New Site

Dear Relish Life Readers,

Thank you for taking the time to read and subscribe to my blog! I will no longer be posting here so please find my healthy bits and bobs at and subscribe there!

Have a fantastic day!

All my best,

Arielle (REL)


Actually It’s True. Just Watching the Food Network is Making Me Fat.



Is your food environment sabotaging your waistline? Adopting mindful eating  for better health and weight management is a concept that many researchers are studying more in depth.

Before I became truly mindful of my body’s needs, I was controlled by my visual cues from the Cooking channel, internet food porn, office birthday parties, advertisements, oversized restaurant portions (all contributors to my food environment).  Sound familiar?

The UC Berkeley Wellness Letter reports ” Be aware of the effects of tantalizing food images. Just viewing pictures of food boosted blood levels of gherlin, a hormone associated with increased hunger and food intake, in a small study in obesity. And in a large study in appetite, dieters, in particular, snacked on more candy while watching a food-related TV show.”

What does this mean for you? Adopt meditative behaviors that increase your awareness and decrease distraction.

  • Don’t eat at your desk
  • Don’t eat in front of the TV
  • Acknowledge when you are stressed or emotional
  • Choose nourishing foods rather than junk foods
  • Recognize external triggers that may cause you to mindlessly eat

Check out Dr. Susan Albers. She has a bunch of great resources including books and meditations on her site that will help you get in the practice of mindful eating.Screen Shot 2013-03-13 at 1.00.29 PM

Drink Oolong and Get Skinny


, , , , , ,


You cannot afford to not be drinking tea. Let me rephrase that in the positive: You should be drinking tea starting today!  Whether you like the British or not, tea time is a genius way to get in some major healthy enzymes, antioxidants, cancer fighting, and metabolism boosters. There are tons of different kinds of teas teas that vary based on the type of leaves and how they are dried.

I’m going to focus on Oolong Tea because of its countless health benefits, including our favorite: boosting metabolism as well as great flavor. There is an enzyme in Oolong tea that helps control the function of fat cells.  Studies have shown that people who consume oolong tea weigh less than people who don’t.  Oolong Tea has also proven to control diabeteshelp with stress management, improve skin, prevent stomach related cancer, and protect from bone decay.

The very act of taking time out of your day to slow down, and enjoy a cup of tea, whether by yourself, or with a friend, is mindful and intentional which in turn promotes a healthy mind which then promotes a healthy body. See how that synchronicity works?  Try taking the mindfulness a little further and take a few moments to focus on your breath, appreciate the journey it took for those dry leaves to get to your cup, and all the wonderful things the tea is doing for your body. This may sound silly, but I promise you will feel a positive shift in your energy.

If you want to read a concise version about the benefits of Oolong Tea, click here.  For a more in depth analysis click here.

Not sure where to get Oolong Tea? Teavana is an awesome tea retailer. You can order online if you don’t have one at your local mall.  I also like Imperial Tea Court at the San Francisco Ferry Building. You can buy their tea online as well!


Photo Credit: Kali McCabe

Spaghetti Squash Reinvented


, , , ,



Based on my not-so-scientific poll, it turns out that spaghetti squash is a very polarizing vegetable; people either really love it or really hate it!  I quickly realized that the people in the “hater” category were (1) expecting it to taste like the gluten-ess Italian dish that the vegetable is so aptly named after, and (2) clueless as to the potential of the countless ways to prepare this delicious and nutritious vegetable. I’ll let you know right now that you will not want to eat spaghetti squash again unless you make the right decision to jazz it up with some spices and sauces.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a digestible summary on the health benefits of Spaghetti Squash vs. Pasta:

1/2 Spaghetti Squash

1 Zucchini, chopped and cooked

2 Tablelspoons Quark**

4 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese

1 Tablespoon Rosemary

4 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, torn

1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

truffle salt & pepper

1. Cook Spaghetti Squash by either microwaving for 10 minutes or baking in 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. (Be sure to pierce the squash so that it doesn’t explode). Cut in half.

2. Scrape spaghetti squash flesh into a bowl with all the remaining ingredients and mix well.

3. Put the mixture back in the shell and put under the broiler until the top slightly browns then eat up!


**Quark is a light cheese with a yogurt consistency. You could use light sour cream or greek yogurt if you can’t find quark.



What a Crock!


, , ,


How have I gone my whole life without ever using a Crock Pot? Seriously go and get one. Now! All you have to do is throw a bunch of ingredients into the Crock Pot, turn it on, and let it do its thing for 6 to 8 hours. I’m not kidding.

Best day ever: My BFF’s turkey chili waiting for me when I got home.

SUPER Healthy Easy Turkey Chili

Make sure to purchase Low Sodium beans and tomato sauce.

1 Can Garbonzo Beans

1 Can Black Beans

1 Can of Kidney Beans

1 Can of Tomato Sauce

1 Can Crushed Tomatoes with Green Chiles

1 Onion, chopped

3 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 Pound Lean Ground Turkey Meat, cooked



1 Tablespoon each, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Chile Powder

1. Over medium high heat put ground turkey meat in a skillet. Mix the meat with a wooden spoon until browned. If the meat starts to stick to the pan add a little water.

2. Literally dump all the ingredients above into a the Crock Pot. Let it cook for 8 hours. Keep on warm until ready to eat.

Optional Garnish: chopped green onion, cilantro, sour cream, avocado

March’s Easy Healthy Cooking Class Deal!


, , ,


Confidence. The key to everything you do in life. Let’s add a little of it to your cooking repertoire. It doesn’t matter if you think you are good, or bad, or if you like doing it or not doing it. The bottom line is that the process of mindfully preparing a meal and bringing people together over food contributes to greater happiness. So no more excuses. Get happy and cook a little more.  Click to read about living a longer life simply by cooking more.

Private 3 hour cooking classes at your home are only $45 per person when you and a friend sign up or $40 per person for three of you! Classes are focused on vegetable centric dishes, that are easy, healthy, balanced, and seasonal.

March Menu:

Crispy Roasted Turkey Bacon Brussel Sprouts

Rosemary Chicken and Caramelized Onion Wheat Berry Salad

Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash

Decadent Flourless/Low Sugar Banana Peanut Butter Blondies


email me for more information:

Work and $%it


, , ,

Why is it that in the moments when it is most crucial to mind our health, it seems the most challenging?

During the times when we are really busy and moving at such a fast pace, it is so important to take care of ourselves in order to maintain that level of productivity and energy, but unfortunately so many of us fall short by making convenient, rather than thoughtful choices.

Think about what you end up eating when you travel, have all day meetings, or at conferences. I bet it is a lot of pastries, chips, and alcohol…am I right?

Ok, so what can we do about this? Because I want you to be able to live a healthy and energized life without feeling burdened by the guilt of eating poorly or burnt out because you are lacking proper nutrition.

Here are some tips on how to make just slight painless adjustments for a significant positive changes:

1. Stop judging yourself! If you are going to eat a bag of chips, eat the chips, enjoy it. If you continually bash yourself for the food you eat, you will continue the negative cycle and reinforce this negative talk.

2. Skip the orange juice and eat a whole piece of fruit instead. There is a lot less sugar and a lot more nutrients in whole fruits.

3. If you are flying, be sure to pack healthy snacks rather than eating airport/airplane food. It takes a little advanced thinking but here are some easy ideas:

  • Protein Bars (get ones without sugar like Pure Protein, Larabar, or Detour)
  • Almonds and dried fruit
  • Mini pre packaged hummus and veggies that are reminiscent of Handy Snacks (remember the little red stick? Gross!)- easy to through in your purse
  • Instant oatmeal packets (look for brands that don’t add sugar like Nature’s Way or Kashi)
  • If you are drinking alcohol stick to wine. If you are drinking liquor, mix with club soda and just a splash of fruit juice. You still get the flavor and skip the calories.

4. Hyadrate with water or herbal tea. You will be less likely to snack on empty calories if you feel hydrated.  Just grab a bottle of water even if you don’t feel thirsty. You will end up drinking it and not even realizing it.

5. Take the stairs! Enough said.

Take note that none of these ideas are radically profound, simply promote mindfulness and awareness of how you treat yourself which, ultimately contributes to a healthier state of mind, body, and soul.



National Peanut Butter Day & Recipes


, , , ,


It is national Peanut Butter Day.

Who comes up with this stuff?

Anyway, rather than over-think it, I’m embracing it and sharing my favorite HEALTHY peanut butter recipes. Enjoy!

Health benefits of peanut butter:

~The protein and fiber in peanut butter are both beneficial for blood sugar control.

~Contains resveratrol , an antioxidant that has been linked with lower levels of heart disease and cancer. Some studies suggest that resveratrol may reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

~It contains both protein and healthy monosaturated fats, which will give you the energy pick-me-up that you are looking for.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Blondies from Detoxonista.

  • 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter (preferably organic)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 whole egg
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt (*if using unsalted peanut butter)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ square pan with butter or coconut oil.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the peanut butter, honey, egg, salt and baking soda until well combined, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased pan, and use a spatula to smooth the top.
  4. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. (it only took 20 minutes in my oven)
  5. Let cool, then cut into squares and serve!

Banana Date Shake from One Arab Vegan

  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (I used home-made, but store bought is fine)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3-4 medium dates, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp organic peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds or hemp protein powder (optional)

1. Add everything to a blender and blend until smooth. Top with cinnamon.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Peanut Butter Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and next 3 ingredients (through red pepper), and stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice.

Assemble veggies in lettuce leaves and drizzle with sauce at the table:

Bibb lettuce leaves

Grilled chicken or salmon or tofu

Bean sprouts

Carrot, shredded

Cucumber, sliced

Green Onion, chopped





photo credit:

The Vegetarian Version


, ,



I make these appetizers with turkey breast but you can omit the meat for your veggie friends!  These appetizers are full of healthy fat from the olives and the small amount of cheese.

Mediterranean Vegetarian Bites

12 Cherry tomatoes

Fresh basil

12 Olives

Pesto Gouda cheese, diced

1 Jar artichoke antipasto spread

12 Cocktail sticks

1. Spread a teaspoon of artichoke antipasto spread on a slice of turkey. Roll the turkey and spear.

2. Spear the cheese. Make sure the cubes aren’t so small that they crack. It is better to make them a little bigger than too small.

3. Spear the tomato.

4. Spear a basil leaf

5. Spear the olive through the hole.

6. Plate on a pretty dish. Keep refrigerated until serving.



Wine and Cheese Gets an Upgrade


, ,


Creativity is born from inspiration and that is exactly how I cook. Following a recipe is near impossible for me so I find inspiration from visiting farmer’s markets, watching a food show on tv, reading a travel magazine, or in yesterday’s case, reading a health article.  In case you missed it, there was a big study that was done that proved that a Mediterranean diet reduces heart conditions and stroke by 30%. (  So contrary to the popular low-fat American diets, a diet rich in fats from olive oil and nuts is recommended for optimal health.

Rather than serving the normal “wine and cheese” appetizer (snooze) I was inspired by the Mediterranean and came up with some delicious, healthy, and colorful appetizers that are just too easy to make. These were a crowd pleaser, too!  You can do tons of variations on this idea (for example: substitute turkey for salmon or tuna; substitute tomato for cucumber….).

Trader Joe’s isn’t even paying me for this recipe but they probably should because all the ingredients were purchased there. You can easily find similar products at other markets.

Mediterranean Bites

8 oz Italian turkey breast

12 Cherry tomatoes

Fresh basil

12 Olives

Pesto Gouda cheese, diced

1 Jar artichoke antipasto spread

12 Cocktail sticks

1. Spread a teaspoon of artichoke antipasto spread on a slice of turkey. Roll the turkey and spear.

2. Spear the cheese. Make sure the cubes aren’t so small that they crack. It is better to make them a little bigger than too small.

3. Spear the tomato.

4. Spear a basil leaf

5. Spear the olive through the hole.

6. Plate on a pretty dish. Keep refrigerated until serving.