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  • 2017_2_27

How to Forgive, but Maybe Not Forget

How to Forgive, but Maybe Not Forget

I have held a grudge for 43 years. My life has been sweet but this grudge was always in the back of my mind. My spirit needed a boost. I needed to forgive. Each year it got harder and harder.

1973 Nathan Hale High School, West Allis, Wisconsin. Check out my saddle shoes that I adored and the pleated skirt. Thought I was so cool!

It all began in high school! We were the fearsome four – Debbie J, Cyndie, and Peggy. Inseparable! We spent a lot of time in Peggy’s bedroom scheming how to get boys to notice us and like us. I was a wallflower and did not go to one dance or one prom. I just wanted to be noticed. I went away to UW Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin for college. I wanted to go to Berkley but it was too liberal for my dad and I could barely afford Stout, let alone Berkley.

I came home for Christmas break and was invited to Peggy’s brother’s house for a New Year’s Eve party. (Ironically, his apartment was on the same road that I got stopped for speeding years later). I was at the party for probably 10 minutes when drunken Peggy pushed me down the basement stairs. She did not even remember. I tore my cartilage and needed arthroscopy. It was decided I would wait until May when my semester ended to have surgery, which meant I needed to walk around campus all semester on crutches. The most challenging was climbing the stairs to the dining hall. My cartilage would get stuck and my knee would lock. It hurt. In winter, it was really challenging holding my school bag (that was before backpacks) and climbing over snow banks to get to class on time.

I thought my life sucked and thought this was supposed to be one of the best times of my life. No. Way. I had surgery in May by the Milwaukee Brewers physician. In the 70’s they removed your cartilage, which has created my need for a total knee. (The good news of the surgery was my mom used to literally put me on a blanket in the backyard to eat lunch. I met the garbage man and dated him for a while…but that is another story).

Negative thoughts of Peggy have been with me all these years when my knee held me back. When I ran my first and only 5 K race. When I was hiking the Napoli Coast in Kauai, Hawaii with my family. When I am in pilates. The list goes on and on. After all, it has been 43 years of my life.

So, I decided I have about twenty good years left to live. I am doing a life reset before my next big birthday! Part of the reset was claiming my spirit back. Being the old Chere. She has been missing for 43 years. I want my head full of abundance and without negativity. Time. To. Forgive. But how?

For years I have done the Forgiveness Room with clients. I could do that but knew I needed more. I was really upset I wanted to talk to Peggy about it but she passed away last summer.

I knew I needed a quiet, calming place to sit and reflect. If it was summer I would go to a favorite park or beach. I went to the adoration chapel at St. Hubert parish. I sat there as other women were praying and reading their books. My life coach, science-brain kicked in and I told myself to do decisional balance by making a pro and con list of forgiving Peggy. It was very apparent my spirit was being crushed which was taking energy away from my life. I thought WHY do I want to forgive Peggy? I want to live my life bigger and bolder NOW. At that moment I realized I was living in my past. The past is over. My dreams were waiting. My dreams are too important to waste being upset with one person and not forgiving her. 

I needed to be done with it once and for all. I can choose. Do I choose positive feelings or do I choose negative feelings? We cannot hold both at the same time in our heart. When I realized that my past was blocking my future, it was easy to forgive.

Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. – Paul Boese

Forgiveness brings our spirit peace and calm. It does not mean our hurt is minimized as we can still be hurt. It does not mean we have to forget the incident. Forgiveness is not something we do for the other person. Forgiveness is a matter of accepting the reality of what happened and finding a way to have resolution with it. It is not something you do for the other person, it is something you do for you. You have to be willing to forgive. You can’t forgive someone until you release your anger towards that person. Sometimes you will need a great therapist to help you with this.

My Forgiveness Actions

In the adoration chapel, I read the following prayer several times from Emmet Fox in his book “Power Through Constructive Thought.”  

“I fully and freely forgive (mention the name of who you are forgiving). I let him/her go. I completely forgive the whole business in question. As far as I am concerned, it is finished forever. I cast the burden of resentment on the God within me. (Name of person) is free now and I am too. I wish him/ her well in every phase of life. That incidence is finished and God has set us both free.”  

When this event crosses your mind (and it will) simply say, “I release this event.” And then move your thoughts to something beautiful!  

Then I entered the Forgiveness Room

The Forgiveness Room
So glad you could come to this special room.
Get comfortable.
Relax. Just be here.
Imagine that you are in your home or outside in a meadow.
Call this area the forgiveness room.
Whatever happens there is just perfect for you.

Invite someone into your forgiveness room.
See their face.  Hear their voice. Feel their presence.
There is no right or wrong way.
However it happens is just perfect. Just be with this special person.

Next, talk to this special person about what you wish to forgive them for.
Say all you need to say. Tell them what is in your heart. Speak with gentleness, kindness, and care.
But, speak your truth. You will know when you are done speaking to this person.
Inhale in some energy.

Come back to present day life and reality.

Know that you can go to your forgiveness room any time you wish.

Take another breath and feel new energy and life into your being – because you have been to the forgiveness room.
And, always remember you can visit this room any time you wish.

Source: Unknown

So how do you start to forgive?

First, decide you are done living in the past.
Second, decide you are going to actively engage in healing and forgiving so your life can move on again. But only when you are ready. (This took me 43 years)

What do you need to do today to clear up negative feelings with someone who has hurt you?

We don’t get to the end of our lives and say, “I wished I had worked more or I wished I would have stayed angry longer.”

Life is too short for regrets. You will never regret that you have forgiven. 

You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you loved, but only if you forgive and move on with your life. Remember Mahatma Gandhi says, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Be. Strong! Your life is waiting!

If you forgive someone please drop me a note so I can celebrate with you.


13 RDN Hacks to Celebrate National Wine Day

Am I lucky or what to have National Wine Day land on my birthday! And BONUS… it falls on a Saturday this year too! Here is a roundup of hacks for what you need to know about wine from my favorite peeps my RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) friends.

The Rebel Dietitians

The REBEL Dietitians are a team of 8 compassionate Registered Dietitians in Maryland that provide personalized and effective nutrition recommendations who answer the question, “Is there such a thing as healthy drinking?” There is so much buzz regarding spirits and wine lately but is there such a thing as healthy drinking? The Rebel Dietitians provide you the “need to know facts” with their tips on Healthy Drinking. Thanks Rebel Dietitians! @rebeccabitzerrd

Chef Stephanie Green, RDN

Chef Stephanie loves BBQ cookouts and reminds us it is important to select a wine that accentuates the flavor of your barbeque. Her fav is Inconspicuous a Zinfandel produced in Sonoma County, California which costs less than $20 a bottle. 

Thanks Stephanie! @greenscookery 

Caroline Susie RD/ LD

Caroline remembers from the time she was little girl, wine was always on the table being shared with family and friends. So when she was finally 21 she was excited to partake. Her dad took her to Napa for her 21st birthday and she fondly remembers it as the most special and educational experience. Since then she has fallen in love with wine. 

It is hard for her to pick just one but if she had to pick only one, it would be a “BIG bold in your face” Napa Valley Cabernet Calafia. She is also enjoys   Cabernat France and Vin 29’s. Her fav merlots are Pride or Duckhorn.

What does Caroline love most? How wine does brings people together! I agree! Thanks Caroline! @carolinesusieRD

Allison Boyd, RDN, CYT, CDE

Allison who is a certified yoga teacher hosted Yoga in the Vineyard. Afterwards a chef and the winemaker discussed wine and food pairings. A fabulous time was had by all who attended.

Allison’s favorite is Old Vine Zinfandel. She considers herself lucky as she lives next to  Lodi, California “The Zinfandel Capital of the World!”  Her favorite wineries are Watts Winery and Heritage Oak Winery. Thanks Allison! @AllisonLBRD

Joan Trute  MA, RD, CDE 

Joan seconds Allison’s love of Old Vine Zins from Lodi, California.

Joan, the world traveler also adores Primitivo’s from the Pugia region of Italy. She shares that Trader Joe’s has a decent Primitivio.

And Joan recommends you sample Cannonau Sardinia, Italy and Capitel De Roari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. Thanks Joan!


Manju savors red blends like: Elyse, Michael David, and Elizabeth Spencer GPS. Her favorite Syrah is Two Hands.   

Manju reminds us we need the right glass for the right wine. Thanks Manju!  @manjukarkare 

Dale Kline, MS, RD, LD

When Dale used to live in Southern Oregon she had 100 wineries within an hour of her home and tasting rooms she could walk to. (Dale’s heaven!!!)

One of her favorite Oregon wines is Willamette Valley Whole Cluster Pinot Noir. They ferment the wine with the whole grape at the beginning of the process, not just the juice. Another one of her favs is Tempranillo, from southern Oregon.  Although not a widely known, it is a great red wine she wants you to try. 

She enjoys doing wine tastings with friends. You select one wine varietal and taste a number of different wineries or you can taste various varietals from the same winery. She also recommends having your guests taste wine, eat cheese or some other food and then drink the wine again and notice the flavor changes.

Dale reminds us to forget about what anyone tells you, if you like a wine, drink it! And it does not have to be expensive to be good. There are a lot of good bottles of wine for $10 to $15 a bottle or less. I agree with Dale! Thanks Dale!  @DklineRD.

Megan Ware, RDN, LD

Megan reminds us that winemakers aren’t required to list their ingredients because alcohol is regulated under a different governmental agency than food. While the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) requires nutrition and ingredient labels, the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) does not. She did some undercover nutrition work to help you learn why you may have a hangover the next day. What’s in my WineThanks Megan!  @meganwarerd

Kelly Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Kelly was recently in Italy and ate at a cute restaurant in Rome and they bought over this giant wine list. She tells us this was ONLY the red list. Wow Kelly!

Her go -to wine is Montepulciano as she loves medium to heavy bodied reds. Recently though, she has been veering towards an Italian sparkling red Lambrusco. She reminds her clients like Megan that if they feel puffy or swollen or have headaches from wine to look for wines with no added sulfites or sulfite free. Thanks Kelly! @eatreallivewell

Laura Chalela Hoover, MPH, RDN

Laura shares that she is lovin’ Naked Wine club. It’s a membership-based site where you can order a huge variety of top-rated wines. As a member, you are essentially helping to directly fund independent winemakers from around the world, in return for wines at wholesale prices. She enjoys receiving emails directly from the winemakers and hearing more about the stories, values and mission. And as a bonus, members get a free bottle of wine every month. What’s not to love? Thanks Laura! @smarteating4kid

Courtney Millen, MNSP, RD, LD

Courtney’s favorite wine is Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon. For a simple and delicious date night with her husband she pairs it with a grass fed beef tenderloin, baked sweet potato, and roasted Brussels sprouts.  It’s a simple and delicious date night meal that she can enjoy from the comfort of her home.

Courtney is expecting a baby so she is swapping wine for seltzer topped with pomegranate seeds in a wine glass.  The sparkles, sweetness, and stemware make it feel like a treat! Thanks Courtney! @palatetheory 

Stephanie Brina-Herres, MS, RDN, LDN

For decades, Stephanie and her family enjoyed the almost 10,000 acres of vineyards in the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York State with 70 different grape varieties. The vintners at each of the many wineries on each of the lakes determine which varieties are best suited to their microclimate and then tailor their offerings of exclusive wine blends accordingly.

She recommends you check out the New York Wine and Culinary Center on the northern shore of Canandaigua Lake which features prix fixe menus with wine and food pairings. Be sure to check out Stephanie’s wine tips on

Sensory Perception and Wine Evaluation and Sensory Perception and Wine Pairing with Food

Thank you Stephanie! @nutriserious

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN

Lauren fav is Pinot Grigio.  Learn about the three types of Pinot Grigio. Lauren says she is not a red wine  lover anymore due to the fact that she drank WAY too much Beaujolais on her post-internship trip across Europe when she spent the night in a Beaujolais winery. Sounds lovely to me Lauren!

So by now, after reading this post, you will want to try and drink every single wine that was recommended. Am I right? Lucky for us, Lauren answers the question, Can I drink alcohol and still lose weight?” Thanks Lauren! @LaurenPincusRD

Thanks to my special nutrition friends for sharing their favorite wines and wine tips. Wine is all about savoring the wine and your relationships you cherish. You have one life to live, just imagine it was one you loved! Salut!

What are your favorite wines and tips?

Please share below. I would love to hear from you.


3 Aphrodisiac Foods To Zest Up Your Love Life

February is here and love is in the air. Did you know the foods you eat can create more love in your life? Chris Shuff, RD, a Sexual Health Nutritionist, registered dietitian and chef is here with a guest blog post with creative ways to spice up your love life just in time for an extra special Valentine’s day.

He is sharing this easy quick dinner menu with 3 easy recipes that highlight the 3 aphrodisiac foods; red peppers, roasted beet, and chocolate.

Passion Salsa


1 red bell pepper (small), diced into 1/4″ cubes
1 mango, diced into 1/4″ cubes
1 avocado, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
Tortilla chips or lettuce wraps
1/8 tsp Salt
Pepper, to taste
1/4c red onion, diced (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
1/8 tsp chili powder (optional)


De-seed and chop the bell pepper, mango, avocado and the optional onion and garlic. Place ingredients into a bowl and mix. Season with salt, pepper, and optional chili powder. Pair with chips or lettuce wraps.  Serves two. 

Fun facts:

  • Red bell pepper provides 280% Vitamin C. That’s almost 3 times the amount of a Florida orange. The vitamin C is great for healthy veins and proper blood flow long into our later years of life.
  • This recipe balances sweet, acidic, crunchy and creamy flavors for good love life balance.
  • Pairing with a California Merlot is most desirable.



Power Couple Salad


3 red beets, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
3 oz spinach
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 tsp. pear vinegar (or other fruity vinegar of choice)
1/2 lb organic chicken breast
Salt and pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 425°F. Preheat sauté pan to medium heat.

Trim cut the top and bottom off each beet, peel and then chop into 1/2″ cubes. Transfer the beets onto a baking sheet, drizzle with ½ Tbsp olive oil and mix to coat the beets evenly with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place into preheated oven, bake for 15 minutes, stir and bake for another 15 minutes. Once cooked let the beets cool for 3 minutes and toss with 1 tsp vinegar.

Meanwhile, trim the chicken of any visible fat. Lay your hand on atop the breast and slice lengthwise to make two identically sized 1/4 lb breasts.  Gently rub with ½ tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken in preheated sauté pan for 3-5 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked throughout. 

To finish, place spinach into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and toss that salad good. I mean it. You want every leaf to have a very light layer of oil. The oil coating will help prevent the vinegar from wilting the leaves prematurely. Then and only then is it ok to drizzle in 2 tsp vinegar. Toss the salad once more. Once the beets and chicken have finished lay them atop the plated salad and enjoy. Serves two.

Fun facts:

  • The beets and spinach are the power couple here. Each can naturally increase our nitric oxide levels that are needed for improving circulation on date night.
  • This recipe provides a balance of earthy, sweet, and savory flavor to keep your love grounded.
  • Pairing with a sauvignon blanc is most desirable.



Dipped Forbidden Fruit


1 big banana
2 peaches, sliced
1 pound strawberries, whole
1 pound  dipping chocolate (you may not use all of this)
1/8 tsp (heaping) ground cayenne pepper


Peel and slice the banana across the middle into 2 pieces.

Split the peach, remove the pit and cut into 6 slices.

The strawberries are perfect just the way they are.

Heat the chocolate using a microwave or double boiler.

If using the microwave, place the chocolate into a light colored microwave safe bowl.  Load the microwave with 8 minutes worth of cooking time on medium-high power. It won’t need that much time. It will just make things a lot easier. Start with an initial burst of 60 seconds followed by 20 second increments making sure to stir between each to determine consistency. Once it’s  melted, add your cayenne pepper, stir, and quickly dip your forbidden fruits. 

If using a double boiler, add 1 inch of water into the bottom pot. Place chocolate into the top pot and begin heating. Stir the chocolate frequently. Once it’s melted just enough, turn the burner to very low, add the cayenne pepper, mix well and dip your forbidden fruits. Enjoy these hot or refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

Whatever method you use; take your time and don’t rush things. Chris promises it’ll be worth the wait. You can always heat the chocolate more but you can’t take the burnt flavor out.

Fun facts:

  • Chocolate is one of the most well-known aphrodisiacs. It has many powers. The taste and thought alone are powerful aphrodisiacs that put anyone in the romantic state of mind.
  • This recipe uses a combination of sweet and spicy for an opposites attract approach to date night.
  • IMPORTANT: save this dessert for the end of the night or make sure not to eat too much! Belly aches are the opposite of romantic on date night.



Meet Chris Shuff, RD

Chris loves surfing and wakeboarding! They are the primary reasons he lives healthy and stays fit. Well, that and he loves feeling his best.

Tell us about your path to becoming a Registered Dietitian

Well, I was interested in architecture for a long time as a kid and had even taken a number of college level courses in high school. Then I took an introductory nutrition course in college. After that it was all over. I saw the progression of obesity and knew it would be a burden on Americans for a long time to come. I wanted to help, knew there was a secure future in it, enjoyed learning the material and was good at the science behind it. I decided to switch my major to dietetics during the course.

Tell us all about your practice, Love & Fire Nutrition! What is your approach to care?

In one sentence, to ignite sex lives and strengthen relationships through health and nutrition! In longer form, I am a hopeful romantic. I believe love and life passions can help save lives, change lives and enrich lives. When someone is pursuing health with a primary motivation of achieving some form of sexual health that’s where I enter the picture. The client goals can vary but I find that the deep set motivations are almost always selfless.

I’m a bit new to the field of sex nutrition. Can you tell me a little about what your professional experience has been like in this field? 

First of all, who’s ears don’t perk up when they hear the term, sex nutrition? The funniest response I get is, “I’m sorry, what did you say?” as if they think they heard me wrong. The next biggest questions I get are, “what is that?” and “what can you do as a dietitian to actually help with that?”. To answer the first, I generally describe sex nutrition as having to do with fertility, libido and sexual performance. To answer the second, I share that it hasn’t been easy but the evidence is there. It all started while I was working with a my career coach and dietitian, Chere Bork. I was contemplating what the next step in life was and it turned out I liked sex and nutrition. Shocking right?! We both agreed the topic sounded fun, unique and right up my alley. I began looking into whether the idea of sex nutrition was actually a valid avenue to pursue. There’s a lot of bogus theories out there but when you’re truly looking there are many efficacious strategies as well. It’s hard but they’re there. As I explored, I found that many people were struggling with these issues. Worst of all, they were struggling quietly. Love, sex and fertility are things we all desire but few people are comfortable talking about them personally, let alone professionally. They are so tied to our identity, especially when they’re dysfunctional, but no one is talking about it. That’s when I knew I had to help.

I noticed on your blog that you have a lot of great advice on how nutrition can improve your sex life, what is your favorite tip? 

Wow, that’s a big one. Honestly, I don’t think I can pick a single favorite but I am really interested in nutrition’s ability to increase nitric oxide levels which are needed for sexual performance. I’ve been following the work of a lead researcher in the nitric oxide field, Dr. Nathan Bryan, who is dedicated to increasing awareness about the subject. Our ability to produce nitric oxide reduces with age and other factors. On top of that, nitric oxide is pivotal for successful arousal in both males and females. For example, a majority of males who don’t respond to the drug Sildenafil (Viagra) are most likely not producing enough nitric oxide and therefore the drug can’t be effective. By improving nitric oxide levels through targeted nutrition approaches the underlying deficit can be corrected and the male can once again enjoy intimacy on a regular basis

For more information and to connect with Chris!


Dietitian Approved Pizza Recipes (Many Gluten Free)

I never met anyone who did not LOVE pizza!

These pizza ideas from my Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are sure to score a touchdown at your Super Bowl party. Think beyond the traditional sausage and cheese pizza with these yummy and healthy options including many that are gluten free. You will love these recipes so much that every day you will want to be a pizza day!

Image by Jen Haugen on her blog. 


Kelly R. Jones MS, RD, CSSD, LDN

Kelly loves love this recipe for Garbanzo Flour Flatbread and Pizza Crust over traditional crust because it is so filling, helping with portion control. The garbanzo flour provides much more fiber and protein than a grain-based crust and, since it is gluten-free, you don’t have to worry about dietary restrictions! Plus, you can make the “dough” in one minute versus a rising crust that takes hours.

The flour she uses is Bob’s Red Mill (no sponsor ties). She finds it at Whole Foods, and her local natural foods store.  In regular grocery stores it usually found in the natural section or gluten free section. @EatwRealLiveWell

Garbanzo Flour Flatbread and Pizza Crust


1 Cup (120 g) garbanzo flour
5.5 ounces water
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
dash salt


Heat oven to 350 F.

Stir until well mixed with no lumps. If mixture seems too thin, let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray lightly with olive oil spray.

Pour batter over paper and spread evenly into pizza shape with rubber spatula.

Bake for 10 minutes if making pizza, 12-14 if making flat bread.
-If making pizza, after removing from heat*, add pizza toppings of your choice and place back in oven for 5 minutes.Slice and serve!


Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary has a great vegan, gluten free pizza crust recipe website.

She loves this recipe because it can feed everyone in her family. Her husband has Celiac disease and he gets to still enjoy pizza and her kids love it! And the fact that she can mix it all up in her bread maker makes it super easy.



Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD, CPT, CLT  

Kelli Schallal the blogger behind Hungry Hobby reminds us to think beyond the traditional pizza crust.

Check out her many pizza options! @HungryHobby

Pizza Stuffed Peppers

Polenta Pizza Bites Gluten and Yeast Free

Pizza Turkey Mini Meat Loaves

Cauliflower Pizza Casserole

Mini Pizza Quiona Quiches

Jen Haugen, RDN, LD

Jen Haugen who is the Author of The Mom’s Guide to a Nourishing Garden says pizza is her favorite food. Check out her Chicken Sausage Sauteed Bell Pepper Pizza recipe that won rave reviews from her kids; even the kid who does not love veggies yet.  @jenhaugen

 Chicken Mole Mini PIzzas

Hope you enjoy these pizza favorite recipes from my dietitian friends. Here’s to creating healthy food memories with the ones you love.

What is your favorite pizza recipe? We can’t wait to hear!


The Greatest Weapon Against Stress & Negative Thinking

Conditions were perfect! Scenery gorgeous! I was enjoying the outdoors with my favorite human being on the whole planet! What was wrong with this picture?  My “Negative Nelly” thoughts. Let me explain.

Gary and I snowshoed the north shore’s Tettegouche State Park High Falls Trail. The falls were beautiful and as usual Gary wanted to get closer to the falls which meant climbing down a dangerous, slippery slope not meant for snowshoes.

I decided to stay behind. All. Alone. (Standing on the bridge) As I stood there (timing how long he was gone) I thought, “What if he has a heart attack down there? How will I bring up his body? I don’t think my cell phone even has service! Stop it Chere. Notice how tall these gorgeous trees are. These are the most beautiful trees topped with snow you have seen in ten years. I should have learned how to use the AED. There is not even an AED with me. I should buy an AED for home. Why am I worrying about bringing up his body as I don’t even know if he is dead or alive? Your fingers and toes are getting cold so jump up and down (I jumped up and down.) How long will he be down there? I am starting to freeze. I am cold but glad Gary loves to exercise so much and does not have a beer belly. I should really research what can be done for high calcium scores in the heart. I do not want to be a widow. You tell your clients, what you focus on gets bigger and bolder. Gary is fine and you will have a long retired life with him.  But what if he has “his event” today. I should have told him I loved him before he left. Wow the forest is so still. Be grateful for what is working in your life not what you are scared about… But what if he doesn’t come back… Next week you will regret not enjoying these beautiful woods. Stop the negative stinking thinking Chere.”

Moments later…Gary came back on the trail and hollered the usual, “Hello darling…” and we finished our snowshoe adventure for the day. I kept my thoughts about his “death on the trail” to myself.  My heart races when he leaves me on an adventure when I am standing alone in the woods or on a river by ourselves.

A woman celebrating her birthday popped out of nowhere to take our picture!

Our thoughts are powerful and create our day.

Our thoughts evoke powerful negative or positive emotions which create actions. Paying attention to our positive emotions expands our world while focusing on negative feelings shrinks it according to the renowned positivity researcher Barbara Fredrickson.

But it all starts with our thoughts. They are not a fact. Every event can create a positive or a negative belief. Do we choose negative? Or do we choose positive? The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one belief over another!

Use the Triple A Approach:

  • Awareness
  • Analysis
  • Action

Awareness: Notice your thoughts.
Analyze: Are they negative or positive?
Action: Make a vigilant effort to take your negative thoughts and make them positive.

And, stay focused on the gratitude of the present.

Make sure what is in your mind is what you want your future to create. You will manifest what you think about. What you focus on gets bigger and bolder – positive or negative.

As James Allen reminds us, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” This is your secret to your best year ever. Here to help!

PS I am going to take another CPR course and focus on how much fun we have now that Gary is Mr. Relaxed Retired.


A Colorful Vegetarian Dish for the New Year: Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas

Guest post by Stephanie McKercher MS, RDN 

This simple plant-based recipe is equal parts colorful and nutritious, making it a great way to kick off the New Year. 

This dish may be a bit lighter but it certainly isn’t lacking in festivity or flavor.  Try serving with your favorite cooked whole grains (I love farro) or pile it into a whole wheat pita pocket if you’re looking for a meal that’s more portable!

Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas
Author: Stephanie McKercher, RDN

Serves: 3
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes



  • 1 (15 ounce) can drained, rinsed, and thoroughly dried chickpeas
  • 20 small peeled carrots (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon harissa (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  • 1 tablespoon runny tahini
  • 1 tablespoon dukkah seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s)


  1. Preheat oven to 400º F and spread chickpeas and carrots on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Whisk together harissa, honey/maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over chickpeas and carrots and toss lightly until fully coated. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and roast until carrots are tender, and chickpeas are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove baking sheet from oven and transfer carrots and chickpeas to a serving dish. Add pomegranate arils, drizzle tahini over top, and sprinkle with dukkah before serving. Enjoy!

Stephanie McKercher MS, RDN is a private practice registered dietitian and virtual nutrition coach based in Denver, Colorado.

Steph creates delicious plant-based recipes and shares mindful living advice on her healthy food blog, The Grateful Grazer, where she strives to prove that nourishing food can look mouthwatering and taste great too.  Connect with Stephanie on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

When I’m not in the kitchen, I’m happiest outside, especially now that my husband and I made the move from the Midwest to beautiful Colorado.  In the winter, I love spending sunny days on the ski hills but really, I live for warmer summer months spent camping, practicing photography, and hiking new mountain trails with our dog, Neil Young.  I call my blog The Grateful Grazer because gratitude has been one of the biggest game-changers on my own path toward health and wellbeing…and I also just really love Jerry Garcia. 🙂

Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas
Serves 3
A Colorful Vegetarian Dish: Harissa Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
  1. 1 (15 ounce) can drained, rinsed, and thoroughly dried chickpeas
  2. 20 small peeled carrots (about 2 cups)
  3. 1 tablespoon harissa (I used Trader Joe’s)
  4. 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
  5. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  6. 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  7. Salt and pepper
  8. ¼ cup pomegranate arils
  9. 1 tablespoon runny tahini
  10. 1 tablespoon dukkah seasoning (I used Trader Joe’s)
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F and spread chickpeas and carrots on a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Whisk together harissa, honey/maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Pour over chickpeas and carrots and toss lightly until fully coated. Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and roast until carrots are tender, and chickpeas are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove baking sheet from oven and transfer carrots and chickpeas to a serving dish. Add pomegranate arils, drizzle tahini over top, and sprinkle with dukkah before serving. Enjoy!
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/

5 Steps to Discover Your Purpose and Inspire More Joy

Faces of Joy

The meaning of life is try to solve as much of the puzzle as possible before you die.

  1. Decide you want more. (More health, love, job satisfaction, time…) Your power is in your decision.
  2. Wake Up Question: What do I want? Think it. Ink it.   Get crystal clear on what you want
  3. Bedtime Question: What was my happiest joy of my day?  Think it.  Ink it.
  4. Create your plan, based on what you want and what makes you most happy.
  5. Every day do one daily habit to support your decision.

Life is a gift. Let me help you open it. I invite you to my annual FREE tele-class creating 2017 to be the best year of your life.

Join me Chere Bork, Energy Igniter and Certified Executive Wellcoach® for this FREE, tele-class and discover the keys to setting and achieving the goals you really want in 2017.

In this FREE tele-class you will:

  • Identify the goals you really want (and are most likely to achieve!)
  • Create your own personalized 3 Step Success Strategy
  • Get into action and create huge momentum to keep on going
  • Learn 4 easy ways to overcome any obstacle that arises

Isn’t it time to go for the things you really want in your life? The time is NOW!!

11th Annual FREE Teleclass:  Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet!

One Evening Session Tuesday, January 24, 2017  7 pm CST – 8 pm CST

Details & Registration here

Remember Mark Twain said,

The two most important days are the day you are born and the day you figured out why.


Can’t wait to support your year of your dreams!
Love Chere


National Bacon Day!


‘Happy National Bacon Day! My RDN friends are sharing their bacon tips and recipes with you to celebrate this fun day! Everything is better with bacon. In the United States and Canada, bacon is made from the pork belly. Elsewhere in the world, the side and back cuts of pork are used. The meat is cured in either a salt brine or in a salt pack. It is then either dried, boiled or smoked.

Kate Scarlata RDN, Digestive Health Expert


Kate is the RDN Digestive Health Expert and makes a BLT salad that is super yummy! She uses chicken bacon (She says don’t knock it until you try it!) She uses bacon in salads, on sandwiches, and in her morning eggs. She loves the savory flavor bacon adds to her recipes.  @katescarlata_RD



Her BLT salad with avocado is easy to whip up and tastes fantastic!


Emma Fogt, MBA, MS, RDN, LDN, FAND


Emma is the Director of Culinary Programs at the Wayne Art Center, Wayne, Pennsylvania. After years of splattering pants and scrubbing greasy oven tops, Emma found a mess free way to make bacon.  Thanks Emma! Great idea!


  1. Pre-heat oven at 350F
  2. Line cookie trays with parchment paper. 
  3. Line the bacon slices in single layers on the parchment paper.
  4. Bake bacon at 350F° for 15-20 minutes until crisp.
  5. Once cooked, place bacon on paper towel to absorb excess fat. 
  6. Roll up used parchment paper and discard. 


Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD, CPT, CLT 


Kelli Shallal MPH RD, blogger behind Hungry Hobby thinks that bacon makes everything, especially vegetables just a little better. What more motivation do you need to eat all your veggies. @hungryhobby

Check out Kellis favs:

kelli-roasted-grn-beans-with-bacon Roasted Green Beans with Bacon


Bacon Broccoli Slaw


Bacon Zucchini Quiche


Jen Haugen, RDN, LD


Jen helps moms live a nourishing life in their kitchens and gardens. She always has great family friendly recipes.Check out Jen’s bacon recipe she is sure your family will love! @jenhaugen


Apple Brie and Bacon Sandwiches

Enjoy these bacon tips from Kate, Emma, Keli and Jen!

We can’t wait to hear your favorite bacon recipes and tips!


Here’s to a Sweet Holiday

Office parties, celebrations with friends, and family gatherings offer the opportunity to make special holiday memories. But for some, the holiday season may not be so sweet.

Americans consume on average about 270 calories from added sugars per day, which is more than 13 percent of total daily calories.1 With confections, pies and other holiday goodies high in added sugars being offered everywhere you look, it is no wonder why this time of year can be difficult, especially for those committed to making healthier choices in the New Year.

For many, it may be overwhelming to make changes to their daily eating patterns – let alone during the holidays. However, small changes, such as swapping out added sugars for low-calorie sweeteners, can help.2

splenda2There is a new sweetener option, SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener that is a perfect choice for your patients and clients looking to reduce calories from added sugar, without sacrificing taste.

SPLENDA® Naturals gets its unique sweetness from Rebaudioside D (Reb D), a better tasting stevia leaf extract. Until now you may have only tasted sweeteners made with a stevia extract called Reb A, which can have a bitter aftertaste. By using primarily Reb D, we have found a perfect blend that tastes great. 

SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener is sweet but has no calories, added flavors or artificial ingredients, and no bitter aftertaste.

SPLENDA® Naturals Stevia Sweetener has just two ingredients, stevia leaf extract and erythritol. Additionally, these two ingredients are non-GMO.

This holiday season can be sweet for your patients and clients, with recipes that swap added sugar for SPLENDA® Naturals, like this Pumpkin Bread Pudding. For more holiday recipes, check out SplendaNaturals.com.

I was not paid to write this. These opinions are my own. I love this new no calorie sweetener.


  1. What We Eat in America, NHANES 2007-2010 for average intakes by age-sex group. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from http://bit.ly/2geW1zE
  2. Catenacci, V. A., Pan, Z., Thomas, J. G., Ogden, L. G., Roberts, S. A., Wyatt, H. R., … & Hill, J. O. (2014). Low/no calorie sweetened beverage consumption in the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity, 22(10), 2244-2251



Give the Priceless Gift of Empathy


“Can you turn the loud music down a little?” My swim teacher replies, “Ok, but everyone else is ok.” I smile but want to scream, “I am not everyone. I experienced a concussion and sadly the loud music still occasionally bugs me two years later.”

“When you have us cross country ski suspended for 1 minute it is too hard to differentiate the different heart rate levels. Can you change it up?” A different swim teacher replies, “I can do it.” I smile and I want to scream, “I don’t care that you do it, since when is it all about you! You just don’t care about me.”

I call my physical therapy office because I am running late and the receptionist answers. “Can I put you on hold?” I say no and I am put on hold anyway. I talk to her later and tell her, “I did not have time to be put on hold and I wanted to tell you I was running late for my PT appointment.” She replies, “You do what you gotta do.” Again, I felt unheard. I would have loved, “I am sorry to put you on hold and next time I will do better.”

Ever feel not heard, acknowledged or respected? Maybe you are not getting the “love” from other. It is all about the magic word empathy!


The teeth are smiling but is your heart?


What is empathy?

It is a combination of listening, acknowledging and feeling the other person’s life experiences.

Not be confused with pity. Pity is feeling sorry for someone. We may pity a starving child in another country. This sorrow we feel can lead to helping them but it does not empower them.

Not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is identifying with someone’s experience on an emotional level. Sympathizing with someone means, “I feel your pain” or “I share your joy.” Sympathizing with someone can make us feel sad too. Emotions are contagious. Sympathy interferes with our listening, since it turns our attention to our own feelings and overlooks the person we are listening to.

Empathy is respectful understanding of another person’s desires, feelings or needs. You are not judging or hurrying the person you are talking to. You are present with them. When you are empathetic, you are saying, “I respect your life situation.” “I respect your pain right now.” “I celebrate your happiness.” You recognize their emotion and help them feel heard.

Sympathy focuses on myself. Empathy focuses on the other person.

Non-Violent Communication works like charm for empathy. 


Here is the four step formula to give and receive empathy:

Step 1: Make observations not evaluations.

Be careful that you are not judging, assuming, or criticizing. Limit your descriptions of what you are observing to your five senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste).


Step 2: Express feelings not thoughts.

We often confuse thoughts with feelings. There are two types of feelings – when needs are met and when they are not met.

When needs are met, we may feel:

Calm, peaceful, energetic, creative, quiet, interested, joyous, thrilled, grateful, appreciative or inspired.

When needs are not met, we may feel:

Sad, afraid, anxious, upset, embarrassed, discouraged, worried, doubtful, conflicted, tired, bored

Key point: We are responsible for how we feel. No one else is responsible for how we feel. If our values are stepped on we experience negative feelings.


Step 3: Identify needs not strategies.

Identify what people need instead of advising and problem solving. I need you to get working is not identifying a need.


Step 4: Make requests, not demands.

When we become crystal clear about the feelings and underlying needs, it’s time to request action. Requests should be open ended questions, not closed ended questions and not start with the word “why” as that often puts people on the defensive. Start the request with “How, what, when.”

Adopted from Wellcoaches®






When I see / hear________________


I feel_______________


Because I need_______________


So are you willing to_____________??




When you see / hear_______________


Are you feeling______________?


Because you need / value______________


Do you want me or yourself to_____________?

Expressing and empathizing formulas are adapted from a presentation by Scottie Lewis, CPCC


Event – Wife tries to talk to her husband and he won’t look up from his computer


I ask you for 5 minutes of your time and you don’t bother to even look up. You say you can multi-task.


I feel very sad and sometimes heartbroken.


I have a need to feel appreciated and adored.


What time do you want to talk to me so I don’t feel like I am third place in your life?


Event – Boyfriend makes comments that make me feel judged by him


I accidentally scheduled an evening with you and my friend. When I made a mistake, you casually stated, “Way to go” implying that I really messed things up.


I feel sad and judged when you say “Way to go.”


I have a need to be liked and to please others.


In the future what can you do to help me when I accidentally double-book an evening?


Event – Don’t feel important to my father


Dad I don’t feel we have much of a family relationship these days.


I feel sad and very stressed out about this dad.


I need to feel appreciated by you and included in the family.


When can we discuss this in a non-judgmental manner dad?


Event – We are living together unmarried and it bothers me


We have been together two and half years and have both expressed our love and integrated our whole lives together with all the kids and yet we still have not tied the knot.


I feel sad and have a sense of uneasiness and like I am waiting to move my life forward and become the next part of me. I’m not single and I’m not married…what am I?


I have a need to be acknowledged and for commitment.


How can we together create the financial plan to buy the diamond?


Event – My boss is negative

Observation/ event

You talk to me about our unhappy team members


I feel frustrated that people may think I am contributing to their stress

I don’t feel listened to.


I have a need to be acknowledged and be heard.

I have a need to accomplish.


Will you please acknowledge and focus on what I have accomplished in addition to what I have not accomplished?

How can you provide me respectful understanding? (Empathy)

How will you back me up and give me your 100% support? (What action will you take?)



Hospitals can be a scary place, but not if it is filled with employees who give empathy like Ridgeview Medical Center. Last week I had a mammogram at RMC and was treated with empathy and loving respect by my radiology tech Cathy Decker. I am never excited to have a mammogram and even less enthusiastic on a chilly December morning. Cathy knew I was cold and said, “I am going to hurry.” Many times she asked me, “Are you ok?” I felt cared about. I felt treasured. She gifted me empathy.

Patient care is more healing -it is the human connection to patient care. Watch this 4 minute video if you want to learn how to treat others with care. You will remember this video for days after you watch it.


If you could stand in someone else’s shoes: hear what they hear. See what they see. Feel what they feel. Would you treat them differently? Teach people how to treat you in a loving, caring and kind way and the world will become a more beautiful place for you and everyone else. We can’t wait to hear how you gave the gift of empathy this season.

Empathy photo curtesy of flickr