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Healthified Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are quick and easy to make, get kids to the table for a fun dinner and can be a great way to incorporate a healthy boost of vegetables into your day!

A lot of us still use, or grow up on the canned Sloppy Joe mix – get rid of that stuff! This is easy and all natural . You get the sweet, tangy, rich flavor of the traditional sloppy burger – naturally.

For the bun, this is another place where you can ruin a perfectly healthy meal. Instead of a white bun, try something a little different. Whole grain pita, homemade biscuits – recipe below for easy and quick Whole Grain Beer Batter Biscuits, toasted spelt bread – all make better alternatives for the highly processed traditional buns.

Pack as many vegetables as you can into this recipe! Chop up some fresh spinach in the food processor, grate your vegetables very small….sneak it in where you can!

Want to switch it up? I will include variations to make Sloppy Jose’s and Sloppy Guiseppe’s! Yum!

Healthified Sloppy Joes

Makes 6-8 servings

1 Tb healthy oil/fat of your choice

20 oz lean ground turkey (or use 1 lb of grass fed ground beef, ground chicken etc.)

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 carrot, grated

3 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

2 cups tomato sauce – organic if possible, no sugar added

1 Tb raw honey, melted

1 Tb fresh lemon juice

1 Tb mustard – yellow, Dijon or spicy brown

1 Tsp paprika

3 large pinches Kosher/sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add your oil and swirl around the pan. Add the meat and vegetables. Stir often, allowing all moisture to evaporate and the ingredients to brown. While the meat is cooking mix together your sauce mix – the tomato sauce, honey, lemon juice, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Once the meat mixture is brown add your sauce. Keep the heat up and let the sauce and meat simmer together and allowing the sauce to get rich and thick. Take off the heat when you have the rich consistency you want – sloppy but not too sloppy!

Serve with the bun of your choice. Enjoy!

To make Sloppy Jose’s: Reduce the tomato sauce to 1 cup. Add one cup salsa and instead of paprika add 1 tsp cumin and 2 tsp dried ground chili powder. Serve with sour cream and some cheese!

To make Sloppy Guiseppe’s: MY FAVORITE: Instead of paprika add 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tsp dried oregano and just before serving mix in about ½ cup grated parmesan cheese.

Leftover mix? Wrap up in a tortilla for lunch, make a fabulous omelet or eat as-is with a salad!

Whole grain beer batter biscuits

Makes 12 biscuits

3 cups whole grain flour

1 tsp salt

1 Tb baking powder

1 Tb organic raw sugar

12 oz beer of your choice

Mix the dry ingredients together – add the beer and mix until everything is just incorporated. Spray a muffin tin with pan spray, divide the batter between the cups. Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes until the top is nice and brown. Serve and enjoy!

Go to and for more healthified recipes.

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Training For a 5k? Fuel Up With These Tips!

Here’s a link to an article we wrote for regarding training for a 5k. This article gives you tips on what to eat and when to eat it before your race.

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Fitness Fact Friday – “The Soft American”

Back in December of 1960 President-Elect John F. Kennedy wrote an article for Sports Illustrated called The Soft American. In this article he references a research study that was conducted by Dr. Hans Kraus and Dr. Sonja Weber (Kraus Weber Test), in which they tested the physical strength and ability of American youth compared to that of Europeans.

The test was made up of six parts. Here they are:

Test No. 1. With his feet held on the ground by the examiner, the subject lies flat on his back with his hands behind the neck. Perform one sit-up.

Test No. 2. The subject is in the same position except that his knees are bent with his ankles close to the buttocks. Perform one sit-up.

Test No. 3. The subject lies flat on his back with his hands behind his neck. The legs are straight and lifted 10 inches off the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds.

Test No. 4. The subject lies on his stomach with a pillow under his lower abdomen and groin. The examiner holds his feet down. Lift head, shoulders, and chest off the floor and hold for 10 seconds.

Test No. 5. The subject’s position is the same, but the examiner holds the chest down. With knees straight, lift legs off floor and hold for 10 seconds.

Test No. 6. The subject stands erect, barefooted, and with feet together. The examiner holds the knees straight. Bend over slowly and touch the floor with the fingertips. Hold this position for 3 seconds

The results are astonishing. Nearly 60% of American children failed one or more of these test, whereas only about 9% of European children failed.

In his article, John F. Kennedy talks extensively about the importance of fitness for our youth and our nation. I would like to share the final paragraph with you:

All of us must consider our own responsibilities for the physical vigor of our children and of the young men and women of our community. We do not want our children to become a generation of spectators. Rather, we want each of them to be a participant in the vigorous life.

What do you think? Have things changed? Are we a generation of spectators? Could your child or children you know pass the Kraus Weber Test listed above? Have the advancements in all forms of media pushed our children from their playgrounds and fields back onto their couches? (If so, try these steps.) What are you doing to ensure our Nation’s next generation is not considered “SOFT!?”

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Jumpstart 2012 By Working On Ourselves “Week 3 Check In”

Congratulations! You are another week into accomplishing your Health and Fitness Goals. Hopefully you are also teaching your family to follow in your footsteps. As Chef Kirsten of Mesa De Vida explained, There are many ways to get your kids (or reluctant husband) to eat more fruits and veggies. If you still aren’t seeing results, maybe you are making some of these common mistakes in the Challenge. No looking back now! Keep it up. Don’t forget to check in “Still In” in the comments section!

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6 Ways to Get Your Kids (or reluctant husband) to Eat Their Veggies from Mesa de Vida!

Start early! 

Start allowing them to try vegetables and fruits before they have the ability to tell you “No”! It may be a little late for this, but if you have any new little’s in your future, you can start at the beginning with them! Of course follow pediatrician guidelines for introducing foods but once you get past that point, load them up with every fruit and veggie you can get into them! Let them experience a multitude of vegetables of varying textures, NOT just the ones you like, or think they will like. My kids loved steamed parsnips, beets, kale steamed and smashed into potatoes, all of them. I am proud to say I have almost no issue getting my kids to eat their fruits and vegetables now! My daughter requested green beans for breakfast from her grandparents when she was 3. :)  When they got a bit older and could chew they loved going to the garden and munching fresh rutabaga, snap peas and tomatoes. If they are familiar with many fruits and vegetables from the beginning, are used to seeing them appear on their dinner plate every day and see everyone else enjoying them they will be more likely to enjoy them as well! 


A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Link to the MSNBC News article: showed that for preschoolers, offering a sticker reward worked better than positive praise to get the kids to eat and eventually enjoy their veggies! They suggest doing this for about a 10 day span. Worth a shot! Great article, I suggest you try it!

Practice what you preach!

We all know someone…or maybe we are that someone…that says “Ew”! in front of their children when faced with certain foods. This gives them permission to balk at foods also before at least giving them a try. Keep your reactions to yourself. If I dislike a food I have tried and genuinely don’t enjoy – for me, this list is very, very short, fortunately/unfortunately  – I keep it to myself. I just choose to not take it, or in a way that is obvious, set it to the side. Is still prepare these foods for the kids if they enjoy them and they are nutritious and keep my opinion on the matter to myself. I also always had a rule for my kids that they have to at least try something before they can form an opinion on it. I bring up other foods that don’t look so great but they love the taste of as an example.

Teach them!

Fill them in about the benefits of the foods they are eating! “Those sweet potatoes have a ton of vitamin E & C! They can help your eyesight stay strong and help your cells fight off flu and cold bugs like super hero’s”! Arm yourself with information about the vitamins and minerals many fruits and vegetables have and the benefits of those, get your kids excited to be able to make healthy choices for themselves!

Make it taste good!

We have all probably had some nasty vegetables at some point growing up. I remember canned green peas and Brussels sprouts cooked until they were grey. I would say for younger kids, just make them soft enough to eat safely but just serve them straight up. They don’t have a taste for salty/sweet yet so if you can get them to enjoy them as is they will LOVE them with some clarified butter or parmesan later on! For older kids, try roasting vegetables then adding some parmesan. This does amazing things for almost every vegetable: it brings out the sweet nutty quality most vegetables have when cooked this way. Keep them al dente and not mushy, I find most people prefer the flavor that way.

Hide it!

Hey, it’s not hurting them! If you have someone who is reluctant to eat their vegetables, even using all of these other tips, you may have to resort to this.  Most of my recipes have a ton of vegetables in them and I get people who don’t like vegetables, or onions, or mushrooms, etc. to eat it and love it. When I let them know the dish had their despised vegetable in it they don’t even realize it! Chop it very small, for things like onions and mushrooms, cook them well and they blend in. There are some great books about sneaky ways to hide vegetables and fruits in your kids’ favorite meals (sneaking cauliflower into their mac and cheese, squash into a gratin or sauce, pureed spinach into spaghetti sauce, avocado puree in a chocolate mousse, etc.)  Many vegetables are naturally sweet and add a great flavor to sauces or casseroles and you can’t tell they’re in there. I don’t have to sneak it in, but I add applesauce, pureed pumpkin, mashed bananas and plum puree to many of my baked goods. They keep them moist and add great flavor, along with health benefits!

I hope this has given you a few tips to get your family to love fruits and vegetables. I have some great recipes on my site that are FULL of vegetables and fruit and I will continue to bring more to your table! Enjoy!

Have a good tip that works for you to get your kids to eat their veggies? Please share!

Please visit Chef Kirsten @

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Healthified Macaroni and Cheese

This takes processed white pasta and powdered “cheese” and puts that baby to bed! I swapped out whole grain pasta, use a bit of real cheese and make a quick and easy creamy sauce with whole wheat flour, a bit of butter, olive oil and milk. This comes together almost as fast as the blue box kind, but it is much better for you and your family! Turn it into a different meal by adding chopped broccoli or cauliflower, adding chopped chicken or tuna, it is one of my family favorites! Enjoy!

Healthified Macaroni and Cheese

Makes 6-8 servings

1 box (12-13 oz)

1 Tb butter

1 Tb olive oil

3 Tb whole grain flour

3 cups milk

1/2 tsp dry mustard

Kosher/sea salt to taste (I recommend for best flavor 2 big pinches)

Fresh ground black pepper to taste

1 cup grated cheese

Boil your pasta, cook according to package instructions, drain 1-2 minutes before the recommended time, just under al dente. While your pasta cooks make the sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat melt your butter, add the oil. Whisk in the flour, let this cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk, add the mustard, salt and pepper. Keep stirring and bring the milk to a boil, turn off the heat. Mix in the cheese. Add the drained pasta. If you are not baking this, turn the heat back on and cook the sauce and pasta for 2 minutes over medium heat, then serve. Or you can pour the pasta and sauce into a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees to get the casserole browned and bubbly. Enjoy!

Please visit Chef Kirsten at

Did you like this? Share it:’s List of Banned Words in 2012


Voted By Our Fans In a Non-Scientific FaceBook Poll,

Because Lake Superior State University Left Them Out!

EPIC: It has become as annoying a word as GINORMOUS and no one says it in their normal tone of voice. It was reserved for Sci Fi sequels but has recently become anything a teen or mid life crisis-ed adult wants to use it for. “That was an EPIC salad,” said his uncle to all the teens at the Christmas party while wearing his hat to the right with a flat bill. “EeeePpppIiiiiC,” said the teen to his friends regarding a fry that was a quarter of an inch longer than the others.

SWAGGER/SWAG: Thanks to my nerdy friend Jason Furtado, an English teacher, I know that this word was coined by Shakespeare and means “to walk with an air of confidence.” But who else would know that? Seriously when anchors on Fox News and MSNBC start using terms made popular by hip hop, you know it’s time to retire it.

“President Obama has a little swagger in his step today,” said the anchor after Obama’s approval rating went from 40% to 41% according to a new poll they ran an hour after a poll showed his approval rating to be 40%.

“Mitt Romney will have some swag today,” said the anchor after learning that undecided voters in Iowa are leaning toward Romney days before the Caucus.  

Just Saying(Just sayn): “That girl is pretty,” said the nice teen hanging out with her friends.

“I’m prettier,” says another friend as all the other teens look at her amazed by the comment, “just sayn” she finishes and they all walk away because saying, “just sayn” after a cocky statement makes the statement okay.

“Ok, that baby is annoying, just sayn,” said the woman about a baby crying in a grocery store, because saying, “just sayn” after a rude statement makes the statement okay. “Just sayn” is the new, “no offense but….”

Kardashian: Need we say more? Which one is married to the ex-superstar decathlete and which isn’t? Are they still married or was this the one that ended in 72 hours? Who knows? I think I will pull a Kardashian and prematurely end this.

FML, LOL, LMAO, ROFL, LMS, and etc…: In real life do we really LOL after saying, “yep,” as in: “Did you see that car make a weird right turn?”

“yep… LOL

If we did people would be walking around laughing all day. Does everyone really need to LMS if they think you are cute? Are you really that hungry for Likes?

“Stuck talking to my grandma… FML.” Really, it’s your grandma, your life isn’t that bad!

Text language is so overused and misused! Thx 4 ur time.  

Happy New Year!

Did we miss any?

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Trying to Eat Healthy in Disneyland

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No Junk, No Problem… Or So I Thought!

My quest to rid myself of junk food started with a colleague of mine telling me that he would be giving up added sugars until January 1st. He had just come off an injury and wanted to jump start his rehabilitation by slashing his diet and getting into shape before Spring. I decided to support him by doing it as well.

The following is a diary of my struggles and successes with this Junk Food Challenge. If anyone thought fit people didn’t have problems with unhealthy habits, they are completely wrong. Anyone who says they don’t is probably not being completely honest.

Day 0 (October 31 11:45 pm) Practice What You Preach: After a long day at work and a night of trick or treating with the girls, Melissa and I decided we should eat the last of our ice cream in the freezer. We started chomping away as I was determined to start this challenge by midnight November 1st. As we began eating, Melissa reminded me of how much I despise New Year’s resolutions as I believe the second one realizes they have an issue that calls for a resolution, they should start right then. “Well there goes my ice cream,” I said, and we both tossed it in the garbage and decided to start the challenge at 11:47 pm on October 31.

Day 1 (November 1) Yeah Right Coach: After morning workout with my team, some of the athletes and I were standing around talking about the workout and joking around as we normally do after practice. One of the athletes started talking about the weight he had gained in the off season and wanted to know what extra workouts he could do in order to drop a couple pounds so that he would be leaner by track season. Of course I told him it had more to do with his diet than it did with doing extra workouts. Somehow my Junk Food Challenge entered the conversation and after telling the athletes that I have given up Sobe drinks, one of my athletes said, “Yeah right coach, I see you with a Sobe every day at lunch.  You won’t last a week.

Day 2 (November 2) Pavlov… Now I get it: Wednesdays are the day when I have a limited lunch period and more office hours. Typically I go straight to the cafeteria and get a Chicken Caesar Salad and a Mango Melon Sobe. When practice was over, I headed to the cafeteria, grabbed my salad and headed for the refrigerators. I was Pavlov’s dog. The Caesar salad didn’t seem right without its sweet counterpart. Lunch wasn’t lunch without faux mango juice in a 2.5 serving bottle. Sitting in my office just isn’t the same either. It’s like the bell rang yet there is no satiation for my salivating.

Day 5 (November 5) Dang You Chad: A friend of mine thought it would be funny to send a picture of his son in a grocery cart filled with Golden Oreos! Dang You Chad, you know that’s my weakness… Where are my grapes?!!!!

Read more

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Pertussis Vaccination – For the Greater Good or Medical Tyranny?


My school is requiring that Jr. High students get vaccinated for Pertussis (whooping cough) before school starts.  I was told that all students in California from grades 7th to 12th must be vaccinated or they won’t be allowed to attend school this Fall.  However, there are waivers available and it is state law in California that you be given the choice for vaccination.  It’s not well publicized, but you just need to contact your district office to get the paperwork.

Pertussis banner in front of local school

Whooping cough can be deadly to infants. In 2010 there were 10 infant deaths from it in California – all were infants 3 months old or younger.  It can be spread from older children and adults to infants who have a tougher time fighting this disease.   That does sound bad, but there are over 2,500 infant deaths per year in California.  That means pertussis causes only .4 % of them.  That’s less than one percent.  I suppose if I were one of the parents who lost their child due to whooping cough, I might be pushing for forced inoculations. However, taking away civil liberties from individuals for the greater good is tyranny. Denial of public education for this reason is a horrible plan.

Parents want what’s best for their children. We want our kids to be healthy and not be sick. By vaccinating our kids with Pertussis are we just helping save infants or are we endangering our teenagers with unproven vaccines? Are we strengthening kids and building up their defense mechanisms or are we undermining thier bodies?  Vaccines, in general, are meant to build up defenses against disease. But they actually don’t do nearly as good a job as the human body does naturally. In fact, many vaccines need to be used several times over a lifetime in order to be effective. However, allowing your body to shake disease off naturally is the best method to build up defenses. Humans have been doing this a lot longer than vaccine companies and big pharma have been around. Furthermore, the ingredient list for many vaccines, including Pertussis, are: lab altered viruses and bacteria; aluminum; mercury; formaldehyde; phenoxyethanol; gluteraldehyde; sodium borate; sodium chloride; sodium acetate; monosodium glutamate (MSG); hydrochloric acid; hydrogen peroxide; lactose; gelatin; yeast protein; egg albumin; bovine and human serum albumin; antibiotics and other contaminants. Does this list sound healthy? Do we have to allow this concoction of chemicals into our children’s blood vessels and organs? The answer is no.

The signs in front of schools make it sound like you don’t have a choice. Don’t be deceived. Also, do a little research on your own about this vaccine. You might discover that it is not very effective and can be dangerous. You might find out that many patients diagnosed with whooping cough were given vaccinations for it beforehand. You might find out that vaccine manufacturers are making loads of money on them.  Thomas Jefferson once wrote; “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” You do have a choice

 Ben Theiss is a devoted father and husband as well as an avid runner and cyclist. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Earth Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a Math and Science Teacher for over 13 years. Ben served in the US Army and is a Veteran of Desert Storm.

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