Thank you for visiting, this blog exists to help, and interact with, readers who desire weight loss.

Posts include: recipes, stories of clients, nutrition and health related morsels, a visit to a farm or retreat, a useful product, or an interesting physical fitness regime. I also post excerpts from the weight loss book that I am writing, which will be published in late 2012.

All meals are easy to prepare; I jokingly consider myself a "Recovering Foodie", meaning that while I have admiration for those willing to toil in the kitchen I, like my clients, don't often have the time to make gourmet meals.

What do I mean by acoustic food?

  1. Ease of preparation - just like Johnny Cash sets up quicker than Metallica, an acoustic meal is easy: few ingredients, simple preparation methods and no fiddling with numerous kitchen gadgets. No roadies needed!
  2. In the nutrition sense an acoustic meal projects a full taste while offering a modest caloric content; it is low fat, high fiber and offers a good deal of stomach filling volume.
  3. One can also take acoustic to mean free of processing/additives, while this is my personal preference I do not discriminate against all the innovations of the modern food industry. Leaving some select processed/refined weight loss promoting options on the table is a liberating and effective strategy for dieters; so you will often see shortcuts: canned, frozen, vacuum sealed, and other such "electric" twists on food.

A Taste for Water

A month ago I wrote about beverage choices in Nicaragua ( today I am revisiting that topic with a focus on water. Whenever I have volunteered in health clinics in Latin America the issue of dehydration comes up with surprising frequency. Of all the frustrating, and difficult health conditions one sees in these clinics I never anticipated that dehydration could rank so highly as a major concern. Dehydration worsens dozens of common health problems and was almost single handily responsible … Continue reading


Sara loses 70 pounds in 6 months!

I have spent the last two summers teaching nutrition, culinary and fitness classes at Wellspring, an organization that specializes in weight loss. (for more info on Wellspring listen to this National Public Radio piece: ) Last summer I worked with Sara, a music teacher from Virginia who has spent years struggling to lose weight. Sara recently got in touch with me to share her continued success and was happy to have me share some of her story on this blog. Of her … Continue reading

An interview with a Peruvian Shaman about diet

In 2011 I spent 4 months in Peru and was able to a little investigation into on one of the most unique human-plant relationships on earth. The shamans of Peru are famous for the phyto-spiritual “surgery” they facilitate with their patients. Using the ayahuasca plant, a strong hallucinogen, shamans guide participants on an inner journey with common goals including promoting insights into problems and healing life traumas. As would fit a blog focused on sobriety I will skip the sexy discussion on the … Continue reading

Fewer options, more satisfaction

A few years back on a chilly fall day my friend Kelly and I took a day trip to Manresa State Park, a beach about an hour drive south of San Francisco. After an afternoon spent meandering through sand dunes we wondered into a quaint seaside town for dinner. We were discouraged to find only two, equally decrepit, restaurants. We briefly discussed the dismal choice, the deciding point was the intriguing facial hair of the clerk behind the counter of … Continue reading

Beverages and status in Nicaragua

A while back I assisted on an eco-tourism project in Padre Ramos, in the remote Northwestern corner of Nicaragua. One of our tasks was to improve the palm thatched, wall-less and floorless, restaurant in town so that they could host foreign tourists. I was in charge of re-making the menu and noticed the only beverage offered was Coca-Cola, despite the fact that right next door was a house that processed coconuts. The operation consisted of three grinning teenage boys jamming … Continue reading

Should fruits & veggies get a divorce?

  “Eat your fruits and vegetables” “Two cups a day of fruits and vegetables” “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables” Public health officials, doctors and dietitians all repeat the same message. Since fruits are sweet and don’t require preparation time most people respond enthusiastically to upping their fruit intake but conveniently forget about the veggies. Well that’s ok, it’s one or the other, right? Unfortunately that’s not the case and for the overweight the difference is especially significant, fruits … Continue reading

Why you might be eating too much protein

One frequent concern I hear is “Am I eating enough protein?” Ironically, overconsumption of protein is far more common than deficiency. When I interview patients I notice that people overestimate their protein needs while, at the same time, underestimate how much protein is in their diet. Let’s look at both issues. 1)    How much protein do I need? The American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health recommend 50-60 grams of protein for most adults, which is about 10-12% … Continue reading

Our plan for weight loss: The Sober Plate Part 1

The Taoist philosophy of yin-yang is founded on the belief that darkness and light exist in a balance. Neither is good, nor bad; instead, both exist to bring out contrast in the other and to provide balance. Borrowing this philosophy for a diet design I divided food into two main categories: those that are heavy/weight promoting (proteins/starches) and those that are light/promote weight loss (non starchy vegetables). Again, neither is good or bad, it is only the relative proportion that … Continue reading

Culinary tradition versus ecology in Nicaragua

Over past decade Nicaragua has slowly take some steps towards preservation of endangered species. Two of the recent government policies have conflicted with century old culinary traditions in the country; the ban on eating green iguanas and sea turtle eggs. The iguana meat is most commonly cooked with vegetables and ground corn to make a dish called Indo Veijo (“Old Indian”). It is eaten year round but is a particularly popular during the Lent, the catholic ban on red meat … Continue reading

How the internet and modern diet both cause indigestion

I recently read The Shallows by Nicholas Carr, the book examines the difference between how we process information from printed material versus the internet. Carr examines countless studies that show a superior comprehension and retention of information from printed materials. The author concludes that, though the internet offers us an Amazon River of data, we skim the river’s surface and don’t assimilate the material as deeply as we do with more “primitive” media forms such as books and magazines. All … Continue reading

Health Club Time Machine

The first time I lifted weights was in 1986 in my friend Cameron’s attic. Like many teenagers at the time, Cameron improvised a gym with some weights from a garage sale, a few milk jugs, and cleverly arranged spare furniture. In that era of Rocky and Conan movies, the gym was very much of a guy thing, Cameron’s sister Maggie was not allowed to enter. A UB40 cassette and a St. Pauli Girl poster provided the atmosphere, and the talk … Continue reading

Why healthy doesn’t always mean slimming

When I speak to groups about weight loss the most common misperception is that the idea that a healthy food automatically means “helps with weight loss.” This confusion, and the debate, is at its most intense when it comes to the topic of healthy fats. During a recent workshop I led Susan, an overweight attorney in her thirties, asked me why she struggled to lose weight. Susan followed a famous actress’s diet, detailed in Shape magazine. The diet, along with promising … Continue reading

Deceptive labeling practices from the dairy industry

 The dairy industry has long gotten away with some of the most dishonest and confusing labeling practices in the entire food industry. All milk, and any product made from milk (cheese, yogurt, sour cream, kefir etc…), labels the fat percentage according to the weight of the fat in the milk, a misleading statistic in a water based food.  2% low-fat milk means that 2% of the weight of the milk is from fat, this is the equivalent of labeling a can of … Continue reading

Make a pizza in 5 minutes!

 I often use Trader Joe’s whole wheat pre-made pizza dough (you can use a wine bottle to roll it out) on this day I happen to have a slightly less glamorous option handy: Giant brand pre-made 12″ thin crust pizza shells. I pre-heated the oven to 475, then I spread out a thick layer of pasta sauce (1.5 cups). Over the sauce I layered thinly sliced veggies: red onion, 2 green peppers, and a stalk of green onions. Then I added … Continue reading

How did Beth lose 49 pounds?

Beth is a client I worked through Wellspring, a weight loss center. If you would like to hear a NPR story on Wellspring follow the link: Beth states: “I’ve been overweight most of my adult life. When I was in high school I thought I was “fat” but probably wasn’t. I got pregnant when I was 17 and from then on I was heavy. In my early 20′s I took Phen Fen and lost some weight. Of … Continue reading

Lentil Tomato soup

Lentil tomato soup & sweet potato Boil any kind of lentils in water (cooking time depends on type of lentil), I used 2 cup green lentils which take about 1/2 hour to cook (they are ready when soft) add in during the last 5 minutes of cooking: 1  cans of tomato (pureed or just diced) and 1-2 bouillon cubes. In a separate no stick skillet sauete 2-3 diced up onions in a smidge of olive oil, as they begin to … Continue reading