10 Tips to Getting Heathy

I’ve been asked by some who have noticed my weight loss how I managed to lose all the weight. I put together a list of 10 things that I believe helped me and decided to share them with you. I hope this helps you on your journey!

Remember to consult your doctor before making major changes to your diet and exercise routine. 

10 Tips to Getting Healthy

1. Drink LOTS of Water

Sometimes dehydration is confused with hunger, and your body may actually be craving H2O. Rightfully so, we are made up of 60% water! Try drinking a glass (8 oz) of water first thing in the morning, one with every meal and snack and another before you go to bed. By the end of the day you should have consumed at least 8 glasses of water. Your water doesn’t have to be boring. Flavor your water with various combinations of berries, lemons and other fruits, vegetables like cucumber and herbs such as mint, parsley or cilantro. These items not only add flavor to your water but are also great for your skin, help burn fat and assist with digestion.
Check out this website for more flavored water combinations and recipes (click here)

Cucumber, Lemon and Mint Infused Water



2. Explore New Healthy Foods
There are so many different fruits and vegetables available, especially in the beautiful state of California. Get to know the local farmers at your neighborhood farmers markets and even the produce guy at the grocery store. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about different fruits and vegetables. Many of them will share tips on how to store and prepare the produce. Some farmers markets even have a chef on duty to give you some ideas for how to use your newly discovered treasure. They may even have recipes available.

Take a look at this page for a few ideas to help get you started.


3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want change, you have to do something different. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator, park further away from your destination rather than closer. If you must have a burger, try one without cheese, maybe even omit the bun. Get a salad instead of fries. These little changes may not seem like much, but over time they will help make a huge impact on meeting your goals.


4. Believe in Yourself
No matter how many people you workout with or how concerned your personal trainer is, at the end of the day you have to be your biggest fan. It’s up to you to find ways to stay motivated. Keep a book of inspirational quotes handy. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back or pop your collar. No one understands the hard work and dedication it has taken to get to where you are more than you. Stay clear of negative thoughts!


5. Eat Often
Starving yourself is not the way to go! As a matter of fact, in order to help increase your metabolism and have energy throughout the day, consider eating up to 5 small meals a day with snacks in between. Food is your body’s tackling fuel. If you don’t refill your tank you’re going to have a hard time getting any where.
This page has a few great healthy meal ideas and recipes.


5 Bean Turkey Chili


6. Set a Goal
Doesn’t matter if you want to lose weight, inches, fit into an old pair of jeans, or run a mile…set a goal. Better yet, set two goals. One that you would like to reach in a short time (1 to 3 months) and another goal that will take a little longer (6 months to a year). Be realistic. It’s not healthy to try and lose too much weight too fast.


7. Get Moving
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward”. One of my favorite Martin Luther King quotes that I refer to often. Start where you are right now. If you can only walk a block, start there, but keep moving. As you build more endurance and confidence in yourself, push yourself to go a little bit further. Exercise isn’t isolated to the gym. There are so many other avenues you can choose. Do something you enjoy that works for you. Take a boot camp class, join a walking group, learn how to do yoga or Tai chi, the possibilities are endless!

Click here for a exercise routine you maybe able to add to your daily workout 

8. Be Patient
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither were the habits that got you to where you are. Be honest with yourself about what you want and what it is going to take to get it. Most things that are worth having, take time. If you still find you are seeing little to no results it may be time to seek assistance from a personal trainer or your physician.


9. Be Consistent at Being Persistent
Don’t give up! It’s not going to be easy. There maybe some sweat and tears, but with every drop you will become a stronger and better person. Keep going! You can make it to the finish line. Don’t concentrate so much on being first, but instead, on finishing the race.


10. Celebrate
Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something nice once you reach one of your goals. Buy a new outfit. You will need new clothes after you lose all of those inches and pounds. Have a ‘Cheat day’. Go out to dinner or eat something you normally wouldn’t (don’t over do it though).


Healthy Cooking Squared

“Getting and staying healthy” was the motto for the cooking class held on January 18 at The Port Workspaces in Jack London Sq. Students got, “moving…, on a Saturday afternoon”. The group was eager to get started on their path to a healthier lifestyle. A few guests were so excited that they arrived to class an hour early to make sure they got a good seat. Surprisingly, once again, there was a guest attending the class celebrating their 21st birthday. ūüėČ Accompanied by his wife, the birthday boy appeared happy to be there and was all smiles as the class all joined in to sing Happy Birthday.
The afternoon got off to a start with introductions. Once everyone was familiar with the panel, the host Diema (Chef Dee) Ellingberg answered a few questions presented by the class. After Chef Dee finished with Q and A, certified personal trainers Jamaal Dennis and Altovise Williams of The Inner Athlete Fitness Studio provided some wonderful advice and also answered various questions asked by students. Next the class discussed the benefits of juicing and took a vote on what combination of juice they wanted to try. The options were; The Mean Green (1 green apple, 3 stalks of celery, ½ a cucumber, 3 kale leafs, a handful of parsley and thumbnail (1/4 in.) ginger), Pink Lady ( 1 pear, ¼ of a pineapple, 1 whole beet and a thumbnail (1/4 in.) ginger) , Mojito (handful of mint, 1 medium sized cucumber, ½ lime and 1 pear) and Tasty Treat (1 pear, 1 apple, ¼ of a pineapple, 3 kale leafs and ½ a cucumber). Majority ruled and Pink Lady was declared the winner. The class seemed to enjoy the sweetness of pear and pineapple combined with the earthiness of the beet and a little spice from the ginger.
With a little energy boost provided by the freshly prepared juice, a few of the students were brave enough to tackle a 30 minute workout routine instructed by personal trainers Altovise and Jamaal. The class did exercises ranging from jumping jacks to high knees. The Trainers were attentive to the needs of every student and also provided modified exercises techniques for every exercise they performed. Guests that were unable to do the workout assisted and watched Chef Dee finish preparing two different variations of chili. One was a Turkey Chili and the other a 3 Bean Vegan Chili. Chef Dee started preparations the day before by preparing the base for both chili’s at the same time. To do this you’ll need; 12 roma tomatoes (small dice) 4 large carrots (small dice), 1 ½ yellow onion (small dice), 1 large green bell pepper (small dice), 3 medium size cloves of garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp each of cumin, paprika, chili powder, dried oregano, Italian seasoning, 2 small cans tomato paste, and 4 cups of cold water (salt and pepper to taste). She placed the items in a crockpot overnight on high to begin the cook process. The morning of the event, Chef placed the mixture in a large pot and let it continue simmering on med. to low heat on the stove for several hours. She split the mixture evenly into two separate pots. Then added 3 pounds of seasoned cooked ground turkey to one pot and 3 cans of beans (kidney, black and chili beans, 1 can of each, rinsed well in cold water) to one pot and a half of 1 head of cauliflower grated with the remaining 3 cans of beans to the second pot.

Once the workout was complete, guests asked a few more questions that were answered by the Inner Athlete Fitness Studio trainers. Most of the attendance (except for a few vegetarians that only ate the 3 bean chili) of the class had the opportunity to compare the difference in taste and texture of the chili with meat verses the chili without. It was hard for guest to visibly see the difference. Students enjoyed their chili so much, a few even politely requested seconds. Each pot of chili made enough for about 4 to 6 individual servings.
Once the chili taste off was complete, the class moved on to wine tasting with April Richmond of 1 Black Girl 20 Black Wines. Ms. Richmond spoke on the benefits of drinking a glass of wine. The class had an opportunity to sample 4 different wines. The first was a sparkling wine by Taxa (Argentina) then the class sipped a Chardonnay from Beringer. They then moved to red wines and sampled a Merlot from Antiquite and finally a Cabernet Sauvignon from The Naked Grape. All the wine selections were personally chosen because of the low calorie count, perfect for those counting calories and watching their figures.
The class ended with a demo, performed by Chef Dee, of Mini Chickpea Patties served in pita bread with a cucumber yogurt (Tzatziki) sauce. To make this dish you will need; 4 cans of Chickpeas (garbanzo beans), ½ red onion (small dice), jalapeño pepper (fine dice), 1 bunch of cleaned cilantro (chopped), ½ cup of flour, 1 tsp of cumin and curry, salt and pepper to taste. Chef Dee had one of the students open the cans of beans that were then strained and rinsed. Another student assisted by mashing the beans with a potato masher. This could have also been achieved by using your hands, in a food processor or blender. While this was taking place chef sautéed the diced onion, jalapeno, cumin and curry with about a teaspoon of olive oil for about 5 minutes on medium hot. She then added the mixture to the mashed beans along with the chopped cilantro, a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Before forming the mixture in to patties, Chef Dee made sure to taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed. Guest lent a hand forming the 3 oz portioned patties. Then they were heated on both sides until brown (approximately 5 minutes on each side). Chef used an electric griddle to do this but it can also be done in a pan on the stove. She also suggested placing the browned patties in the oven on 350 for 5 to 8 minutes to insure they are heated all the way through. If you are preparing mini patties, this recipe will make about 20 to 25 patties. 6 to 8 burger size patties could also be made with this recipe. For the sauce chef used 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 cucumber (seeded and chopped in to small pieces), a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. You could also add fresh chopped parsley and mint to this dish.
There were loads of smiles and happy students after this class was done. The guests were eager to take the information home and start putting it to use. If you’ve been wondering what it’d be like to attend one of these events, Chef has few other opportunities in store. Mark your calendars and plan on attending the annual February Tasting Party and/or her 2 in 1 day Cooking Classes in April.

Healthy Cooking Class

January is the time of resolutions. One of the most common goals¬†set at the beginning of every year is to get in shape, drop a few pounds and or make healthier choice. The Healthy Cooking Class that will take place tomorrow at The Workspaces in Jack London Sq.¬†was designed with those people in mind.¬†¬†Not only are they planning on teaching ways of preparing healthier meals but students will also learn how to select wines when¬†they’re counting calories or watching their figure and there will be a 30 minute workout routine performed by a personal trainer.

Chef Dee is planning to introduce the class to the healthy world of juicing with various fresh fruits and vegetables. She will also perform a demo on creating tasty Vegan Mini Chickpea Patties. April Richmond, of 1 Black Girl 20 Black Wines,¬†will be pouring a few healthy wine selections for the guests and teaching them a few of the amazing benefits of fermented grape juice. A personal trainer from The Inner Athlete Fitness Studio in San Leandro has¬†created a 30 minute routine that will get¬†the¬†attendants’¬†heart pumping. The trainer will also answer questions regarding fitness and exercise.

Those who attend this class should leave feeling well informed and ready to meet their goals of living a healthier life. Tickets are still available online to this event at: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/516785

Cooking at The Square


The¬†Cooking and Demo class¬†held on December 8th¬†at Jack London Square‚Äôs The Port Workspaces¬†was a fun and enlightening¬†experience.¬†The¬†group¬†included¬†women and men ranging in ages¬†with various cooking backgrounds and abilities.¬†One student¬†waseven¬†there¬†celebrating her 25th¬†birthday. ūüėȬ†As the afternoon¬†progressed,¬†students¬†were having so¬†much fun that most stayed for what turned in to a class¬†2 hours longer thenscheduled.

After introductions attendants got¬†the afternoon¬†started with¬†a¬†Caprese Salad Skewer. This dish is¬†‚Äúsimply delicious‚Ä̬†with very few ingredients, a¬†little time and effort.To make this dish you¬†would¬†need¬†a plastic bag, toothpicks,¬†mozzarella cheese, cherry or grape tomatoes,¬†basil,¬†chives, parsley,¬†olive oil, salt and pepper.¬†At least 1 hour before you¬†start assembling the skewers,¬†finely¬†chop¬†a¬†small handful of¬†the¬†rinsed chives and 1 small bunch of rinsed parsley. Place in plastic bag. Add¬†about¬†a pound of¬†mozzarella cheese balls¬†(or¬†you can¬†cut fresh/block mozzarella in to¬†small bite size cubes) to¬†the plastic bag¬†with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.¬†(Chef Deeomitted the oil in class,¬†added¬†a tablespoon of¬†aged balsamic vinegar and a dash of the white wine April Richmond paired the dish with).¬†Place bag in the refrigerator¬†for at least an hour.¬†While or after cheese¬†sets,¬†cut¬†the¬†tomatoes in half horizontally and cut basil in half or fourths¬†depending on the size of the leaf.¬†Students assembled Caprese Salad Skewers by threading¬†1 half of¬†a¬†tomato on the toothpick followed by a piece of basil then a piece of¬†cheese.¬†They added¬†one more piece of¬†basil and finish¬†with one¬†piece of tomato.¬†The class¬†enjoyed the creamy texture of the mozzarella with the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar and tomato¬†with a glass of¬†2007¬†Pepperwood¬†Grove¬†Viognier¬†Californiawine.

Next in line was the Hoppin John Soup prepared especially with New Years in mind. The class was given a brief history on the origins of some of the traditional foods eaten during the New Years holiday. The soup was filled with black eye peas, ham and collard greens and topped with corn kernel and cheese filled cornbread croutons. Each of these ingredients is considered a symbol of good fortune and/or luck. This dish paired well with a glass of 2011 Hyatt Vineyards Riesling.

The¬†next dish got to the meat at hand. Chef Dee thought the¬†Citrus Cornish Hen and¬†dressing would make a great addition to the¬†holiday¬†dinner table. The hens hadpreviously¬†been marinated in lemon pepper,¬†mesquite¬†seasoning, garlic powder, oil,¬†salt,pepper,¬†and then¬†baking at 400 degrees¬†for approximately 45 minutes. They¬†were removed from the oven and coated with a mixture of the zest and juice of 1 orange, half a jar of orange marmalade and about a¬†teaspoon of butter. This¬†mixture¬†was¬†cooked¬†in a poton the stove for about 5 to 10 minutes on low heat. The hens were then returned to the oven where they continued to cook for another 10 to 15¬†minutes (or until internal temp reaches at least 165 degrees). April paired this dish¬†nicely¬†with¬†a glass of Salvatore Principe ‚ÄėVinocello‚Äô Chardonnay. ¬†

.¬†Chef Dee¬†made a vegetarian dressing by taking¬†1 cup¬†each of¬†chopped celery, onions and bell pepper. She¬†saut√©ed¬†them dry in a deep hot¬†non stick saut√©ing¬†pan¬†on medium high heat¬†for about 10 to 15 minutes.¬†Chef then¬†added¬†¬Ĺ teaspoon each offreshly chopped thyme and¬†sage,¬†4 cups of¬†vegetable stock/broth,¬†¬Ĺ cup of¬†wine(provided by April)¬†then allowed the vegetables to continue cooking for another 5 minutes. The cornbread for this dish¬†had already been prepared¬†then broken/cut in to bit size chunks. She also used a third of¬†1 large box of bread cubes. Cornbread and bread cubes were¬†mixed¬†together and¬†added¬†to a baking dish. Veggies where removed from¬†thepan with a slotted¬†spoon then added to the cornbread mixture.¬†A little ground sage andItalian seasoning¬†were also added (about ¬Ĺ tsp of sage and 1 tsp of Italian seasoning).Enough of the remaining liquid was poured and mixed in to the vegetable¬†cornbread mixture until moist¬†but¬†making sure not to ‚Äúflood or drown‚Ä̬†with too much¬†of the stock.If you are planning on making this dish at home we¬†would suggest baking it¬†in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until¬†a golden brown crust has formed¬†on top.¬†This dressing makes enough for¬†10 to 15¬†servings.¬†


Last but not least for the demos¬†Chef Dee made what was¬†supposed¬†to be a Molten Lava Chocolate Cake with hints of lavender. Due¬†to¬†circumstance beyond the chef‚Äôs control¬†the lavender was¬†omitted from the recipe¬†(she forgot to bring it) and there wasn‚Äôt much lava to the cake because the¬†chocolate delights stayed in the oven just a minute or two too long. Students still put on a brave face¬†as they¬†tried the Chocolate¬†Cake (lol).¬†April felt this dish originally would have paired well with a glass of NV PKNT Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Valley, Chile.¬†If you want to try this at home¬†Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees. Take 6¬†round 6 oz¬†souffl√©¬†pans¬†and coat with oil¬†or non stick spray.(Optional)¬†Use¬†a small amount of cocoa powder¬†to coat each pan with. You will need half a bar¬†(4 ‚Äď 1 oz squares)¬†of bittersweet chocolate¬†and half (4 ‚Äď 1 oz squares) semisweet chocolate, 10 tablespoons butter, ¬Ĺ cup flour,¬†1 ¬Ĺ cup powder sugar,¬†3 eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1 tsp¬†vanilla and 2 tablespoon red wine. To infuse this dessert with lavender place powder sugar in a¬†tightly sealed¬†plastic bag over night with lavender buds. Remove buds before adding¬†to recipe. Melt chocolate with butter in a microwave safe bowl (15 seconds at a time, stirring each time until melted) or in a double boiler on the stove. Add flour and infused powder sugar. Mix eggs well in separate bowl before adding to chocolate mixture. Continue to mix ingredients until well combined and smooth. Finally add the vanilla and red wine. Divide batter evenly among the¬†souffl√© pans. Place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove by running knife along edges and revert upside down unto a plate.Finished dessert can be garnished with lavender buds, fresh berries and/or powder sugar.Serve immediately.¬†¬†¬†¬†

Despite a few mishaps, the¬†students still¬†enjoyed the class and the food immensely. The recipes they made are fun and delicious to make¬†and¬†for anyone to enjoy.Hope you found this helpful, and that you‚Äôre itching to try them yourself. Remember, not everyone can be a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere ‚Äď Anton Ego ‚ÄúRatatouille‚ÄĚ. Catch the next class¬†held in the same location Saturday, January 18 for a healthy¬†new experience¬†and recipes!¬†

Cooking and Demo Class

Want to learn a few tricks and new techniques in the kitchen?
Chef Diema Ellingberg of Brown Sugar Catering Company and April Richmond of 1 Black Girl 20 Black Wines will be hosting a cooking class Sunday, December 8th. You will have the opportunity to sample various dishes along with wines that are perfect additions to your table for the up and coming holidays. The menu will include Citrus Cornish Hens and Dressing (stuffing), Hoppin John Soup and Molten Lava Chocolate Cake w/Lavender.
Chef Dee has worked in the culinary industry for over 10 years while April Richmond started her quest for more Black owned wineries in the Bay Area over 7 years ago. Between the two of them they have a wealth of information they are looking forward to sharing with those who attend the class. Tickets are only $30 online and $35 at the door. We’re pretty sure their going to sell out prior to the event so if you are thinking of attending purchase your ticket online as soon as possible at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/510456
Their also planning a Healthy Cooking Class on January 18 with special guest, Personal Trainer and Instructor Sophia Minton. You will learn how to create healthy dishes in this class, the benefits of juicing and a glass of wine. You will also learn some exercises you can use at home. Tickets are also available online for this event at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/516785.
For information on future events or to learn more about these two visit their websites;

December 8th Cooking Class

December 8th Cooking Class

April Richmond of 1 Black Girl 20 Black Wines at http://www.1blackgirl20blackwines.com and Diema Ellingberg of Brown Sugar Catering Co. at http://www.brownsugarcateringco.com