December 2004 Issue

FOOD FUN FACT: Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips
CHRISTI'S COMMENTARY: Holiday Survival - The Good Stuff!
RECIPE OF THE MONTH: Garbanzo Bean Brownies
UPCOMING EVENTS: Holiday Specials - Check Them Out!

Holiday gift certificates now available! (see bottom right for details)

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More than 80 people called in for my "How To Survive the Holidays" teleclass last week.  We spent an hour passionately discussing creative ways to make the holidays more sane, pleasurable, and healthy.  The holiday topic sparked so much interest that I decided to cover holiday survival in "Nourishing News" this month.

For many of us, the holidays are a stressful time. We have lots of responsibilities... places to be... presents to buy... families to please.  It's no wonder the holidays make us crazy!

We're Not Kids Anymore!

Let's face it.  As adults, we will probably never experience holidays like the ones we remember from childhood. Those days have come and gone.

BUT... as adults, we have an even better alternative.  You see... we get to CREATE the holidays!  When it's all said and done, we're the ones who decide how the holidays go down.

You may feel like you don't have control over the holidays anymore.  You may feel like you can't get out of certain obligations (even those you despise).  You may feel like you have no control over who you buy presents for... or where you spend your holiday get-togethers.

A Bold Challenge for You

But what if that isn't true?  What if you have everything you need to make the holidays exactly as you want this year?  What if you could take out all the elements you hate... and fill the holidays with elements you love?

This year, I want to boldly challenge you to make this YOUR holiday season.  Now, I know that many of you aren't sure where to begin.  After all, you've been doing things the same way for a long time.  This may require some creativity... and I'm delighted to help out if I can.

Here are a few of the common complaints I hear from my clients about the holidays.  I've answered each complaint with a few suggestions/tips that you can borrow and try out this holiday season.  These tips have been tried and tested (many by yours truly) so you know you can use them with confidence!

COMPLAINT #1: HOLIDAY FOOD - "The food is too tempting, and I eat way too much.  People will give me a hard time if I don't eat what they put in front of me."

Solution #1: Decide on your gameplan ahead of time.  For example, if you tend to overdrink at holiday parties, decide on a limit before you walk through the door.  Then, stick to that limit!  Drink glasses of water in between your drinks to spread them out.  Water will fill you up and prevent a next-day hangover.  Another idea: if you want to drink during parties, then avoid alcohol during the rest of the holiday season.  Save it for special occasions.  By cutting back on your drinks, you will save calories and avoid weight gain.

Solution #2: Don't deprive yourself completely.  Part of the joy of the holidays is the good food that only comes around once a year.  Try having a few bites of those special, unique foods... and then leave the ordinary stuff alone.  Ask for recipes of your favorite dishes so you can make them in February if you want!  That way, you won't feel like you only have one shot to get your fill.

Solution #3: Don't leave yourself vulnerable.  Instead of starving yourself all day, eat regular meals during the holidays.  Eat a mini-meal (try hummus and a whole wheat pita... or an apple and peanut butter) before heading out to a party.  This way, you won't be ravenous when you arrive... and eat everything in sight!  Bring a delicious healthy dish to every party you attend, so you can fill up on that first.

** Exercise: This year, to help you eat healthy during the holidays, why not try out an organic produce delivery service?  Here in the Boston area, you can use  Nationally, you can try This way, even if you're too busy to get to the store, you'll have fresh veggies all season long... which will give you energy and clarity you need to get your gifts! **

COMPLAINT #2: STRESSING OUT - "I'm stressed out by all the things I have to do, and what people expect of me.  My to-do list doubles over the holidays."

Solution #1: Put yourself first.  If you know you need to fit your workout in to keep from going crazy... plot that into your calendar FIRST.  If you won't have time to work out at the end of the day because of partying or shopping, then take your lunch hour to do a walk or lift weights.  Go to bed early the night before a party so you can get yourself to the gym for a morning workout.

Solution #2: Take things off your list.  Impossible, you say?  That's just the voice in your head! You'll be amazed at how many things you don't HAVE to do, if you just give yourself permission.  I took Christmas cards off my list this year.  It feels great!  I also did all my shopping online. I avoided the malls completely last year, and it worked so well that I vowed to do it again this year. 

** Exercise: make a list of all the things you feel like you HAVE to do this holiday season.  Star the things you hate/dread.  Find a way to get rid of at least one of these things.  Either delete it off your list, delegate it to someone else, or simplify it so that it doesn't take as long as it normally would. If you have trouble with this exercise, ask someone else to help you figure out how to take something off the list.  They'll find it easy as pie! **

COMPLAINT #3: OVER-SPENDING! - "I spend way too much money on gifts, and I can never find the perfect ones for my family!"

Solution: Make a memory instead of a debt.  Chances are, everyone else in your family feels this way.  This year, be the one who starts the all-important money conversation.  See if you can figure out a way to show love for each other without buying gifts.  What about doing a Secret Santa swap?  Or donating to a charity?  How about pitching in to buy presents for a needy family, instead of each other?  Or pooling your money for a fun night out on the town together?

COMPLAINT #4: NO FUN - "There's never any real holiday fun, like when we were kids.  It all goes by so quickly."

Solution: Plan in time for the things you love.  You have to make these things happen. Otherwise, the holidays will just be fast-paced, stressful, and lacking in fun.

** Exercise: take 5 minutes right now to make a list of the things you love to do during the holidays.  Then, plot them on your calendar before time gets away from you.  My favorite picks this year?  Making gingerbread houses with friends. getting a tree, looking at Christmas light displays, simmering cinnamon sticks on the stove and lighting cinnamon candles around the house. **

COMPLAINT #5: THE LET-DOWN - "I hate the let-down that happens after New Years."

Solution: Create a post-holiday tradition that you can look forward to after the holidays.  Plan a warm weather weekend vacation for February.  Gather the family together during the holidays to write letters to each other, then mail them off in January so you get a nice blast of "family love" a few weeks after you say good-bye.

If you suffer from a bad case of the Post-Holiday/Winter Blues, you'll be glad to know that I've written a "Winter Blues Guide."  You will be able to download this guide - for free - once my website launches next week.

Do you have an idea that you'd like to share with my readers? Something you do to make the holidays extra special?  If so, please, email me.



Now is the time of year when we tend to put our health on the back burner.  If you'd like to stay healthy this winter, please check out the classes and events listed below.  If you have any suggestions for future classes or lectures, please email me.

Health Bootcamp for Business Professionals

This accelerated, intense 6-week program will gather together highly motivated business professionals who want to learn how to use their health to improve their business performance.  Whether you're running your own company or working hard for someone else, you will learn how to use the principles of healthy living to take care of your business' greatest asset: YOU. 

Location: This program will be conducted by PHONE via 6 teleconferences.

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 PM, every Tuesday, from January 25 through March 1.

Cost: Those who sign up before December 31 will receive a discounted program price of $149 (after Jan. 1 the price will go up).

To sign up: email me for more info.  A detailed program description will be available when my website launches next week.


"Wild and Well... For Life!" Group Program (For Women Only)

The next 6-week program will begin in January.  Spaces are already limited, and all women who are interested in participating will be asked to fill out an application and have a phone consultation with me. 

If you want to put your health first in 2005, this group may be a great option for you. The gentle, enthusiastic support of the group will help you design a way of eating that gives your body energy, moves you away from processed foods, and helps calm your food cravings.  This program is designed for women who want help making healthy choices a habit that sticks ... for good!  As a bonus: this January program will help you say good-bye to the Winter Blues!

*I will offer a daytime class if there's enough interest, so email me if you'd like to participate in a lunchtime program.

Location: my office in Porter Square, Cambridge

Time: start date TBD, contact me for information

Cost: $300 before Dec. 15 (after that, the price goes up to $350)

To sign up: email me for more info or testimonials from past participants


Grocery Shopping Tour
Need help getting out of a food rut?  Want to learn how to speed read food labels?  Want to get over your fear of vegetables?  This FUN, INTERACTIVE tour is designed to teach you how to become an expert in healthy shopping.  Participants say this tour completely changes the way they shop.

Location: Whole Foods, River Street, Cambridge

Time: Monday, January 10 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25 (free for clients, $20 for TNT runners) - you'll get a $5 store coupon

To sign up: email me


Nutrition 101 for Marathon Runners

Are you a beginning marathon runner who is confused about what to eat during training?  The "Peak Performance Nutrition Program" is a web-based nutrition program that teaches you the dietary changes you need to make during a 19-week training season. The program includes nutrition education, recipes, a runners' shopping list, and free admission to one of my health food store tours.  The entire program costs $80. 

Here is a sample of one of the weekly webpages that you'll receive:

If you are training for the Boston, Big Lake, Alaska, or San Diego Marathons, now is the time to sign up for PPNP. To sign up or ask questions, email me.

Corporate Nutrition Seminars

How about getting your work team off on the right foot in 2005! Do you work with employees who are overwhelmed by the challenge of eating healthy and reducing stress on the job? I've gained a reputation for presenting enjoyable, enthusiastic corporate seminars that include actionable tips and information that participants can use to immediately improve their health. Participants experience increased energy and productivity at work and home... which leads to reduced sick time. They learn the secret to staying healthy when traveling, and become experts at integrating fitness and healthy eating into their hectic schedules.

If you would like to improve the health of your employees, contact me.

Individual Health Consultations
My mission is to teach my clients how to design personalized diets that boost their energy, heal chronic illnesses, and delight their taste buds.  I also help my clients find relationships, careers, and fitness opportunities that they can be passionate about. I invite you to schedule a health consultation with me.  We will go over your health history, evaluate your current diet, and discuss options that will put you on the road to optimum health.  If you already benefit from reading my newsletter, imagine what a difference working with me can make in your lives. Don't hesitate to contact me.



If you'd like to make your holiday treats a little healthier for your family, here are some useful cooking tips:

1. Substitute whole wheat or brown rice flour for 1/2 of the white flour called for in your recipe (don't try to replace all of the white flour - your dish will come out too crumbly and cakey).

2.  Use sugar substitutes like honey, stevia, agave nectar, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup. 

3. Use ground up rolled oats instead of flour.

4. Make fruit breads or muffins instead of sugary cookies.

5. Substitute applesauce or fruit puree for butter.

6. Use Earth Balance instead of margarine or butter.

7. Substitute olive oil or safflower oil for vegetable oil.

8. Use egg whites instead of the whole egg.



RECIPE - Garbanzo Bean Brownies

A colleague of mine - Kristen Ullrich - gave me this recipe last year... and I was skeptical at first.

Garbanzo beans?  In brownies?  But I got up the guts to make them, and fell in love with them!

I made these brownies for my women's group and brought them to a holiday party hosted by a former client.  People raved about them and asked me to share the recipe!

Don't be turned off by the oh-so-healthy ingredients... these brownies are certifiably delicious!  Everyone loves them, especially when they find out that there's no sugar, butter, or cream in the recipe.

The best part about this recipe is that you only have to spend 5 minutes getting the brownies ready for the oven.  They're fast!


1 1/2 C. carob or chocolate chips

4 eggs

1 can (15 oz.) garbanzo beans

3/4 cup brown rice syrup

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Baking Instructions:


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Melt chips in a bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes.

3. Combine eggs and beans in a blender - blend until smooth.

4. Add chips, baking powder, and brown rice syrup to blender - blend until smooth.

5. Pour batter into a non-stick pan.

6. Bake for 35-45 minutes.

*If you bake them for 35 minutes, they'll be very moist, but a bit "squished."  If you bake them for 45 minutes, they'll be nice and tall, but a bit drier.

*You can buy brown rice syrup in a glass jar in the healthy aisle of your grocery store.




Tired of giving people "stuff" for the holidays?  This year, why not give the gift of health?

This year, I am offering three different gift options to help your loved ones bump their health to the top of their priority list:

1. One-Hour Health Consultation: Includes a complete health history, diet analysis, and my undivided attention.  Your loved one will receive easy-to-implement suggestions that they can use to immediately improve their health... in a realistic, simple way. Holiday consultations are only $60.


2. Gift Certificates for my Programs/Events: Know someone who wants to participate in one of my programs or events, but is short on cash?  You can give them a gift certificate to help them pay their way.  Gift certificates are available for $30, $50, and $100 and can be used for any of my products, services, or events.

3. A Full Month of Health Counseling: This package includes two 60-minute counseling sessions by phone, continuous email support, a health food store tour, healthy recipes, stress-reduction techniques, and nutrition handouts. Normally $250, this month of counseling is priced for the holidays at $195.

** All gift certificates will be mailed in a beautiful holiday envelope with a full description of the services purchased, as well as a special holiday recipe set!

** You must purchase your holiday gift by Wed. Dec. 15 in order for it to arrive in time for the holidays.

Want to order a gift certificate?  Email me.  Credit cards accepted.



Christi Lehner, H.H.C., AADP, is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. A Holistic Health Counselor is a nutritionist and life coach all rolled up into one. Christi studied Eastern/Western nutrition and modern health counseling at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and earned a B.A. in Honors in Communication Arts from Villanova Universty. A three-time marathoner and triathlete, an avid pianist, and a newly converted Red Sox and Patriots fan, Christi delights in helping her clients make nutrition and lifestyle changes that boost their energy, heal chronic illnesses, clear up the confusion around fad diets, and reduce stress.

Christi can be reached at or 617.492.6450.




About "Nourishing News"

Note: the information in this newsletter is presented for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a licensed professional.  To suggest topics for future "Nourishing News" issues, please contact me.

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