“Nutrition, Diet and Weight Loss”

30-Minute Workout to Get You Beach-Ready Before Labor Day

Uh-oh…bathing suit season has arrived…whether or not we may consider ourselves bathing-suit ready.  And if you live in New England like myself, you know that the summers are TOO short not to take as much advantage as you can! So it’s time to get out there.  This week, I teamed up with the staff at the Dedham Health and Athletic Complex (Dedham, MA) to come up with a quick 30-minute workout to get you in whatever form lets you get out there and enjoy the rest of the summer.  The workout requires only some weights and a place to run, so you can do it wherever (the last 2 parts of the episode show other options available at a gym, to mix into the basic workout).

Now, you can never say that I ask my viewers to do something that I don’t do.  If you need proof, just watch the videos (and doing squats on TV was NOT something I had ever particularly WISHED to do…)– I am suffering through them with you!  Instead of laughing, get off the couch and do them with me.  Your body will thank you the next day.

The workout is designed to be performed 3 times per week.  On the other days, do any light exercise that you like for 30 minutes (alas, shopping for shoes or cheering on TV basketball do NOT count)..  If you do this consistently, you will start seeing changes in your body quickly–well in time to make the most of the summer! Think of it as your July 4 to Labor Day Challenge.

To do the 30-minute workout: Alternate between cardio and sets of strength exercises (8-12 reps of each exercise).

  • 5 minutes: jogging warm-up
  • Set 1 (1 minute): Kettle bell swings (8-12 reps) then Kettlebell high pulls (8-12 reps)
  • 2 minutes: running
  • Set 2 (1 minute): Single Arm row (10-15 reps) then pushups (10-15 reps)
  • 2 minutes: running
  • Set 3 (1 minute): Kettlebell squat (8-12 reps) then kettlebell deadliest (8-12 reps) [for extra challenge, do this on a single leg]
  • 2 minutes: running
  • Set 4 (1 minute): Farmers walk (one lap with weights at shoulder, one lap with arm elevated)
  • 2 minutes: running
  • Final Challenge: Do each exercise for 40 seconds (you may do 30 seconds with a 10 second recovery if you need a modification)
    • Speed or jump squats
    • medicine ball slams
    • skaters
  • Cool-down and stretching
  • Once you’ve mastered the ones in the video check out the Design-Your-Own 30-Minute Fat-Blasting Workout

Nutrition: Nutrition has been the focus of other episodes, but I always want to remind everyone.  If you want to change your body and energy level, you must START with what you put into it.  You can track your calories with various nutrition apps, such as Livestrong.com, Bon’App, and Sparkpeople.  Check out the nutrition guidelines put together by the DHAC team to maximize your exercise efforts.  (Click here for the  Nutrition Guidelines  put together by the DHAC team).

If you’re interested in working with the Dedham Health and Athletic Complex’s staff, check out their Bios here and get in touch with them–these people can MOTIVATE.  And the pool and water slide make for an AMAZING post-workout reward!

Ban Boring Vegetables!

Ban boring vegetables! Yes I’m serious.  With our OnCall with Dr Darria TV episode (click link for to watch) last week on nutrition, I wanted to stay on that topic this week.  Everyone knows we need to eat our veggies–but let’s actually ENJOY them too.  “Lite” dressings in the store are usually so watery and bland, aren’t they?  Now, if you’re anything like me, no one will be confusing you with Julia Childs anytime soon (I will neither confirm nor deny whether I used my stove for shoe storage…).  Enter Dr Michelle Hauser, an internal medicine doctor in her residency, who also graduated from Le Cordon Bleu ten years ago (yes–THAT “Cordon Bleu”).

Read below for her delicious (and ahem–EASY!–meaning you may actually try it!) vinaigrette recipe, plus options for flavoring your vinaigrette (yum– lime, cumin, coriander), and a really easy vegetable and grain salad.

Also, did you check out the Lemon Dressing Vinaigrette from last week’s show?   How about the balsamic roasted asparagus?  If you try ANY of the recipes I’ve mentioned here, we’d love to know, so please send us your comments and questions!

Now go and happy cooking, aspiring chefs!   You can also find more great info from Michelle at chefinresidency.com.

Basic Vinaigrette: (video) Homemade vinaigrettes take only moments to prepare and have MANY advantages over their store-bought counterparts. They are better tasting, less expensive, generally use better quality ingredients, and come in flavors limited only by your imagination.

Basic vinaigrette is made by whisking a slow stream of oil into the acidic ingredient, tasting and adjusting for acidity, and seasoning with a small amount of salt and pepper.


  • acidic ingredient (any vinegar; sour citrus juice like lemon, lime or grapefruit; or a mixture)
  • oil of choice (olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, vegetable, or grape seed, untoasted/plain, Sesame, or peanut; hazelnut*, walnut*, sweet almond, or other nut oil.
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper (only a few turns from a mill)

Directions (for ¾ – 1 cup Basic Vinaigrette):

  1. Measure ¼ cup vinegar into a medium mixing bowl; whisk ½ cup oil into the vinegar by drizzling the oil in a slow stream and whipping constantly with the whisk.
  2. Adjust acidity: take a small taste of the unseasoned vinaigrette; it should be quite tangy, but not so sour that it makes you pucker.  If it is too sour, whisk in a bit more oil and re-taste.  If it is not sour enough, add a bit more of the acidic ingredient(s).
  3. Season with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Yield: ¾ – 1 cup (about 8 servings)

Store: in a jar with a lid or a clean re-used dressing bottle in the refrigerator.  If made from only vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, this keeps for months.  If fresh ingredients are used, such as fruit juice, garlic or herbs, the dressing should be used within 3-7 days. Note: the oil may solidify in the refrigerator because of the cool temperature – the dressing is still perfectly good.  Just remove the dressing from the refrigerator a few minutes before using or run some warm water over the outside of the bottle to melt the oil.

Flavored Vinaigrettes: (video) Use the Basic Vinaigrette recipe but vary it to your liking by choosing different oils and vinegars, but also by adding other ingredients such as those listed in the table below.  If using onions or garlic, add them directly to the acidic ingredient and let them macerate for at least 5 minutes before whisking in the oil; this allows the acid to pickle and mellow them a bit to create a more rounded flavor in the vinaigrette.

*Note: *starred oils in the ingredient list, above, are very strongly flavored and expensive (they are also called “Flavoring Oils” as opposed to “Main Oils” in the chart below). For these reasons they should be used only as a small proportion of the total oil used in the recipe.  Pairing them with a plain-tasting oil, such as canola, works well.

Main Oils

Vinegars/Acidic Ingredients


Olive, any style

Rice Vinegar

Garlic, ground dried or minced/grated fresh

Canola Oil

Apple Cider Vinegar

Ginger, ground dried or grated fresh

Vegetable Oil

Balsamic Vinegar, white or dark

Basil, chopped dried or fresh leaves

Safflower Oil

Red Wine Vinegar

Parsley, chopped dried or fresh leaves

Sunflower Oil

White Wine Vinegar

Cilantro, chopped dried or fresh

Sesame, untoasted

Lemon, Lime or other Citrus juice

Rosemary, chopped dried or fresh leaves, or dried ground

Flaxseed Oil

White Vinegar

Thyme, chopped dried or fresh leaves, or dried ground

Grapeseed Oil

Champagne Vinegar

Curry, ground powder, any style

Sherry Vinegar

Paprika/Other ground peppers

Cumin, dried ground or dried whole that is toasted then ground

Coriander, dried ground or dried whole that is toasted then ground

Clove, ground dried

Flavoring Oils

Cinnamon, ground dried or grated stick

Walnut Oil

Nutmeg, ground dried or grated from whole

Hazelnut Oil

Mint, chopped dried or fresh leaves, or dried ground

Other Nut Oil

Dijon Mustard, Other Mustard

Toasted Sesame Oil

5-Spice, Herbes de Provence or any other ground seasoning mixture of your choice

Southwestern Vegetable & Brown Rice Salad with Lime Garlic Vinaigrette: 


Lime-garlic Vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice (*zest one of the limes before juicing if you wish to add chopped zest for extra lime flavor)
  • 1-2 clove(s) garlic, finely minced or grated or ½ teaspoon minced garlic (the type sold in a jar pre-minced)
  • ½-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped pickled or 1 chopped fresh jalapeno pepper (discard seeds if you don’t want it spicy)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups julienne (1-1/2” length strips) jicama
  • 1 small cucumber, medium (1/2”) dice
  • 1 small red bell pepper, small (1/4”) dice
  • 2 small carrots, grated or shredded
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced or chopped
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup toasted pepitas (i.e. pumpkin seeds or other seeds, like sunflower seeds or pine nuts), optional
  • 4 cups fully cooked, room temperature, brown rice
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cubed, optional


  1. In a medium mixing bowl, mix garlic (and lime zest, if using) into the lime juice and let it sit for at least five minutes, then whisk in the oil in a slow stream.
  2. Taste and adjust acidity: the final vinaigrette should have a tangy flavor, but not be so sour as to cause puckering when you taste it.  If it is too sour, add a bit more oil; if it is not sour, add another tablespoon of lime juice.
  3. Stir in jalapenos.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Whisk the cumin and coriander into the vinaigrette or still the spices directly into the salad, it doesn’t matter which you choose.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine herbs, vegetables, pepitas and rice (basil, cilantro, cucumber, red pepper, carrots, scallions, jicama and brown rice).
  6. Pour dressing over the top, adding just enough that when stirred well, the salad glistens with the vinaigrette but there is no vinaigrette pooling in the bottom of the bowl.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Wait to add the chopped avocado until just before serving to prevent it from turning brown and mushy.

Makes: about 8 cups (10 side servings or 5 main dish servings)

Storage: This salad taste good right away, but is best after sitting for a couple of hours.  It can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to five days.  This is a great make-ahead recipe to use for a meal one night of the week and for lunch later on.

Serving suggestions: This is great served over fresh salad greens.  This recipe has a complete protein profile without any additional ingredients, but it also tastes great with the addition of you leftover grilled, sautéed or roasted protein of choice (tofu, tempeh, poultry, et cetera).

OnCall with Dr Darria TV Episode II- Weight Loss and Management

For this episode, I had some fantastic guests, including Dr George Blackburn, a Harvard nutrition and weight loss physician (who was also interviewed for Elle magazine http://www.elle.com/Beauty/Health-Fitness/The-Healthy-Guide-to-Lasting-Weight-Loss in March’s issue) and David Blackburn, who is implementing Dr Blackburn’s research into a company to help consumers not only lose the weight, but keep it off.  Dr Blackburn talked about your metabolic “Set Point” as your body’s thermostat, and how typical commercial diets don’t do anything to address this–which is why you usually gain back the weight you lost–and more.

Dr Blackburn’s book also tells a story, with a quotation from a patient: “I’m hungry.  I’m always hungry.. At times I can almost forget about it but there is nothing that can hold my interest for long.”  Sound familiar to anyone who has dieted? Actually, this is a quotation from a volunteer in the Minnesota STARVATION Study– isn’t it amazing that just a small amount of dieting can kick our brains into the same mode as if we were starving? That’s what’s wrong with so many diets today.  But! You can use his information to learn how you can CHANGE your own set-point without losing your mind– and avoiding the 20 pounds that most people gain from age 20-50! It’s not inevitable!

We then had a fun demonstration segment with Melanie Pearsall, a nutritionist with Massachusetts General Hospital–did you know that one bottle of Coke (or other soda) a day leads to TWENTY FIVE POUNDS gained a year?? Watch and learn!

Also, for another fun way to keep track of your calories and nutrients–go to Bon-App.com! (click on icon below)