Dec 9, 2009


Support their desire to live a healthier lifestyle by giving them the a few of the tools needed to succeed!

Here are a few suggestions of what you can give this holiday season!

Balance Ball- Great for strengthening core muscles

Hiking Guide - Get some exercise while exploring the city

iTunes gift card -Exercising is easier with music

Pilates/yoga video or classes- Lean muscles burn more calories

Pedometer- Takes strides towards reaching 10,000 steps a day

Recipes Books- Check out our new Skinny Gene Project 's Collection of Healthy Recipes

Water bottle- Staying hydrated while working out is extremely important


The winter season is full of holiday cheer, parties, and food. Skinny Gene wants to help you keep your celebration with family and friends healthy and happy. Here are a few ideas for side items and desserts for you to bring to your gatherings to help offset all the rich lavish foods and sweets.


When choosing a side item, it’s best to start with the basics, fruits and vegetables. These dishes can add a lot of color and crunch to your holiday meal. There are a few things to be aware of when you are choosing your recipe. Be careful with vegetable casseroles, they usually involve butter, mayonnaise, and cheeses which can add extra fat and calories quickly. Try salads with dressing on the sides, vegetable and/or fruit platters with light dip, or roasted vegetables for a natural rich flavor.

Here are two of our favorite Healthy Holiday Sides!

Marinated Cucumber Salad

1 cup Rice wine vinegar
1 cup Splenda
2 cucumbers sliced/quartered as desired
¼ cup chopped cilantro
¼ cup chopped red onion
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes

Mix vinegar and Splenda together. Add all remaining ingredients, mix lightly and store in refrigerator. The salad’s flavor increases as it marinates, recommend 4 hours or overnight.

*Holiday Flair: Try adding sliced cherry tomatoes

Skinny Gene Level 1, low GI and low fat
Serves 8

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Dip
Modified from Kraft Foods recipe

¼ cup fat free cream cheese
¼ cup fat free sour cream
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon skim milk
2 apples, cut into wedges

Mix first 5 ingredients until blended. Serve with apples or other fruit.

Holiday Flair: Arrange fruit in the shape of a wreath around the dip

Skinny Gene Level 1, low GI and low fat
Serves 4


Desserts are more challenging during this time of year, most consist of rich chocolate, peanut butter, sugar and frosting which all are guilty of making the blood sugar spike! When choosing a dessert recipe, look for those that you can substitute ingredients, such as low/nonfat milk, free cool whip, nonfat yogurt, and Splenda. For more ideas check out the November newsletter!

Here is one of our favorite desserts! Enjoy!

Grasshopper Pudding Pie
Kraft Foods

4 famous chocolate wafers, divided
1 ½ cups skim milk
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
1 package JELL-O Pistachio Flavor Fat Free Sugar Free Instant pudding
2 cups thawed Cool Whip sugar free whip topping
1 square Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped

Crush 2 wafers; sprinkle onto the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate sprayed with cooking spray
Beat milk, extract, and pudding mix with a whip for 2 minutes. Stir in cool whip and chopped chocolate; spread into pie pate. Top with remaining wafers, cute into quarters.
Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Remove pie from freezer 10 minute before serving; let stand at room temperature to soften slightly before cutting to serve.

Skinny Gene Level 2, medium GI and medium fat
Serves 8

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Nov 2, 2009

November Recipe of the Month

Keener Cauliflower Mash "Potatoes"

Submitted by: K. Keener, Skinny Gene San Diego

Serving Size: 4


1 Medium head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp margarine or non-fat butter spray (or equivalent)
2-3 Tbsp of non-fat milk
1 Tsp of minced garlic or garlic powder and/or parsley


1-Remove green parts from cauliflower
2-Cut the cauliflower into pieces
3-Steam cauliflower for 10 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
4-Put the cauliflower into a mixing bowl and add parmesan cheese, butter or butter substitute, and milk.
5-Use a blender stick (or equivalent) and blend mixture until it is smooth

Notes: Steaming the cauliflower will allow the cauliflower to retain most of its nutrients, which are normally lost if the vegetable is boiled.


Per serving: 75 calories; 33 calories from fat (33%);4 g total fat (1 g sat); 85 mg sodium; 8g total carbs ( 4 g fiber, 4 g sugar); 4 g protein; estimated load 4.

A Skinny Gened Thanksgiving

Is Your Family In Need Of A Thanksgiving Day Makeover?

Did you know the average person consumes over 3,000 calories from their Thanksgiving meal alone? This meets or exceeds nearly everyone’s total needs for an entire day in one meal!

Here are some Skinny Gene Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving:

Have a game plan – decide which foods you plan to eat or not eat
Bring a low calorie nutritious dish
Watch your portion sizes – it’s okay to have a taste or two of your favorite foods
Include exercise in your day
Avoid 2nd helpings
Eat slowly and stop when you are full
Enjoy the company of friends and family
Drink alcohol in moderation - limit to 1-2 drinks (1 ½ oz liquor, 5 oz wine, 12 oz beer)
Drink lots of water

Food choices

Turkey – choose white meat
Avoid extras such as butter (saves ~ 200 calories!)
Capitalize on vegetables, but check for added fat
Choose sweet potatoes, but beware of candied sweet potatoes
Choose a whole grain roll or skip the roll to save ~ 150 calories.

Preparing your families meal

There are several ways to lighten up your family’s holiday feast without sacrificing the flavor! Some of our favorite tips are seasoning your turkey with lemon, lime, fresh vegetables and herbs, and chicken broth, or make homemade stuffing using whole grains breads and rolled oats in place of white bread. Skip the bread and butter. And when it comes to dessert, try crust-less pie or reduced calorie cool whip in place of heavy whipping cream. Our favorite modifications will reduce your meal by nearly 1,000 calories!

Cooking and Baking Substitutions

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Contact number:1-888-500-2344 ext 1

Nov 1, 2009


Imagine this Scenario- - You are blindfolded and driven to a drop-off point. Your objective is to quickly find your way to the corner of Health & E. What’s the first step you’ll need to take before getting to where you need to be? You’ll need to figure out where you are!

The same is true when it comes to either preventing or developing diabetes. You have to know where you are, and read the signs, to determine where you are going.

Imagine that your life has a map filled with dirt paths, side roads, short cuts, main streets, highways, and tollways. These roads can merge and intersect and lead you through your life’s journey.

On this “life map”, there are several on-ramps for the prediabetes highway (PDH). Avoid being steered in this direction! It may look like a popular and well traveled path, but it will take you in the opposite direction of your desired location.

Sometimes, you may get forced onto the PDH by Age and Ethnicity, or be led in that direction because of Family History and Weight Gain. However, if you make smart decisions, you can avoid the short cuts leading to the PDH, which are typically known as Elevated Blood Sugar, Elevated A1c, Elevated Blood Pressure, and Elevated Cholesterol.

Once on the PDH, there are frequent turn-arounds like Healthy Food Choices, Exercise, and Weight Loss that will allow you to exit and re-enter the express way towards the preferred destination, Health & E .

The longer you stay on the PDH, the fewer opportunities there will be to exit. Instead, you’ll find yourself in cruise control towards the type 2 diabetes (T2D) tollway; which is the quickest route to blindness, heart attack, stroke, amputations, kidney failure, and death.

Given the description of the map above, would you be able to pin-point your whereabouts? Before you place the “YOU ARE HERE” marker on your life map, consider these 3 things:

1- The beginning of the map begins with birth, and the rest of the journey is dictated by both genetics and lifestyle choices. If you are over the age of 30 and eat the typical American diet, you may want to move your marker a little closer to the PDH.

2- Many of the factors that contribute to weight gain can also lead to elevated blood sugar, A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol. These conditions can increase the rate in which a person develops prediabetes and diabetes. So, don’t make assumptions; know your numbers!

3- Most of the 57 million Americans with prediabetes are unaware that they currently have this condition and are at risk of developing full-blown diabetes. No news is not necessarily good news. Talk to your doctor about your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Early detection provides you with the opportunity to reverse prediabetes and regain your health.

Your life has a map, and the compass is known as an A1c test.
Getting an A1c test is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. This test gives you an opportunity to look at your health from a very unusual perspective. It gives you a "snap shot" of what is happening inside your body.
Using your A1c test results, the Skinny Gene Project will provide you with an individualized "health map" (for educational purposes only). You will be able to clearly see where you are, where you have come from, and in what direction you are heading. With this information, you will be able to determine your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Order an A1c!
You can prevent diabetes, but you have to catch it before it is too late! CLICK HERE to learn more.

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, make the commitment to schedule an appointment with your physician and find out your risk of developing prediabetes and diabetes. Keep a record of your weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. If any of these numbers are elevated, take immediate action.

If you do not have insurance or access to a primary care physician, but would like to find out if you may be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, please contact the Skinny Gene Project at 1-888-500-2344 ext 2.

Sep 30, 2009

Healthy Substitutions to Satisfy Your Cravings

So you’re having a craving for something chocolaty, cold and refreshing, salty, crunchy, or sweet…. No Problem!

Try substituting your initial craving for these healthier options. Oftentimes it will pacify the craving and lead to a healthier tomorrow.


Skinny Gene Level 1
Fat free, sugar free chocolate pudding
Fat free frozen yogurt
Swiss Miss No Sugar Added Hot Chocolate mix

Skinny Gene Level 2
Skim milk with low sugar chocolate syrup

Cold and Refreshing:

Skinny Gene Level 1
Crystal Light with shaved ice
Nonfat yogurt and fruit smoothie
Iced coffee (black)
Fat free frozen yogurt


Skinny Gene Level 1
Pico de Gallo
Lean turkey deli meat*
Low fat or nonfat Cottage cheese
Light or nonfat cream cheese with celery
Nonfat cheese
Homemade Baked Sweet potato fries

Skinny Gene Level 2
15 almonds

*Beware of actual salt content


Skinny Gene Level 1
Green or Red Peppers

Skinny Gene Level 2
Kashi Heart to Heart cereal


Skinny Gene Level 1
Strawberries with fat free whip cream
Nonfat yogurts – apple turnover, lemon crème, Boston cream pie, cherry vanilla, etc.

Skinny Gene Level 2

To learn more about our Skinny Gene Ranking System, please click here and check out our Rule of 2!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

What’s in the October Shopping Cart?

Almonds – A super food with many amazing health benefits, including high Magnesium content, which helps keep blood sugars and blood pressure within a desirable range. Count out 15 almonds for a heart healthy snack on the run.

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 2

Lemon – Adding this acidic juice to your meals slows the rate of carbohydrate digestion, therefore blood sugars will slowly increase and avoid spiking! Try squeezing fresh lemons on steamed vegetables, salads, and fruits.

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 1

Kashi Heart to Heart® - Consuming 3 grams soluble fiber/day may lower your risk of heart disease, this cereal provides 1 gram soluble fiber per serving! Another natural way to lower cholesterol without using medications! Enjoy this cereal in the morning with milk, mixed with yogurt, or as a dry snack on the run!

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 2

Halibut - Two servings of fish a week will provide you with the essential fatty acids that will help lower your triglycerides and lower risks of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack or stroke). Try Halibut baked, broiled, or barbequed, and seasoned with fresh herbs, spices, and lemon juice.

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 1

Pinto Beans – Another super food, loaded with nutrients that you can count as a vegetable or protein! Each serving provides ~8 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving, that will help keep your blood sugar from spiking and your heart healthy. Buy fresh, frozen, or canned and enjoy daily!

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 1

Spaghetti Squash – Cut in half and bake this low carbohydrate, low calorie "pasta" in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. Take a fork and carefully scoop the noodles out. Enjoy plain or with sauce!

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 1

Strawberries – The rich red color provided by the phytonutrients in strawberries protects against heart disease and cancer. Strawberries are naturally very rich in Vitamin C. Try sliced strawberries with fat free cool whip for a sweet treat!

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 1

Cottage Cheese - Eating 3+ servings of low fat or fat free dairy everyday can help reduce the belly fat! Cottage cheese provides good sources of both Calcium and Protein. Enjoy plain, or try it mixed with fruit or on a salad.

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 1 (fat-free)

Green Tea – This soothing beverage contains Catechins, which have been linked with increased fat metabolism, weight loss and decreased waist circumference. Try for 1-3 cups per day!

Skinny Gene Ranking: Level 1

To learn more about our Skinny Gene Ranking System, please click here and check out our Rule of 2!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Sep 24, 2009


Whether you consider yourself to be a saltaholic, sweetaholic, carbaholic, or just love to bite down and crunch your way through the day, we’ll help you understand your urges so you’ll know when to fight them or when to give into the temptations.

Cravings are natural and experienced by almost all men and woman. Unfortunately, many people feel ashamed, guilty, or weak for not having the will power to overcome these temptations. Give yourself a break. Actually, stressing about giving into temptations or completely alleviating all cravings can cause more problems.
"Curbing cravings is not about having will power, it's about creating healthier options and planning for success. "


So when it comes to your cravings, should you avoid them like the plague or crunch with caution?

It seems like the answer should be simple, but it’s not. Giving into every craving, from potato chips and french fries to chocolate shakes, might make you turn into a cream puff; but did you know that avoiding cravings might also cause weight gain?

So what do you do? Stop trying to fight them; start gaining control over them.

If you want to conquer your cravings, you must first FEED it

Feeling- Get in touch with your true feelings. Identify what emotion is causing you to want to eat (loneliness, frustration, boredom, anger)

Evaluation- what biological or behavioral factors may be influencing your craving

Expression- what specific food (e.g. chocolate chip cookie), food category (e.g. pasta or dessert), or food texture (e.g. creamy or crunchy) best expresses your desire (craving) or emotion

Decision- determine if there is an alternative “expression” or behavior that will satisfy the need.



It’s 8 o’clock on a Wednesday night, and you’re minding your own business when that old friend comes a knockin’. Once again, you are having a late night craving.

You glance down at the clock and sigh; it’s only been an hour and a half since you finished dinner. You think to yourself, “I thought I ate enough, why am I having this craving? I guess I’m still hungry.”

Chances are the craving didn’t come from a rumbling tummy. In fact, 75% of cravings are brought about by emotions, not hunger. [1]

Regardless of whether you are a self-proclaimed saltaholic, sweetaholic, carbaholic, late night muncher, all day cruncher, or see yourself as being a see-food lover and equal opportunity eater, the root of almost all cravings comes from one of two places- the heart or head.

Here is one way of looking at how emotions from the heart and head affect our cravings:


Linda Spangle, author of Life is Hard, Food is Easy, refers to emotional eating that stems from the head or intellectual sources as being “head hunger”.

Emotions: stress, tension, anger, frustration, upcoming deadline, or feelings of being misunderstood

Common Crave: chewy or crunchy foods

Culprit: Chewy cookies or bars, M&Ms, steak or chewy meats, granola, trail mix, fried foods, chips, nuts, popcorn, crackers, french fries, hot dogs, pizza, and chocolate


Spangle refers to “heart hunger” as being a response to empty emotions

Emotions: loneliness, depression, boredom, and that feeling that something is missing

Common Crave: comforting foods

Culprit: ice cream, pasta, cinnamon rolls, cheese, eggs, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, biscuits, cake (especially cheesecake), alcohol, candy, and other foods that have a fond spot in your memory



Ever feel like you have an uncontrollable urge to eat a specific food? You may be correct! I guess you could say that you could…”Blame it on the Brain”

Your emotions and behaviors can quickly alter your body chemistry, which causes unbeatable cravings. These intense cravings can cause a vicious cycle of weight gain, negative feelings and behaviors, and more changes to your body’s hormones.

Use the following examples to determine whether there might be some behavioral and biological influences that are affecting your cravings.


Ever wonder why people who lose weight quickly seem to put it (and more) back on again. Well, here’s one factor….

Whether you are crash dieting or participating in the newest low-calorie fad diet, a drop in calories can cause a decrease in Serotonin.

Serotonin is a feel-good hormone that is released in the body after eating carbohydrates. Its purpose is to enhance calmness, improves mood, and lessens depression.

High levels of serotonin help to control appetite and satisfy cravings, but drastic drops in calorie intake decreases the serotonin and increases cravings.

A drop in serotonin can also cause negative feelings, such as: depression, anxiety, lethargy, feelings of hopelessness, or rage.


Skipping meals causes your blood sugar to drop. Since your body requires food to function, the natural defense is to increase the level of the hormone ghrelin and amount of neuropeptide Y.

An increase in ghrelin causes the body to have an irresistible urge to eat, and the decrease of neuropeptide Y increases your craving for carbohydrates.


When you eat a high fat diet your body increases the production of endorphins, which gives you the feeling of having a natural high. Unfortunately, as the amount of fat you consume rises, so does the amount of galanin. This hormone increases your desire for more fatty foods. So basically the more fat you eat, the more fat you are going to crave.

Ever wonder why when you are stressed you crave desserts (which is stressed spelled backwards!). While the fat releases endorphins and gives you the feeling of pleasure, the carbohydrates increase the serotonin and makes you feel calm and relaxed.



Sometimes the best solution is to surrender.

Let’s say you’ve got an unbreakable craving for a turtle cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory. You’ve identified the emotion that led to this craving and believe that this is one craving that will not be easily substituted for a healthier alternative, nor could any change in behavior or setting rectify this problem. As long as you don’t have any medical issues or conditions that would restrict you from acting on your desire, you may want to surrender.

Oh, before you starting waving your white flag, know that there are rules. Surrendering to your temptation does not mean turning your body into a human garbage can.

Rule #1- Determine the intensity of the craving- Answer this question honestly... if you don't eat this specific food, will the act of depriving this item lead you to binge uncontrollable on this or other food item in the near future?

If the answer is NO, take a big breath and find a healthy alternative to dealing with this craving.

Rule #2-Give a valiant effort. At least consider a healthier option before deciding to toss in the towel.

Rule #3- Limit these splurges to no more than twice (ideally once) a month or less, and keep a detailed journal of your cravings. Make sure to note when the craving occurs (time & location), what emotion is creating the craving, and what action you took (give in vs. choosing a healthy alternative).

Rule #4- Cut the portion size in half and toss the rest. Even though it might be a waste of money, having the left over portion might be too tempting.

For all other cravings (e.g. craving sweets as a general category), try substituting your initial craving for a healthier option. Oftentimes it will pacify the craving and lead to a healthier tomorrow.

For tips on healthy substitutions for common craves, click here.


Other sources include:

Do Food Cravings Reflect your feelings:


Sep 1, 2009

10 Substitutions That Shave 100 lbs

Small changes to your everyday life can help you lose weight or help you prevent further weight gain. Here are Skinny Gene’s top 10 tips to help trim calories as well as your waistline.


Substitute ¼ Cup Egg Substitute (e.g. Egg Beaters) for 1 whole egg; SAVINGS-4 pounds per year

Egg substitute is great for scrambled eggs or to replace eggs in all types of recipes. It provides less total fat and saturated fat.


Substitute 1 Orange for 1 cup of Orange juice; SAVINGS- 5 pounds per year

Replace that morning cup of juice with a fresh orange for an added 5 grams of fiber and better glucose control.


Substitute calorie free spray butter for 1 Tablespoon of butter; SAVINGS- 7 pounds per year

Try spray butter on toast and vegetables. Spray butter has all of the flavor without the fat, reduction in 11 grams fat and 7 grams saturated fat to be precise!


Substitute lean ground turkey for lean ground beef; SAVINGS-7 pounds per year

Try substituting turkey for beef for tacos, meatloaf, and chili, it provides less fat without sacrificing the flavor.


Substitute 1 Tablespoon of avocado for 1 Tablespoon of mayonnaise; SAVINGS-8 pounds per year

Top your sandwich with 2 slices of avocado to provide an essential fatty acid bonus!


Substitute light ranch for regular ranch; SAVINGS-8 pounds per year

Lower the fat without changing the taste. Reduce your intake by serving the dressing on the side and dip fork with each bite.


Substitute 2 Tablespoons of Splenda for 2 Tablespoons of sugar; SAVINGS- 10 pounds per year

Reduce your blood sugar spikes by substituting Splenda for sugar in your coffee, oatmeal, and when baking.


Substitute cooking spray for 1 Tablespoon of oil; SAVINGS- 12 ½ pounds per year

Reduce your fat intake by spraying the pan with cooking spray when sautéing vegetables.


Substitute ½ Cucumber for 1 pita; SAVINGS- 15 pounds per year

Try dipping cucumber in dip such as hummus for a nice crisp fresh crunch and very little calories.


Substitute 1 light English muffin for 1 bagel;- 23 pounds per year

When at restaurants or the grocery store, go for the Light English Muffin. It is higher in fiber, lower in carbohydrates, will keep your blood sugars stable and your waistline trim!

*calculation based on daily intake over course on 1 year

For more information on small changes that lead to big success log onto

Let us help you identify simple substitutions that you can make to your current diet that will bring big changes. For more information, email us at

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Aug 31, 2009

Passion for Paws

Whether you have a passion for diabetes prevention or protecting our four-legged friends, we celebrate whatever it is that inspires you to get out and live life.

We are proud to support one of our Skinny Gene members, Michelle, as she runs the Chicago Marathon in memory of Winston, her 2 1/2 year old Weimaraner that passed away due to heart failure last year on October 12, 2008.

Winston's Story- By Michelle C (Skinny Gene Project, Chicago)

Winston was a blue Weimaraner that I purchased from a breeder in May of 2006. I had been living in Chicago, IL for approximately 6 years before I even thought about taking on the responsibility of such a large and energetic dog. I also was an avid runner with multiple running partners that helped motivate me to run on not so nice days and for safety reasons while living in such a big city. As my life, career, and responsibilities started changing so did my running partners and my desire to run. That is when I decided it was time to get a dog that was able to run with me to keep me safe and to get me out running regularly again.

I had done my research, found a breeder in Iowa, and put down a deposit to secure the pick of the litter.

When the puppies were six weeks old I went to Iowa to pick out which puppy would be mine and I instantly fell in love with the little pudgy, laid back Weimaraner with the blue collar.

When I picked him up at 8 weeks old the breeder had told me that at his last vet appointment they had found that he had a heart murmur and that there was a 95% chance he would grow out of it. At that point I had an opportunity to take a different puppy, but I refused and went with my first instinct and in fear that he may not have a chance at a good home if I didn’t take him.

Over the next 2 years, Winston’s heart disease progressed which made it difficult for him to be in the heat or to express his puppy spirit. At any chance he pushed the limits and loved every minute of it. Needless to say he didn’t have the chance to be my running partner, but he was my best friend. I lost Winston to heart failure on the evening of October 11, 2008 at 2 ½ years old.

The 2009 Chicago Marathon is on October 11, 2009 which is the year anniversary of Winston’s death.

Therefore, I thought it was fitting to run in his name for PAWS Chicago (Pets Are Worth Saving), which is the city's largest No Kill humane organization, focused on alleviating Chicago's tragic pet homelessness problem. Since PAWS Chicago's founding, the number of homeless pets killed in the city has been reduced by more than half ―from 42,561 pets killed in 1997 to 19,288 in 2008.

I believe all dogs and cats deserve a second chance at life and love!

Please support my efforts at or at a shelter near you!

Aug 25, 2009

A True Inspiration

Annie’s Journey to the Finish Line (Skinny Gene Project San Diego)

Saving my life-One step at a time

I DON'T WANT TO DIE and I'm dying. I am this reality. I WANT TO LIVE and I'm living. I am creating this reality.”

Like millions of other Americans, like YOU, I have faced adversity and been forced to hurdle obstacles more times than I can count. Despite every effort to fight, a series of medical conditions overcame my body. Before they were able to diagnose and stop the problem, the damage had been done.

I had to walk away from 10 years of service to the Navy. Images of my shipmates were replaced by the reflection of the overweight woman in the mirror that stared back me, suffocating my spirit and determination until nothing was left.

Alone without my Navy family and without my own family I sank into depression and my health spiraled further out of control. Before I knew it, my mortality became a reality.

The Skinny Gene Project taught me that it is never too late to regain control of my life. Not only am I receiving the tools and resources I need to be successful, this organization gives me tremendous hope and I know I don't have to struggle alone. They support and believe in me, even when I start to lose faith in myself. - Annie


After becoming a member of the Skinny Gene Project, Annie began working with our Registered Dietitian (Emily) and a physical trainer from Tru Health and Wellness (Craig). With less than 30 pounds to go in losing her first 100 pounds, Annie set her sights on walking in the San Diego Rock n' Roll Marathon.

She trained vigorously for weeks. Then, a few weeks before the event, she fell. Annie injured her knee and was no longer able to compete. This was a devestating blow to Annie. It was happening again!

Several years ago, while in the Navy, Annie was training for the San Diego Marathon and had a horrible bike riding accident. She was immoble for months. This marked the beginning of her weight gain. This time however, Annie was determined to have a different outcome.

Although her knee injury prevented her from participating in any physical activity, she continued to lose weight. She focused on regaining her health ...


Finally, on August 16th, Annie completed her first 5K.

Congratulations Annie! We are so very proud of you!

Skinny Gene Project's September Shopping Cart

Making healthier choices begins with what you decide to put into your grocery cart.

Try to find a way to incorporate each of these items into your meals.

Avocados – The only fruit that is a great source of monounsaturated fats and are sodium and cholesterol free, essential for a heart healthy diet.

Garlic – Adding garlic to season your meal not only increases the flavor, it reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer. Try to make garlic a daily flavor: fresh, dry, or powder.

Fiber One - Super start to your day and not to mention the added benefit of lowering cholesterol, managing your blood sugar, and satisfying your appetite. A ½ cup serving of Fiber One has 14 grams of fiber, meeting ~50% of your daily need and 1 gram of cholesterol lowering soluble fiber. Try a bowl for breakfast or stir a Tablespoon or two into your yogurt.

Tuna - Two servings of fish a week will provide you the essential fatty acids that will help lower your triglycerides and lower risks of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack or stroke). Canned white tuna is a great source of the Omega-3 essential fatty acid and quick fix for dinner on the weeknights!

Green Beans - A great source of antioxidant rich vitamins and fiber that will help keep your blood sugar from spiking and your heart healthy. Buy fresh, frozen, or canned.

Whole grain pasta – Try Barilla Plus Pasta, made of 50% whole wheat and provides 7 grams of fiber per serving versus the regular white pasta’s 2 grams fiber per serving. Barilla Plus Pasta provides a rich source of protein and Omega-3 essential fatty acids.

Tomato - One of the super vegetables containing phytochemicals that help protect you against cancer. Buy fresh year round, although best July through September!

Grapes – The rich purple color provided by the phytonutrients in grapes protects against heart disease.

Yogurt - Eat 3+ servings low fat or fat free dairy daily can help reduce the belly fat! Yogurt provides friendly bacteria that strengthens your immune system and keeps your gastrointestinal tract healthy from harmful bacteria.

Did you miss the August Shopping List? If so, click here!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Not All Carbs Are Created Equal

Chosing carbohydrates can be very confusing.

Eating the right type of carbohydrate can be the difference between substantial weight gain and weight loss.
Eating bad carbs can cause heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, hunger pangs, and can even trigger overeating. Good carbs are needed for proper brain function, helps your body burn more body fat, fills you up and keeps you from getting hungry.

So don’t cut carbs; make better choices.

Using a simple ranking system known as a Glycemic Index (GI), we can clearly identify good and bad carbs. The GI indicates how much sugar is in a particular food, and how quickly that food will affect your blood sugar.

“The whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead”

White bread, potatoes, refined cereals, and several other high GI foods are quickly digested and cause sugar to pour into the blood stream. This surge of sugar causes the blood sugar to spike. Along with these spikes come severe drops in blood sugar, which causes excessive snacking and sugar cravings. These spikes also negatively affect the elasticity of the arteries and can lead to heart disease or sudden death.[1]

Fight the Fat.

Foods with a low GI are usually high in fiber and are digested slowly. This creates an opportunity for the calories from the food to be burned throughout the day as energy, instead of being stored as fat. Since there aren’t any high and lows, as there are with high GI foods, there aren’t the associated excessive snacking and sugar cravings.

Low GI foods, such as vegetables, whole grain products and beans, expand in your stomach and make you feel full longer.

Benefits of eating a low GI diet

The following are clinically-proven benefits of eating Low GI foods:
Lose and control weight
Increase the body's sensitivity to insulin
Improve diabetes control
Reduce the risk of heart disease
Reduce blood cholesterol levels
Help you manage the symptoms of PCOS
Reduce hunger and keep you fuller for longer
Prolong physical endurance

Better life through better choices.

To assign a GI ranking, each food was individually tested in a clinically controlled setting. It can’t be determined by simply reading the nutritional information.

LOW- GI is 55 or under
MED- GI is 56-69
HIGH- GI is 70 and above

Below are a few popular low GI foods. A complete listing of foods, including 1,300 foods (750 food groups) and corresponding GI ranking is available on our Skinny Gene Member’s Only Section.

Click here to become a Member Today and see the GI (and Glycemic Load) on all the food tested to date. (see additional benefits of becoming a member)


All-bran cereal (42)
Apples (38)
Apple juice (40)
Bananas (52)
Brown Rice (55)
Buckwheat (54)
Carrot (47)
Chick peas (28)
Fettuccine (40)
Grapes (46)
Green peas (48)
Honey (55)
Kidney Beans (28)
Long grain white rice (52)
9-grain, multi-grain bread (43)
Oranges (42)
Peaches (42)
Peanuts (14)
Pears (38)
Sourdough wheat bread (54)
Whole Grain (100%)- (51)


Beets (64)
Cantaloupe (65)
Coca Cola (63)
Life cereal (66)
Pineapple (59)
Sugar (table) (68)
Sweet potatoes (61)
White Rice (64)
Wild Rice (57)


Baked potatoes (85)
Cheerios (74)
Cornflakes (81)
English Muffin (77)
French Fries (75)
Grape Nuts Flakes (80)
Popcorn (72)
Shredded Wheat (75)
Watermelon (72)
Whole-wheat flour bread (71)
White flour bread (100)

[1] TAU study shows why simple carbs are bad for you by JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH

Aug 6, 2009

Focus on Fiber- Artichokes

DID YOU KNOW: If Americans doubled their intake for fiber, they could cut 100 calories from their daily diet - which could shave off 10 pounds of weight gain each year.

Only 10 percent of Americans are getting the recommended amount of fiber in their diets. Are you getting 32 grams of fiber?

Here are many other benefits of eating a high-fiber diet:

· Fiber promotes general wellness and intestinal health. It lowers the risk of developing heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and certain cancers.

· Fiber slows the rate of digestion, resulting in better blood sugar control.

· Diets high in fiber and low in saturated fats have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol.

· Diets adequate in fiber are linked with weight loss success due to its ability to satisfy the appetite by helping you feel fuller longer. This will prevent you from over-eating.

· For the most part, foods high in fiber are usually lower in calories, therefore increasing intakes result in lower calorie consumption.

Try Artichokes! They have 6.5 grams of fiber?

Here are 5 easy recipes to incorporate Artichokes in your diet...

Watch Video on how to prepare an Artichoke. Click here

  1. Broiled Chicken and Artichokes Source :Gourmet

  2. Artichoke, Cherry Tomato, and Feta Salad with Artichoke-Pesto Crostini [SGP tip- use a whole grain baguette] Source Bon Appétit

  3. Grilled Baby Artichokes with Caper-Mint Sauce Source: Gourmet

  4. Lemon Mint Braised Artichokes Source: Gourmet

  5. Artichoke Pesto on Ciabatta Source: Food Network [SGP tip- use a whole grain baguette]

Helpful Hint: Don't Eat the Worms!

We promised to provide a newsletter with helpful tips to living a healthy lifestyle. Well, here’s a suggestion…

Helpful Hint #1: Don’t eat the worms!

Weight loss is a challenge of endurance, not speed. Sometimes we can be in such a hurry to lose weight that we will try any fad diet that promises to deliver results, no matter how unusual, daring or harmful it may be.

Some people will go to any lengths to lose weight, including eating worms. That’s right, worms! On the once popular Tapeworm Diet, people would swallow a worm-laced pill and let the worms dine off any leftover food in the body. Did it work? Maybe, but at what cost?

The great news is that you don’t have to eat worms, live on grapefruit or cabbage alone, or cut out all carbohydrates to drop a few pounds. Fad diets are designed for quick weight loss but not long-term success. The true question isn’t if they work. It’s if, and how long, you are able to do it

Instead of a quick fix, try making small changes that will lead to achieving long-term success.

Filling Up Without Adding the Calories

One of the most common complaints when trying to lose weight is feeling hungry all the time. Here are Skinny Gene’s tips or tricks to keep yourself feeling full and your weight on track! Our focus is maximizing the mealtimes and the foods you eat, while minimizing the calories by including fulfilling foods high in fiber. Give a few of these tips are try!


· Try rating your hunger – 1 not too hungry to 5 extremely hungry. Your goal is to never let yourself get to a rating of 5. Keep snacks with you or at work, in the car, etc for unplanned events. Chances are that if you go into a meal extremely hungry you will overeat.

· Enjoy your mealtimes, cut out the distractions (i.e. TV) and savor your food. Enjoy conversation! A mealtime should last 20-30 minutes, so be sure to eat slowly and try setting your fork down between bites.

· Eat the low calorie and high fiber foods first, such as vegetables, salads, beans and fruits. These will help you feel full.

· Wait 15-20 minutes before dishing up 2nd helpings.

· Drink a glass of water prior to meals.

· Watch the alcohol intake; it can lead to uninhibited eating and extra calories.

When Eating Out!

· Substitute vegetables (not fried) for other side items.

· Start with a clear soup or salad.

· Lay off the bread or chips prior to a meal.

· Eat slowly!

· Share a meal with someone or plan on taking at least half of the dish home.

When at Social Outings!

· Load your plate up with high fiber foods, such as raw vegetables and salad. Try small spoonfuls of the other higher calorie foods. Be sure to savor you food!

· Focus on being social at parties. Position yourself out of arm’s reach of appetizers.

· Be sure to bring a healthy dish to the party.

· Make only one trip to the buffet.

· Have a high fiber snack and some water prior to the event so you aren’t starving!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNS

What Should be in Your Skinny Gene Shopping Cart

What’s in this month’s Grocery Cart?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Great source of essential fatty acids with unbelievable health benefits including raising HDL (“good cholesterol“) and lowering LDL (“bad” cholesterol)

Mrs. Dash - Delicious salt free seasoning, helps keep your blood pressure low. Add to steamed vegetables, meats, poultry, fish, etc.

Oatmeal - Super start to your day and not to mention the added benefit of lowering cholesterol. Try a bowl for breakfast or stir a scoop or two into your yogurt.

Salmon - Two servings of fish a week will provide you the essential fatty acids that will help lower your triglycerides and lower risks of cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attack or stroke).

Black Beans - A great source of fiber that will help keep your blood sugar from spiking. Buy in a can or in a bag, black beans are cheap too!

Whole grain bread - Choose a bread with 3 grams of fiber per slice or more. The more fiber in your bread the better for your blood sugar control.

Broccoli - One of the super vegetables that contains phytochemicals that help protect you against cancer. Buy fresh or frozen and enjoy!

Blueberries - Either fresh or frozen, blueberries’ rich blue color provides hard to find antioxidants that protect you against cancer, acts as anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging.

Milk - Eat 3+ servings low fat or fat free dairy daily can help reduce the belly fat! Don’t hesitate to add low sugar chocolate syrup for a treat, the bonus vitamins and minerals in milk out weigh the few drops of chocolate syrup!

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Aug 4, 2009

An Unlikely Story

When you think of a person with prediabetes, do you picture an outdoorsy, 32-yr old marathon runner, ex-high school wrestler, father of 2 children (ages 2 and 4), and entrepreneur?

Probably not, but you should.

A true family man and loyal friend to many, Jarod focused his attention on other people and began to neglect his own needs. He found himself to be 30 years old and 60 pounds overweight, so he decided to do something about it.

Jarod used a fad diet program, kettle ball training, and even ran his first marathon in 2008. He lost some weight, but was unable to reach his weight loss goals. Frusterated, he came to the Skinny Gene Project for help. Not only did Jarod have extra weight to lose, but he also found out that he had prediabetes.

Jarod’s Goals: within 90 days

1.) Prevent diabetes- Bring his blood sugar from a prediabetic to a healthy range
2.) Lose weight- 7 % of his body mass or more
3.) Improve Running- Shave time off his 5ks, ½ marathons and marathons

Jarod’s Skinny Gene Program

1.) HbA1c test- Assess his risk for diabetes and heart disease
2.) 7-Day Food Analysis- Determine what foods and behaviors were slowing down his metabolism
3.) Ignite Your Skinny Gene- Personal, 1-on-1 consultation with a Registered Dietitian to teach him how to boost his metabolism
4.) 90-day Accountability- Continue the discussion with the dietitian to implement the program into his lifestyle

Jarod’s Success- After 90 days
1.) Fought off prediabetes- A new HbA1c test showed that his blood sugar was in a normal range
2.) Lost 7.8% of his body weight
3.) Shed 17 minutes off a ½ marathon, and 30 minutes off the 2009 Rock n’ Roll Marathon
4.) Shared a moment of glory with his son

Jan 10, 2009

Opening The Curtains Of Hope

Check out our pictures at the end of this post!

WOW, what a fantastic evening! We kicked off the New Year with class, and in our own unique Skinny Gene style. The featured event would be ANNIE, one the great classic musicals of our time. A performance we chose because it inspires HOPE, even in the darkest of times. Little did we know, that while we were working so hard to inspire others, it was our eyes that were ultimately opened in the end.

To understand why this night was so spectacular, let’s rewind and go back to the beginning. It began with a question…

How do we, a new (and financially handicapped:) non-profit organization, introduce our cause to the San Diego community in a way that embodies our overall concept and vision?


Our concept and identity is unique: A new non-profit organization in San Diego that is dedicated to preventing diabetes by helping individuals at risk of developing this disease adopt a healthy lifestyle. In addition to providing the proper tools and resources to fight diabetes, the Skinny Gene Project provides a person with the ability to participate in fun social interactions that reinforce positive lifestyle changes.

Idea: Skinny Gene a classic social experience- Dinner and a Show.

Challenge: Provide a fun and social environment that clearly states who we are, creates awareness about our cause, and embodies our overall concept and vision?

To solve the problem, enter stage left… Red Letter Days (Bek and Mia)- truly an invaluable gift. Their vast understanding of our objectives, attention to detail, and out of the box solutions helped breathe life into the launch of the Skinny Gene Project.


1) Have the food catered by a well-known chef that can create delectable dishes that meet our strict dietary requirements

2) Intermix information about our cause into the frame work of the décor and distribute prizes for learning about the Skinny Gene Project

3) Create a social environment that focuses on common interests

We were elated when Bek and Mia informed us that they didn’t want to be just a part of the solution, but they’d rather play an integral role in the continued development of the Skinny Gene Project. They donated their time and services, and they utilized their resources to create a memorable night for all of us.


I stood in amazement as our guests were escorted up the stairs to our private reception under the Civic Theatre chandlers. Our guests were eager to learn about who WE are. They shared stories about how diabetes has personally affected their lives, or asked to join our fight to prevent diabetes.

I could clearly see that other people’s desire to support and participate in this cause has always been there. We just needed to provide an opportunity to turn that desire into action.

After seven years of trying to make an impact, it was actually happening! I was finally a part of a movement that would waken our community, and inspire our generation to take part in the reshaping of our community to create a healthier tomorrow.

A BIG THANKS to all the people who attended and participated in bringing our dream to light.