Welcome to Taste Life!

Abundance is waiting for you! Are you ready?
Tune in for every abundant Monday!...

  • Nov 2017

Judes’ Roasted Cauliflower Pumpkin Soup

This month I want to highlight Judith Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, LD (aka Judes), “Your How-To Dietitian Nutritionist.” She takes the science and translates it into delish, easy and healthy everyday meals! She has some of my favorite recipes that are whole foods, and practical and easy to prepare for busy people like you and me.

Photo: Ray Norton

I’m excited to feature Jude’s recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Pumpkin Soup. In her words, this healthy soup tastes super creamy and indulgent, yet it doesn’t have any cream, or even milk for that matter. Only a half cup of raw cashews for the whole recipe replaces the creaminess and adds nutrition to boot. Seven ingredients (besides salt, pepper and a little olive oil) are all it takes; throw cauliflower, apples and garlic all on the same pan and roast while you blend up the cashew nuts, pumpkin, white beans, and stock in a blender. If you want to use freshly roasted pumpkin you can, but canned pumpkin works great in this recipe too. The roasted cauliflower is broken-up and thrown in for texture after the mixture cooks, but you can make this soup as smooth or as chunky as you want. Enjoy!

Photo: Ray Norton

Roasted Cauliflower Pumpkin Soup
Serves 8
Write a review
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
  1. 1 garlic bulb
  2. 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into 2 inch pieces
  3. 1 Tbsp olive oil (for roasting)
  4. 1/4 tsp sea or kosher salt
  5. 2 large apples or 3 small (sweeter variety), peeled, roughly cut
  6. 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  7. 1/2 cup raw cashews
  8. 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  9. 1 can (1.5 cups) of white beans, rinsed and drained
  10. 3/4 tsp sea or kosher salt (or to taste)
  11. 1/8 tsp pepper to taste
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife; cut off 1/4 of the top of whole bulb, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Drizzle a little oil on exposed cloves and wrap in foil. Place wrapped foil in the oven to begin cooking.
  2. Mix cauliflower pieces with 2 1/2 tsp olive oil and spread out on most of a rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. Peel apples and cut in large pieces off core. Mix apples with a little oil and spread on the pan with cauliflower but keep them separate. Place the pan in the oven with the foiled garlic and roast until tender and lightly browned.
  3. Using a blender, add about half the chicken stock, cashews, beans (reserve 1/2 cup beans if you want to add to the soup whole) and pumpkin. Add more chicken stock to blender if needed. If you want more texture in the soup besides the roasted cauliflower, add some of the beans to your soup pot rather than the blender.
  4. When garlic is tender after 20 minutes or so, use a hot pad to turn garlic bulb up-side-down over blender (still filled with blended ingredients) and squeeze from the bottom of the clove, so roasted garlic falls into blender. Add roasted apples to blender, as well, and blend. If the blender becomes too full at any time, just pour some out into the soup pot. Add all ingredients to the soup pot except the cauliflower.
  5. Simmer ingredients over low heat for about 30 minutes; stir frequently. Add more chicken stock if soup becomes too thick. Roughly cut up roasted cauliflower into smaller pieces and add to soup. Mix together for a few minutes and turn off heat. Sprinkle with roasted pumpkin seed for garnish. Enjoy!
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/
Judith “Judes” Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, LD, owner and blogger at FoodsWithJudes.com, authored a new softcover & e-book entitled Lean Body, Smart Life. Her book is a no-nonsense approach to making small changes toward health and happiness in today’s go-go-go world. The book has an accompanying app to track Judes’ “12 Fixes.” It helps you enjoy food without guilt.

For RDNs looking for a way to increase their revenues and get their foot in the door of businesses and organizations, there is an RDN Affiliate Program using this book, it includes a 12-Fix Lean Life Plan, along with 12 slide presentations to use as a base for any wellness opportunity. Judes’ RDN-only Lean Body, Smart Life Affiliate Program allows affiliates to keep all proceeds from the presentations and 10 percent commission on copies of the book sold to groups and clients.

Judes hears from her new affiliates that they love the program because they found it to be a base for teaching – yet flexible enough so that they could make it their own. They also value the 12 PowerPoint presentations that go hand-in-hand with the book. They said, “Thank you for making it for RDNs only!” And, they love that the book is eye-catching and visually appealing. Check it out for yourself.

Judes has traveled extensively, raised four children, and recently remarried and relocated to Durham, North Carolina. Don, her wonderful spouse, and Judes ran a 10K in Charleston, South Carolina. 

Judes and I can’t wait for you to try this spectacular soup recipe. Drop us a line when you do!



Use a Vision Board and the Law of Attraction to Attract What You Want This Year


Kathleen Oswalt, MS, RDN, LD, CLT says “vision boards are permission to dream BIG! My dream came true when I followed my passion and quit my job April 29, 2017 to start my private practice and become the Food Sensitivity Detective!” Congratulations Kathleen!





The end of the year or beginning of the year is a great time to get focused on what we want and create your dream life you have been waiting for.

The most common mistake people make when attempting to achieve goals is they chase goals, similar to chasing butterflies. Hard. Work. Struggle. Dump the struggle and instead of a long list of goals and to-do’s this year, have fun and create a vision board and use the Law of Attraction. National Vision Board Day is always celebrated the second Saturday of the year.

As the Chief Corporate Registered Dietitian and Manager of Clinical Wellness at Healthstat, Monica McCorkle, MS, RDN, CDE, NBC-HWC, DAILY focuses on abundance and uses the Law of Attraction to attract what she wants. She has created a loving, meaningful life centered with love, sprinkled with joy, laughter and celebration. This all brought to her by focusing her heart on the positive in life, daily gratitude, thanks and the gift of giving. Love your focus on abundance Monica!

A vision board helps you:

  • Give attention to your intentions, values and dreams
  • Focus on who you want to be and what you want
  • Gives you a visual forward focus guide to your future self
  • Do “life reset”—and it’s enjoyable fun


Elizabeth Berry, MS, RDN feels her power by capturing the magic of her dreams with her vision board. Liz’s formula is “the magic of dreams aligned with daily visualization = power,” Love this Liz!



What is a vision board?

A vision board or a dream board is often a collage of pictures and words that speak to our heart and soul about what we want to attract into our life. It is a visual map of WHO we want to be and WHAT we want to do and HOW we want to live. It is a powerful way to make our intentions more attainable and tangible.

The vision board we create reminds us of what is important to us and what we need to focus on. It is similar to when you buy a silver car and suddenly you notice lots of other silver cars.


Chris Shuff, RDN, LDN, loves to live his life to the fullest just as much as he loves to help others do the same by losing the extra weight that is weighing them down and keeping them from reaching for the stars. Way to go Chris!





How to start
Find words and pictures that inspire you, excite you and you want in your future life. Include anything that speaks to your heart. Don’t overanalyze. Organize and paste your pictures and words onto a big piece of paper. Give it a title and a date.

Put the vision board where you will see it every day so you give attention to your intentions. Look at it every day. Really feel it and allow yourself to get excited by it. Before you go to sleep is a powerful time to review it as it helps you to absorb it in your dreams. Imagine that your dreams have already come true. For example, if your vision is to go to Hawaii, envision that you are already there and can smell the Plumeria flowers and feel the trade winds.


Nina G Rocca, RDN, LDN, CPT  pursues her dreams by staying focused and driven. She has this vision board on her wall and feels it every single day! Love your tenacity and use of the Law of Attraction, Nina!



Remember that the Law of Attraction states, “Like attracts like” by focusing on negative or positive thoughts you can get negative or positive results. You are a magnet. A vision board is positive focus for you to attract what you want.

Napoleon Hill reminds us, “All the breaks you need in life wait within your imagination. Imagination is the workshop of your mind, capable of turning mind energy into accomplishment and wealth.”


Allison Boyd, RDN, CYT, CDE’s  vision is to have the freedom to create the life she loves while transforming what it means to be a diabetes educator and yoga teacher for her community. Her formula is Dreams +  Work = Success! Congratuations Allison!





Create your vision.  Give your vision and desire attention and allow it to happen.

Remember to celebrate once your vison has happened. It’s a big deal!

You have one life to live, just imagine it was the one you loved!

Host a vision party for your friends. Post photos on social media using #VisionBoardDay.

This is my vision board which I keep by my computer. Daily I am reminded that I am the “missing piece” and need to “get busy” and honor my vision so I can reside in Hawaii one month each year. The picture of Gary and I is from our Hawaiian honeymoon thirty plus years ago which puts a smile on my heart and jump starts my actions to attract Hawaii into my life. Aloha!!


Chris, Kathleen, Allison, Liz, Nina, Monica and I would love to see your vision boards!



Saturday Morning Rituals Create Our Life

There is no right or wrong way to spend your Saturday morning. Gary gets up at 5 am to work out. I would LOVE to sleep in BUT I know I feel more energized and happy with myself if I head to an aqua fitness class at 8 am. So I set my alarm and drag myself to class and celebrate with floating with my eyes closed in the big hot tub and pretending I am in heaven. Serious! People ask me what I am doing and then they join me. Others look at me floating around with my eyes closed and almost want to run away. 

The New Year is often the time we want to give ourselves a reset. Saturday mornings are the perfect time to “reset” and focus on our energy instead of New Year’s resolutions. Energy, not time, is our most precious resource. We have twenty-four hours in a day. Our amount of time is fixed. Our amount of energy IS NOT FIXED. Habits or rituals are either helpful of hurtful and are all an investment in energy. But it sounds. so. hard! From years of coaching I have discovered these are the most common obstacles to getting started. 

7 Common Success Sabotages

  • It’s too difficult
  • I don’t deserve it
  • I don’t have the right resources
  • I don’t have the time
  • I can’t do it
  • They don’t want me to
  • I’m afraid

Remember, done is better than perfect. On the days it is hard to drag myself out of bed, I get to swim class a little late. But I get there. Focus on who you want to be. Picture it. Feel it. Do it. On the cold winter days when I just dread jumping into my cold car and cold water, I drag myself to a yoga class instead. I feel all cozy and warm as I lay in the darkened candlelit room before class just happy I set my alarm and got out bed. The hard part is getting there.

Success if not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill

Maybe Saturday morning is the time for you to courageously create the person you want to be this year? If not this Saturday, when?

What are your Saturday morning rituals that are creating your best year ever?


Five Reasons to Write Thank You Notes

National Thank You Note Day is celebrated on December 26—here are a few reasons why taking the time to write friends and family a personalized message is so important.

You can be a day brightener

Who doesn’t love getting cards in the mail?! People don’t care what you know, they want to know that you care.

It is personal attention

Telling the person about the gift or attention you received and how grateful you are tells the person that gave you the gift that the time and money and attention it took were worth it.

They make you feel grateful

Research shows that many months after writing a thank you note, people’s brains are still wired to be extra thankful. And the more you practice gratitude, the more you feel the beautiful life that surrounds you and the happier you will be.

They build relationships

You are creating happiness. Whatever the person did to make your day, you can easily make this person’s day with a thank you note. “It’s not the happy people who are thankful; it’s the thankful people who are happy!” It’s a win win!

It sets you apart

If you want to stand out, the easiest thing you can do is write a thank you note. Employers will notice a handwritten note over 100 emails that all look exactly alike. Your handwritten note gets attention and will often be kept as a keepsake.

Just ask Auntie Chere to see the stack of thank you notes piled by her kitchen sink from friends, siblings, and nieces and nephews. #Cheretreasures #NationalThankYouNoteDay

I am grateful for you taking the time to read this post!

I write 3 to 4 thank you notes a week because I love pouring love on people who are special to me.  How about you?



Registered Dietitian Nutritionist’s Favorite Gluten Free Recipes Celebrating Gluten Free Baking Week 2017

Looking for holiday joy and gluten free recipes? You have come to the right place as these recipes are sure to please—just in time for Gluten Free Baking Week 2017 and the holidays. My Registered Dietitian Nutritionist friends have developed these delish tasty recipes with you in mind. Goodbye. Deprivation. Hello. Delish. Healthy and delish-tasting gluten free sweets for the whole year!



Kelli is the owner of Hungry Hobby LLC and is a nutrition counseling and communications expert. She created these Flourless Chocolate Peppermint Cookies! They are made from almond butter so they are healthy and gluten free, and taste so chewy delicious that you won’t believe they are gluten free. Can’t wait to try them Kelli. Thank you! @hungryhobbyrd 








Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD









Julia Robarts, MS, MPH, RDN, LDN


Here are some beautiful Gluten Free Butternut Squash Muffins that Julia’s family loves. They are adorable and sweet, lightly spiced and have Julia’s “kick ass glaze.” Her family gobbles them up and they are a great use of leftover roasted winter squash.

Julia helps busy families by creating healthy, easy to make recipes the whole family can enjoy. Thanks Julia, they do look adorable and delish! @jugglingjuliaRD









Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD


Every year, Cheryl creates a long list of luscious gluten free options. She helps people with lots of dietary issues including Celiac, digestive issues, food allergies, vegetarian and vegan diets.

Lucky Us! Thanks Cheryl for the comprehensive list. @CherylHarrisRD






Amy Gorin, MS, RDN

Amy is a nutrition consultant, spokesperson, author and recipe developer. We are so happy she developed Almond Pistachio Cocoa Bites which can be eaten for breakfast or a snack. They offer plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fat to keep you fuller for longer. Plus, they’re totally delish! Amy I can’t wait to pop these babies in my mouth. Thank you Amy! @amygorin  










Jeanne Reilly, RD



Through her work as a nutrition consultant, author, spokesperson, and coach, Jeanne Reilly empowers parents to raise children with confidence in their food choices and their bodies. Jeanne developed these gluten free snacks as a nutritious, balanced, easy option for families on the go. Her Crustless Sweet Potato Pie and Butterscotch Coconut Protein Balls are delicious gluten free options for your holiday table! Thanks Jeanne @jeannereillyrd









Judith Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, LD


As a dietitian for over 30 years who cares deeply about the taste of food, Judith “Judes” Scharman Draughon, MS, RDN, LD and author of Lean Body, Smart Life, provides simple and savory solutions to help busy people and their families live healthier. Judes’ Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies are sweetened with raw honey and are much healthier than a typical cookie. Beans replace the flour and egg while natural peanut butter is used instead of butter for an egg, dairy and gluten-free dessert option. I baked these with guests for dessert for my dinner party. Not only were they a hit but it was fun guessing the surprise ingredient. Thanks Judes! @foodswithjudes








E.A. Stewart, MBA, RD



E. A. Stewart aka the Spicy RD is nutrition coach, integrative dietitian, gluten free recipe developer, and digestive health expert in sunny San Diego. She developed Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies just in time for the holiday season for (natural) sweetness, spice and everything nice. These moist, chewy, and delicately spiced and naturally sweetened gluten free gems take delicious to a whole new level with the Sea Salt Caramel Rum Raising filling. Thanks E.A. Mouth. Watering! @spicyrd






Jeanne Petrucci, MS, RDN and Chef Julie Harrington, RDN




Jeanne and Julie love these Gluten Free Pumpkin Scones. Why? You only dirty one bowl and all the ingredients are found in your pantry. What’s not to love! Win! Win! This recipe was lovingly created by Living Plate. A company that provides all the tools and resources dietitians need to amplify their ability to engage their community and expand their client base while helping them generate revenue for their practices. Thank you Jeanne and Julie. This recipe screams healthy holidays! @livingplate









Lisa Hoelscher, MPH, RDN, LD


Lisa enjoys a version of the Flourless Peanut Butter/Almond Butter Cookies that my Registered Dietitian sister Laurie gave me when I started my food sensitivity journey. These cookies saved my sanity. Lisa loves that it can be adapted a million ways. You can add dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips or for a double treat, dip in chocolate. Lisa has also made this recipe with almond butter and almond extract for a different flavor, making it perfect for a peanut butter allergy. I agree with Lisa that it will knock your sweet bud socks off! Along with baking gluten-free treasures, Lisa does volunteer work with St. Anthony Park Area Seniors here in Minnesota. Thanks Lisa!

Flourless Peanut Butter/Almond Butter Cookies
Write a review
  1. 1 cup nut butter
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. (Optional: dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips)
  1. Combine the egg and sugar; then stir in the vanilla and nut butter.
  2. Mix in any optional ingredients.
  3. The dough may be sticky so you may want to refrigerate it for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Roll the dough into 1” balls, then roll in sugar and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  5. Flatten with a criss-cross pattern made with a fork as with peanut butter cookies or with the bottom of a glass.
  6. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet until firm.
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/
We hope you try many of these recipes to indulge your gluten free sweet tooth. We can’t wait for your rave reviews.



5 Hacks HOW to NOT Take Things Personally

I see my Dad about 4 to 5 times a year. Dad is 88 and lately I feel time is running out. My “negative mind” calculates the number of times I may see my dad before he dies, which makes these visits extra important. 

We stopped to see Dad the day after Brett’s wedding. Eight of us surprised him and piled into his small family room where he was watching the Packer game.  My heart was bursting to tell Dad all about the wedding he missed.  I asked Dad if he wanted to hear about Brett’s wedding, “No” he replied as he continued to watch the Packer game, not taking his eyes off the TV.  I felt unimportant and defeated.

Three weeks later I was home for mom’s 88th birthday and Laurie and I decided to see Dad BEFORE the Packer game. We arrived at 11:15 am with plenty of time before the noon Packer game. To our surprise, Dad was watching TV mass and could not be disturbed.  The Packer game started immediately after mass. I asked Dad when we could talk and he growled, “Half time.” Boy was I feeling unimportant. I live 5 hours away and hardy ever see my dad and it appeared the Packers were more important than me.

It took me several weeks to not be “mad” at Dad, when I realized I was taking all of this personally, and it was making me more upset and angry.

Here are five simple hacks HOW to NOT take things personally that have worked for me.

Respond versus react

My initial reaction was “The Packers are more important than me.”  We need to take the time to rein in our thoughts before we respond.  I had wanted to immediately talk to Dad, but what would that solve?  If I was alone sitting in a house day after day I would probably be waiting to watch the Packer game too, just to break up my lonely monotony.  I am glad I didn’t talk to him right away. What would it really have accomplished?  He is 88 years old and is probably not going to change.

Don’t assume and think the worst

Maybe it’s not about you, but rather about them and their perceptions projected onto you.

 Sometimes it’s the other person’s issues, their personal needs and their desire to control you and or a situation. Or maybe they are just unaware and have no clue what they are saying to you.  I honestly think my dad does not know that he sometimes comes across rough or gruff and not caring and kind.

Change the focus of the interaction to compassion

You can try to understand what the other person is feeling or thinking or trying to convey to you.  Do they interact with other people like this or just you? Maybe they lack social skills and are more negative then you are. Maybe they don’t value relationships like you do.   After stewing for a few weeks I gave Dad compassion.  But only after I thought about what it would be like to watch the world go by confined to the only chair I could sit in and have only two activities I could do day after day – look out the window or watch TV.

Realize that not everything is about you

It is so easy to be a victim and fall into the trap of thinking that the non-verbal negative vibes or criticism is about something you did. It can simply be that the other person is having a bad day.  But if you notice that your relationship with a particular person is repeating the same negative patterns over and over again it may be time to rethink how much time you spend with them.  I have learned not to call Dad during dinner time because as long as I can remember Dad has been on a schedule and he sticks to it no matter what.

Invest your time and energy in you

We all care about what others think. We spend buckets of time trying to understand what we did wrong or why people don’t like us.  Focus on the people who do cherish and love you instead of dwelling on the negativity of those who don’t seem to like you.  Be done poisoning your spirit with someone else’s negativity and focus on the joys in your own life.

Remember what Don Miquel Ruiz says, “Don’t take anything personally. Nothings others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you detach yourself from other peoples’ beliefs and… Click To Tweet

Not taking things personal is your practical guide to freedom and more joy filled days!

We would love to hear what you do to not take things personally.





The Best Oatmeal You Have Ever Had

This month I want to highlight Allison Tepper, MS, RD, LDN who helps busy people create healthy lifestyle changes through mindful eating to achieve their desired weight.

Is your winter go-to breakfast oatmeal? Are you sick of the same old same old? Are you concerned about how much added sugar your instant oatmeal contains? You are in luck. Allison’s oatmeal recipe uses ripe bananas that add a natural delicious sweetness. You can also add many different mix-ins that are really tasty and satisfying that will have you wanting oatmeal for dinner too. Once you find your favorite combination you will crave it every day just like Allison. 

The Best Oatmeal You Have Ever Had
Write a review
  1. 1/2 cup quick oats
  2. 1/2 banana, sliced
  3. 1 cup of milk
  4. 2 tsp raisins
  5. 1 tbsp chia or flax seeds
  6. 2 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1 tbsp peanut butter
  1. Combine oats, banana and milk in microwaveable bowl.
  2. Microwave for 3 minutes, checking to make sure that your oatmeal doesn’t overflow! Or cook on stove top.
  3. Once done, give it a good stir. Add in raisins, chia or flax seeds, cinnamon and peanut butter.
  4. Stir it all up and enjoy! Feel free to add any other desired toppings.
  5. If you are looking to spice things up, try some of the other mix –ins that Allison suggests. You will for sure come up with your favorite.
Taste Life, with Chere Bork http://cherebork.com/blog/

Allison Tepper, MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian in the DC Metro area.

She is a faculty member in the Department of Health Studies at American University and owner of her private practice, Allison Tepper Nutrition Consulting. Allison is passionate about helping clients achieve their goals through an overall lifestyle approach that is unique to each individual.

Her belief in a non-diet approach led her to obtain her certification in Intuitive Eating in 2013 to help clients create a healthy relationship with food. Allison works with clients through one-on-one sessions, workshops, lectures and retreats. She can’t wait to empower you.


Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet


Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet!

How to Set and Achieve the Goals You Really Want in the New Year


Ready to make some BIG changes? Not sure where to start?     

Join Chere Bork aka “The Energy Igniter’s” FREE one hour teleclass
and discover the keys to setting and achieving the goals you really want in 2018.

In this one hour teleclass 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
  • And much, much more!

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

Don’t miss this opportunity to start the New Year off RIGHT!


12th Annual FREE Teleclass:

Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet!

Choose a Session: 
Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 10 am PST/noon CST/1 pm EST
Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 5 pm PST/7 pm CST/8 pm EST     

Reserve Your Spot: 
Call: 952-937-5697
Email: chere@cherebork.com    
(Indicate which session you’d like to attend.)  
You will be given the telephone bridge number and other important details about how to get the most out of your tele-class experience the week of class.  


About the Coach:

Chere Bork, MS, RDN is an experienced life coach and speaker who partners with successful professionals to achieve extraordinary health and well-being so they can live the life of their dreams and accomplish anything they want! Really!

Results from one hour focusing on your best year ever:

Oh my god girl, you are FABULOUS! I took more notes on your talk last night than I did back in organic chemistry! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this call! – Diane Moreau-Stodola, MS, RD

I have lots to think about after your call – I needed that push to re-create my vision board and write down my goals in all of the 8 areas. One being the best year of marriage ever – like you – I loved that one! And I like how you said create an intention for the next day too. I need to create a more organized space to keep all of my thoughts and goals straight from day to day – I’m getting lost in the paper shuffle. Thank you for your energy and time in creating the call tonight. You are amazing!! – Jen Haugen, RD, LD

Thank you for the tele-class. I enjoyed it very much. This year I think I am off to a good start, but looking back I can see that it evolved out of a year of productive procrastination. Up until this tele-class I thought it was just a wasted year, but now I see otherwise. Without your tele-class I would not have understood that where I am today is BECAUSE of what I had to go through last year. – Stefanie

Chere, Thank you for the TERRIFIC class! I feel so inspired and motivated! – Linda Wax

Loved it! I have oodles of notes and much to ponder for the next few days. I mentioned that my goal this year was to be happier… and making that decision is paying off. I get it, and will apply that strategy to other areas of my life. – Lynda, RDN, LD

Thanks for helping me realize I cannot do everything! I had a couple wins over the weekend. I even took a short nap on both Saturday and Sunday. I was revived after only 20 minutes! Thank you so much for the tele-class. I felt so much happier the whole day after I took it and can now see many more possibilities for the next year! – K


We Should Be Happy and Thankful

I am grateful. No. Matter. What.

Ahh… gratitude: that joy-filled emotion of thankfulness! We should always be thankful and happy but especially during the holidays. But… 

Gratitude is so easy when our lives are in order. We work eight hour days (no weekends); we manage our inbox; we feel loved and appreciated by the people we share our home and work lives with. BUT, how often does that really happen? Sometimes it can be through our deepest pain and challenges that we discover the beauty of gratitude.

My dear friend Mark is going through a cancer journey with no boundaries. You don’t expect to be hospitalized for a month and having your gall bladder removed during your chemo treatment. He is a determined fierce warrior and his battle takes my breath away. Another friend within a one week period experienced the death of her mom and the birth of her granddaughter. She said it was “hard.” I cannot imagine her “hard week”.

Our mom turned 88 on November 11th and wanted to celebrate her birthday with her mom and dad and brother Jack which means she wanted to celebrate in heaven not here on earth. I get it. Our daddy is tired of living too. Tired of every bone in his body hurting him, being unable to walk unassisted and bored with the only two activities he can do lately; watch TV and look out the window into his small backyard.

He used to say if he could not drive and play cards, he wanted to go to Mount Olivet– the cemetery where mom and dad will be buried.

In quiet moments during the day and at night I find myself whispering to myself, “I am so blessed!” I am blessed that I have 3 nurturing “can do” sisters and a ”ready to help” brother Michael. I am blessed that I have such deep feelings and love for my family members. When I felt myself going down the slippery slope of negativity and thoughts of how can I help my parents I found myself asking, “Chere, what is good, what is right, what is beautiful?

I realized I was focusing and practicing positivity. Barbara Frederickson, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and author of the book “Positivity” (Crown, 2009), has demonstrated that the secret to being happy is to focus daily on the good stuff which cultivates your positivity. Positivity is experienced by positive emotions like joy, gratitude, interest, hope, awe, inspiration and love. It is those times when you feel truly loved and connected to others, when you feel playful; when you feel blessed; when your spirit is moved by just being alive and you are fully in the moment, or when you are engaged in an activity you absolutely love.

Positivity does not mean you need to force a smile or try to be happy or never experience negative emotions. Positivity means you have more positive emotions than negative ones. She has discovered the happiness tipping point of 3:1; we need to have 3 or more positive experiences for every equivalent negative one. Barbara’s research shows that 80% of Americans fall short of this ideal 3:1 positivity ratio. 

I have realized when I was writing this blog post that I surround myself with the word gratitude in my home. The gratitude sign in my bathroom sets my tone for the day and the Grateful Pillow on my bed reminds me I am blessed.  No. Matter. What.

Three Step Triple A Approach to Positivity

Take the positivity self test to determine your positivity ratio. It is recommended you take this every evening for two weeks.

Keep a mental or written list of your negativity during the day. Who gets under your skin? What situations trigger frustration every time? Make note of the circumstances and people that bring out your negativity. Also note where does your positivity come from? What triggers that smile on your heart?

When something negative happens, think of three positives. What actions can you do to get more of the positives and less of the negatives?

If you seed your life with frequent moments of positive emotions you will positively increase your resilience against your challenges and who knows may even perceive them as possibilities.

Being thankful and cultivating an attitude of gratitude puts life in perspective. Just like our parents told us when we were growing up things are never as bad as they may seem.

Call to Action: 
Discover the power of 3:1, which Barbara says leads to more resilience to adversity and effortlessly achieve what you once only imagined.

Gratitude is the positivity muscle. The more you do it the stronger it gets. Click To Tweet

Mom repeated over and over she was happy she celebrated her birthday with her kids after all. Sometimes the fear of even good things can be scary! But there is always a nugget of gratefulness we can cling to and find hope in. No. Matter. What.

Happiness is waiting for you in EVERY moment. But you have to want to choose it. Decide today. Remember as soon as you decide, your life gets more delicious. You only have one life to live, just imagine if it was one you loved.

With positive gratitude,


What Fast Foods do Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Eat?

Yay! Yay! It’s National Fast Food Day!  

Back in the olden days, (1982) I taught Fast Food Operations at the University of Wisconsin – Stout and ran the Edible Express Restaurant. I was so lucky to be paid to work with dietetics and hospitality majors to manage the restaurant and serve healthy lunches to their fellow students in the Home Ec building. Of course, the special of the day always included a fruit and milk which bothered the hospitality major for the added cost of fresh fruit and milk but was welcomed by the dietetics majors. The bonus was I was only about 5 years older than my students so every day was fun and enjoyable. (What college teachers get earrings and perfume from their students? ME! )


Since then I have been enamored with the latest foods and fast food trends. It was a JOY DAY when I lived in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Taco Bell opened.  I was enamored with their taco pizza dripping with cheese. I traveled for the Dairy Council of Wisconsin and remember how difficult it was to eat this pizza while driving. I was washed down my fast food with a nice carton of milk.

I also remember thirty plus years ago when I first moved to Minneapolis, one of my first “must eats” was White Castle. I will never forget watching two guys buy watches while standing in line. Yes, this White Castle was in a rough neighborhood. Not every day is there “bartering” going on in your fast food line.

I discovered the White Castle slider (slides down as there are 18 sliders per pound) was not my favorite, and never ate another one.

My all time fav is simple – McDonald’s Cheeseburger on a leaf of lettuce with extra pickles with a Side Salad with Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette. Since being diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity no bun for me. Three years later I can finally say I am used to no bun. It is convenient and the perfect size combination of burger with a crunchy salad with a savory vinaigrette. My only wish was that that salad had more tomatoes and veggies. Note: You must be a passenger when eating this and not the driver!

My Registered Dietitian Nutritionist friends have more ideas for you.

When life gets hectic and when Sharon is out and about, one of her favorite fast-casual restaurants is Chipotle. Since their food borne illness scare in October 2015, they instituted a rigorous food safety protocol, probably making them one of the safest places to eat. Sharon also really likes their food and agriculture philosophy They have a great interactive nutrition calculator allowing you to build your meal and see the nutrition facts as you go. You can add or remove items to get just the calorie level you are looking for. For example, if you are making a bowl, you can skip the rice and do lettuce instead. Then add the tofu sofritas, 2 kinds of beans, the fajitas veggies, and tomatillo salsa (this one is the lowest in sodium). You get a very yummy and filling salad for a reasonable 450 calories meal with at least 4 servings of veggies! Sharon’s biggest gripe is the high level of sodium in their foods. It’s difficult to stay under the daily guideline of 2300 milligrams since they add sodium to just about every ingredient.  So, if you have hypertension you need to keep an eye on the sodium when you are building your meal. Thanks Sharon!

For the longest time, like years, Julia loved the treat of a McDonald’s McChicken sandwich with a side of hot, salty fries and a fountain Diet Coke. Her perfect fast food combo! Zero guilt – as it was a very occasional indulgence. Nowadays, sadly, Julia’s gluten-free life doesn’t allow it, but if she really wants that combo she says she can make it herself Of course you can Julia! I get it I am gluten free too. Thank you Julia for the great idea! @jugglingjuliaRD

Lauren has 3 fave “fast foods”

Subway rotisserie chicken on a “scooped out” 6″ whole grain roll with every available veggie except olives and a tiny bit of chipotle sauce. Panera “You pick two” with garden vegetable and pesto soup, 1/2 ancient grain and arugula salad with chicken (dressing on the side) and an apple.   And Lauren adores the Starbucks Spinach, Feta and Cage Free Egg White Breakfast Wrap or Chicken and Quinoa Protein Bowl with Black Beans and Greens. Each of these is a fast and easy source of protein, fiber, veggies and whole grains you don’t need to make yourself. Each meal averages 300-400 calories which is incredibly modest for fast food and really tasty too!  The key Lauren like you stated, is that they are a wholesome source of calories and as you pointed out…you don’t need to cook them yourself. Sometimes we want to have less kitchen time and eat out. And eating out doesn’t have to break the calorie and fat bank. Thanks you Lauren! @LaurenPincusRD

Judy jokes that she is a fast food illiterate.  She reminds us that it seems like they ask for your order as you approach the counter and she doesn’t even know what is on the menu. (Because she loves loves loves to cook!)  However, at Wendy’s during colder weather, she enjoys the chili over a plain baked potato. Hearty! Satisfying! And an inexpensive food solution!

She also enjoys the half-size apple pecan chicken salad. This salad has enough protein that it keeps her full plus she enjoys the variety of textures and flavors. Thanks Judy. You bring up a good point about the chili. It is an inexpensive solution when you are hungry and want to not cook and eat very quickly. Thanks Judy! @JudyBarbe

Samina’s favorite fast food is Whataburger’sWhataburger Jr. It is just the right size for her to enjoy the whole burger without feeling super stuffed and has all the components of a classic burger. Just like most fast food joints, this burger is high in sodium so she makes sure she grabs a bottle of water to stay hydrated. When Samina goes out for fast food she tries to savor every bite and enjoy the experience mindfully. She believes all foods fit within a wholesome diet and one fast food meal every now and then won’t make you a bad or unhealthy person. Samina believes your food choices do not define your morality and you don’t have to eat a 100% “clean” diet to achieve your best health. It’s all about finding the right balance for you. I agree Samina. I love your philosophy that all food fits! @wholesomeStart

Sarah wants to liberalize all foods and loves to show that dietians are “real” people and sometimes eat fast food. Sarah favorite road trip meal is

Chic Fila Fried Chicken Sandwich with Waffle Fries – so simple but tasty! Sarah loves the taste of fried chicken and Chic Fila does it really well. Sarah says you can’t beat their waffle fries with chic fila sauce and honey mustard. Sarah, who doesn’t love fried chicken with a side of fries on a road trip  @bucketlisttumRD

Caroline’s favorite fast food is the Taco Bell Veggie Power Bowl.  She says this bowl has it all – black beans, rice, pico, guacamole, reduced fat sour cream and avocado ranch sauce.  It tastes AMAZING and is under 500 calories (420 to be exact) with 13 grams of fiber!  (Most Americans don’t even consume 13 grams of fiber in a 24 hour period!).  Caroline also loves supporting Taco Bell as they have 2 dietitians on staff.  I love it too Caroline. Thanks Caroline! @CarolineSusieRD


Hope you have a new food that sounds yummy and healthy that you want to try.
What is your favorite fast food meal?