Is healthy eating making you fat?….

Every once in a while I like to bake brownies or cookies with my girls. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Ms. Balsamfitsecret lets her kids bake, let alone eat, sweets?

Why yes, yes I do. I absolutely wholeheartedly believe in allowing your children to indulge in sweets once in a while- maybe even everyday. The key is to not go overboard and make it an all day option.


Junk food should be limited to one  after school, or pre-swim practice or (fill in blank activity) snack and it is in no way ever to be referred to as a “treat” because treats are organic farm fresh cherries that are only available a few months out of the year, not processed chemical saturated and trans fats wrapped in BPA toxic plastic that can be purchased at every  gas station, convenience store and vending machine.



Please, let’s just be honest here people, junk food is served and made readily available in every school, camp and at pretty much every event I have ever attended.  It’s hard NOT to allow your kids junk- because we are a fast food nation and fast food is everywhere.

In my defense, I do not bring junk into my home. When my kids come home from school they are presented with a platter of freshly cut up vegetables and hummus to dip them in- and sometimes pita chips. One could easily argue that the GMO’s in the produce outweigh the health benefits but thats a different blog.

I’m a firm believer in ‘if you build it they will come’. If you present your kids with healthy options- and ONLY healthy options, they will eat if hungry enough. I do take them for Starbucks fraps and dunkin’ donuts here and there- but again, this is not a daily activity it’s a once in while thing and I ALWAYS make sure to step up on my soapbox and give them my lecture on just how bad it is for them- (at which point they cut me off and finish the speech for me – and then dig in).


So when my friend came to visit me with her kids a few weeks back, she asked me if I bake with healthy ingredients or do I use the non-healthy recipes?

Well, the answer is ‘yes’.

Let me explain. I do use “healthy” ingredients like: coconut sugar, coconut oil, Greek yogurt, oat flour, unsweetened almond milk, and egg whites in lieu of the processed cake mixes but I am in no way fooling myself that these are diet friendly.

Sure, they are healthiER than the store bought, as they don’t contain shortening and stabilizing agents and other cancer causing chemicals, but when eaten in quantity- like say, more than ONE at a time, they certainly add up.

I learned this lesson the hard way. I got on a kick of baking and experimenting with healthy ingredients to try and encourage my kids to eat healthier. So I came up with so many new recipes and concoctions like: quinoa cacao muffins and Greek yogurt brownies, avocado pudding, oatmeal pancakes and cacao chip cookies- there are plenty of recipes online that I have tweaked to adapt to my own standards and taste buds. The result? I gained 5 pounds. I realized that every little BLT (bite, lick and taste) of these delicious recipes were, in fact, adding up- to my waistline.

I am well aware that Abs are made in the kitchen and  I do eat clean and exercise daily. I eat A LOT actually- more calories in a day than most women eat in a week (Albeit all nutrient rich and wholesome). So when my clothes started feeling tight I had to figure out what I was doing differently and make that change…..which meant no more regularly baking “healthy brownies”.

Lesson Learned:

Healthy options are great and there are so many available these days. You can easily find healthy replacements for your favorite recipes. Just understand that a brownie is a brownie and a cookie is a cookie and when you eat them every day they will give you the same results regardless if they are “healthier” or not.

Stick to an apple for dessert and save the quinoa cupcake for a special occasion.

Didn’t need no welfare state, just call me Cait…..


The other night, while trying to combat a bout of insomnia, I flipped through the channels and struck gold…..I came across a rerun of The 70’s hit T.V. show “All in the Family”- a show I hadn’t seen in years.

I couldn’t help but think two things:

  1. Archie Bunker sounds just like my 80 year old neighbor
  2. My, how this world has changed.

While I certainly miss the innocence and censorship of television as it used to play out back in the days when the words “Bitch” and “Ass” were still considered to be curse words, I realized just how far we’ve come when referring to the discipline of language. True, they no longer censor foul language or separate husband and wife into twin beds in a Ricky and Lucy manner, but there is a new form of editing that has developed over the years. Yup, the modern day version of censorship is simply referred to as: “Political Correctness” or “P. C.”

Political correctness has become so celebrated in today’s society that people go out of their way to ensure they don’t slip-up when addressing even the most obscure topics. We have become so accustomed to labeling things in a P.C. approach that people actually believe if they change the terminology it will change its definition.

Changing the label does not necessarily mean it changes the integrity of the underlying body. But apparently, it changes the way it is viewed by society.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I am referring to Bruce Jenner’s “the new normal”, or now better known as “Caitlyn”.

I have to admit, at first when I heard about his transgender status I was so gung ho and “inspired”- I immediately blogged about his courage. I really did believe him to be the bravest person –man or woman- for making such a bold and public statement about the importance of being true to yourself.

I thought; here is a man who has the power and influence to encourage those who are afraid to lead their lives in the manner in which they desire. I really believed that he truly was an inspiration to those that lead secret lives because they may be ashamed to be open about their own identity.

….Until I saw the promos for his new reality show, by which he is contracted to make hundreds of millions of dollars from.

Now all I can think about is, like the other female members of his family, she is a major sell out.

I still wish her well on her journey, I just wish she weren’t mocking all of us who rooted for her along the way.

Lesson Learned:

No matter how you label it, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck- it’s still a reality TV star/whore.

Now for your listening pleasure click here:


Know your turf and back off the ladies night….

Every other week I meet my best girlfriend for drinks. Because we’re both busy (i.e.: lazy) we typically choose a location that meets our needs:

  1. Close to our houses and
  2. Is low key (that’s code for ‘you can wear flip flops and don’t have to put on makeup’).

Sometimes it’s the local Alehouse where you can get $3 house drinks (as you know, this girl loves a bargain). Other times, it’s a restaurant in a strip mall after peak shopping hours and just before dinner hour so we are always guaranteed parking (have you seen me actually walk in my 5 inch heels?… not pretty). Neither one of us is picky or snobby about the location and we both agree that we’d drink at Wendy’s if they served alcohol.

But last week I decided to try something different. Because Boca and Delray are such buzzing and hopping cities, I decided to Google the local happy hour places to see where there would be action in the hopes of stirring things up a bit.

So I came across a popular steak house that offered a happy hour deal with ‘Ladies Drink Free’ (they had me at ‘free’).

When I walked in, I became immediately aware that I was in a meat market – and not because of the steak they were serving.

With one glance around the room I could tell that this was the place where the over 60 crowd came to hook up…. I suppose it was somewhat like the senior citizen version of Tinder.

The people were in the middle of the restaurant dancing, twerking and grinding like Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke- only they were in their 70’s and there wasn’t a dance floor.

Because there were no seats available we stood by the bar for the most part until one stool became available, which we ended up sharing (one buttock cheek each). We sat there for hours drinking the endless flow of free vodka martinis as we laughed and chit chatted away, ignoring (or admiring) the fact that those around us were hooking up and making out despite the fact that they were old enough to be our parents- and that they were in public.

But as we ended our night and walked out together to the valet, it occurred to us that not one man (or woman for that matter) hit on us or even attempted to pick us up. Here we were, the youngest by far and coincidentally neither of us married ladies wore our rings – yet no one seemed to care. In fact, now that I think about it, the women seemed annoyed – as though we were encroaching on their turf.

It made me think, perhaps there is a (not so) subtle code for stand down and back off when it comes to social circles.

Lesson Learned:

In life, know your territory. Stick with the local taverns with the regular, tattooed, motorcycle gang crowd if you don’t want to start a bar fight.

Go make ME a sandwich…..

I recently read an article written by a female reporter about a blog she started over a year ago (which made me wonder; who reads blogs anymore?) She wrote about her journey to win over her man’s heart through his stomach by making him sandwiches every day. You see, he had promised her that once she’s made him a total of 300 sandwiches then he will propose to her- and not a bite before.

As you can imagine, a flood of angry feminists came out scolding her for throwing us back 50 years by acting subservient or submissive to have to chase a man down like a 1950’s housewife wearing nothing but an apron (actually I’m making it sound a lot more sexy than their argument really was- that would seriously be a dream come true for my husband- not the apron part but the cooking a meal without the fire alarm sounding part).

But their point was clear: this woman who publicly wrote about how she serves up her man- greased buns and all- may sound a bit archaic when it comes to how far equal rights movement has come.

I however, disagree entirely – in my opinion it is the complete opposite…. you see, I think women who prepare food for their men actually hold all the power.

Flash back 14 years ago when my (now) husband and I were just getting to know each other. Neither one of us had any real kitchen utensils (my fancy and magical plastic ware consisted of a fork that also acted as a spoon). Nope, our biggest issue was agreeing on exactly which local sushi restaurant delivered the fastest.

So when we got married and kept up our busy work schedule nothing much changed in the domestic area other than we now had two bowls to pour our cereal into. But after we had our first child, something changed in me. I decided I wanted to clean up our eating habits and modify what we put into our mouths. I was always a student of health and fitness but I was even more determined to lead a clean and active lifestyle from all angles – which included banning chemicals in the foods we ate- so I deemed that changes had to be made. And so they were.

In other words, I was the one who did all the healthy cooking but I also was the one who made all the decisions on what was brought into our home and ingested into our bodies. Don’t get me wrong- it wasn’t a tyranny- he had and still does- free reign to change things back to steak and potatoes if he wants to – but alas, he is simply too lazy to cook or even consider the idea of meal planning. And so it was and so it came about – the new king of the kitchen – i.e. the head of the household – was designated and she is still reining true to this day.

Lesson Learned

Go ahead! Make your partner some sandwiches! You see, all these feminists (myself included) have it all wrong. It’s not about who makes the sandwich or who reaps the benefits of the calories- it’s really about who controls what goes in the middle of the bun.

Healthy Habits Hump Day….

Here we are… winter has come and gone and now we are left facing what some deem intimidating and others empowering: The swimsuit season.
And it’s Hump day after a long memorial day weekend, which makes it a double whammy.
No more “it can wait until after the weekend” and none of the “next week I will eat better and move a little more”….nope, summer is here and now so CONFRONT it head on.
It is time to PLAN!
What’s interesting about diet resolutions is that to succeed, you need to understand that it’s not about will power. You heard me. Contrary to what you may think , its not about holding back from eating certain foods or restricting yourself from junk, but rather, it’s about formulating structure and making the effort to plan to make the right choices. Structure is the key element to accomplishing your fitness resolutions. Another key factor is confronting your weight- get out of denial!
I am one of those people who likes to eat the same thing every day. Some may call it boring but i just call it a healthy habit. I simply have very choosy and picky tastes and therefore stick to the same “super” foods each day and vary them up by mixing them together in different (often gross sounding but tasty) combinations that I refer to as “concoctions”.
My diet almost always consists of the same foods:
  1. Healthy fats (TONS of raw nuts, olive oil and avocado)
  2. Lean proteins (Salmon, Tuna, Sashimi etc)
  3. Complex carbs (sweet potato, lentils, (I used to eat chickpeas but have since given up legumes), 100% oats)
  4. Non fat non dairy beverages (almond milk and plain non fat Greek yogurt)
  5. Fruits and vegetables -tons of them (and yes, wine is considered a fruit:)
I eat more calories in a given day than most women my age eat in a week.  I simply eat from the above list and don’t count calories, don’t control portions but do enjoy healthy clean eating.
Lesson Learned:
If you structure your diet with clean, fibrous and nutrient rich filling foods you will not feel that you need any “will power” to stay on track to accomplish your goals.
As always, feel free to reply with comments or questions I will be more than happy to help you structure a new fitness and healthy eating plan specifically for you!
Happy Hump day!

Do what they say. Say what you mean…..

Years ago I had a friend from London who spoke very bluntly about everything. Because I am also, lets just say, very direct- we got along well.

He would often point out the many cultural differences between British and Americans. One of his pet peeves was when he would meet an American and immediately after the introduction they would say: “nice to meet you” he would tell me that those 4 simple words would irritate him to no end – as how could they possibly know that it was nice to meet him before they even have a chance to get to know him. Made perfect sense to me. But I just brushed it off as a habit and a cultural difference, two different ways of communicating.

It’s years later and I never really thought twice about the words “nice to meet you”.

Until now.

I ran into an acquaintance in a restaurant recently. She was with a group of her friends and she introduced me to the ladies sitting at her table. After a few minutes of small talk, I smiled and said “nice to meet you” as I turned to leave. But not without overhearing them talk about me as I left. (I know what you’re thinking – what could they possible say negatively about ME??? –right? I’m such a nice person! ….It was something catty and typical of insecure women and completely rolled off me as usual- but not the point- and alas another blog).

But I could not help thinking to myself – was it really nice to meet them?

From the age when my kids learned to talk, I taught them proper manners from the basics of “please” and “thank you” to the now questionable “nice to meet you”. They have always held their own at the adult table with proper posture and napkin in the lap etc. (Ms. Manners would be proud.)

But maybe my British friend was right.

Perhaps we do jump the gun with our quick responses –that are set on autopilot.

Lesson Leaned:

Be nice.

Do what you say. Say what you mean. One thing leads to another. When the wrong word goes in the right ear I know you’ve been lying to me.

And now for your viewing pleasure click link:

End of an Anti Hero? Or beginning of girl power?….

Last night was the season finale of Mad Men. Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet, no spoiler alert, I haven’t watched it either but Im pretty sure it includes sexism and alcoholism all at a very very slow pace.

For weeks now, columnists and talk show hosts have been building up the suspense by referring to the end of the dramatic series as an “end to an era”, which I disagree as the era ended like 40 years ago but , yea.

Some critics, however, are claiming that it’s finally the end of the “anti hero”- which is Hollywood’s way to describe a crooked, shady, unethical, yet ironically likeable and easy to connect to, star of the show.

I have to say, that I am not sure what these critics are talking about since we still have so many anti-heros that are still on TV such as Frank, from House of Cards (corrupt politician) , Orange is the New Black (jailbird), Real Housewives franchise- any- (vanity, drama, stupidity and shallowness).

Image result for real housewives drama funny

It’s not like Sopranos or Weeds or best one yet, Breaking Bad, were that long ago that would make Mad Men stand out as the last – or most compelling – of the anti hero series. Admittedly, although I still watch the show, I find Don Draper to be pathetic and well, boring.

Alcoholic, fraudulent, sexist, womanizer.…Yea, yea, yea- I get it. But still boring.

But I had to admit, watching the finale made me think about just how far we’ve come – and I’m not just referring to women’s rights or equality in the work place, (those are obvious wins and yet still not where they should be). I’m referring to the appeal of what tv viewers find interesting to watch.

For instance, yesterday- just hours before the Mad Men series finale, I took my two girls to see “Pitch Perfect 2”. I can’t remember laughing that hard – and smiling for 2 hours straight- in a movie in years. Aside from Jack Black, no other actor –male or female- makes me pee my pants the way Fat Amy’s character did.


I walked out of the movie theater with my girls smiling ear to ear- even though some lines were stupid it was still a very “feminist feel good/girl power” movie. There was no bitchy, catty girl drama, or eating ice cream straight from the tub when depressed – to speak of. (Although there was one pillow fight scene but they called it out and made it funny).

I thought to myself, look how far we’ve come.

Funny, the very same thing I thought after I watch Mad Men.

Lesson Learned:

Be it an anti hero or a fat female comedian, television, or movie; whatever entertains and intrigues us enough to “think” is what is compelling to watch.

Think more, hate less. Peace out to Mad Men and here’s hoping there’s a Pitch Perfect 3