Tag Archives: #food

Life Without Chocolate Update…

It’s been about two months since I announced I was chocolate free, and about the same amount of time since I’ve eaten chocolate of any kind—including my beloved Caramel Walnut Brownie Luna Bars.

The catalyst for giving up chocolate was headaches. Too many, too often.  So I did this very unscientific experiment to see if my headaches would improve without chocolate.


The results?

The first month I was off chocolate I had one three day headache.

So it’s hard to tell. Would it have been worse with chocolate? Impossible to know. What I do know is that I missed chocolate. A lot. And my headaches weren’t completely gone. At least, not yet.

So I stayed off chocolate another month, and the result? Still no significant changes in headaches. They still appeared and lasted a day or two, with or without chocolate. However, overall my headaches may have been less frequent.

So my very unscientific experiment yielded good news: eating chocolate does not appear to affect my headaches directly, and bad news: giving up chocolate didn’t help to relieve my headaches completely.

There was one more question I was asked several times during my months without chocolate, did giving up chocolate for two months make me lose weight? Answer: nope. But that may have just been because of all the vanilla frosting I was eating to fill the gaping hole chocolate left behind… 😉




All kidding aside, I’ve come to accept that I can eat chocolate—here comes the word I struggle with—in moderation. That means some chocolate every day—not ALL day. But moderation….ah, that’s a theme for another day and another blog post…

For now, I am graciously accepting that I can again eat my Caramel Walnut Brownie Luna Bars once a day—a very happy time of day!—with no additional headaches.



How about you?  Have you tried giving up chocolate to alleviate headaches? Or any other food? Leave a comment below—we’d love to hear about it!


Happy Eating!





Cart Envy.


I’ll admit I’ve had Cart Envy. The other day while shopping I gazed into this man’s shopping cart and his food choices were well, enviable. He was on the phone chatting away with presumably his wife, asking questions like: “Organic Bosc or Anjou pears?” tossing her selections into his cart already brimming with organic fruits and veggies, grass-fed lean cuts of meat, and brown rice and quinoa. Even his beer was microbrewed and organic. After he finished with produce, he adjusted his baseball hat and rushed off to the gluten-free aisle taking his goods with him leaving me gazing after his cart like an abandoned lover standing at the dock while the ship sails away. Oh sigh, it was a cart to be envied.


pexels-photo-264537.jpegOn average, my cart is not bad. It’s stuffed full of chia seeds for our dairy-free yogurt, tofu and organic broccoli (often in a bag because who has time to cook ?)—but it’s usually not enviable like baseball hat guy’s cart loaded with superfoods, some I don’t even know how to pronounce let alone  prepare.  He was rocking his shopping cart.  Even as an extreme label reader, there’s still some processed foods in my cart, namely snacks.

I have kids and yes, we eat veggie chips. And sometimes…worse…


Although we never want to be jealous of anyone else—I’m on my path, guy with the rockin’ shopping cart is on his—I figure Cart Envy is okay. It’s fun to see what someone else is buying and spurs us to want to eat better, and who knows? Maybe someday I’ll learn what the heck to do with Rambutan (fruit) or Arame (a type of kelp).


pexels-photo-568027.jpegBut the dark side of Cart Envy is judgment. (Isn’t judgment the dark side of everything?) She’s eating that? Or: Who would feed their kids that junk! And judgment is something I experienced just the other day while shopping at Trader Joe’s. At the register I was talking to the salesperson as I always do, and she was commenting on my healthy food choices. (Grin! But truthfully, it’s hard to go wrong at Trader Joe’s.) She chatted away through pounds of organic apples and blocks of almond milk cheese, but when she came to my two bags of pre-washed butter lettuce she nearly gagged on her organic elderberry cough drop.

     “Butter lettuce?” She placed a hand to her heart, gasping.

            “Yes!” I chirped. “It’s delicious! Have you ever tried it?”

            “Oh no.” She quickly scanned the two offensive bags pushing them out of her line of vision. “I don’t eat lettuce that has no nutritional value.”

            Damn. There I was, reveling in the glow of a shopping trip mastered, my cart stuffed with healthy choices, and I was shot down, just like that. Bet that guy in the baseball hat talking to his wife wasn’t buying butter lettuce. What was wrong with me?

“Well, my girls like it.” I countered quickly.

            “Children?” She shook her head. “Every bite counts.”

            I nodded to the bag of “Cruciferous Crunch” she was about to ring up.  (If you’ve never tried it, it’s delicious.) “We sprinkle Cruciferous Crunch on top!”

            She nodded sadly. “That’s something.”

We finished the rest of my order in silence. All the way home I fought the desire to rush to the nearest drive-through to buy us all a dinner of greasy fries made with saturated fat and non-grass fed burgers.

After all, if I could feed my kids butter lettuce, well then, what else was I capable of?

Of course the incident at Trader Joe’s was humorous. Of course judgment of any kind is wrong. Of course we should strive to feed our families–and ourselves–as healthily as possible. But we should also cut ourselves some slack. Butter lettuce is really not the food of the devil. And neither is…brace yourself…iceberg. As a matter of fact, eating right doesn’t require that much thought. If you’re trying to eat right, chances are, you’re making some smart choices.

And that’s all we can do—in all aspects of our lives—our best. Even if it means we eat butter lettuce. 

And as far as Cart Envy goes? Go ahead, take a peek. As long as we’re not judging, a tiny glance into our neighbor’s cart to salivate over her fixings for garbanzo bean and organic kale salad never hurt anyone. Besides, remember next week, that cart could be yours…


Happy Eating!

How My Family Survives My Writing…

This week on Nitty Gritty Romance, it’s challenge week #2 — and the challenge question is:

How Does Your Family Survive Your Writing?

Well that’s an easy one: They’ve learned to cook. 😉

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Well, um…dinner doesn’t look quite like this, but you get the point.

As all you moms out there know, having kids means a lot of cooking. Even more than cooking, you’re prepping food ‘round the clock. And since my girls rarely eat the same food…well… You’ve been there, you get it.

Since I follow the strict writing schedule of “writing whenever I get the chance” everyone chips in for dinner.  My eight-year-old makes a mean chicken pot pie, and my ten-year-old likes to experiment with her own recipes including her “famous” Apple-Tizer–a delicious and healthy recipe that goes great with any meal and tastes like a baked apple. It’s so delicious, I’ve included the recipe here!

We enjoy cooking together and it’s a great skill for the girls. I hope you try Penelope’s Apple-Tizer and let us know how you like it! (And even kids who say they don’t like tomatoes seem to like this one!)

Recipe for Penelope’s Apple-Tizer:


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2 Large Red Apples (your favorite)

1 Large Golden Delicious or Green Apple

1 Medium Tomato

Squeeze of Lemon Juice or Orange Juice

1 Tablespoon of Healthy Margarine


Chop the apples into small squares and put into a microwave-safe dish. Chop the tomato into similar size chunks, removing any seeds. Add tomato to the apples. Add the margarine and microwave until the margarine melts and the apples soften.

Squeeze a good amount of lemon juice (makes it tart) or a splash of orange juice (makes it sweeter).

Toss together and serve warm. Enjoy!


Nitty Gritty Romance

The Nitty Gritty on things to love…and about love.

Happy June 1st!

With the start of the Summer Season — I am thrilled to be launching my new blog: Nitty Gritty Romance!

Nitty Gritty Romance


Nitty Gritty Romance is a weekly blog featuring:

The Nitty Gritty on things to love…and about love.


Check in Saturday mornings!

I’ll be keeping you up to date on things that matter to you. We’ll be talking about fitness (which workout, yoga or barre?), quick and healthy foods, NYC, bargain hunting, parent survival, interviews with your favorite romance authors, and lots more!

Plus, there’s lots and lots of talk about…love

So thanks for stopping by!

Hope to see you again this Saturday!




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