Posts Tagged ‘health counseling’

A Heart Healthy Month of Love by Carina Sohaili

Vday 2016

Here are some tools for your mind and body to celebrate the month of love in a heart healthy way. From divine dark treats (my warm dark chocolate cinnamon banana bites) to eating out made easy, and the heart healthy benefits of sassy salmon – I have you covered in my step-by-step guide.

Go Dark. Chocolate and the day of love go hand in hand. Deprivation is no fun and leads to the deadly combination of hanger. Not to mention, it is no way to live life. You also will end up overeating then repeating an unhealthy cycle. Instead, I always advise my clients to GO dark and indulge in dark chocolate.

Select Wisely. Many labels advertise “healthy dark chocolate” but really are loaded with processed sugars (defeating the purpose of going dark). Make sure the chocolate is made with a minimum of 70% pure cocoa and read the back of the label. Try to get as real as possible with little added ingredients. I always carry a square or two in my purse whenever I need a 3PM pick me up or post dinner treat (Lily’s Brand is a great choice). Around two to three squares (1/2-1 ounce) is a good snack size. Below are some of the beautiful benefits of going dark and my Simple Warm Cinnamon Chocolate Banana Bites.

Feel good. Dark Chocolate triggers the release of “feel good” hormones in your brain. The same “feel good” hormones that get released after you do physical activity or when you are falling in love.

Control Cravings. This delicious delight does not spike your blood sugar levels. What does that mean? You will have more stable energy levels throughout the day, and not have that sudden crash you normally get with other candy. Most candies contain tons of sugars and hidden preservatives that make it very hard to tell when you are actually full. So you just keep munching and suddenly the bag is empty!

Fight the flu. Dark chocolate contains zinc (which most people lack in their diet). Zinc is a mineral superstar when it comes to boosting your immune system. For more Flu Fighting Foods check out my piece here. (You can also check out my featured piece in Beauty High Magazine on why I love dark chocolate for clear skin.)

Focus. Dark chocolate increases blood flow to the heart and brain improving your thought processing abilities. Brain food!

Carina’s Simple Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Bites: melt ½ ounce of dark chocolate in a saucepan for around thirty seconds to a liquid texture of your liking. Place half of a small sliced banana in another pan with all natural cooking spray and heat on the stove for around ten-fifteen seconds until the top of the banana slices are a light golden brown. Always spice up your life! Add cinnamon or nutmeg (for more health benefits of spices read my piece here) and if you like things sweet add a dash (1/2 tablespoon) of stevia (an all natural sweetener from the stevia leaf). Drizzle the melted dark chocolate over the warm banana slices and enjoy!

Craving more dark chocolate? Check out two more of my “no brainer” dark chocolate recipes here (that take less than ten minutes to make) and my dark chocolate mud muffin recipe featured in Entrepreneur Magazine. If you are a fan of ice cream you can watch my Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Video Tutorial here.

Sass it up with salmon: salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat that the body does not produce on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeats and help lower blood pressure levels. These healthy fats also increase your ability to focus and improve your mood. For a healthy side dish to go with the salmon check out my Avocado Zucchini Pasta Video Tutorial here. If you are eating out, the best way to order salmon (wild caught) is steamed or poached to retain all the nutrients.

Be brave and branch out…by staying in. Instead of going out to an extravagant dinner with your significant other or group of friends plan to cook a meal at home. Home cooked meals are much healthier than eating out and getting comfortable in the kitchen is a great bonding activity. Cooking may seem draining or daunting at first but just like using a muscle that you have not used, it will get stronger and easier with time. Check out my Eat Yourself Gorgeous Meal Makeover Videos here for a library of simple recipes.

Mind. Valentine’s day is a day of love. Show yourself and your loved ones how much you truly care by taking a step to make health a priority. Even if it is a small change, everything counts. If you are feeling alone on Valentine’s Day treat yourself to a delicious healthy meal, massage or activity that YOU enjoy.

Indulge and invest in yourself. Once you start focusing on your own health (mentally and physically) the right people will fill your life. Everything happens for a reason. Trust the process.

More information about my Custom Programs can be found here

Remember to have compassion for yourself, always.



A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.

Turkey Time Tools by Carina Sohaili

Thanksgiving is a time for friends, family and memories to be made – not a time for feeling guilty about food choices or depriving yourself of certain foods. Below are my Turkey Time Tools so you can be healthy and enjoy yourself. My tips were also featured in Fox News Magazine.

Preparation before the meal:

  • A huge mistake my clients tend to make is eating very little until the big meal. This is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you have a solid breakfast and lunch filled with a good combination of protein and healthy carbohydrates. When you starve yourself during the day in preparation for a huge meal your body has a much harder time acknowledging when you are actually full. You also will get much more intense cravings for sugary and carbohydrate heavy sweets.
  • Ditch the all or nothing diet mentality. So many people have “cheat” days then are excessively strict and deprive themselves. This causes them to overeat way too much when they “let themselves go.” I always hear “I am starting my diet tomorrow.” You should erase the term diet from your vocabulary. Indulge in a balanced way; if you are craving a serving of stuffing have a portion but do not eat three servings. Do you notice how the first serving of an amazing food tastes the best? The food is not as good the second or third time around.
  • Remember why you are at the Thanksgiving table in the first place. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and be grateful for the people you are surrounded by. Focus on friends, family and conversation. The dinner is only one part of the equation.
  • Whether it is a morning jog, a brisk family hike or a football game do something to get your sweat on. Make time for physical activity even if it is a twenty minute fast walk around the block before dinner. Everything counts and something is better than nothing. Make it a friend and family event. Everything is better with a buddy.

What to eat:

  • Fill up on protein! Go for the light meat instead of the dark meat and skip the skin. Light meat has less saturated fat (unhealthy fat) than the dark meat. Filling up on protein increases your feelings of satisfaction, stabilizes your blood sugar levels and will keep you more full for a longer amount of time. If you are vegetarian make sure there is a healthy protein option at your dinner so you do not just overeat stuffing or marshmallow yams. (Check out my Meal Makeover Spaghetti Squash video tutorial here for a healthy vegetarian option.)
  • Get creative! So many people are closed-minded when it comes to healthy alternatives and ignore the idea before they even try it. I always teach my clients to find some healthy swaps that they can enjoy. Instead of marshmallows add Greek yogurt (with stevia) to the Yams. Spice up your dishes with cinnamon, garlic and nutmeg instead of extra butter and excessive oils. Spices are incredible; they are huge metabolism boosters, help curb cravings and increase post meal satisfaction levels. Not to mention transform the taste of dishes.
  • Get your greens on! There is always a healthy basic side dish at Thanksgiving whether it is steamed green beans or roasted Brussels sprouts. Just make sure it is not soaked in extra butter or excessive oils.
  • What about dessert? Easy breezy! If you are unable to bring a healthy dessert like my warm pumpkin cranberry parfait then simply indulge in a balanced way. Guess what? If you did fill up on protein you will 100% not crave the same amount of dessert you do normally. Take time to visit, play card games or watch a movie with the family. Always have an activity besides just eating dessert. If you have a love affair with pumpkin pie, have a slice, enjoy it and move on. I also am a huge dark chocolate fan! Check out two of my favorite “no brainer” Eat Yourself Gorgeous dark chocolate healthy desserts here.

Have a plan for the day: what you are going to indulge in, what you are going to pass on and how you are going to get your sweat on. Everyone is different so it is important to understand what your weakness is and be aware of it.

Regardless, remember to have compassion for yourself. Simply keep yourself in check and focus on the bigger picture of why you are together in the first place. 

Small consistent steps overtime is how lasting change occurs.

*A cause that is very dear to my heart is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have formed a team in honor of my grandmother, Dr. Lailee Bakhtiar, who passed away after a 21 year battle with the disease. You can learn more about my team here.



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