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Comfort Food

Article Posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, October 22nd, 2013


I love the fall. It is my favorite time of year. And although I am already missing the sweetness of summer berries (frozen do not cut it!), I do love the warm comfort of winter squash.


Not only is squash delicious but like most of my favorite foods it is packed with amazing nutrients. It can help fight the winter colds and flu with Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It has anti-inflammatory effects due to its high antioxidant content and can be effective in warding off anti inflammatorily diseases such as asthma and arthritis.


There re so many varieties of winter squash but my top three favorites are:


  • Butternut squash: Shaped like a large pear, this squash has cream-colored skin, deep orange-colored flesh and a sweet flavor.

  • Acorn squash: With harvest green skin speckled with orange patches and pale yellow-orange flesh, this squash has a unique flavor that is a combination of sweet and nutty.

  • Spaghetti squash: oblong and yellow in hue... Its center contains many large seeds its flesh is bright yellow or orange. When cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti.


When you find yourselves staring at the mounds of winter squash in the grocery store and wondering what to do with it all, just remember this. All varieties of winter squash require peeling for steaming except butternut squash. You can peel winter squash with a potato peeler or knife. If you are baking your squash you don't have to peel it. Cut the ends off, cut the squash in half lengthwise down the middle, scoop out the seeds and bake. (Rinse and roast the seeds like pumpkin seeds too). Or go the easy route and leave the squash whole, pierce a few times with a fork and bake and scoop out the seeds after it has been cooked. Or go the super easy route and buy the pre cut versions in the produce section of your health food store. ( I’m a lazy cook, if you have not noticed).

Winter Squash is the perfect side dish to any meat or seafood or as a stand-alone hearty vegetarian meal. Here are some simple preparations.

  • Top puréed cooked winter squash with cinnamon and maple syrup.

  • Steam cubes of winter squash and then dress with olive oil and ginger.

  • Top "strings" of spaghetti squash with pasta sauce or pesto.

  • Add cubes of winter squash to your favorite vegetable soup recipe, or even to a smoothie with some vanilla yogurt and pumpkin spice.


And of course with the holidays approaching, it is the perfect time to practice this delicious dish. It’s a healthy favorite at my holiday table.




Sherri Sacconaghi, AADP, NASM-CPT

Certified Health Coach



"Inspiring you Towards a Healthy Body and a Joyful Life".

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Coffee and Kale

Article Posted by: Sherri Sacconaghi, October 7th, 2013


I have slacked off. Last week I became so absorbed in celebrating my own wedding anniversary, I neglected to honor my other two loves, coffee and kale, both celebrating their national day of recognition.


I have always told my clients, if there is something they love to eat, then we will try and keep it in their diet (This is when I have to get creative with the Twinkie lovers of the world). For me, coffee and kale rank right up there. I consume both everyday. Luckily they are both pretty darn good for you and both go well with my third love. Chocolate. (Wait, you will see).


So in honor of my favorites, here is a shout out to the benefits of both.


Kale otherwise known as “the New Beef” and the Queen of Greens”. Is my favorite go to snack, in the form of kale chips.

  • Kale is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It is great for aiding in digestion and elimination.

  • Kale is high in iron. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef.

  • Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids help protect against various cancers.

  • Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food. One cup of kale is filled with 10% of the RDA of omega-3 fatty acids, which help, fight against arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.

  • Kale is great for cardiovascular support. Eating more kale can help lower cholesterol levels. Oh I am proof!

  • Kale is high in Vitamin C. This is very helpful for your immune system, your metabolism and your hydration. Important as the winter months roll in.

  • Kale is high in calcium. Per calorie, kale has more calcium than milk, which aids in preventing bone loss, preventing osteoporosis and maintaining a healthy metabolism.


Now for coffee. I have fallen into the “caffeine is bad for you trap” in the past and tried eliminating this from my diet but the bottom line is I love it. My husband and I are always on the lookout for the perfect brew and consider ourselves coffee connesuiers. So while perhaps too much could be harmful, a cup or three doesn’t hurt. In fact studies have shown that caffeine in moderation can help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s, sharpen your memory, and speed up metabolism.

So, pour yourself a cup of joe and sit down to this little snack. You will see why these two definitely deserve a National Day all to themselves.



Sherri Sacconaghi, AADP, NASM-CPT

Certified Health Coach



"Inspiring you Towards a Healthy Body and a Joyful Life".

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You Say Tomato


Article Posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, September 23rd, 2013


This summer went well in the garden. Almost too well as everywhere I go someone is trying to give me tomatoes from their garden. Good thing I love a home grown tomato, but even I can eat only so many. It is time to get creative.


Tomatoes are an amazing fruit. A nutrient rich powerhouse,

one serving of red, ripe, raw tomatoes (one cup) is a good source of Vitamins A, C, K, folate and potassium. Tomatoes are naturally low in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. On top of that, tomatoes provide 2 grams of fiber per serving and have a high water content so they are very filling.


If health does not hook you, maybe vanity will. Tomatoes’ lycopene also makes skin less sensitive to UV light damage, a leading cause of fine lines and wrinkles.


And of course, tomatoes are a natural cancer fighter. They can reduce the risk of several cancers, including cervical, prostate, mouth, pharynx, throat, esophagus, stomach, colon, rectal, prostate and ovarian cancer.


So now what to do with them all? This Italian believes, when life throws you tomatoes, make tomato sauce! When it comes to making a sauce I prefer it simple so you can taste the fresh tomatoes. Of course you can enhance this basic sauce with ground beef or sausage as well for more of an Italian gravy. Whip up batches and freeze for those cold winter nights to come.


Simple Raw Tomato Sauce


  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, about 3 large tomatoes

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or any other herbs from the garden.)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • black pepper, to taste

  • 1 pound whole wheat pasta noodles

  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving


If desired, peel tomatoes; remove seeds, straining juice into a bowl. Save the juice and discard seeds. In a food processor, combine garlic, tomatoes with juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and basil. Pulse quickly to chop roughly. Pulse more for a smoother sauce, if desired. Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper and let stand to marinate for about 20 minutes.

Cook pasta until just tender, drain and toss hot with the marinated tomato sauce. If hotter spaghetti is desired, heat the sauce just until hot on stovetop or in microwave. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4 to 6.


So when your neighbor wants to unload a bag of tomatoes on you, thank her and start cooking. Come February, you will be glad you did.



Sherri Sacconaghi, AADP, NASM-CPT

Certified Health Coach



"Inspiring you Towards a Healthy Body and a Joyful Life".

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Channeling Change


Article Posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, September 9th, 2013


Maybe it is the memory of returning to school every fall. New school clothes, school supplies, new teachers, a new schedule. Still every September I crave a little change in my routine.


Sometimes it is a small change such as a change in hair color, a change in my closet organization (or lack thereof) or a tweak to my business plan. This year the need was a bit stronger and I changed the whole wall color of the interior of my house (and yes, I resisted the green and yellow of my Oregon Ducks).


I notice that the smallest changes can re energize me. Motivate me to see things a bit differently.


Changes do not need to disrupt your life to give you a little positive jolt and get your creative juices flowing. Here are some simple ideas to get you started.


  • Change your Menu. I love the change of seasons when I feel the urge to add fall foods such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts back on my plate. Change of season is also a great time to do a short cleanse or detox .

  • Re arrange your furniture. Ask a friend to come over and give their perspective. Sometimes a different eye can find great use of the old purple recliner that just never has quite worked in the room.

  • Take a new route to work in the morning. Who knows, you may find a new drive thru coffee place that makes that amazing Americano you have been seeking.

  • Read a new genre of books. I am a devoted fan of thriller mysteries, James Patterson being a favorite. Recently I started reading biographies, Jimmy Connors, George Carlin, Tina Fey. I can’t get enough of them. A sneaky way to get your brain working a little differently.

  • Change your workout. You know I had to throw this one in. Doing the same routine too often is not only a little boring, it becomes ineffective after a while. Start by taking a class you have never tried before. I just tried a Total Body Conditioning class at my gym and it has become a can’t miss favorite that I look forward to every week.


Channel the excitement of childhood and make a change this fall. It may not be as exciting as a new Scooby Doo lunch box used to be but then again, what is.


Sherri Sacconaghi, AADP, NASM-CPT

Certified Health Coach



"Inspiring you Towards a Healthy Body and a Joyful Life".

Bookmark with:

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No Bones About It


Article Posted by Sherri Sacconaghi, August 26th, 2013


This year I am really enjoying watching my kids play sports. It has evolved from an activity to an actual show of skill and understanding of their respective games.


My 7th grade son is developing into a pretty darn good football player. I love watching him tackle, run through a line and go for the end zone. And my 4th grader can boot a soccer ball from one end to another, and he is one fast little man when he sees a goal in sight.


Being of fairly competitive nature myself (okay some would say really competitive), I am not one of those moms sitting on the sidelines and worrying about my son getting hurt. I say if you are going to play…play. However, that is changing just a bit.


In the past few weeks I have seen a handful of my sons teammates fall to the sidelines with breaks and fractures. Some from big hits, some from a mere missteps. Boom out for the season. (Not to mention a damper on the end of summer fun). This had made me realize this is no time to fall lax on the nutrition focus.


My philosophy for kid’s nutrition is as long as the good stuff goes in; it is okay to have some of the bad stuff too (Chips and Slurpees anyone?). Much to my kids’ dismay, here I go again ramping up the good stuff.


Kids are going to play hard, so give them, the bone building leg up they need to run, kick, tackle and most importantly stay healthy and active all year long.


  • Keep Calcium Rich Foods on Hand: Calcium is the building block for strong bones and teeth. The RDA for Calcium intake for kids 9-18 is 1,300 mgs a day. It is preferable that this comes from food sources first, supplementing only if needed. Good sources include:

  • Cheese cubes and string cheese (1oz=200mgs)

  • Yogurt (8oz=300mgs)

  • Cereal (3/4cup of total plus=1,000mgs)

  • Broccoli with yogurt dip 91/2 cup=60mgs)

  • Calcium-fortified orange juice (6oz.=250)

  • Calcium-fortified tortillas/bread/pasta

  • Almond Milk (1cup=460 mgs). Great milk alternative too.

  • Kale Yes I had to add it) 1cup=80mgs. Put it in a smoothie if you have too.

  • Add Vitamin D: Vitamin D is crucial to the absorption of calcium. Research is finding many kids fall short of the RDA of 400IU a day of this vitamin. Food sources are hard to come by and are not all that kid friendly. (Think Sardines and mackerel). So look for cereals and juices fortified with vitamin D. And of course 20 minutes a day of sun on the face and arms helps too.


  • Keep them Active and Smoke Free. Need I say more?


The end game is to keep them strong, and keep them healthy. And yes, sometimes that means a calcium rich cheese pizza.





Sherri Sacconaghi, AADP, NASM-CPT

Certified Health Coach



"Inspiring you Towards a Healthy Body and a Joyful Life".

Bookmark with:

Deli.cio.us    Digg    reddit    Facebook    StumbleUpon    Newsvine
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