And I’m Back!

Hey guys, I know I’ve been absent for a while… but I’m back!

I won’t bore you with a ton of stupid explanations. All you really need to know is that life has been busy and, while it’s busy still, I really miss writing here. So now I will!

HealthyLatinFood-IrinaGonzalez

You can expect more great original recipes from me, of course, but also something else…

I’ve decided to expand some of the things I write here. I mean, sure, recipes are great. We all love recipes. We all love learning how to make our favorite Latin dishes healthier, or how to incorporate Latin ingredients and techniques into other healthy recipes. And I love doing that. But I also love something else: writing about my weight loss, how I (try to) keep the weight off and what’s going on in the world of health and healthy eating.

And to be honest, I miss writing about those things. So why not do it here?

The other thing I should probably confess is that I am not exactly at the weight that I want to be. I’ve hinted about it before, but I am finally really ready to do something about it.

I rejoined Weight Watchers recently, and am pretty committed to more healthy cooking and some serious clean eating. I’ve even managed to lose some weight since, but I definitely have some ways to go. And I can’t wait to share the journey with you!

Want more Healthy Latin Food? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. And if you have any questions about my writing, weight loss or recipes, feel free to email me here!

10 Ways You’re Making Your Kids Fat

photo-1I love my family. We all do. But I also know that, when it comes to any family, there are some habits that we have that just aren’t really the best.

You know what I mean–from keeping chips in the house to boring old cereal for breakfast to always making your kids clear the plate, there’s definitely a few habits that we all have that we should quit.

Trust me, I know, because although I don’t have kids, these are all the things I had to start telling myself in order to lose weight. Read on for what I mean in the 10 Ways You’re Making Your Kids Fat. Continue reading

The 10 Unhealthiest Ways to Lose Weight

ChickenPurplePotatoesVeggiesWhen I was 16, I remember trying to lose weight in what I now know is one of the unhealthiest ways–with diet pills. Shortly before that, I lost weight by skipping breakfast and only having a soda for lunch at school.

It wasn’t until I joined Weight Watchers in college, and eventually started to eat healthier foods and cook meals for myself, that I learned what real weight loss was all about–more about cutting calories and filling yourself up with nutrient-rich foods than “easy” short-cuts.

But, on days that I am frustrated by the numbers on the scale, I sometimes wish I had a secret way to drop 5 pounds. On those days, I like to remind myself that patience and healthy eating doesn’t come easy–and that there are some very, very bad ways to try to lose weight. In a story on Latina.com, I explored some of the unhealthiest ways to lose weight. This is NOT advice, mind you, but just a reminder that while eating healthy isn’t always easy at least you’re not doing something that’ll damage you instead! Continue reading

Check Me Out in the February Issue of Latina & as a Featured Panelist in #FoodFri on 1/10!

PuntoOne of the happiest days of my recent life was when I was asked to write the back page of Latina’s February 2014 issue.

Featuring pop stars Jasmine V and Becky G on the cover, it’s our first ever social media issue–and they wanted me to write about the power of Latina bloggers! Obviously, I was thrilled and I’ve been waiting in anticipation ever since to share the news with you! And now here it FINALLY is.

It’s always a crazy dream when your full-time job recognizes your fun side project, and I’m so incredibly happy because I honestly just love both so much. So run–don’t walk!–to get the latest issue of Latina. And don’t forget to check out the full list of 37 Latina Bloggers You Need To Know in 2014, which includes some of my really good friends!

The other exciting news that I wanted to share with you is that I’ve been asked to be a featured panelist in this week’s #FoodFri Twitter Chat from @MomsRising! Starting at 1 p.m. on January 10th, join me on Twitter as I answer all kinds of questions about weight loss and healthy eating. I’m pretty excited about this opportunity to connect with more people and, if I can, help those struggling on their weight loss journeys. So come and chat with me and @MomsRising during #FoodFri this Friday! Check out their full announcement about the #FoodFri Tweetchat on MomsRising.org. Continue reading

How to Keep Your Resolutions: #Healthy365Photos

green juiceIt’s been almost a week since the start of the new year so, I’m assuming, we’re all keeping up with our healthy goals for 2014, right?

Whether you’re a fan of New Year’s Resolutions or not, it’s hard to get away from the healthy eating frenzy that happens come very January 1st. From articles on how to exercise better, to magazines touting easy weight loss to healthy snack commercials all of a sudden appearing on your TV, eating healthy is everywhere this time of year. And it’s no wonder: most of us probably gained a pound or two from indulgences over the Holidays!

And whether you gained weight or not, the new year typically marks a fresh start and a new commitment to (in general) being a better person.

But then what happens a week, two weeks, a month in? Typically, most of us can’t keep up with the promises we made ourselves on January 1st, so we fall off the wagon. This year I have a cure for that, though. And it’s pretty simple. I’m calling it #Healthy365PhotosContinue reading

10 Ways to Not Gain Weight During the Holidays

SaladDecember has been, as always, a pretty crazy busy month for me. It’s been a lot of work (which I love) and a lot of Holiday parties.

With Christmas just around the corner, and New Year’s just after that, I’m definitely not having the easiest time keeping track of my healthy goals. That’s not even to mention all of the Holiday parties that are now mostly behind me. But since they’re not, there’s still something to be said for trying to keep track and make sure that you don’t gain weight this time of year.

After my healthier eating for Thanksgiving, I knew that I could tackle this one, too. That’s not to say that it was easy. Work parties, friend parties, family parties… it can all add up really quickly. Check out my tips on how to keep healthy this time of year!
Continue reading

10 Ways to Cut Calories This Thanksgiving

HealthyLatinFood_ThanksgivingDietTipsToday I am patiently waiting for my turkey to defrost. You know what I’m waiting for.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, a day when some of us will be excitedly cooking, some of us will be watching football or the parade, some of us will be anxiously awaiting the food or shopping on Black Friday, and some of us will be stressing out about all of the calories we’re likely to consume.

I read recently that the average Thanksgiving meal is 2300 calories per person. That’s right, 2300 calories! That is basically the daily amount for the average person. Daily amount, not calories-per-meal. It’s no wonder gaining weight over the holidays is almost a given!

To help combat some of this, for both myself and others, I wrote a story for Latina.com today on how to cut calories without suffering. Trust me, it’s easier than it sounds! And, as I say in the piece, there is always another holiday to overindulge–you don’t have to do it on Thanksgiving simply because it comes around once a year. Instead, I prefer having my pumpkin pie and eating it, too–without gaining a single pound. Continue reading

The Start of Healthy Latin Food

IrinaGonzalez_HealthyLatinFood_CubanSandwichAnyone that knows me is pretty well aware that I love to eat, and I love to cook. But what a lot of people don’t know about me is that, just over four years ago, I was morbidly obese.

Weighing in at 230 pounds on a 5’2″ frame, I was never happy with my body and constantly going on one failed diet after another. Although I had a lot of success with Weight Watchers in college, ultimately I made the difficult decision to undergo a gastric bypass on January 13, 2009.

I still remember waking up from the operation, and hating everything. My stomach hurt and I immediately regretted the decision. But that was then. A few days later, I recovered and began the arduous journey of losing weight once and for all. And it was a long weight loss journey, too, which eventually led me to a completely new lifestyle.

IrinaGonzalez_HealthyLatinFood_RoastedChickenAfter a lifetime of picky eating, I forced myself to try new vegetables, started cooking healthier, sharing my desserts and trying to exercise. The working out still isn’t going too well, but my eating habits are wildly different. I started learning about different ways of eating, completed a health coaching degree from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and have really grown to love my new healthy habits. I still laugh remembering how much I claimed to hate broccoli five years ago, and how much I love it now. I even love to cook healthy for my friends and family (like last year’s Christmas chicken roast).

When I first started cooking healthier, my absolute favorite thing to do was learn how to make a childhood favorite in a healthy way. And since I grew up in a Cuban-Russian-American household, many of the dishes I made included brown rice with black beans, homemade chimichurri sauce and, most recently, baked sweet plantains.

IrinaGonzalez_HealthyLatinFood_CuttingParsleyFor a while, I was sharing my recipes on a now-defunct blog before I had to give it up because life, and work, got too busy. Now I find that I’m missing writing about my adventures in (and out of) the kitchen, so here I am again–at Healthy Latin Food.

To be honest, I have a couple of pounds to lose, too. At my smallest, I was 120. These days I’m a little closer to 140 and, while I think I still look great, I’m not exactly thrilled with the number. Now I am using this (new) blog to propel me to lose a little weight, maybe start exercising and definitely to share my favorite healthy recipes. And, as you can probably guess from the title, it’s all about doing it with a delicious Latin twist.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of cooking, weight loss and learning how to keep the weight off, it’s that good-for-you food can definitely taste good. It’s about fresh ingredients, unprocessed foods and, most of all, a great spice rack. I hope you’ll join me on this journey, cook some of my recipes and share food with plenty of sabor!

What is your favorite Latin recipe that you want to see made healthier?

Want more Healthy Latin Food? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram, become a fan on Facebook, or sign up to receive e-mail updates. And if you have any questions about cooking healthy or weight loss, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me. Thanks for reading!

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