Category Archives: Food and Drink


Eating healthfully is an evolutionary process – a gradual shift in your food choices and eating behaviors over time.  Naturally, the food you eat and enjoy changes as you grow from a child into an adult. However, young children can teach us a lot about how to eat sensibly as they are born with built-in appetite wisdom. Like the gas gauge on your car that tells you when it’s time to fuel up and when it’s time to stop, children intuitively know when they are hungry or full – they are masters of self-regulation with food.

It is very telling when a child only eats a little and loses interest in food – the child is full. That’s the end of the story regardless of how long you’ve slaved in the kitchen! Fast forward 20 years – that child (now an adult) most likely will keep eating that gourmet meal because it’s not only delicious, but it’s there. Studies have shown that grown-ups tend to eat what is put in front of them – even if it’s too much.  Most of us shut off our internal cues of hunger and fullness – because our natural appetite instincts are overridden by the allure of second helpings and tasty desserts. The danger in this is obvious – overeating and weight gain – not great for health!

So what are some strategies to successfully rewrite your eating script to live a healthier, happier life?  Take a look at the check list below for some sure-fire ways to rethink what you eat and drink forever.

  • Avoid meal skipping, especially breakfast.  While all meals are a chance to get valuable nutrients, breakfast truly is the mac-daddy of your daily meal triad!
  • Do daily food jotting by keeping a notebook or your phone with you to write down what you eat and drink 24/7.  You’ll be surprised where excess, empty calories are coming in!
  • Swap sliced chopped or diced vegetables for refined carbs snacks like white flour-based crackers, cookies and chips.
  • Banish the regular soda for mineral water or zero-calorie fruit infused water.
  • Aim for the better butters such nut butters like peanut or almond butter.
  • Go meatless at least one day a week (it’s better for you and the planet!).  Make meals with plant foods like as tofu, beans, nuts, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Excerpted from The Essential Guide to Healthy and Healing Foods by

Victoria Shanta Retelny, RD, LDN with Jovanka JoAnn Milivojevic


If you thought that watermelon was nothing more than a watery sweet treat, think again.  Watermelon is both delicious and quite nutritious.

Fat free and low in calories, a two cup serving of watermelon supplies good amounts of Vitamins A, B6 and C.  The red variety also has a significant amount of lycopene – an antioxidant that numerous studies suggest reduces the risk for prostate and cervical cancers.  While tomatoes have long been cited for their high lycopene factor watermelon actually has more – two cups has 18.16 mg compared to one medium-sized tomato with 4 mg.


To find the ripest, juiciest watermelon:

  • look for one that it is heavy for its size
  • is free from cuts or bruises
  • has a yellowish spot where it sat on the ground happily ripening in the sun

Store whole watermelons in the fridge or at room temperature for up to a week.  Cut watermelon should be wrapped in cellophane and stored in the fridge. Even though you don’t eat the rind, wash the melon before cutting to rinse off debris that could easily wander from fingertips to fruit.

Enjoy watermelon any time of day – breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack.  For an exotic treat, toss some seeded watermelon chunks into a blender, whirl into liquid, pour into ice cube trays and freeze.  Enjoy the frozen chunks in your favorite lemonade or try the berry lemonade recipe for a refreshing twist on a summer favorite.

Berry Watermelon Lemonade

Prep time: 20 minutes

Chill time: 1 hour

6 C fresh watermelon cubes (seeds removed)

¼ C raspberries or strawberries

1 C  water

1/3 C sugar (superfine dissolves faster)

½ C lemon juice

Place watermelon, berries and water in blender, puree until smooth. To remove seeds berry seeds, pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Stir in lemon juice and sugar until dissolved.  Chill in refrigerator for about an hour.

For more recipes and nutritious insights, check out my new book, The Essential Guide to Healthy and Healing Foods.

Happy Summer!



When Foods and Medicines Mix

Do you take it with food?  Without?  Is milk a no-no?  What about grapefruit juice?  Knowing how to take your meds is crucial.  Some foods can interact badly and dangerously raise or lower drug levels in your body.  So the short advice, is read the label and talk to your pharmacist.

Here are a few tips to help you mind your meds:

  • Avoid dairy when taking antibiotics. The calcium can bind to the drug and reduce how much of it enters your bloodstream
  • St John’s wort reduces the effectiveness of many drugs including those for erectile dysfunction.
  • Alcohol can increase or decrease effectiveness of certain drugs and because it can slow down your metabolism – it enables medications to stay in your system longer.
  • Avoid taking meds with acidic soft drinks. They can cause the medication to dissolve in the stomach instead of the intestines, destroy the medicines altogether or force time-released meds to dissolve immediately.
  • Caffeine.  Could increase effect of stimulant drugs or decrease the effect of sedatives.


Everything we eat, drink, or swallow is combined and transformed in our bodies through complex chemical processes. As soon as something passes through your lips, eager enzymes in your saliva start to break it apart. That conversion process continues all the way down the pipeline until nutrients (or medicines) are broken into smaller elements that eventually make their way into the bloodstream. For the most part, nutrients (e.g. vitamins, minerals, proteins) are useful as they provide energy, repair cells and provide defense against disease and infections. But sometimes, these very same healthful agents can thwart the action of medicines and vice versa.


Learn about supplements, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines including interactions, side effects, dietary precautions, and more by searching on key word drug information at Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health.

Have Your Chips and Eat Them Too!

Want to satisfy that craving for salty crunchy snacking without eating oil laden, high fat, calorie-rich potato chips?  Well, if you tried rice cakes and felt like you were eating puffed air,  have I got a tip for you:

shop for snacks in the diabetic aisle

Don’t have diabetes you say?  Doesn’t mean you can’t gain the benefits of specially formulated snacks that are designed to be low calorie and nutrient dense (meaning you get high nutrition for relatively low calories).

Extend Crisps for example are:

  • high in fiber – so they break down more slowly in your body and help control hunger
  • high in protein – 7 grams in most single packs,  giving you more sustained energy
  • no cholesterol, no transfats, little to no sugar and gluten-free
  • low in glycemic index and load – again helping to stabilize blood sugar and keep your energy even keel
  • low calorie – about 130 per bag
  • great taste – REALLY chose from BBQ honey, white cheddar and zesty ranch

I stumbled upon these at the local Walgreens for $1.59.  I was surprised at how good they tasted.  The protein comes from mainly from soy.  And I’ve got to say, they really did satisfy my snack attack and my hunger.  Give ‘um a try and let me know what you think!

Snack Happy!