Rhonda’s Cooking


Archive for May, 2008

Eating Healthy While on Vacation

Posted by rhondascooking on May 30, 2008

Grilled Mahi-mahi I have heard many people say, “I can eat whatever I want, I’m on vacation.”  Unfortunately, with that attitude, you may end up paying for it later!  I know that it may be hard to resist those delectable five star desserts, but sometimes you have to “just say no.”  When I was vacationing at the All Inclusive Beaches Resort in the Turks, I was exposed to every type of cuisine imaginable.  However, due to my food allergies and the fact that I am trying to keep my weight in check, I had to turn the other cheek.  So, how did I survive?  Here are a few of Rhonda’s Travel Survival Tips:


1.    Pack healthy snacks enough to last throughout the trip (trail mix, granola bars, rice cakes, nuts/seeds, etc.).

2.    Pack healthy beverages such as Vitamin Water or juice—be sure to use storage bags.

3.    Contact the hotel prior to arrival and inquire about the types of restaurants on site.

4.    Inform the restaurant waiter that you have food restrictions; indicate what foods will work for you.

5.    If the waiter is uncertain about what’s in the food or how it was prepared then ask to speak with the chef.


Preparation is important in order to maintain a healthy diet while on vacation.  Never be caught off guard and forced to eat foods that will make you pay after the vacation!

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Gadget of the Week: Prepara® ‘Trio’ Tri-blade Peeler!

Posted by rhondascooking on May 29, 2008

Prepara \'Trio\' Triblade PeelerI have so many favorite kitchen gadgets, but I must say that for this week, the Prepara Tri-Blade Peeler has done wonders for me in the kitchen!  I call this tri-blade peeler the Rolls Royce of all vegetable peelers!  I know one might say, “What’s the big deal? They all work the same.”  Well, I beg to differ.  After using this peeler for over two months now, I am a firm believer that not all peelers are created equal.  Prior to this purchase, my peeler was simple and cheap ($1), and I thought it did the job until one day I was browsing in one of my favorite kitchen stores and found the Trio! 


The Trio is made of Japanese surgical steel and has three different blades—soft, firm, and julienne.  What I really love about this peeler is that it doesn’t remove much of the flesh of the food as do most other peelers, as well as the fact that the Trio has a soft glide.  However, one word of caution about this wonderful must have gadget is that you better be careful as you peel, because there is a chance that you can cut yourself.  You can find this gadget at many specialty kitchen stores like Sur la Table or Williams and Sonoma, or you can purchase online.

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What’s the Story on Sea Salt?

Posted by rhondascooking on May 29, 2008

Celtic Sea Salt

Sea salt as you may know originates from the ocean and has been in use since the beginning of life.  Natural sea salt is produced when a portion of ocean water has been contained in huge, shallow, flat beds and then naturally evaporated by the sun, thus leaving a layer of sea salt. The dirty brown part of the salt is on the bottom and contains trace minerals, such as potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, etc.  On the other hand, white salt sometimes called “sea salt”, is on the top and may not have these trace minerals.   Natural sea salt is not white and dry; instead it’s a little grey and feels damp.  Many of the white sea salts sold on the market have a free flowing or anti-caking agent (sodium ferrocyanide) added to the salt to make it easy to pour. Types of salts with this free flowing agent are table salt and Kosher salt. 


There are different natural sea salts with different minerals, thus causing each one to have a unique flavor.2 My favorite sea salt is called Celtic Sea Salt® (the “C” is pronounced like a “k”).  This sea salt is harvested by salt farmers off the coast of France and has 13 minerals with no additives.  The flavor of Celtic Sea Salt is amazing!  This salt enhances any dish that I cook.  Not only is this salt great for cooking, but also it is great for medicinal purposes and is recommended by many doctors.  I have used Celtic Sea Salt to heal my sore throat and mouth sores (i.e. canker sores)!  If you are interested in purchasing this amazing salt, please email info@rhondascooking.com.






1 “Salts that Heal and Salts that Kill.” CureZone Newsletter 1996-2007. May 29, 2008 http://www.curezone.com/foods/saltpage.asp.

2”Salt.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia May 29, 2008. May 29, 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edible_salt>.


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MyPyramid.gov: What Is It?

Posted by rhondascooking on May 29, 2008

MyPyramid.govIn the previous newsletter I spoke about the importance of making a lifestyle change instead of focusing on dieting.  What I meant by this lifestyle change is eating foods that work for your body’s system, as well as providing the necessary daily nutritional value.  What is the daily nutritional value that we should follow?  Unfortunately, there is not just one answer, in fact the answer is different for each person and is based upon a number of factors, such as one’s age, weight, and level of physical activity. 


The amount of food that a person should consume daily can be found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPyramid1.  MyPyramid is a guidance established in 1994 by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion of the USDA to improve the nutrition and well-being of Americans.  MyPyramid is based on the science-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which includes the recommended amounts of food and physical activity that one should have.  This guidance is only for the general public ages 2 and up is not meant to be the end all be all—meaning if you have health challenges such as food allergies, intolerances, heart problems, eating disorders, etc., then you need to consult with a health care provider.

MyPyramid includes the following nutrition components and servings of each major food group:


Food Groups Daily Serving Recommendations 1 serving example
Grains 3 to 8 ounces 1/2 cup cooked rice
Vegetables 2 to 3 cups 2 cups leafy greens
Fruit 1 to 2 cups 1 medium apple
Milk 3 to 6 cups 1 cup milk
Meat & Beans 3 to 6 ounces 1oz meat;1/2cup beans
Oils 3 to 6 teaspoons 1 teaspoon oil
Discretionary Calories 165 to 510 calories Butter, wine 
Figure 1. MyPyramid recommended daily nutritional intake.



Please note that these recommendations also depend on your age, gender, level of activity, as well as your current health conditions.  If you need more assistance with putting together a balanced nutritional meal plan that is tailored specifically for you, please email info@rhondascooking.com. 

1 “MyPyramid.gov.”  United States Department of Agriculture. May 29, 2008 <http://www.mypyramid.gov/>.   


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Stop Dieting…Make a Lifestyle Change!

Posted by rhondascooking on May 6, 2008

USDA MyPyramid

Most people go on a diet with the sole purpose to lose weight without really understanding the full implications. Dieting is not for everyone for many reasons.  They are restrictive and sometimes imbalanced and if not properly understood, diets may not be safe for many people, especially those who have challenges with heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disorder, obesity, etc.  So before you make a decision whether or not to start a diet, take some time to do a health assessment with your primary care physician to determine what your body needs.


People are different, so their need for maintaining a healthy life will also be different.  Many diets are generic and do not take into account a person’s overall health.  For instance take the popular “low-carb” diet, a.k.a. The Atkins diet, this diet requires a person to eat high portions of protein and very low portions of healthy carbohydrates; unfortunately, this may not be ideal for a person who has high cholesterol.  So, if your goal is to lose weight, the key to achieving it is to make a lifestyle change, which includes eating balanced meals that support your body’s needs, as well as exercising. 


I know this may sound a little over whelming, but have no fear; the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given us some help.  The USDA has developed a general plan, called MyPyramid which helps us to learn how to balance between food and physical activity, make better food choices, and maintain daily calorie needs (I will go into more detail about MyPyramid in future newletters). 


So don’t wait until January 2009 to set a new goal; start today.  It’s never too late to start making a lifestyle change in order to live a healthier life!  If you need help with getting started, email us at info@rhondascooking.com to learn more about our Food Lifestyle Makeovers!

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Gadget of the Week: The Vita-Mix!

Posted by rhondascooking on May 6, 2008

Vita-mix 5200

I call the Vita-Mix the Cadillac of all blenders!  This powerful appliance is excellent for preparing quick and easy meals.  Since having the Vita-Mix for over 2 years, I have done a number of things with this gadget that I never thought I could do such as making almond butter and even making hot soup!

The Vita-Mix allows customers to make whole food juice that’s full of fiber and flavor in under a minute, cook soup from scratch that’s hot, hearty and satisfying in just 4 minutes, make frozen treats that are full of fruit and low in fat in only 30 seconds, grind fresh whole grains into flour and knead dough for healthy home made bread in one 5-minute operation.


If you are interested in making healthy whole food meals that are quick, easy and delicious, start your 30-day no-risk in-home trial today and we’ll give you FREE Standard Ground Shipping!


Click here to get started – https://secure.vitamix.com/redirect.aspx?index.aspx?COUPON=06-002881









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Organic, Natural, and Local Foods…I’m Confused!

Posted by rhondascooking on May 6, 2008

USDA Organic LogoGrocery shopping has become more of a task; there are so many choices when purchasing foods. Not only are you trying to decide between a Gala apple and Fuji apple, but also you have to decide whether to choose an apple that is organic, natural/conventional or locally produced. What’s the difference—after all, don’t these foods all look the same? 


Well, the major differences between these classifications are the fact that organic foods are produced without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation. On the other hand, natural and local foods sometimes may or may not be produced using pesticides, but in order to distinguish, you must carefully read the ingredients label or research the manufacturer.  Amongst the three, organic foods are the best foods to purchase for a number of reasons.  As a matter of fact, according to a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, pesticides might cause an extra 4 million cancer cases among Americans.1 Furthermore, in 1993 the NAS also concluded in another report that infants and children are at a greater risk from pesticide residues and environmental chemicals.2  


There is no way to visually determine whether or not the produce is safe from pesticides other than selecting items with the official organic logo.  Be prepared, however, to spend a little more on the organic foods.  If you are not able to purchase all organic foods, then try to purchase produce that have the lowest exposure risk to pesticides in organic.   How would you know what those are?  The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect the public health and the environment, studied 44 different types of foods between 2000 and 2004 to understand the impact of pesticide on the food. The following is a list of the top 12 most contaminated produce3:

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes

 The top 12 least contaminated produce are:

  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Sweet Peas (frozen)
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant

 I truly understand that there will be cases that you may not be able to purchase organic produce, so in that situation all is not lost.  Just simply purchase a natural vegetable wash which can be found at your local grocery store or Wal-Mart.


1Lipson, Elaine Marie.  “Kids and Pesticides Organic Foods Can Make a Difference.” IMPAKT Health, 2004. 

2 “Top 10 Reasons To Buy Organic.”  Santa Clara, CA: California Certified Organic Farmers.

3 “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.” Environmental Working Group 2006. May 5, 2008 <http://www.foodnews.org/>.



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