Feb 3, 2010


Heart disease is the #1 cause of death of people in your city, state, country, and world. But guess what? Great news for all of the chocoholics! Dark chocolate and cocoa are super foods that contain a very high amount of antioxidants – meaning they have been proven to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol therefore lowering your risk of heart disease! The darker the chocolate the more super the food!

Another bonus is that cocoa has a low glycemic index (GI). Although it is a sweet treat, it doesn’t impact our blood sugar in the way that sugar does, which is important when it comes to diabetes prevention.

So far, chocolate does not seem to be so bad, right? Well, what about all the fat? Chocolate in general does have a lot of fat. Although dark chocolate is different; it contains a special saturated fat from the cocoa bean that is unusual. Research has found that this fat actually acts more like an unsaturated fat in the body, therefore not resulting in increased cholesterol like other saturated fats do. Another chocolate bonus!

But there is one downfall of chocolate – the calories. On average a chocolate bar has ~220 calories, therefore it is essential to enjoy your love of chocolate in small quantities!

You gotta try this!! When it comes to cooking with cocoa, most recipes include adding fat (butter) to make it chocolaty. Keep in mind a heart healthy solution you can try is lowering the fat in the recipe by choosing an alternative, such as I can’t believe it’s not butter sticks. It looks like butter, cooks and bakes like butter, but has half the saturated fat!

Making healthy substitutions is the easiest way to keep your heart and your taste buds happy.

Try this recipe for DARK CHOCOLATE BROWNIES from best-selling author Ellie Krieger, Registered Dietitian on the Food Network.

Click on the photo to see a video of Ellie making these scrumptious brownies!

To see the actual recipe click here!

The ingredients we use in recipes are important. Not just for taste, but also how they affect the body.

Here are a couple of things to consider about ingredients used in this chocolaty recipe.

Dark chocolate- Try dark chocolate that is 60-70% cocoa solids. It is the “perfect combination between health and taste.”

Limit to 2 tbsp of butter – Butter is needed to mix with the sugar in dessert recipes to give them the right textures – try I can’t believe it’s not butter sticks.

Whole-wheat pastry flour – This flour has more fiber and vitamins than white flour, and can be a sneaky healthy substitution for your family. It is “soft and tender, just like all regular purpose flour, but it has all the goodness of whole wheat.”

Cocoa powder- It is full of heart healthy antioxidants with out the fat

Light brown sugar – provides flavor to your dessert – try splenda brown sugar substitute to cut the calories and sugar!

Eggs- are essential to hold foods together when baking, but they do contain a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol – give egg substitutes a try, you will never know the difference – but your heart will thank you – ½ the calories, no fat or cholesterol!

Yogurt- provides moisture to baked foods, your best bet is low fat or nonfat

Canola oil – is the heart healthy fat of choice.

Vanilla – is a calorie free flavor for you desserts.

Walnuts – are a great addition to any food to provide your heart healthy essential fats.

Cooking spray - is a great way to cut the calories without cutting the flavor.

To learn more about healthy substitutions or cooking, or to speak with our nutrition staff, please email us at healthyhome@jmossfoundation.org

By Emily Barr, MS, RD, CNSC

Feb 2, 2010


Looking for a new and creative way to convey your love?

You've already done the flower, chocolate, and food thing...or have you?

These unique spins on these classic gifts will help to you to redefine your expression of love...

1. Roses:

Instead of getting traditional flowers, consider giving them something that will have a little longer of a lasting impression.

During our search for "something new" we found a site with origami rose flowers. If you are crafty enough, you can even follow the instructions and make them yourself , or you can order them.

Either way, with origami rose flowers you can engrave encouraging messages to show your lasting love and support on a single rose or on a whole bouquet.

2. Heart:

A little creative cooking is always appreciated, when it has a dash of love and a sprinkle of affection.

Whether you believe the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, like to spice things up by cooking together, or hope to find heart-healthy recipes to create a healthier home, cooking something from your own kitchen is great way to show someone you care.

If you prefer to kiss the chef, than be the chef... try giving them a personalized cookbook.

Our Skinny Gene tastebook is a unique gift to give a person who enjoys (or wants to enjoy) healthy cooking!

Our tastebook will allow you to add a personal dedication to tell them how much you support their desire to live a healthy life (Let' s face it..the world is better with them in it.)

Oh...and it's a great way to ensure you'll be the recipient of some delectable dishes!

Want to CREATE YOUR OWN tastebook? You can do that too!

Our Skinny Gene Members have access to over 100,000 recipes, including 100 healthy recipes that we have analyzed and included our Skinny Gene healthy subtitutions into the notes.

Simply choose the recipes you want, and design the book that fits their taste.

3. Chocolate:

Rather than buying chocolate from a store, why not make them a chocolaty treat!

How about Dark Chocolate Brownies, with all the flavor but half the fat and calories.

Dark chocolate and cocoa bean are actually super foods. So, click here to get the recipe and feel good about expressing your love to your favorite chocoholics.

John B. -February's Member of the Month

John Bigos is our February, 2010 Skinny Gene Member of the Month!

John is a true inspiration to our Skinny Gene Family.


John, like many of our other Skinny Gene Members, wanted to lose weight. His motivation is simple; he loves his wife Becky.

John made the choice to show one of the greatest expressions of love. He loved himself, and improved his health, so that he could truly love her.

His health is not a gift the he will give to her, one day a year, but rather one she will receive for the rest of their lives.

Their love story will continue as they travel to different countries, but now he'll have the energy to keep up. Together living and experiencing life, hand in hand, stride by stride.

Congratulations John on all of your success!!! We couldn't be more proud of you!

Enjoy your upcoming cruise, we can't wait to hear all about it.

-Your Skinny Gene Project Family


Nov 23, 2009 -Feb 1, 2010

-Instead of gaining weight during the holiday season (like many of us do), John has actaully managed to lose 17 pounds in approximately 9 short weeks!

-Conscious food choices: John is aware of the quality and type of food he is eating and makes better selections.

-John can successfully control craving by finding healthier substitutes.

-He incorporates exercise into his workday by walking to the different aircraft hangers.


I had ignored my weight for twenty years. It steadily went up, sometimes it dropped, but always increased overall, and I just simply wasn't concerned about it. Our thirtieth wedding anniversary arrived, and my wife Becky and I went a on cruise to celebrate. At that time, on that big cruise ship, I suddenly came to the realization that my weight was a problem, and that both my wife and I deserved better.

I needed to see my doctor for a prescription, and during the interview he asked me what I was going to do about my weight. This was true serendipity, and he got me involved in the Skinny Gene program.

In October 2009 I kept a seven day log of my food intake and sent it to the dietician. We had a very informative phone call where she identified problems with what I was consuming.

On 23 November 2009, I started a kick off-diet that was proposed for me by the dietician. I adhered to it as much as I could, but I did make alterations and substitutions where necessary. To me, the diet seemed very generous and varied. That diet had me lose 2 lbs that first week.

I also used booklets and the internet to keep track of calories consumed. Thanks to the dietician's counseling, I began to closely look at every bit of food I was thinking of eating: how many calories, how much fat, how much sodium, etc. I kept a log on my smart phone, and I was astonished at how quickly calories added up. I knew that if I ate that accursed doughnut with coffee in the morning, it meant that much caloric intake would have to be reduced from my dinner that evening.

Other suggestions that the dietician gave me helped alleviate the initial cravings to simply eat something, to eat anything. I began to bring a fruit of some sort with me to work, so that during my break I would devour an apple or raisins or a banana. I would cut the apple or banana into pieces so that it looked like I was eating eight pieces of fruit instead of just one. Sometimes I would get a prepackaged snack, but I chose the snack based on the nutrional read-out on the back of the package, so that I knew what I was consuming. If they were sandwich crackers, I'd break each cracker in half, to make it look like more pieces on the paper plate.

At home I used measuring cups and a food weight scale to see how much I was going to eat. This was a difficult time of the year to lose weight, with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays popping up, and invitations from family and friends. I made myself view the holiday meals in the same light as a meal at any other day, and I kept a close watch on my portions and selections. My family and friends understood.

My two main strategies are keeping track of the numbers, and trying to eat a breakfast, lunch, and a dinner. I find that I don't feel as hungry in the evening this way. Previously I would ignore breakfast, and load up at either lunch or dinner.

By 18 January 2009, my weight loss has already made a difference in my clothing fit and my energy. A real telling moment came when my daughter visited me after an absence of two months and told me I looked like a I lost weight.

My job is deskbound work, staring at two computer screens all day. My third strategy: I have increased that most simple physical activity, walking. I make it a point to visit all of our aircraft hangars at the military air force base where I work, and that's a good thirty minutes of walking. At the suggestion of the dietician I purchased a pedometer, and I intend to walk further and further every day.

Fifteen pound weight loss is a small dent, but it's a dent that has made my wife happy. Everyone wants to see me live healthy, and I understand their concern. I thank the dietician and the others involved in really helping me open my eyes to a way to lose weight. Every journey begins with one step, I just finished fifteen of them.