Psychology Today

From Cowgirl to Crusader

Have you heard the song “Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy?” It’s one of my favorites and fits with my thoughts for the day about what to eat for breakfast in the summer.

Clients say these things to me:

“Alice, is breakfast really important? If so, what’s a good, quick breakfast I don’t have to cook?”

“I’m always hungry if I eat breakfast in the morning, so I don’t eat. But I’m starving by the afternoon, then binge on everything in sight. Any suggestions?”

YES! Breakfast is very important. It “breaks the fast” from the night before.
It puts fuel into your body’s fuel tank so you can move with energy, think with clarity and have stable moods. Who wants to be run-down, have foggy thinking or be irritable? No need!

Those who aren’t hungry in the morning often eat too much too late at night, or have night eating (a story for another time). Try to finish eating at least eight to 10 hours before you get up in the morning, then you’ll probably be hungry without starving. Then it’s best to know what you plan to eat for breakfast. A PLAN is essential for eating success.

A basic component of a good breakfast is one that includes 3 things: 1.) A balance of protein (eggs, deli turkey, whey protein powder, etc), carbohydrate (fresh fruit, whole grain, fat-free milk), and a little fat to keep you from getting too hungry too fast later (a few nuts, avocado slice, spoonful of almond butter, for example).

So here’s my yummy summer breakfast (see my photos on Facebook:

1. In a big bowl add 1/2 cup Silk Coconut Milk and blend in with a spoon 1 scoop (10 grams) of BioChem whey protein powder until smooth.
2. Add one cup of fresh blueberries (fiber, healthy fruit carbohydrate and
3. Top with 1/4 cup Back to Nature Granola with Chocolate from Whole Foods (whole grain oats and antioxidant chocolate with delicious flavor).
4. Sprinkle on about 1-2 Tbsp pecan pieces (a healthy fat).
5. Enjoy in YOUR garden, balcony or favorite outdoor place. Simple, easy and no cooking required!

The advantage of taking a few minutes to slowly chew and savor your breakfast and the sunshine, is that you’ll be better grounded and nourished to meet the demands of a busy, active day. You’ll be in better control of your eating.

This is one of my favorite summertime meals. Sometimes I’ll substitute fresh blackberries (the highest fiber fruit) or raspberries. So DO eat a good breakfast every day to get started on the right foot!

When you get hungry again in three to four hours, that’s a sign that you have a healthy appetite, that you’re burning calories, increasing your metabolism and get to eat again.

Be sure to be prepared with a mid-morning snack or lunch, such as 1-2 ounces of deli turkey on two slices of gluten-free bread (small size), or a corn tortilla, Miracle Whip light, a slice of butter lettuce, a few cherry tomatoes and perhaps a juice black plum, orange or kiwi fruit. Think COLOR.

At any rate, having a good BREAKFAST will help start your day with love and energy. You deserve to take a few minutes for yourself!

For more tips and savvy skills to enhance your relationship with food go to: Success Store and get the book by the same name.

Valentine’s Day Ideas for Sharing Love

Valentine’s Day Treats for Yourself

Alice Baland, America’s Good Eating Expert! ™

 I’ll never forget one Valentine’s Day many years ago. My sweetheart and I had just stopped dating a few days before. When Valentine’s Day arrived I felt empty and heartbroken! No gifts were anticipated from anyone, nor was there someone special to whom I could share my gifts. Love was nowhere in sight!

All I wanted was for the pain to go away, but in a healthy way, not drowning in food or alcohol.  What to do? I decided to spend time at my favorite Barnes & Noble. It was relatively new in those days with cozy reading chairs and lots of wonderful books to peruse. I nearly always find joy in a bookstore or library. But this time, even Barnes and Noble was nearly devoid of people! Walking up and down the aisles, I felt even more lonely and sad. I was weeping inside and out. THAT idea didn’t fill the void within. Maybe my expectations were misaligned.

What next? Supermarkets nearly always fill me with happiness too, especially since as a nutrition professional I spend a lot of time there keeping up with the latest food products and doing supermarket education tours. But this time, even the supermarket was nearly empty, except for a few purchasing flowers for their sweethearts. My eyes feasted on all the colorful, fragrant flowers of every kind there, including roses. I knew that no roses or chocolate awaited me at my little apartment home. How was I to get over this melancholy and find the optimistic me again?

Um. The answer? Create a NEW BELIEF and NEW ACTIONS to go along with it. Being the spontaneous person I am, I decided to buy beautiful flowers and a box of dark chocolates to celebrate myself! Yes, I do love myself – even when broken down, alone and missing being in a healthy relationship.

It occurred to me that Valentine’s Day need not be just for lovers, couples or sweethearts. It actually seems to be designed by companies selling cards, flowers and chocolates more to make a profit (nothing wrong with that, but it didn’t serve my need). Why not be creative? I chose some gorgeous yellow roses and chocolates for myself and took them home to enjoy. Temporary, yes, but satisfying in a way. I was FEEDING MYSELF in a healthy way.

Then I remembered that in grade school all of my classmates would exchange lots of little Valentine cards with each other. What a good idea! I bought adorable little boxes of children’s Valentine cards. Then I addressed and mailed them to family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues and even dropped a few by in person.

That’s when I decided that any holiday need not be spent feeling sad or alone. I thought of all the elderly folks who didn’t have anybody. My dad called me yesterday from the VA to tell me that a little 7 year old girl had brought him a Valentine card! As he read it to me he cried with happiness. I wish I had sent him a card this year! Next year I will! Single college students without someone special may appreciate a Valentine card or thought. I decided that I would send little Valentine cards to clients, family and others in the future to share my love and respect for them.

Yes, I was still sad and lonely that I had a broken heart, I still cried some tears, but thinking of others helped ease my pain. Getting outside of myself is usually a good way to break the BLUE cycle. There are other ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This morning I invested an hour in a LifeCycle and weight training workout – a proven way to release feel-good endorphins. I received a Happy Valentine’s Day text from one of my college student clients and replied back to her. I felt happy inside! Make a few quick phones or send a text message to someone you care about. Drop a Valentine card or gift in a mailbox or on a doorstep near you. Get OUTSIDE OF YOURSELF and share your great GOODNESS with others. SMILE! You are here for a reason and someone needs what ONLY YOU have to offer.

Treasure yourself! And if no one has yet told you HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY, you’re hearing it from me. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY TO SOMEONE SPECIAL – YOU!

Love, Alice

P.S. Check out my new BLOG at I’m adding new content three times a week! Let me know what YOU are interested in and I’ll see if I can add something. Special areas include: nutrition, weight loss, stress, anxiety, depression, relationships, life balance, mindfulness, binge eating, compulsive eating, food addictions, body image, self-care, meal planning, causes of compulsive behaviors, codependency, grief, career choices, marketing and SAVVY SKILLS FOR PLEASURABLE, GUILT-FREE EATING & LIVING! That’s the subtitle for my book EAT UP THE GOOD LIFE!  By the  way, treat yourself or someone you care about to a copy! Here at this website. And my NEW book CATCH YOUR DREAMS! 

Stress Management, Food Addiction and Addictions

Have you, or anyone you know, ever had good intentions about NOT overeating or NOT eating the wrong things (perhaps lots of cookies, ice cream, cake, pie, for example), yet at the last moment devoured everything in sight? If so, after the binge or compulsive eating, the shame, embarrassment and fear of whether you’d do it again, did you ask yourself “Why did that happen? What can I do to STOP it from happening again?  I had the BEST OF INTENTIONS to not to that, yet I did. I know it’s not good for my weight, my health, my body image or my budget, but I did it anyway. I feel so out of control sometimes! Somebody HELP ME quick!”

If you answered YES to one or more of these statements, then you MUST watch Dr. Kevin McCauley’s Meth Keynote. This is an excellent presentation by addiction expert Dr. Kevin McCauley about how all kinds of ADDICTIONS (FOOD, alcohol, cocaine, meth, etc) grab the MIDBRAIN (the SURVIVAL BRAIN: EAT, DEFEND, SEX/procreate, DRUGS for some) and make it difficult to LET GO! He also discusses WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT!

Dr. McCauley is speaking to therapists in Dallas in the spring and I wanted to find out more about him ahead of time. A former Navy and Marine flight surgeon (think helicopters and more) he also succumbed to addiction after pain medication for surgery and job stress, spent time in the Army’s pen (Fort Leavenworth) as a result, and overcame his addiction to help the rest of us even more!

 He said “It’s never just one little thing that brings us down. It’s a series of seemingly innocent decisions.” His major question: IS ADDICTION A DISEASE? (Choice vs. Disease). Learn about his incredible MODEL! There are very good BRAIN CHEMISTRY reasons for why some of us go through more difficulties in the addiction area than others.

If you or someone you know could benefit, please watch and pass it on. I learned so much!  Dr. Kevin’s speech showed me how vital what I do is to helping others. It’s about an hour and 15 minutes and WORTH IT! You can also find out more at He has a practice in Park City, Utah.

One of the main ways that I help clients is with STRESS MANAGEMENT. The kinds of clients who seek me out desire new and effective ways to help them NOT overeat, restrict food, stop binge or eating compulsively, stop binge drinking or drug use, love their bodies more, eat more nutritiously, control blood sugars and hypoglycemia, and feel CONFIDENT AND HAPPY AGAIN. That’s what I do BEST! How?

Stress triggers each of us in different ways depending on early life history, traumas, body chemistry, soothing skills or lack of, support figures and current life stresses (school, work, relationships, trauma, etc). We all have a different life and trauma history. I figure out what’s going on with you and find faster, more effective ways to identify the core issues and help you reach your goals faster! My main role is as ENCOURAGER and HEALER – joining WITH you to find CREATIVE SOLUTIONS to LIFE’S STRESSORS.

 If you have any questions after you watch, then just ask me! Find out what food, alcohol, drug and caffeine use or addiction have in common. Treating food addictions, stress, anxiety, abuse, trauma, weight and disordered eating are my specialties. Contact me at Warmest regards, Alice. Click on the link below.

 Alice Baland MA, LPC, RD/LD

America’s Good Eating Expert! Personalized Eating & Living Plans
Speaker, Author, Hypnotherapist, Dietitian, Counselor

 You can watch it here: Dr. Kevin McCauley Meth Keynote

About this video:
“At the 2007 Meth Action Coalition Meth Summit here in Bend, our keynote speaker was Dr. Kevin McCauley. Dr. McCauley is a treatment professional who is dedicating his life to helping addicts and their families, and he makes a compelling argument for Addiction as Disease. Please view his powerful presentation. You will never look at addiction the same way again. You may wish to visit Dr. McCauley’s website at the Institute for Addiction Study, There you can order his books, CD’s and DVD’s about addiction.”


Alice Baland, Speaker, Author, Psychotherapist, Dietitian

Flavor Factor

 Um, dark chocolate melting slightly between your fingers, a euphoric smile on your face. your tongue’s taste buds rollicking with delight! Your body is totally in unison with PLEASURE. Then your mind chatter kicks in, “Oh no. I know I shouldn’t be eating this. Chocolate is bad for me. It’s high in calories, fat and sugar. I should have fruit instead. I feel so guilty! But I’m going to eat it anyway, because it’s SO GOOD!”  Do you often ask yourself if CHOCOLATE is good or bad for you?

 I’m here to reinforce for you that chocolate can be GOOD for you! That’s right! Enjoy chocolate! Of course, in moderation is best. I like to choose the highest quality dark chocolate I can find, with zero to few additives and preservatives, because I get the greatest pleasure from that and usually end up eating less, because it’s a little goes a long way. Yes, I may pay more per pound, but that pound lasts quite a while and gives me much more pleasure.

I have two current DARK CHOCOLATE FAVORITES! And I eat a little bit of chocolate nearly every day. The first one is Chocolove’s Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate with a love poem inside! This bar contains 55% cocoa and is available at Whole Foods and Central Market. It contains only 159 calories in 1/3 of a bar, 11 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 123 mg. sodium (about the same as a glass of milk), 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber! I enjoy it after my hour or hour and a half workout three times a week. It’s the perfect pick-me-up until I shower and fix breakfast – fresh blackberries (the highest fiber fruit and high in antioxidants), and a one egg omelet with red onions, goat cheese and a warm corn tortilla. What a great breakfast!

 My other favorite chocolate is Whole Foods 365 Dark Chocolate Truffles. Just three mini truffles melt in my mouth one by one and my whole being is in BLISS! No guilt, just pure pleasure! That’s my personal philosophy: showing you how to truly enjoy a balanced meal plan with many of YOUR favorite foods, such as CHOCOLATE!

Science and Health Factors

Besides the Flavor Factor of chocolate, what do you need to know about the science and nutrition behind it? Take a bite of the Good News. Studies have shown that cocoa flavonoids are in certain chocolates, especially dark chocolate and may play a role in maintaining a healthy heart. Specifically, they may decrease the “bad” LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol oxidation and may modulate platelet activation, as well as positively affect the balance between certain hormones, or eicosanoids. Further studies show that flavonoids (a subgroup of polyphenols) from chocolate liquor polyphenols (CLP) inhibit the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS).  Decreasing ROS damage to cell membranes and biological molecules is believed to play an important role in overall good health throughout life.   

Other observations show that cocoa flavonoids may have immune system regulation effects that go beyond their antioxidant activity. However, these results are preliminary; additional studies are ongoing.

 Another interesting point is the ORAC score, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and highlights a food’s potential antioxidant activity.  On this scale, onions, black tea, strawberries and red wine average about 25, milk chocolate about 75 and dark chocolate scores over 175 on the ORAC scale.  This is yet another way of measuring the health contributions foods have on the heart.

 According to a fact sheet by the American Dietetic Association, in a grant funded by Mars, Inc., chocolate contributes less than two percent of the fat in the American diet.  While chocolate contains saturated fat, it is mostly stearic acid, which has a neutral effect on blood cholesterol.  In addition, oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat (also found in olive oil), makes up about one-third of the fat in chocolate.  Eating foods with oleic acid as part of a healthful eating plan has been shown to be beneficial for a healthy heart as well.

And to the surprise of many, chocolate contains very little caffeine (it contains theobromine), rarely causes allergies (although some families may tend to notice allergies across the generations), contains noteworthy concentrations of copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium and is not addictive (I may dispute that point of view – sometimes I feel addicted to it) even though people enjoy the sensations of eating it.    

Psychological and Biochemical Factors

Furthermore, in the psychological and biochemical arena, chocolate can cause a rush of serotonin and endorphins (“feel good” neurotransmitters) into brain cells resulting in optimal brain happiness.   So when one is craving these ingredients, satisfy the urge by eating a small amount of the real thing – chocolate.

 Moderation Factor

 While chocolate can be a health benefit, it is vital to remember that chocolate should be consumed as part of a balanced diet and physically active lifestyle. It is possible to include fine chocolates in your lifestyle. Be discriminating.

 When integrated into a healthy diet and exercise routine we may find that chocolate can be a positive element in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and PLEASURE PRINCIPLE. Chocolate is one of the rare elements in which I can still indulge, because I’m allergic to so many foods (pepper, wheat, dairy, soy, for example). Definitely, if you enjoy chocolate there IS a positive way to include it in your life if you desire. Here’s to The Good Life!

 What’s YOUR favorite chocolate? How do you use it in your life? Are you in control of food or is food in control of you? Let me know at .

Alice Baland, “America’s Good Eating Expert! ™”

Ask me to speak to your company, association or university! Call 469-737-5455 

Famous Actresses Struggling with Eating Disorders or Low Self-Worth

Famous Actresses Struggling with Eating Disorders or Low Self-Worth

By Alice Baland

While doing a search of actresses who are currently, or have struggled in the past with eating disorders, I was surprised and saddened at how many there are: Jane Fonda, Paula Abdul, Wynonna Judd, Calista Lockhart, Felicity Huffman and many more. Just like you and I, they are talented people (yes, you are talented!) who have used food to cope with some life problem or personal insecurity.

 Think of Catherine Bell, star of JAG and recently The Good Witch, an endearing movie. Such a talented actress as well as a beauty, I could hardly believe it. Then there’s Barbara Niven (who played Marilyn Monroe), whom I met in Los Angeles several months ago at James Malinchak’s speakers boot camp. Barbara and I hit it off so well. She squeezed my hand with encouragement as I did a video interview of her. Her smile is brilliant and she easily befriends whomever she likes. With her to support me, I felt like I could speak out to help more people with eating disorders. She shared how she overcame her eating disorder with me and now speaks, as I do, to help women overcome this.

How they coped or overcame their disorder was as varied as they are — addiction treatment centers, religion, support, prayer, psychotherapy, self-acceptance vs. perfectionism, and on and on. Some haven’t yet recovered, but never give up!

Do you, or someone you know, struggle with weight or disordered eating to the point that it interferes with you being able to eat up the good life? What have you tried that works so that you no longer have to struggle? I’ve found that many of my clients don’t feel they are good enough, that there is too much competition with people they think are smarter, skinnier, more talented or better off than they are. Many of them also suffer from a trauma history. By that I mean they have been sexually abused or sexually assaulted as a child or young adult or have had spousal abuse. This accounts for 50-80% of those with an eating disorder.

Others are coping with job loss, illness, grief, loss of a loved one, separation or not feeling good enough on the job or with someone they love. More on that another time.

 Many use food to hide the pain, shame, embarrassment or reality of such horrendous treatment. Recovery is truly possible. Learning new and better coping skills, how to manage an out-of-control life, chipping away at the old thoughts, feelings and behaviors, replacing them with better ones, setting boundaries with perpetrators (abusers) and regaining self-worth via good counseling , EFT and hypnotherapy are some of the ways. Eating disorders are now a world-wide problem and must be stopped! ‘ An eating disorder is a fear of life disorder. We must change our beliefs and ways of thinking and acting to be the STRONG WOMEN we were meant to be!

What’s one step you can take right this moment to help yourself or another? Try a little KINDNESS. In other words, be kind to yourself and everyone you meet today. Say a kind word to everyone. This helps you forget your own problems for just a moment. Notice the eyes of the person to whom you expressed your kindness. Notice how they light up and smile back. Kindness involves being self-accepting, self-loving and self-forgiving — no matter your size, weight, shape, hair color or clothes.

 We are all individuals, special in our own unique way. BE YOURSELF! Every moment that you show KINDNESS to yourself or someone else puts you one moment closer to being a real, authentic, caring, whole, integrated human being. Sound too easy? Add up all those small acts of kindness and smiles and notice how you feel at the end of each day. If you feel better, try it again tomorrow. do this for 40 days. If you need help, I can be there for you. You are special and deserve good things in life. When to start? Now — with just one small step, and then another. Let me know what you have tried today or this week. What works for you? What is your greatest obstacle? You can send comments to me

 Alice Baland MA, LPC, RD/LD

America’s Good Eating Expert! Personalized Eating & Living Plans
Speaker, Author, Hypnotherapist, Dietitian, Counselor


‘You Are What & How You Eat: You are What You Read, Survey, please reply, Alice

You Are What You Eat!

You Are What You Read!

You Are What You Do!

Are you seeing a pattern here? I got this AH-HA from John Kremer’s e-newsletter today. Would enjoy having your comments on how you success in life!

1.  Let’s start with not only WHAT, but HOW you eat! Only 5 tips on what and 5 on how, OK? Here are mine: 5 ways I eat everyday: 1.) Breakfast or early snack no matter what or when; 2.) I enjoy eating mindfully and slowly, eating when I’m hungry, about 5 on the scale of 0-10 and stopping when I’m full 7 or 8 (see my book EAT UP THE GOOD LIFE) on how to do this; 3.) I eat BOTH what I really like AND what’s good for me 90% of the time; 4.) I continually create and try new food products and research them for nutrition and fun quality and how they’ll fit in my lifestyle nutrition plan; 5.) A main reason I enjoy eating so thoroughly is that I make physical activity a daily part of my life; that way I eat for fuel and without guilt. Here’s a BONUS: I choose only the best quality foods to eat and eat less of them, which is good for my body as my metabolism slows down as I get older. (We are all getting older from the day we’re born).

WHAT ARE MY 5 FAVORITE FOODS? Since it’s important to get a WIDE VARIETY of foods every day not only for good NUTRITION, but to help PREVENT FOOD ALLERGIES AND HEALTH (Digestive and Immune System problems, for example), I eat lots of different foods every day. We know that a “4 Day Rotation Diet” is best to help achieve this health goal. What that means to you is: Don’t eat the same food more than ONCE every 4 days! For example, don’t eat wheat at every meal (bread, bagels, buns, pasta, cereal, etc). You’re right! That’s a huge challenge to learn how to eat that way! I can help, since that’s what I’m doing.

OK, here are 5 of my favorite foods: BLACKBERRIES (the highest fiber fruit, filling, a good source of antioxidants), CHOCOLATE (only the finest DARK for me, including Chocolove’s Dark Chocolate with Almonds and Sea Salt, best after my morning workout); FISH (salmon in parchment paper with veggies; recipe will be in my upcoming COOKBOOK!); RED POTATOES (about the size of a small tennis ball; eaten as a bedtime snack with canola or olive oil and a dash of Kosher salt when I’m hungry, just want a small amount of food, a good source of Vitamin C, and want to sleep well); MICROSTEAMED BROCCOLI (super delicious and nutritious; also will be in my cookbook).

Please email back with YOUR top 5 favorite foods and 5 best ways to eat!


Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!



Welcome to our new community here at Eat Up The Good Life! My new book has just been published in late September and I’m super excited! Next I’m writing an Action Guide and CD set. So I would really appreciate your feedback. What are you interested in? Stress management, healthy food prep, life balance, meal planning, relationship with food, others, body image? Whatever it might be, this is the place to share. Glad that you are here! Alice