 6 g; Sodium 210 mg.

Insanely Good Chocolate Brownies

  • Makes 16 brownies
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1/3 cup almond flour, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour (see note below for fudgier brownies)
  • 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (68 to 72% cacao content), chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup (use the cheaper, tastier Grade B)
  • 1/3 cup maple sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional), toasted

Cook’s Note

  • You can also use a 9 by 6-inch baking pan. If you do, the baking time will be only about 25 minutes.
  • Who Knew?
  • Cacao content is the amount of pure cacao products (chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa powder) used in the chocolate; the higher the percentage, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains. And if you’re into addition by subtraction, higher cacao percentages mean lower sugar content.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line an 8-inch square baking pan (see note) with two pieces of foil long enough to overlap on all four sides. Lightly oil the foil.
  • Put the almond flour, brown rice flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.
  • Put half of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring often, just until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the olive oil.
  • Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk until frothy. Slowly add the maple syrup and maple sugar, whisking all the while, and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth. Add the vanilla extract, then gradually add the chocolate, whisking vigorously all the while, and continue whisking until smooth and glossy.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat for about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining chocolate and the walnuts. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature in the pan, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into 16 brownies.
  • Variation: For brownies that are fudgier, replace the rice flour with another 1/3 cup of almond flour.
  • Per serving: 1 brownie per serving – Calories: 130; Total Fat 9 g ( 2.5 g saturated, 5 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 10 g; Protein: 2 g; Fiber: 1 g; Sodium: 64 mg.

 Golden Roasted Cauliflower

  • Roasting cauliflower completely transforms it into a candy-like delight that yields to a gentle fork. The spices—cumin, coriander, and turmeric—really make this dish sing. Turmeric has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, and holds great promise for maintaining (and possibly improving) brain health.
  • Serves 4
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Ingredients
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds) cut into 1 1/2 inch florets (about 8 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley or cilantro
  • Directions
  • Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450° F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, turmeric and garlic. Spread the cauliflower mixture in an even layer on the prepared pan. Bake until the cauliflower is golden and tender, about 25 to 35 minutes. Toss with spritz with fresh lemon juice and parsley or cilantro.
  • Variations: If you’re not in a spicy mood, omit the spices and toss the cauliflower with olive, salt and pepper. You’ll love how sweet this vegetable tastes after its oven “sauna.”
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes
Storage: Store refrigerated in airtight container for 2 days
  • Notes: Chopping cauliflower releases enzymes that increase the bioavailability of its nutrients. Delaying cooking for 5-10 minutes after cutting helps insure that heat won’t destroy these enzymes’ effectiveness. Also, the enzymes need Vitamin C to activate, which can be accomplished with a hit of lemon or lime juice.
  • Per serving: Calories: 120; Total Fat: 8 g (1 g saturated; 5.5 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 12 g; Protein: 4.5 g; Fiber 4.5 g; Sodium 265 mg.

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.                                                                                       
Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Web: www.valentinotherapy.com                                                                                    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/valentinotherapy                                                       Blog: http://valentinotherapy.wordpress.com                                                                       Blog: https://shrinkmeshrinkyou.wordpress.com

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You don’t have time to work out? Do you?

A one hour workout is only 4% of your day!!

You may say that it takes a lot longer to grab your gym bag, drive there, workout, shower there or at home, and drive home.

No excuse. It’s very easy to take a walk around the ‘hood. Or, vigorously clean and vacuum your home and/or car. Or do some exercises in the living room, lift some hand weights or do some extra trips on the stairs. The list of alternatives is endless…just like excuses.

You can even do a half hour in the morning and be half done! It’s easier to finish of another half hour later that way.

I walk the therapy dog, Bailey. (photos below)

Be kind to yourself. Therapy helps.

Sharon Valentino – Valentino Therapy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (51746), MA, CHT, LMFTPsychotherapist, Masters Counseling Psychology

small_2315656281Bailey n Santa

Bailey in a box

Posted in Exercise, Weight Loss | Leave a comment