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At the Kitchen Table: 01/15/2012


As the title implies, re-solutions is a great name for the ringing in of the New Year and finding new solutions to old challenges. Each year we get to re-do some things that perhaps didn’t work out the way we thought they would, or to try to do better, or to slow down, relax, or treat ourselves and loved ones better. Be less judgmental and more accepting; bumps, wrinkles, quirks and all.

Most people want to lose weight in the new year. After all the treats and rich meals during the holidays, it’s only natural. When I was doing Weight Watchers several years ago, I loved the idea that there are 21 meals in a week. You know if you blow one meal there are 20 more that you can make better and get back on track. The concept of starting over, anew, without clinging to the past, allows us the freedom to venture into uncharted territory. Be open to change and the positive things that come with it.

I was skimming through the new Oprah magazine (a guilty pleasure) and came across Dr. Oz’s “28 Day Fresh Start.” I love the idea of starting fresh, which we can always do, again and again, on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

Here are 13 of the 28 that ring true for me:

1) Go Green – Green tea has many health benefits, according to latest reports. It lowers your risk for cancer, lowers the LDL (lower density lipoproteins) and promotes weight loss. Go green in other ways as well. Eat more vegetables, try eco-friendly products in your home, and when putting in new appliances or home improvement projects, add new eco-technology that helps the planet.

2) Dark Chocolate – It is hard to argue with this one. Dark chocolate has flavonols, which improve circulation, increase blood flow to the brain and may even improve vision. And better yet, it’s painless to swallow! Woo Hoo! Sign me up!

3) Cook Heart Healthy – Make good choices. Wild Salmon has Omega-3 fatty acids; tomatoes have lycopene; garlic protects against atherosclerosis and is also a natural anti-inflammatory; lima beans have magnesium…you get the idea. Eat more fish and plants. Eat less red meat.

4) Forgiveness – It has been proven that forgiving friends and loved ones lowers your blood pressure and reduces depression. It doesn’t mean you condone what they have done or said, but let’s face it, hanging on to old baggage does no one any good. Don’t live in the past, move forward.

5) Get More Sleep – Having trouble sleeping? Having a cup of Chamomile tea before bed can soothe your nerves and quiet your digestion as well. Keep your room cool and set your alarm so you won’t oversleep. Give yourself an hour before bedtime with a good book, or write in a gratitude journal the things you are thankful for.

6) Meditate – A big one. Start slowly and keep at it. Pema Chodron offers a CD and book “How to Meditate” in which her soothing voice walks you through the process. It will shave years off and will lead to more compassion for yourself and others.

7) Portion Sizes – You have heard it before, but it’s true. Keeping your portion sizes small will help you to keep your weight at an appropriate level for your body.

8) Tweak your Routine – Supposedly caffeine inhibits cancer cells. Who knew? After working out, eating a small snack will help with tissue repair. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Your brain will thank you.

9) Pass the Popcorn – Are potato chips your guilty pleasure? Apparently, the same number of calories resides in nine potato chips vs. three cups of popcorn. Which would you rather eat?

10) Clean your teeth – FLOSS. Say no more.

11) Say NO – To friends and family when need be. Do it for quiet time.

12) Stretch – Stretching offers you the chance to have flexibility. Don’t think it doesn’t help the mind, too. Seven to 10 minutes in the morning will increase your blood flow and help you through your day.

13) Spread Kindness – Random acts of kindness are contagious. Offer help to those in need. It’s easy.

From O Magazine and Dr. Oz’s “28 Day Fresh Start” and my own take on them.

Happy New Year and Happy Cooking! – Tricia

You can reach me at or

Tricia O’Brien writes the Vegetable of the Month column for the Oak Hill Farm newsletter and lives in Glen Ellen. You can visit and follow her blog at
Email: tobcaters@gmailcom

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Community Calendar

Food Bank comes to Sonoma Valley
Funky Fridays concerts at Hood Mansion
“Fantastical Family Night” at Jack London
Oakmont Farmers Market
Walk ‘n Wag
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Kenwood Community Church service
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Al Anon meeting
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