Category Archives: Nourish

Tumeric Latkes with Cinnamon Applesauce

by on November 22, 2015

latke tumeric applesauce pjcc


Turmeric and cumin are wonderful Indian spices that aid digestion, rev up the metabolism and help break down body fat. Couple that with the addition of cinnamon to the applesauce which helps regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol, and you have an delicious potato latke brimming with super nutrition.

Preparation time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 35 minutes | Serves: 15 latkes


  • 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, grated small. Squeeze out extra liquid (see instructions below)
  • 3 medium carrots, grated small
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • ¼ cup matzo meal, potato starch or all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (or up to 1 teaspoon to taste)
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¾ cup Canola or grapeseed oil (for frying)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Place grated potatoes (peels and all) in a colander with a bowl or plate underneath. Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt on potatoes and mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes (the potatoes will release some liquid).
  3. Using a cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, wring out excess moisture from the grated potatoes (make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible)
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except the oil) to potatoes and mix to combine.
  5. Use a ¼ measuring cup to measure out latkes batter and use your hands to form into patties.
  6. Heat about 1/4 cup of oil in a non-stick skillet and drop about five latkes at a time. Cook at medium heat, 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  7. Place cooked latkes on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat the process two more times, using 1/4 cup of oil each time.
  8. Place latkes on the lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy




  • 2 pounds apples, peeled, quartered and cored (I prefer tart apples like Granny Smith)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1-2 tablespoons organic brown sugar or honey


  1. Cut apple quarters into small pieces. Put into a saucepan just large enough to hold them. Add cloves, water and sugar.
  2. Place pan over medium-high heat. When the apples start to steam, cover tightly and turn the heat down to low. Cook at a low simmer, stirring and turning the apples from time to time, until they are very soft.
  3. Mash lightly.
  4. Remove from the heat, let cool and transfer the applesauce to a container. Keep refrigerated for up to a week.


Jeannie Solomon is an accomplished and well-respected certified nutrition and wellness coach at the PJCC who focuses on holistic nutrition and whole-body wellness, providing the guidance needed to pursue a healthy, nutritious lifestyle.

Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt Parfait

by on November 5, 2015

pumpkin parfait recipe pjcc

Pumpkin, the quintessential fall holiday symbol is also a wonderful food full of fiber, protein, and vitamins K and A. By alternating layers of pumpkin puree with protein-packed Greek yogurt, these beautiful parfaits are easy to prepare, slimming for your waistline, and full of nutrition.

Prep time:  20 minutes | Serves: 4


  • 1 cup 100% pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup crumbled graham crackers (both plain or cinnamon work great)


  1. In a small bowl combine the pumpkin puree, cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice) and maple syrup.
  2. Crumble the graham crackers.
  3. Layer the graham crackers, seasoned pumpkin puree, and yogurt into four glass/see-through containers. Feel free to create the layers in any order.
  4. Optional: top with Honey & Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Brittle (see following recipe)


Jeannie Solomon is an accomplished and well-respected certified nutrition and wellness coach at the PJCC who focuses on holistic nutrition and whole-body wellness, providing the guidance needed to pursue a healthy, nutritious lifestyle.

High Protein Sweet Potato Muffins

by on October 30, 2015

sweet potato muffins recipe


Sweet potatoes are inexpensive, delicious, and packed with calcium, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Members of the Morning Glory family, sweet potatoes are really just edible roots. The red-orange sweet potatoes are slightly moister and sweeter than the tan variety, making them the best choice for this recipe.

Prep: 1 hour, 10 min. | Cook: 30 min. | Serves: 24 mini muffins


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, roasted (1.5 cups, packed)
  • 1 medium ripe banana, mashed
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour or a gluten free flour (I like Cup 4 Cup brand)
  • ¾ cup almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • For the topping:
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Poke a few holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork and wrap in foil. Bake 60 minutes or until very soft.
  3. Remove potato from oven and allow to cool. Scope the potato “meat” out of the skin into a large mixing bowl. Discard skin.
  4. Mash potatoes with a fork or spoon or in a food processor. Mix in the mashed banana until combined.
  5. Add eggs, almond milk, olive oil, and maple syrup to sweet potatoes. Whisk everything together until smooth.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the (dry) ingredients and stir together.
  7. Pour dry ingredients into bowl with wet ingredients and mix together just until combined.
  8. Spoon batter into muffin tins, filling ¾ to the top.
  9. In small bowl, stir together the topping of sugar and cinnamon and pecans. Sprinkle a small amount of topping on each muffin.
  10. Place on center rack in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until.


Jeannie Solomon is an accomplished and well-respected certified nutrition and wellness coach at the PJCC who focuses on holistic nutrition and whole-body wellness, providing the guidance needed to pursue a healthy, nutritious lifestyle.

Apple Pie Spiced Pumpkin Seed Recipe

by on October 17, 2015

pumpkin seed recipe fall

Nothing says fall like pumpkins and apples and all of the great foods you can make with them! Here is a simple recipe to make and enjoy.

Apple Pie Spiced Pumpkin Seeds


1 1/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 cups raw pumpkin seeds or pepitas


1. Stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves.

2. In a large, heavy skillet, melt coconut oil over medium heat.

3. Toast seeds in skillet, stirring often, until golden and beginning to pop, about 4 minutes.

4. Stir in spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant and nuts are coated well, about 1 minute longer. (Watch carefully to prevent burning.)

5. Immediately spread in an even layer on a baking sheet; let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Note: To make it simple, buy an apple pie spice mix and add 2 Tablespoons or more to taste.

Check our other recipes from Jeannie…


Prayer Rx

by on October 8, 2015

prayer rx

I had recently returned from a medical conference, and the first patient I faced at 8:30 AM on a Monday morning was a woman who the physician in chief of the medical center wanted me to see because she was a problematic patient. She had been visiting the Emergency Department monthly for vague neurological complaints for more than half a year. Despite many negative brain scans and other tests, she was convinced she had multiple sclerosis, and she insisted on treatment with high dose intravenous steroids. When steroid treatment was denied her, she would write angry letters of complaint. I suspected I would be the next subject of a grievance because I had no intention of conceding to her request. As I was talking to her, I noticed a gold cross on her chest and I had an inspiration as to how to help her.

Coincidentally, the medical conference I had just attended was about healing and spirituality at the Kalsman Institute at Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Los Angeles. Of the more than 200 participants, most were women, and mainly hospice providers, therapists, and nurses. I enjoyed the workshops with Debbie Friedman focusing on music and healing, but I did not attend any of the sessions about using prayer in medical practice. I am traditionally trained in biochemistry and the scientific method, so going to workshops to explore the use of prayer in a medical setting did not appeal to me. However, at the conclusion of the conference, I couldn’t avoid listening to those caregivers who reported that their use of prayer had profound effect on their patients.

It should be no surprise that patients are interested in prayer. Many polls indicate that Americans are highly religious. Prayer can help people cope with illness, and many people believe that prayer contributes to physical healing. How many people do you know who rediscover their religious passion when he/she or a family member falls ill? In a 2008 PEW survey of more than 36,000 Americans, 92% reported a belief in God or a universal spirit. More than half of Americans who were polled pray at least daily. If you think about it, prayer has few adverse side effects, it is low cost, and it can be provided in multiple doses. I felt inspired to try a new therapy that I had never employed before.

I asked my patient what she did to cope with her illness, and specifically what she used for spiritual support. She confirmed she prayed on a regular basis. I explained to her that I heard her request for treatment with high dose steroids, but in good conscience I could not prescribe something with potentially dangerous side effects. I gingerly asked her if she would say a prayer with me. I held her hands, and while facing one another we each closed our eyes. I said a prayer for her well-being and recovery, and wished her strength to cope with her symptoms. At the conclusion of the prayer, I opened my eyes and detected her smile. I felt that I had made a breakthrough in helping her, and even more so, I had evolved as a physician and care provider. I continued to see her every one to two months; at the conclusion of each visit, I said a prayer for her, and she in turn recited a prayer for me. She never again asked me for steroids, and never again did she submit a letter of complaint.

Since that first day when I said a prayer for a patient and achieved a satisfactory outcome, I have been motivated to pray with other patients at the conclusion of an office visit (of course, with their permission). I have prayed with people from various religious backgrounds – Christians, Native Americans, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Jews. In only one instance did a patient decline a prayer because of a difference in religion.

It is sometimes difficult for physicians to convey how much we care for our patients, and I have found that holding patients’ hands and praying for their well-being is a socially accepted expression of care. At Samaritan House Medical Clinic, I frequently have to use an interpreter as an intermediary for prayer. We all hold hands together, and I sometimes have to remind my interpreter to interpret because she may remain silent as she gets caught up in the moment of prayer. Luckily, one of the interpreters is a volunteer chaplain, and she is a natural asset in this practice. Prayer transcends the realm of words, and I can easily tell when my prayer hits the mark whenever a patient becomes teary-eyed.

By observing positive outcomes with prayer, I have discovered that not everything can be explained by science alone. I have realized that praying for someone allows me to express gratitude, empathy, and hope in meaningful and efficient manner. Many of my patients have shared with me that they include me in their daily prayers, and I feel humbled to be a part of their thoughts. I have become respectful of the benefit of prayer as an addition to the standard practice of medicine.

Jerry Saliman, MD is a volunteer internist at Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo. He retired from Kaiser South San Francisco after working there more than 30 years. While at Kaiser SSF, Dr. Saliman was also Chief of Patient Education. He received the 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Kaiser SSF Medical Staff.

Editing acknowledgement: Ellen Saliman

Neither the PJCC or our guest columnists provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please make your health care decisions in partnership with your health care provider

CPR: Are You Prepared to Help?

by on September 17, 2015


May 16, 2003, 7:50 AM. 
My wife and I enter the quad at a Midwestern university.  There are orderly rows of white chairs on the lawn, and on each one is a bottle of water labeled with the university logo, and a program for the commencement ceremony.  Scores of people are hurrying to the seats, streaming in from all sides of the quad with the graduates penned off to the side.  I am looking forward to witnessing the first of my three daughters graduate from college, and to hearing the commencement speaker, Madeleine Albright.  Suddenly my wife notices people gathered around a woman on the ground.  My wife encourages me to see if I can be of assistance. I identify myself as an internist to the woman and she responds with halting, labored breathing that she is having chest pain.  I grab her wrist and realize her skin is cold and clammy, and find her pulse weak and fairly rapid.  It was immediately apparent that she is having a heart attack, and her condition is critical.  I ask the bystanders and the security guard if paramedics had been summoned, and they assure me this was the case. Another physician is at the scene too, a pediatric endocrinologist, and she informs me that she too had requested paramedics.

7:55 AM. 
The woman’s pulse becomes weaker, her breathing shallow, and she loses consciousness. Her acute heart attack has led to cardiac arrest.  I start CPR.

According to a recent New England of Journal Medicine study of June, 2015, there are 420,000 cases of out of hospital cardiac arrests each year in the U.S, which corresponds to 38 people experiencing one every hour. Odds are that you know a friend or family member who has had one.  Survival chances decrease about 10% for every minute following a cardiac arrest, but less than half of persons with a cardiac arrest receive bystander CPR. When CPR is performed before paramedic arrival the thirty day survival improves from 4% to 10.5%.

Many people assume that cardiac arrests take place outside the home where there will be a willing bystander to initiate CPR.  Surprisingly, 88% of cardiac arrests occur in the home, so if you are called upon to initiate CPR at home, the life you save could be a spouse, parent, child or friend.  Since 2008, the American Heart Association has offered hands-only CPR for adult cardiac arrest as an alternative to chest compressions plus breaths because the outcomes are similar.  Although, a CPR course is advised, the instructions are simple: call 9-1-1, and push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the tune of “Stayin Alive.”  Here is the link:

The San Francisco Unified School District has a reason to be proud. Starting this school year, SF is the largest school district in the country to add hands-only CPR to its ninth grade health curriculum.  Improvement in rates of bystander initiated CPR is a critical public health issue and it is encouraging to see this initiative.

8:00 AM. 
Paramedics have not arrived yet.  I continue chest compressions, and the pediatric endocrinologist administers mouth to mouth breaths.  Oxygen and an AED, or automated external defibrillator, are unavailable.

8:15 AM.
Paramedics finally arrive!  They had trouble navigating through narrow crowded roads into a congested space.  Initial evaluation by them reveals the woman has a heart rate but absent blood pressure.

When I returned home, I wrote the chancellor of the university expressing my dismay over the lack of emergency medical support for this large gathering of people.   Four years later, when we returned for my youngest daughter’s graduation from the same university, it was gratifying to see a paramedic vehicle right on site.

Sadly, as I learned later, the woman who we tried to resuscitate died at a nearby hospital.  She was the grandmother of a graduating classmate of my daughter.  If resuscitation had been successful, the grandmother could have been expected to continue to live a normal life. Although bystander CPR improves the odds of survival by more than 2.5 times, probably too much time elapsed before advanced paramedic resuscitation was begun.  One never knows when you may need to perform CPR so I “heartily” encourage you to take a CPR course near you:

Jerry Saliman, MD is a volunteer internist at Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo.  He retired from Kaiser South San Francisco after working there more than 30 years.  While at Kaiser SSF, Dr. Saliman was also Chief of Patient Education.  He received the 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Kaiser SSF Medical Staff. 

Editing acknowledgement: Ellen Saliman

Neither the PJCC or our guest columnists provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please make your health care decisions in partnership with your health care provider.



Flourless Honey-Almond Cake

by on September 10, 2015

honey almond cake recipe

Flourless Honey-Almond Cake is the perfect dessert for Rosh Hashanah or any time of the year!


  • 1-1/2 cups almond meal – I get mine at Trader Joes
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  • Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the paper.
  • Beat 4 egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl until combined. Add the almond meal and mix.
  • Beat 4 egg whites in another large bowl with an hand mixer or whisk until white and bubbly but not stiff enough to hold peaks, about. 1 to 2 minutes. Gently fold the egg whites into the nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake the cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  • Run a knife around the edge of the pan and gently remove the side ring. Let cool completely.
  • Drizzle the top of the cake with honey and sprinkle with sliced almonds.



Edible Schoolyard: Inspiration For A Lifetime

by on August 25, 2015


Bring something beautiful to the classroom. Bring a bouquet, set things up differently with a beautiful table cloth and a lovely basket of fruit. Prepare the classroom, the kitchen and the garden, so kids fall in love. –  Alice Waters /Founder, Edible Schoolyard Academy

I was filled with excitement as I made my way across the Bay Bridge to Berkeley, about to fulfill lifetime dream: attending the Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard Academy (ESY). As a wellness/
nutrition coach for the PJCC, I was one of three given the incredible honor of representing the PJCC to help develop a nutrition and food awareness curriculum for local elementary schools. Our motivation came from California State Senator Jerry Hill D-San Mateo when he visited the PJCC’s Justice Garden. Impressed with our endeavor to promote food justice and education, the Senator expressed his support in helping the PJCC share our curriculum with local elementary schools. Garnering the tools for creating this curriculum was our goal at ESY.

Helping Healthy Habits Take Root
The Edible Schoolyard (ESY) program teaches youngsters how their choices about food affect their health, the environment, and their communities. Now in its 17th year, ESY is the brainchild of Alice Waters, the chef/proprietor of the Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley. Waters is a passionate voice and pioneer in the culinary movement that supports cooking with only the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. Housed at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, the abandoned teachers’ parking lot was once a neighborhood eyesore, but today is home to a lush and meandering one-acre garden and kitchen/classroom. Students are actively involved in every aspect of food’s life cycle, from planting a seed in the garden and preparing simple meals in the kitchen to using the food waste to produce rich compost to nourish the plants. These essential life skills are priceless and have made the ESY the model program for farm-to-table education. “Farm to school” is a term that defines school efforts to incorporate local and regionally produced foods into school cafeterias. In 2011-2012, a USCA survey of 13,000 public school districts showed that 44 percent across the country have such a program in place. This is exciting news, but in a country where child obesity is on the rise, we still have a long way to go.

Go Slow and Go Deep
ESY educates the educators: the more ambassadors on the front lines, the better to reach the children. At the academy alone, there were over 90 enthusiastic attendees from around the world. However, we were cautioned to “Go slow and go deep.” Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was the ESY. We should start small, in a corner of the playground or in a few gardening
pots outside a classroom. Let the kids get their hands dirty. Appeal to all their senses, with the taste, smell, sound and sight of fresh produce grown with care and prepared simply.

From ESY to the PJCC
I’m excited to bring my ESY education to the PJCC. When I spoke with Alice Waters, I asked if she had any additional advice as we begin introducing ESY concepts to our students. “I always say we need to work with kids in kindergarten through grade 12,” she replied. “But what I really mean is, get to them at age two. Start at this age and you have them for life.”

The PJCC is always on the lookout for ways to incorporate healthy habits into everyday life. We adopted the Discover CATCH program into our childrens’ programming. CATCH, an acronym for Coordinated Approach to Childhood Health, is an educational program created by University of Texas School of Public Health in response to the rising obesity epidemic in our country. CATCH uses a combination of kid’s nutrition and fitness activities as tools to teach children how to lead healthy and active lives. Recently, the Jewish Community Center Association adopted Discover CATCH, an expansion of CATCH that allows children to explore physical activity and nutrition through Jewish values, instilling healthy habits in children and their families for wellness their way.

Special Needs Tips – Come As You Are!

by on August 20, 2015


Every month features an awareness day for different special needs. World Down Syndrome Day in March, National Spina Bifida Awareness in October, and Autism Awareness in April. These are just a few of the many special needs that families are dealing with each day. It’s hard to know what a special needs family goes through unless you are one. So, we’ve asked one family to tell us how it really is and what can make families with special needs feel supported and included in the general community.

By Diana Blank Epstein and David Epstein

It is on ongoing struggle for families with special needs children to find acceptance, understanding and inclusion in the wider community and, as a result, families can experience isolation and alienation, which only adds to their sense of despair and grief about having a child with challenges.

Yet, there is much that people can do to support and include special needs families. We believe that many do want to reach out and include individuals with disabilities but just don’t know what to say or how to interact.

Based on our own personal experience, our “special” friends, and what we hear in the local autism community, here are some helpful guidelines to enrich all of our interactions.


Just making an effort to acknowledge the special needs child (rather than avoiding the child/family) and some interactive attempts at engaging the child, go a long way in making the family feel like a part of the community. It can be as simple as smiling at the child, greeting the child, giving a high five and making a positive comment about the child.Special needs families are particularly sensitive about negative comments which can easily put a parent in defense mode. Best to keep in mind that these are children and parents who are under very different stressors than the typical family and are generally working double time to help their child overcome multiple challenges.

  • Try asking neutral questions which show genuine interest in the child and are seen as supportive (ie: Where is your child going to school?, What activities does he like? What do you need to feel comfortable and accommodated here?).


Normalizing a special needs child’s behaviors is comforting for parents and really facilitates the inclusion process. For example, last summer at Camp Keff it was reassuring for me to hear camp counselors say “all the kids get loud at camp….Joshua fits right in.” Sometimes community members will remark on what they do to meet their own sensory needs, validating that we all have habits we engage in to calm ourselves (ie: Joshua uses an attachable chewy for oral sensory needs, while others chew gum to meet their oral needs or to calm themselves).

  • Just normalizing that we all have good days and bad days and that we all struggle, at some level, in expressing our needs and wants. The simple act of not reacting when a child with special needs acts differently or may be having a meltdown is very helpful (ie: our son Joshua has a sensory need involving tapping on objects. We feel supported when people understand this need and let it be “no big deal”, while we make efforts to redirect him, take him somewhere else if it gets too loud, or just let him engage in this behavior if it not disruptive in that particular setting).


Although perhaps well meaning, we appreciate when people steer clear of questions that make the families feel that they are being evaluated. We already are evaluated so much by school districts and insurance companies. We just want to “be” when we are in the community. For example, asking “how bad is your child’s condition” or “where is your child on the spectrum?”, puts us in a position where the focus is on the child’s impairments and disability, rather than the child as a human being first.

  • Instead, try asking about the child’s likes and dislikes and what we enjoy doing as a family unit. If anything, comment on the special needs child’s positive qualities and acheivements.


And, while we know people are trying to be compassionate, most of us find pity comments unsupportive. Comments such as “I can’t imagine what your life is like,” “We thought we had issues with our kids” and “I’m so sorry that this happened to your family” are taken as derogatory towards the child, hurtful to the family, and create a situation where a family experiences a greater sense of exclusion.

  • What can be helpful is to ask if a family needs personal space or needs extra assistance, when their child with special needs is having a tough time behaviorally in the community. Everyone has different needs and communicating with the family about what particular needs and accommodations are supportive for that specific family, can really help a family feel supported by their community.

As a rule, use the “person first philosophy” for people with any disability. Put the person first, before the disability. Try to see our children as representing neurodiversity (human variance). Like anyone, all we hope for is our children and families feeling accepted and respected for who they are and who they are becoming. Come as you are! Our strength is in our diversity afterall.


Diana Blank Epstein is an LCSW who works as a clinical supervisor and is on staff at JFCS, where one of her roles is developing and teaching special-need workshops for parents. David Epstein is a Software Quality Assurance Engineer who has worked for a variety of companies in Silicon Valley. Diana and David have two adorable children, Rachel and Joshua. Rachel has entered the 5th grade in a Montessori program. Joshua has entered the 3rd grade in a special day class. They are both well-adjusted and happy children, who are loved and accepted for who they are.





Lentil, Parsley, and Mint Summer Salad

by on August 13, 2015

recipe lentil salad

This is one of my favorite salads to bring to a BBQ or picnic. With only 130 calories per ½ cup serving and 6 gr of protein, this dish will be the hit with friends and family, who will be thanking you for bringing something healthy while they ask you for the recipe.


  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • ½ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Juice of one lemon


  1. Place lentils in a large saucepan.
  2. Cover with water to 2 inches above lentils; bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until tender. Drain well and rinse.
  4. Place lentils in a large bowl.
  5. Stir in onion and next 4 ingredients (through pepper).
  6. Add vinegar, oil and lemon juice; toss well.
  7. Serve at room temperature.

Airplane Emergency

by on August 6, 2015

airplane emergency sick

“Is there a doctor on the plane; is there a doctor on the plane?!” The urgent sounding voice rang over the loudspeakers on the jet about thirty minutes into our flight from Frankfurt, Germany to San Francisco. My wife nudged me just as I was trying to arrange my body for sleep in preparation for the fourteen hour voyage. I pressed the call button unsure what emergency I was volunteering for. The next thing I knew I was face to face with the flight attendant who had recently served me orange juice. She explained to me that she was the one who needed medical attention, and she escorted me toward the tail section of the plane where we ascended into a private sick-bay alcove. She proceeded to tell me her story. A year prior to this, she had been hospitalized for a week with a kidney infection, and she was experiencing similar symptoms once again. She had back pain and urinary symptoms, and was desperate for help. I suspected that for her to have been hospitalized for so long previously, the kidney infection must have been complicated by septicemia (bacteria in the bloodstream). When she came to work this day, she had mild urinary symptoms which she thought she could ignore, but now she had a full blown problem. She handed me the emergency medical briefcase that airlines carry onboard, but all it contained were cardiac medicines and injectable opiate analgesics. No antibiotics. What was I going to do to help her? Soon we would be crossing the ocean and there would be no option for emergency landing.

In a New England Journal of Medicine study published on May 30, 2013, it was estimated that there is one in-flight medical emergency for every 604 commercial airplane flights, and overall, there are approximately 44,000 medical emergencies each year world-wide. Serious illness is infrequent, and death rare (3 per 1000 cases). The most common illness causes in order of frequency are fainting and near fainting, respiratory symptoms, nausea or vomiting, cardiac symptoms, seizures, abdominal pain, and infection (such as in my patient). Other in-flight emergencies include agitation or psychiatric symptoms, allergic reactions (better not bring peanuts onboard), stroke, trauma, diabetic complications, headache, arm or leg injuries, Ob-Gyn symptoms, ear pain, cardiac arrest, and lacerations.

You can never be certain that a physician or other medical professional will be on your flight if a medical situation arises. If you feel moderately sick before you start a long airplane trip, chances are that you will feel even worse during the journey so it would be wise to cancel and request a written note from your doctor. If you take medicines, bring them in your carry-on, not in your packed luggage. If you have a past history of a serious infection which required hospitalization, bring antibiotics with you. My flight attendant patient was totally unprepared.

For cardiac emergencies, the airplane I was on was well equipped. There was an automated external defibrillator (AED), oxygen, epinephrine, and a variety of other cardiac medicines. I was dismayed that there were no medicines for infections. In order to help my patient I needed a strong antibiotic that I hoped a well-organized passenger had brought along. I asked nearby passengers for Cipro 500 mg, and fortunately someone volunteered the medicine. All we needed were two doses. Meanwhile, my patient’s kidney infection was causing her significant pain, so I also asked if there was a nurse on board to administer an injectable narcotic. Luckily a kind Kaiser dialysis nurse offered his expertise.

The pilot of the plane spoke to me. We would be flying over Reykjavik, Iceland soon, and this would be our last opportunity for an emergency landing. The pilot put me in touch with a United Airlines land physician in Chicago. I explained to him that everything was under control now that a passenger had donated Cipro. Normally, when one presents to the ER with a serious kidney infection, IV Cipro is administered because it is a faster way to get the medicine into the body. Whether Cipro is given IV or orally, it should have equal efficacy which I discussed with the airline’s physician. I did not think diverting the plane for emergency landing was indicated, and the airline’s physician concurred. During the reminder of the flight I checked my patient every two hours to make sure her vital signs were stable and that she was comfortable. With the help of the narcotic, she slept most of the way to San Francisco. –at least one of us got some rest. – I always feel elated when airplane wheels touch land, and this time I breathed an extra sigh of relief.

I didn’t ask United Airlines for any compensation for volunteering my medical care, but they sent me a $200 voucher anyway. Two weeks later I received a wonderful thank you letter from my patient. It was reaffirming to know that she had completely recovered.

Jerry Saliman, MD is a volunteer internist at Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo. He retired from Kaiser South San Francisco after working there more than 30 years. While at Kaiser SSF, Dr. Saliman was also Chief of Patient Education. He received the 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Kaiser SSF Medical Staff.

Editing acknowledgement: Ellen Saliman

Neither the PJCC or our guest columnists provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please make your health care decisions in partnership with your health care provider




Summer Parfait

by on July 17, 2015

recipe pjcc parfait

This ultimate summer dessert is light, delicious, and bursting with fruit.


  • 2 cups of sliced strawberries or other fruit of choice
  • 1 pint or 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar (more or less to taste)
  • ½ cup blueberries, raspberries or fruit of choice for topping


To make whipped cream:

  1. Pour the heavy cream into the cooled bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream over medium/high speed until it begins to thickened.
  2. Increase the speed to high and continue to whip until medium peaks form.
  3. Turn off the mixer and add the confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Whip again on low speed until the confectioners’ sugar is mostly combined. Increase the speed to high and whip until completely thickened and the mixture forms stiff peaks. Refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble parfaits:

  1. Place a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of each ice cream cone then add a small spoonful of chopped strawberries, pushing the berries down into the whipped cream. Continue to layer strawberries and cream until you reach the top of the cone with a cream layer – (two or three layers).
  2. Garnish with a raspberry and blueberries or fruit of choice.
  3. Makes 16 ice cream cones.


Why Dieting Doesn’t Work: “Secrets From The Eating Lab”

by on July 14, 2015

Traci Mann got her Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University and went on to found the Health and Eating Lab at the University of Minnesota.  She has become uniquely qualified to talk on the subject of diets and eating based on her research. She has written a book titled “Secrets From The Eating Lab” which explains the science and myths about dieting.

We are delighted to bring you this video of Dr. Mann’s lecture at the PJCC.




Back Pain – the Bane of Being Human

by on July 7, 2015

back pain pjcc

Back pain can be devastating. Just ask my wife. Prior to our upcoming wedding my wife decided she wanted to get in shape. She joined a gym and, in her zeal, she repeated the weight routine three days in a row. The next day she suffered severe lower back pain which subsequently has besieged her for the past 38 years. (I know this because we just celebrated our 38th anniversary.) Guess who has been destined to be the luggage shlepper and primary grocery shopper in our marriage?

My wife has not been alone in experiencing low back pain. 80% of adults suffer low back pain sometime during their lifetime. In younger people, pain is mostly due to mechanical factors – the interplay of spine, muscles, ligaments, discs, and nerves in the way of they fit together. Low back pain can be triggered by repeated straining such as at a gym, or by a fall or accident, or by a sudden action involving lifting a heavy weight or twisting abruptly. Oddly, a herniated disc can happen spontaneously without a specific injury. In older adults, the most common cause of low back pain is spinal stenosis which means narrowing of the spaces of the spine. With aging, some people develop spurs in their vertebrae, and ligaments around the spine may thicken which together may cause narrowing (stenosis) where the nerves exit the spine. This typically results in pain while standing and walking, and relief by sitting.

Red Flags
While most causes of back pain are not life threatening, there are some warning symptoms that indicate immediate attention is required. These “red flags” include history of trauma, fever, incontinence, history of cancer, unexplained weight loss, long term steroid use, and intense localized pain with inability to find a comfortable position. Coincidently, the reason there why there was a position available when I was hired at Kaiser was because my predecessor had died of back pain due to an epidural abscess, an infection near the spinal cord. While I don’t know the details of his illness, he likely had fever with his back pain, and unfortunately did not appreciate the implication. Life threatening cases of back pain with fever I have treated include pyelonephritis (kidney infection) and endocarditis (heart infection.) Back pain with fever can be a lethal combination.

The inability to find a position of comfort typifies a patient who present with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. For this reason alone, I routinely examine any older patient with back pain for the presence of a pulsating mass in the abdomen. During the course of my career, I have detected two patients with aortic aneurysms. They both were ex-smokers and were overtly grateful since delayed diagnosis is almost always fatal.

A patient with a history of cancer always raises a red flag to me even if the cancer occurred decades prior. The most common types of cancer that spread to bone are breast, prostate, lung, kidney and thyroid. While most doctors have been well educated about not doing unnecessary imaging studies, a patient who has a past history of cancer especially with any history of recent weight loss deserves x-ray evaluation.

When back pain is not spine pain
During the fifteen years I spent working part time in spine clinic at Kaiser, I was amazed the number of times a patient was referred for back pain actually had something other than a spine condition. Two of the most common conditions that can be confused with a spinal disorder especially in older adults include osteoarthritis of the hip and peripheral artery disease (PAD). Hip osteoarthritis can usually be distinguished by performing a hip examination during the visit and by getting hip x-rays. A person with good range of motion of hips does not likely have significant hip arthritis. PAD can usually be determined by checking all the pulses in the legs and feet. The other feature differentiating PAD from spinal stenosis is that patients with PAD do not have pain while standing, while spinal stenosis patients generally do. Sometimes, though, a patient might have more than one condition causing back and/or leg pain in which case more sensitive testing is indicated to evaluate circulation competency and neurological function.

Other causes of low back pain outside the spine include kidney stones, acute pancreatitis, herpes zoster (shingles), endometriosis, and fibromyalgia.

What is the scoop about MRI’s?
A common question from many people with back pain is whether they should get an MRI to pinpoint the cause of their problem. The problem is that most people even without back pain will have an abnormality on an MRI exam. Falsely alarming MRI results in patients who have back pain explain why back surgery in the U.S. is more than twice as high as in other countries. Yes, surgery corrects the problem seen on the MRI but this may be unrelated to the cause of the pain.

Treatment of low back pain can vary depending if it is acute or chronic (more than 3 months). There are no hard and fast rules, but generally ice packs are advised for pain within 2-3 days of injury. Heat can help ease subacute or chronic pain. Bed rest after acute injury tends to delay recovery, and it is important to resume normal activity as soon as possible. Physical therapy can help strengthen core muscles that support the spine, but an interesting study from UCLA a few years ago showed that walking three hours a week was more effective than three hours of physical therapy a week. Epidural steroid injections can be given for low back pain associated with sciatica, but a recent NIH study showed that in patients with spinal stenosis who received epidural injections had worse long term outcomes than those who did not receive them. Surgery may be considered in serious injury situations or if there is progressive neurological deterioration. While there appears to be short term benefit in patients who have undergone surgery, long term benefits going out four years and ten years appear to show no clear advantage compared to those who have not had surgery. Although I am not fond of many of the medications advertised for low back pain, sometimes they serve a purpose in helping someone to become more active and exercise once again.

Regular exercise is the best way to keep one’s back healthy. My wife has found walking at least 60 minutes a day helps to lessen recurrences of low back pain. She also stretches regularly, and does not wear high heeled shoes. When she is sitting in the car or a chair, she uses a lumbar support called a Sacro-Ease or an inflatable travel pillow. She avoids any significant lifting, but if she does lift something she lifts with bent knees, carries the object close to her, and does not twist. For me, running, biking, and doing yoga at the PJCC keeps my back in shape, but everyone has to find a regimen that works best for them.

While back pain can be disabling, it can also be managed with regular activity and awareness to prevent further damage. Three months ago my wife injured her back again when she missed a step getting out of an elevator while holding one of our granddaughters who impeded her vision. To avoid trauma to our granddaughter, she sacrificed herself by intentionally twisting her spine as she fell. I am happy to say that granddaughter and “Nana” are back in each other’s arms once again.

For further information about low back pain, visit the NIH site.

Jerry Saliman, MD is a volunteer internist at Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo. He retired from Kaiser South San Francisco after working there more than 30 years. While at Kaiser SSF, Dr. Saliman was also Chief of Patient Education. He received the 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Kaiser SSF Medical Staff.

Editing acknowledgement: Ellen Saliman

Neither the PJCC or our guest columnists provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please make your health care decisions in partnership with your health care provider



Is Pilates The Secret To Youth?

by on June 29, 2015

Audrey / Pilates


I usually don’t ask people their age, especially if it is a woman. When I met Audrey Guerin I was surprised when her age came up; she is 81. She has such a youthful appearance. I told her I needed to know her secret–and we’re sharing it here with you!

Q:  Audrey, I was surprised to learn your age after seeing your picture and then meeting you in person. What is the secret for how you stay so young?

A:  Age just seems like a number and that number does not define me. I listen to my body to Continue reading

Music As Therapy

by on June 9, 2015


My Patient
Irene (not her real name) was my patient for many years, and during a routine visit she showed me a lump on her abdomen which turned out to be metastatic pancreatic cancer. I went to visit her one afternoon in hopes of offering her some comfort. The day I visited her was sunny and cloudless, but when I entered the mobile home, I was ushered in by her daughter into a low-lit room with all the shades drawn. Irene was lying in bed surrounded by Continue reading

Shape Your Body In Just Minutes A Day

by on May 21, 2015


Get In Shape Now!

Busy schedules and obligations sometimes make it a challenge to squeeze in a full-body workout. But devoting even 10 minutes a day to just one move can help shape and tone your body. PJCC Personal Trainers Chris Nash and Molly Stenhouse share their favorite Continue reading

Warning: Nature Hikes Can Lead to Radical Amazement

by on May 14, 2015

By Deborah Newbrun

Nature Hikes Jewish twist
I have been leading a series of Jewish-themed nature hikes for the PJCC as part of their Jewish Wellness programming for several years. Often the first question on the hike is: What makes a hike Jewish?

Jews have a blessing for what Abraham Joshua Heschel calls radical amazement, when you stop to notice something in nature that is not created by humans and you want to mark the moment with a blessing of thanks.

Baruch Atah Adonai, Elohienu Melech Ha Olam, oseh ma’asay bereshit
Bountiful are you, the one we call ruler, creator of the universe who makes the wonders of creation.

A Harvard Medical School health publication confirms what we already know. Those people who cultivate a practice of gratitude, like writing thank you notes or saying prayers of thanks, are the happiest. “With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals – whether to other people, nature, or a higher power. In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

On the PJCC Jewish-themed nature hikes, we enter the woods or fields or ocean-side trails prepared to give gratitude for the world’s bounty. Gently, I create opportunities to stop, take notice and give thanks for the beauty we see around us. These hikes, which are on the shorter side (1.5-3 miles), are a wonderful way to connect to the outdoors, to Jewish teachings, to new and old friends, and to yourself! Sometimes we learn about trees in Jewish texts, and other times we learn about the blessings of the senses. But with each hike, if we are lucky, we connect to what Abraham Joshua Heschel calls radical amazement.

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

Join us on one or all three free nature hikes led by Deborah Newbrun in 2015. Earn 100 JCC Rewards points per hike for pre-registering and attending. Pre-registration required.

Deborah Newbrun is a Jewish environmental educator and author of Spirit In Nature: Teaching Judaism and Ecology on the Trail.

Beware Of Ants In Your Toilet!

by on May 5, 2015


A patient left a message for me which caught my attention. He wanted a blood sugar test for diabetes because there were ants in his toilet. When I spoke to him, he denied having some of the more typical signs of diabetes. His only concern was that there were ants in his toilet. I decided to order the test.

According to the CDC, 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, and at least one-quarter of them don’t know it. An additional 86 million people (1 in 3 adults) have pre-diabetes. Without change in lifestyle, 15-30% of pre-diabetics will develop type 2 diabetes in five years.

Diabetes Basics
There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is when your body does not produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type (90-95% of diabetics), and this is when your body does not use insulin properly. Gestational diabetes occurs in 4% of pregnancies, and these women are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy.

The typical symptoms of diabetes include feeling thirsty, frequent urination, fatigue, blurry vision, cuts or bruises that heal slowly, and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. Many people with diabetes have no symptoms or mild ones that go unnoticed. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) does not list ants in the toilet as a warning sign.

Complications of Diabetes
The biggest risks of having diabetes are strokes and heart attacks, which with proper medication can be prevented. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to damage of many organs in the body, particularly the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. Last year I saw a young man for a check-up because his dentist noticed a severe gum problem which was going to require extraction of most of his teeth. I ordered a blood test which revealed he had diabetes. He had not realized that diabetes was the root cause of his dental woes.

Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, specifically cancer of liver, pancreas, endometrium, colon, breast, and bladder. The explanation for this is unclear. It could be due to shared risk factors such as obesity, diet, and inactivity, or because of something intrinsic about diabetes such as elevated insulin or blood sugar levels.

Diabetes and pre-diabetes are risk factors for Alzheimer’s dementia and other types of dementia.

The Numbers
The normal fasting glucose is less than 100 mg/dL. Pre-diabetes is defined by fasting sugar between 100-125 mg/dL. Diabetes is defined by fasting sugars of 126 mg/dL measured on two different days. Another way of diagnosing diabetes is the A1C test which measures the average glucose in your body over the past 2-3 months. A1C of 6.5% or higher indicates diabetes. Normal A1C is usually less than 5.7%, and 5.7 – 6.4 is considered pre-diabetes depending on the lab reference range.

The mainstays of most type 2 diabetics are diet and exercise, but because it is so hard to change one’s habits, pharmaceutical companies are reaping enormous profits from a multitude of diabetic drugs. There are medicines which work on the pancreas, liver, gut hormones, and kidneys to lower sugar, and there is even inhaled insulin now. It takes more effort for people to make personal changes, but an Asian diabetic patient of mine was especially determined to rid herself of diabetes. Her blood sugar was so high when she was diagnosed that she needed to take insulin at least twice a day to keep her diabetes controlled. She decided to give up her routine of eating rice at every meal, the main staple of her diet. She went from minimal exercise to exercising three hours a day. When I saw her back in clinic two months later, she had been successfully able to discontinue her insulin entirely. (Warning: don’t attempt to stop your diabetic meds on your own without doctor’s supervision.) Most people cannot make these dramatic life style changes, but she serves as an example of what healthy lifestyle change can achieve.

Screening for Diabetes
The ADA recommends adults get screened for diabetes every three years. You should get tested more often if you are overweight and have other risks such as family history of diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, or a racial background of African-American, Hispanic-American, Native-American, Asian-American, or Pacific Islander ancestry.

My patient who I mentioned in the beginning did not have any particular risk factor for diabetes, but I tested him anyway because normally there should not be any urinary sugar in the toilet to attract ants. The bad news was that his blood test did reveal he had diabetes. The good news was that he did not have to hire an exterminator since once his diabetes was controlled the ants had to find a different location to host their picnic. Hopefully early detection will prevent him from having any future complications or further ant invasions.

For further information about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.

Jerry Saliman, MD is a volunteer internist at Samaritan House Medical Clinic in San Mateo. He retired from Kaiser South San Francisco after working there more than 30 years. While at Kaiser SSF, Dr. Saliman was also Chief of Patient Education. He received the 2012 “Lifetime Achievement Award” given by the Kaiser SSF Medical Staff.

Editing acknowledgement: Ellen Saliman

Neither the PJCC or our guest columnists provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please make your health care decisions in partnership with your health care provider.

S’mores 2.0

by on May 4, 2015

S'moresS’mores are traditionally a part of the Jewish holiday Lag B’Omer. When you have a holiday that includes having a bonfire, you know s’mores have to be a part of it!  But, personally, I could eat these all year long.  Chocolate. Marshmallows. Graham crackers. Why not?

If you are looking for a more modern twist on an old favorite, here are some upgrades to your go-to campfire dessert , the s’more!



Baked S’more Cups
By Mindi Cherry


Continue reading

Book Review – Jerusalem: A Cookbook

by on April 30, 2015

jerusalem cookbook

Food in Israel is unique and full of exciting flavors that have come together into a melting pot of centuries of influence from surrounding lands. Bringing the complexity of Jerusalem life to the dinner table, Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook is as much a social studies lesson as it is a culinary delight.

Though both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year, they come from opposite sides of the city. Tamimi is from the Muslim East Jerusalem and Ottolenghi from Jewish West Jerusalem. Both independently moved to London years ago and that’s where they met, working in the Continue reading

Your New Workout: Interval Training

by on April 23, 2015

interval training pjcc

by Torre Pusey, PJCC Personal Trainer

Ready to take your workout to the next level? Want to burn more calories, burn more fat, see faster results, and be constantly challenged? Consider Interval Training.
Often referred to as HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training has become a powerful tool for the everyday gym user. HIIT workouts evolve around a simple concept: alternating bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter training, such as taking a brisk walk injected with quick jogs.
HIIT workouts can be done anywhere and at any time. It isn’t necessarily about the exercise, the equipment, or the location. Just like the name suggests, the intensity must be high to receive Continue reading

A Day in the Life of Matzah: Recipes for Passover

by on March 31, 2015

Having cleansed your pantry of all hametz, you are left with few options to fill your carb quota during Pesach (Passover). The challenge is to find new and exciting ways to use matzo in your meals. So, here are some ideas to add variety to your Passover meals.


matzo-granola-150Matzo Granola
If it is from Martha Stewart, it must be good! A delicious way to start the day.
(via Martha Stewart)

Continue reading

Improving Your Memory

by on March 23, 2015


“Memory is the mother of all wisdom.”

With advancing age, many adults worry not only about their health, but also about their memory. First, let us examine why we value our memory, and then look at some of the latest research in how to improve memory.

With the externalization of memory by cell phones, computers, digital photographs, books, and pencil and paper, one can wonder why we need our brains to remember anything at all. However, thousands of years ago the major way we passed along information was orally, which required focused attention and memory. Dating back 2500 years, the Iliad and the sequel, the Odyssey, were transmitted orally by the rhythm of the words. It is said that the Torah, or Five Continue reading

Breakthroughs In Molecular Imaging

by on March 5, 2015

The de la Zerda Group at the Stanford University School of Medicine is making strides in being able to idenify and characterize tumors in clinical settings. Adam de la Zerda
visited the PJCC to describe the revolutionary molecular imaging technique his team pioneered.

Adam was chosen as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science in 2012 and 2014.

Functional Training: Taking Your Workouts To The Next Level

by on February 24, 2015


By Chris Nash, PJCC Personal Trainer

As a fitness professional for more than 15 years, I’ve witnessed many changes in the fitness industry. It used to be that gyms were limited to traditional equipment, such as bench and leg presses, that worked just one or two muscles at a time.

But in recent years, a growing trend is functional training. This is a classification of exercise that Continue reading

Optimism & Your Health

by on February 5, 2015


During medical training at UCLA, I had the good fortune to learn from Norman Cousins, a Jewish writer, editor, and adjunct professor of medical humanities. Despite being misdiagnosed with tuberculosis at age 11, he set out as a boy to “discover exuberance.” He believed that positive emotions were the key to fighting illness, which he exemplified in the telling of his own battle with a severe form of arthritis. In the book Anatomy of An Illness, he describes his victory over a potentially life-threatening condition by taking mega doses of vitamin C, and watching Marx Brothers movies and TV sitcoms. He relates, “Laughter is a form of internal jogging. It moves your internal organs around. It enhances respiration. It is an ignitor of great expectations.” His Continue reading

Half My Size: A Weight Loss Journey

by on January 28, 2015


By Randi  Reed, PJCC Assistant Camp Director

Everyone asks me what happened. How did I do it?

As a teenager at age 16 I weighed 350 lbs. If that sounds like it would be hard to overcome, it was.

I had PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) and I knew if I kept going and growing the way I was, I would have died. With help from my doctor to get the PCOS and hormones under control I Continue reading

Norovirus – The Winter Bug

by on January 16, 2015


Thanksgiving weekend 2014 was a time to forget for our family. My wife and I planned for the arrival of our children, their spouses, and four grandchildren for months. One of my granddaughters would Facetime daily to see what toys she would play with when she would eventually visit. The night before Thanksgiving, one son-in-law became acutely ill with a GI bug, and he wasn’t able to go to Thanksgiving dinner. The day after Thanksgiving, two of my daughters became acutely ill. By Thanksgiving weekend, the illness had ravaged through our entire family except for my wife and one granddaughter who was protected through the magic Continue reading

Wellness Coaching. What’s In It For Me?

by on January 6, 2015


As a wellness coach, I am asked this question on a regular basis. I like to respond by relating the coaching I do to that of any other coach: A coach is someone who can help you make specific improvements to your technique which will add value to your overall game.  A good coach does this by shining a new perspective on an activity or simply holding their pupil accountable to their goals. You use a running coach to improve your running skills and timing. And if you want Continue reading

Strategies For Reinventing Your Resolutions

by on December 31, 2014

new year resolutions

Making, and then breaking, the same promises every year can be exhausting. Jeannie   Solomon, PJCC Wellness Coach, uses helpful strategies to help clients stay on track. Here, she shares her “tools of the trade” to help you reinvent your resolutions and—ultimately—yourself.

Define Your Wellness
Relationships, sleep, exercise, work, and spirituality (to name a few) are all forces that can cause great joy as well as great stress, feeding our energy and vitality. To achieve long-term wellness, Continue reading

Olive Tapenade: Easy to Make & Delicious

by on December 17, 2014



1/2 pound pitted mixed olives
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tbl. capers
2-3 fresh basil leaves
1 Tbl. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbl. extra-virgin olive oil


  • Thoroughly rinse the olives in cool water.
  • Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Process to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until mixture becomes a coarse paste, approximately 1-2 minutes total.
  • Transfer to a bowl and serve!

Bon Appetit


For more on Olive Oil, listen to our Podcast with the California Olive Oil Council.

Podcast: A World of Olive Oil – Presented by the California Olive Oil Council

by on December 9, 2014


Click image above to listen to Podcast (50 min)

Kimberly Gordon, PJCC Cultural Arts Director, introduces  Lisa Pollack, Marketing Coordinator, California Olive Oil Council and Sandy Sonnenfelt who is a trained olive oil taster and is a member of California Olive Oil Council and UC Davis taste panels. For many years she was a judge at the LA International Olive Oil Competition and she also judges in many of the local olive oil competitions. She is a frequent presenter at olive oil educational seminars. Since Continue reading

Depression — The Lowdown

by on December 2, 2014


News of Robin Williams’ suicide was a shock. How could a man devoted to making others laugh take his own life? His death brought the disorder of clinical depression to the forefront.

Depression is a common mental illness that is manifested by prolonged sense of sadness, and other symptoms such as loss of desire to do pleasurable activities, irritability, insomnia or oversleeping, change in appetite, loss of energy, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and sometimes thoughts of death or suicide. Depression affects 1 in 11 adults, and nearly twice as many women as men. Sadness and depression are different. Many people feel sad after losing a loved one, or losing a job, or ending a relationship. People who are depressed, however, can usually differentiate normal grief from the disabling continued weight of clinical depression. Although there is excellent treatment for depression, many people do not seek help because they mistakenly construe it as a personal weakness rather than a legitimate illness. Many celebrities have publically acknowledged their own battles with depression in hopes that others Continue reading

A Healthy Spin on Latkes: The “No-tato” Pancake

by on November 21, 2014

quinoa latkes

Traditional potato latkes are delicious but more and more people are looking for healthier ways to make these wonderful fried patties.  We’ve come up with a recipe that is heavier on protein and veggies and light on the carbs.  And, as a bonus, they taste great! Enjoy!

Quinoa & Veggie Latkes Recipe


3 cup cooked quinoa (use 1 part quinoa to 1 part water)
1/2 cup grated onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
1 cup each finely grated zucchini and carrot
1/4 cup potato starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste Continue reading

PJCC Personal Trainer Trade Secrets

by on November 18, 2014


By Herman Chan, PJCC Personal Trainer

A fitness professional since 1989, PJCC Personal Trainer Herman Chan works with all ages, shapes, and types, motivating clients that range from stroke survivors to athletes in training. How does Herman help inspire all levels to maintain their enthusiasm for exercise?

Fitness Novice

  1. Evaluate your goals. Are they realistic? Create goals you can actually achieve.
  2. Celebrate small victories. Each one brings you closer to your big goal.
  3. Find a workout partner and hold each other accountable.
  4. Establish a routine and stick to it. Even professional athletes have a set routine.
  5. Change your attitude! Approach workouts as fun, not a chore.

Continue reading

Olive Oil 411

by on November 13, 2014

Did you know that different oils have different heat thresholds? Are you unclear on the benefits of olive oil and other cooking oils?  This video will give you a brief info session on oils!

Interested in more information on Olive Oil? Join us November 20, 2014 for A World of Olive Oil: From the Middle East to Your Backyard at the PJCC with California Olive Oil Council educator, Nancy Ash to learn about olive oil and enjoy a tasting.

In Search Of Sleep

by on November 4, 2014


But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”  Robert Frost

A relative of mine, Stewart, (not his real name) was driving home from LA, and fell asleep at the wheel. Stewart was 18 years old at the time, and on winter break from college. He drove to LA in the morning, and then, after spending the day there, drove home that night. Although he knew he was drowsy, he made the decision to drive home. The last thing he remembered was listening to a 49er Monday night football game before he dozed off without warning. His new 1996 Toyota Corolla was totaled when the car crashed into a barrier on the side of the highway Continue reading

7 Unique Recipes Using Chocolate!

by on October 28, 2014

Chocolate seems to be on the list of foods that are “good for you” at the moment.  It is said to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost brain power, just to name a few. So, let’s take advantage of it! We’ve pulled together some super delicious and interesting ways to incorporate chocolate into your life!

Chocolate Panini

Mocha Drink Serenity Now

Mole SauceTheKitchn

Chocolate PancakesCooking Classy

Chocolate LiqueurSerious Eats

Chocolate BiscottiDavid Lebovitz

Chocolate PastaInstructables

You’re Welcome!



Pink & Powerful

by on October 21, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Everyone is wearing pink to bring attention to a disease that will touch over 280,000 women per year in the US alone.  Odds are high that everyone knows at least one person effected by breast cancer. While fighting and beating cancer is  the main goal when one is diagnosed, there is a long road of rehabilitatation following surgery that is so important to regaining strength and mobility.

In the following video, we hear a few inspirational stories from women who have taken on breast cancer and come out the other side with more strength, courage, and lust for life than before.

DONATE to the Pink Ribbon Program to enhance recovery for breast cancer patients.

The PJCC is doing its part on October 19-25, 2015 for Pink Week.
We invite the whole community to come and support a great cause.


Pink Ribbon Program @ PJCC  - Postoperative workout designed to enhance recovery



Hepatitis C – A Stealth Killer

by on October 14, 2014


I recall my Great Uncle Sidney.  He loved to devour a delicious steak for dinner.   Eventually he had to undergo coronary bypass surgery for cholesterol-clogged arteries of his heart.   Within a decade he died!  His heart did not kill him.  He died of cirrhosis of the liver because of a blood transfusion contaminated with hepatitis C virus which he received during his bypass surgery.

Hepatitis C (HCV) is one of those conditions one hardly hears about because most people who have it don’t know they do.  Of the 3.2 million Americans who have hepatitis C, only 5-6% of them have been successfully treated.   It is 3 times more common than HIV in this country, and it is the leading cause of liver transplantation and liver cancer.  The mortality from HCV has Continue reading

Cultivating Good Health

by on October 10, 2014


Any time is a good time to cultivate good health by developing a wellness plan that will help you flourish. Don’t know where to begin? Draw inspiration from your garden and apply the same concepts to your health.

Planning your garden is the first step to its success and the same holds true for your health. Buy a notebook and name it your health journal. Begin by writing down two goals that are attainable and aren’t overwhelming. For example, start preparing your afternoon snacks to bring to work instead of buying from the vending machine. This action alone can save you 200 Continue reading

Homemade Honey & Oats Granola Bars

by on September 12, 2014


Healthy, Tasty, Portable.  What’s not to like?

Finding a snack that will provide you with energy and is easy to pack and carry isn’t always easy.  Granola Bars fit the bill but can be pricey. This recipe for homemade granola bars will be satisfying and easy on the pocket book!

And, an added bonus, oats are known to lower cholesterol levels, provide fiber in your diet, Continue reading

The Meaning of Life – As Seen through The Eyes Of My Patients

by on September 3, 2014


As we approach the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur this month, I find myself becoming more reflective, particularly about what’s important in my life. Twenty years ago I was asked to complete a biographical survey for a physician newsletter about my personal interests, which included questions such as the latest book I read, my favorite movie, etc. There was one question that stood out, “What is the meaning of life?” My response, “God knows.” It occurred to me a few years later that I could delve into a better understanding of this existential question by probing my patients for their stories about what has been meaningful in their lives. You may wonder how during a 15-20 minute visit with patients I could have time for such a discussion. One cannot come out and say, “Tell me the meaning of your life,” but I felt I could approach the Continue reading

Perfect Recipe For Summer Tomatoes

by on August 13, 2014


Don’t know what to do with all of those delicious summer tomatoes? You probably have some day old bread around too. Try this delicious Panzanella Salad. It is the perfect dish for any summer meal!

Panzanella Salad

Serves 8 |  Hands-On Time: 25 m |  Total Time: 25 m

5 cups 1-inch bread cubes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil1/4 cup red wine vinegar Continue reading

High Blood Pressure – The Hidden Killer

by on August 5, 2014


On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was sitting in his living room having his portrait painted by artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff, who later became most renowned for “Unfinished Portrait” of FDR. Also present was Lucy Mercer, Eleanor’s social secretary, but most notorious because of her affair with the president. His dog, Fala, and two cousins were in the room as well according to biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin. At 1:00 pm, FDR complained of “traffic pain at the back of my head,” and collapsed, unconscious. His cardiologist quickly arrived and recognized the signs of a cerebral hemorrhage, a type of stroke. One could argue that one of FDR’s visitors that day triggered his stroke, but it is much more likely that years of untreated high blood pressure led to FDR’s demise at the age of 63.

High blood pressure or hypertension still remains a hidden killer at large. It is estimated that high blood pressure kills approximately 1000 Americans each day due to its effects on Continue reading

Summer Smoothie with a Vitamin Boost

by on July 15, 2014


Strawberry Peach Refresher Smoothie
Serves 2

Are you ready for something cool, delicious, and good for you?

This smoothie uses the mild tasting green, bok choy, which is known as a cancer-fighting cabbage because of its good source of beta carotene.  In just one 9 calorie cup of bok choy, you receive 63% vitamin A, 52% vitamin C and 8% calcium of your daily recommended value.


  • 2 cups bok choy, fresh
  • 2 cups almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup strawberries*
  • 2 cups peaches*

*Use at least one frozen fruit to make the smoothie cold.


  • Blend bok choy and almond milk until smooth.
  • Next, add the remaining fruits and blend again.

Pour into glasses and enjoy!



Monkey See, Monkey Do — How Behavioral Modeling Influences Health

by on July 1, 2014


My 2-year-old granddaughter seemed to welcome her newborn baby sister with bland indifference. I observed her as she played with her blocks and other toys and did not appear to be perturbed by the presence of a new member in her family. After she had dinner, I was surprised when she set out deliberately for the couch, wrapped her mother’s pillow around her lap, lifted her shirt, and clutched her bear to her chest. It was dinner time for her bear! While it was fun to watch her precise imitation of breast feeding, it made me stop and wonder how we as adults subconsciously follow patterns of behavior that may not reach our cognitive awareness. Continue reading

Guilt-Free Edamame “Guacamole” Recipe

by on June 27, 2014


Summertime barbeques, Superbowl parties, and taco tuesdays are all great excuses to serve some guacamole.  But, lets face it, we’ve all struggled with a little guilt over how many calories we are consuming chip by chip.  This Edamame “Guacamole” recipe is about half the calories of avocado guacamole and is higher in protein too. Delicious and healthy! You don’t need an excuse to serve this any day.

Edamame “Guacamole”
Half the calories and 3 times the amount of protein of guacamole made with avocados – 86.7 cal., 6.7 g protein Continue reading

Welcoming The Shadow: Dealing With Negative Self Talk

by on June 25, 2014


“When we were one or two years old we had what we might visualize as a 360-degree personality. Energy radiated out from all parts of our psyche… But one day we noticed that our parents didn’t like certain parts of that ball of energy that we were. They said things like, “Can’t you be still?” or “It isn’t nice to try and kill your brother.” Behind us we have an invisible bag, and the part of us that our parents don’t appreciate we, to keep our parents love, put in the bag. By the time we go to school the bag is quite large. Then our teachers have their say: “Good children don’t get angry over such little things.” So we take our anger and put it in the bag. By high school it is our peers whose opinion we value sufficiently to stuff more parts Continue reading