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Why French Women Aren’t Fat! – My firsthand experience with the French “Paradox.”
By Carol LeBeau
11/11/2013 3:13:11 PM


It was our first trip to Paris.  So much to see and do…the Eiffel Tower…Notre Dam…the Louvre.  Amazing!

But as Tom and I recently experienced our first trip to the “City of Light,” we quickly learned the main Parisian attraction isn’t a cathedral or museum.  It’s the food!   And for nine days, we made it our goal to taste it all.

We indulged in crepes, both savory and sweet, swimming in rich cheese and cream sauces – fresh, buttered baguettes stuffed with ham and Gruyere, buttery croissants slathered in orange marmalade and steaming cups of cappuccino with creamy, whole milk. (Don’t even think about insulting your French server by asking for non-fat!)

We literally ate our way through the streets of Paris.  From curbside vendors and colorful sidewalk cafes to charming bistros with white tablecloths, we dined on steaming bowls of cheese-covered French onion soup, spaghetti bolognaise and melt-in-your moth beef bourguignon.

I won’t even begin to describe the delightfully decadent French desserts in this space.  Words are completely insufficient.  But I will say this much.  Last night I dreamt about one of those divine desserts…the rich ice cream, whipped cream and dark chocolate sauce confection known as the “blanche dame.”   

For the record, I didn’t work out one day.  Oh well, when in France…

But the day of reckoning finally came back home as I stepped on the scale to assess
the damage.  Unbelievably, the digital display indicated I had lost nearly a pound!  

And then it hit me.

I’d just experienced a touch of what’s known as the French Paradox…the country’s low rate of coronary heart disease despite a diet rich in saturated fat.  It’s the basic premise of the popular diet book, “French Women Don’t Get Fat.”   Author Mireille Guiliano advises eating only good food of very high quality, eat it in small portions and savor every bite.

And it fits our French dining experience to a tee.  Rather than wolfing down a hastily prepared PB and J running out the door, our meals were not rushed. In fact, they were an event unto themselves…consumed slowly while visiting and sipping the local Bordeaux.

As Guiliano explains, “From chocolate to champagne, eat slowly, with all your senses, and make every dining experience pleasurable so you will be satisfied with smaller portions of delicious food.  No food is off limits, only large portions.  No counting calories, no skipping meals – just control what you eat.”

It truly is a paradox.  Lean and fit, the French aren’t into low-fat, low-carb, low-taste and low-calorie.  Their diet is full of flavor and high in satisfaction. (And the majority of Parisians don’t have cars.  They walk as did we – often miles a day!)

When it comes to food, we could all learn a thing or two from our French brothers and sisters.  With their low rate of obesity and cardiovascular disease, the French way may just be the way to go!  

Bon Appetit!

Paris and Normandy: The Trip of a Lifetime
By Carol LeBeau
11/5/2013 3:37:32 PM


Our “trip of a lifetime” was supposed to happen nearly two years ago. Plans for our first-ever trip to Paris and Normandy were set.  Counting down the days, Tom and I were excited and ready to go.  Then came my cancer diagnosis and everything came to a screeching halt.  

Four surgeries and a clean bill of health later, we decided to give it another try.  As we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport, I thanked God for a second chance to see the historic sites of Normandy, Paris and the Chateaux of France.

We’ve been home a few weeks now, but my head is still spinning as I continue to process all we saw and experienced in that beautiful country.   

With the aide of our gifted tour guide, we travelled to France’s Loire Valley, known for its architectural heritage and world-famous castles.  The largest castle, Chateau Chambord, also served as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIV and he clearly spared no expense. It was a show-stopper.

We travelled by bus to see one of the most impressive sights in all of France, Mont-Saint Michel.  Absolutely stunning, the 14th century abbey sits on an island, perched atop a rocky pinnacle overlooking the sea.  A surreal sight from a distance, it is truly one of the architectural wonders of the world.

As we made our way toward Paris, we visited the exquisite Versailles Palace with its impressive (and over-the top glitzy!) Hall of Mirrors.  Magnifique!

Next stop…the enchanting sights of romantic Paris, the “City of Light.”  Mouth agape for days I could barely take it all in –Champs Elysees Boulevard, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe.  Breathtaking!  Our trip to the Louvre, the world’s largest museum, put us literally face-to-face with DaVinci’s Mona Lisa.  (I swear she was looking right at me!)  

Enjoying crepes and cappuccinos, we people-watched for hours at colorful sidewalk cafes and took a romantic cruise down the river Seine.  

But the highlight of our French adventure actually took place outside the hustle and bustle of Paris in Normandy...home of the historic D-Day sites.  It’s also the site of our trip’s biggest disappointment, as the American Cemetery was closed to tourists due to the U.S. government shutdown.

Putting that aside, we were moved to tears as our guide took us through the British Commonwealth cemetery where so many of our friends and allies…also D-Day casualties have been laid to rest.

But for this military family, tears became sobs as we stood and reflected…in a cold, blustery driving rainstorm along Omaha and Utah Beaches…the same conditions under which thousands of young American men braved both the angry sea and the determined enemy to take the German fortifications…ultimately liberating France from Hitler’s occupation.

Never have I been prouder of our military men and women or more grateful for the freedoms I enjoy as an American.  It was a thrilling experience.

Truly, the trip of a lifetime!

Urban Pi - Home of the Marvelous Mango Tart!
By Carol LeBeau
10/31/2013 2:56:01 PM


I love San Diego’s coastal North County – the beautiful beaches, shopping along Cedros, the horse races…Legoland.  There’s so much to see and do.

But there’s one coastal attraction that brings me back time and again.  It’s the magnificent Mango Tart at “Urban Pi” in Del Mar.  If you’ve never had this amazing taste experience, you probably think I’ve “lost the bubble.”  But for the rest of you – those who have experienced this heavenly confection… your mouths are already watering.

Urban Pi, the new fast-casual restaurant in the Albertson’s shopping center on Via de la Valle (just east of I-5) serves up custom-made thin-crust pizzas, salads and sandwiches.  Everything is fresh and delicious. But the dessert menu is to die for especially their signature Mango Tart.  

The dazzling display of mango slices atop a yummy, light cream filling and crisp, pastry crust (a super-secret recipe!) is arranged in a pie made to look like a flower in bloom.  It’s not only a work of art to the eye.  It’s delicious beyond description.

But decadent it’s not.  Light on the sugar, the tasty tart gets most of its sweetness straight from plenty of perfectly ripened wedges of fresh mango.  Order an entire tart and bring it home with you.  I love the “ooo’s” and “ahhs” I get when I serve it for a special event.

And don’t forget the health benefits.  

Whether you get your mango from Urban Pi’s “pie…” or from your local market, we all should be eating more mangoes!  The world-famous fruit may taste like candy, but it’s also one of the richest sources of vitamins A and C and minerals including potassium, calcium and phosphorus.  Mango is also full of fiber and a one-cup serving has only 100 calories.

An added bonus…mango may also help improve glucose levels.  In a recent study, obese participants who ate the equivalent of 2/3 cup of the tropical treat (roughly 65 calories) daily for 12 weeks significantly lowered their blood sugar possibly due to the fruit’s fiber, which can slow sugar absorption.

So, go ahead and munch on a mango.  Eat it fresh, dried, in nectar or juice (give “Good Belly” brand a try) or make a date and take the 5 to Del Mar and taste the amazing mango tart at Urban Pi.   www.urbanpi.com

Let me know how you like it.

*Note: Many of you “locals” recall the Mango Tart was originally found at “Pasta Pronto,” which recently closed its doors.  “Urban Pi” moved into the same space, changed the menu, updated the décor, but thankfully, retained some of Pasta Pronto’s favorites including the famous tart.

Putting the Cool on Hot Flashes
By Carol LeBeau
10/28/2013 4:22:36 PM


The caricature of a sexy woman adorned with a feather boa and six-inch eyelashes smiled at me from the front of the birthday card.  “You’re still hot!” read the caption below the shapely cartoon lady’s stiletto heels.  Smiling, I opened the card from my dear friend…only to read the bitter truth, “These days it just comes in flashes!”

Funny card. But for women who deal with the “flashes” of heat that strike with no warning, it’s no laughing matter.

Truth is, most women experience hot flashes at some point before or after menopause when their estrogen levels are declining.  While some women are blessed with few to no flashes, others suffer the surges of internal heat numerous times a day causing miserable disruptions in sleep and daily living.

The late-summer heat just makes matters worse.

Summer can be a truly “hellish” time for women coping with hot flashes and night sweats.  While comforted knowing my personal heat waves are not a sign of some medical problem, they’re still a royal pain – frustrating and often embarrassing as the tiny rivulets of sweat trickle from my hairline down the side of my face during a business meeting.

If you’re a woman tired of waking up in a pool of sweat every night or carrying around a portable fan all day, don’t despair.  There are effective treatments that may either reduce or stop moderate to severe hot flashes including short-term, low-dose estrogen (hormone therapy), certain antidepressant and blood pressure medicines and the herb, black cohosh.

But for some of us, drugs and herbal therapy may not be an option.  If you’ve had breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or are at risk for either, you may have been told you’ve just got to put up with the unwanted waves of heat.   Like many of women, I take the anti-estrogen medication, Tamoixfen because of a bout with breast cancer. (Some women take a similar medication, Arimidex) so we’ve got to find another way to beat the heat of hot flashes.)

Avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and making sure to exercise and maintain a healthy diet are a great start…but if the heat’s still on, and hormone therapy isn’t right for you; check out these natural remedies that may just give you the big chill you crave!

Breathe Deep

A 2013 Mayo Clinic study showed that doing slow, deep, abdominal breathing reduces the number and severity of hot flashes.  (This really helps me.) Take three or four slow breaths whenever you feel the heat coming on.  The hot flash often will just fade away.  Practicing calming meditation also helps.  Scientists are finding that stress hormones aggravate menopausal symptoms.


Clary sage and Roman chamomile essential oils help balance mood swings, while peppermint can chill hot flashes.  To make your own cooling mist (especially great for night sweats!), mix the following ingredients in a 4-oz. dark-glass spray bottle:

   * 3 ounces distilled water

   * 1 ounce witch hazel extract

   * 8 drops each of peppermint, clary sage and Roman chamomile essential oils

Sip Some Sage

This is a fave for reducing flashes and night sweats. Because sage may have estrogen-like effects, avoid therapeutic amounts if you’ve had breast cancer or could be pregnant.  To brew a cup of the delicious tea: Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried.  Steep, cover for 5 minutes and then strain.  Add a little honey or lemon, if you’d like.  Have a cup two or three times a day.

Here’s to a cool you!

Mini Greens: Good Nutrition Comes in Small Packages!
By Carol LeBeau
10/21/2013 12:48:28 PM


Like most of you health-conscious folks out there, I’ve done my best to make sure my diet includes a wide variety of leafy greens because they’re chock full of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting anti-oxidants. 

I admit going green hasn’t always bee easy.  But over time I’ve finally acquired a taste for arugula.  I make my soups “super” by adding some Swiss chard. And despite a bitter battle, I’ve finally conquered my aversion to kale and frequently mix the dark, leafy green into my favorite salads.  Pretty good effort, I’d say.

But just when I thought I’d gone green enough, a new leafy veggie has become the darling of the farmer’s market.  Have you heard the buzz about the nutritional power of “mini greens?”  According to the research, these seedlings are proving that good things can come in extremely small packages.

I first ran across the news about mini greens in “O” magazine…then checked it out for myself.   Turns out, according to the USDA, when harvested at just seven to 14 days old, these pint-size leaves can be far more nutrient-dense than their full-grown counterparts.

Studies show plants use stored nutrients to grow, so plucking the tiny seedlings early means they still have high levels of vitamins and minerals.  Just keep in mind, says one study, that these “mini-me’s” lack the fiber found in mature plants, so they should supplement the greens you already eat…not replace them.

For all you fashionable foodies out there, here’s more good news about teensy greens.  Thanks to the concentrated flavor of these diminutive standouts, they can elevate meals in taste as well as nutrition.

Give these a try:

Micro Cilantro
This fragrant green contains 11 times more lutein and zeaxanthin (nutrients that can reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related vision loss) than the same amount of mature cilantro.

Micro Red Cabbage
These slightly bitter, heart-shaped leaves outshine full-grown cabbage with roughly 260 times the beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A that can help protect eyesight) and more than 40 times the vitamin E.

Micro Purple Mustard Greens
Just four ounces of these greens meet your recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin C (75 milligrams). Another perk: these greens may be among the tastiest, due to their spicy zing.

Micro Green Daikon Radish
These sharp, spicy leaves are vitamin E superstars, boasting 165 percent of your RDA per ounce – helping to shore up your immune system and protect tissues and organs from damage caused by free radicals.  By contrast, mature leaves contain only trace amounts of the antioxidant.

Micro Garnet Amaranth (this one’s new to me!)
Light red with an earthy, floral flavor… micro garnet amaranth ranks highest in vitamin K among micro greens (with more than 3 ½ times the amount in mature amaranth).  Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and may reduce the risk of bone fractures.

I’m not exactly the queen of the kitchen, but I’m thinking if I adorn my next salad with nutrient-dense mini cilantro, would it be OK to can the kale?!

Bon appetit!

Dream Big! Lessons from super swimmer, Diana Nyad on how to keep your dreams alive!
By Carol LeBeau
10/14/2013 3:24:13 PM


I didn’t believe she could do it. 

And I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t think Diana Nyad should have even attempted the grueling ocean swim that recently catapulted the 64-year-old into the record books. 

After all, Nyad had already tried to swim from Cuba to Florida four times since her first attempt in 1978…all unsuccessfully.  And for good reason.  Sharks, jellyfish, chronic nausea and exhaustion who could blame her?  I remember talking to my TV as I watched Nyad’s fourth attempt come to a disastrous and disappointing end.  “Enough already, Diana.  Let it go.” 

Besides, you’re too old, Diana.  Face it.  At 64, it’s too late to attempt something so physically taxing.  You’ve already accomplished so much as a swimmer, author, motivational speaker and reporter.  Rest on your laurels.  Leave crossing the Florida straits to the youngsters.

Clearly, I had no idea what a woman with a dream and the iron will of Diana Nyad was capable of.  As Nyad emerged victorious from the Atlantic Ocean after completing her historic swim, I was eating crow.

You’d think I’d have been her biggest cheerleader.  After all, almost 60 myself, I’m also an open water swimmer.  In fact, I had the great experience of being a “buddy swimmer” for my friend, Becky Jackman, as she successfully crossed the English Channel some years ago.  

Honestly, it was sometimes difficult to watch as Becky pushed beyond her limits…spending12 hours in the choppy, bone-chilling waters of the Channel fighting exhaustion and the powerful current…literally crawling onto the beach at Calais…completely spent, swollen and delirious.  But as Becky moved from delirium to euphoria, there wasn’t a dry eye on the boat.  Our friend was glowing with the joy of achieving her lifelong goal.

Emerging from the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, that’s exactly what Nyad experienced – overwhelmed with emotion as she fell into the arms of her coach.  All I can say is shame on me and everyone else who didn’t believe in Diana Nyad.  Fortunately, she didn’t listen to us. She listened to her heart.

“I think it was her belief in herself that she could do this,” says Kathryn Olson, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation.   “That’s what makes her different.  She worked through the pain.  She had such a strong belief in herself and her ability to do this.”

The fifth time was the charm for the determined Nyad.  Her open-water swim encompassed roughly 110 miles and 53 hours.  Her superhuman feat makes Nyad the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage fulfilling a dream that began 35 years ago.

Diana Nyad’s incredible feat has inspired millions to dream big and go for it.  And the remarkable endurance swimmer has some pretty sage advice for anyone with doubts (or doubters!) about on pursuing their dream.

As she walked triumphantly from the water in Key West…deliriously jubilant…Diana Nyad smiled and told a mob of spectators, “We should never give up.  You’re never too old to chase your dream.”

Thanks Diana.

My Piercing Adventure at “Enigma”
By Carol LeBeau
9/23/2013 12:27:38 PM


Guess what? I just got a couple of new piercings. 

Darn! I wish I’d had a camera rolling when I gave my conservative, button-down, former Navy pilot husband the news.  As he clutched his chest and gasped for air, I quickly assured him I wasn’t about to take a walk on the wild side…and I’m too old to be having a mid-life crisis!

I’ll bet Tom’s blood pressure dropped 20 points as I pointed to the tiny hoops in my ear lobes.  As he scanned my face for any other evidence of metal, I told him about my experience that day.

I actually got my ears pierced the first time in the mid-70s.  My very un-professional piercing was performed by my bright, but not very steady college roommate.   Though I survived the ice cube and needle ordeal, I’ve lived some 40 years with one hole lower than the other.  Time and the weight of heavy earrings (remember the hub caps we wore in the 80’s?!) finally took its toll on the little hole in my left ear. It finally tore through the bottom of my lobe.

So, after a simple plastic surgical procedure to sew up both holes and two months of healing, I was ready for my new piercings. But where? The mall? The doctor’s office?  And then it hit me…how about one of those piercing places?  That’s all they do, right? Pierce body parts?

So I went online and read the glowing reviews from folks who’d received positive piercings at “Enigma Professional Piercing Studios.”  (enigmapiercing.com) I figured it couldn’t hurt to learn more.

The voice at the other end of the phone sounded like a corporate CEO.  Polite, professional and helpful, Angie De Leon deftly answered all my questions assuring me a nearly 60-year-old woman who needed her ears pierced was more than welcome at Enigma.

Right next door to a tattoo parlor in North Park, I tentatively walked through the wildly painted piercing studio entrance half expecting a scary ex-con to greet me.  Shame on me!  I’m now appalled at my pathetic pre-conceived notion of piercing places.  My experience at Enigma was more pleasant and professional than most businesses I deal with.

After filling out the proper forms to be registered with the state health department, (the industry is highly regulated) Angie helped me choose a tiny pair of earrings made of a medical-grade metal alloy.  “For an initial piercing,” Angie explained, “we recommend the highest-grade jewelry to avoid infection and hasten healing.”

Covered nearly head to toe with tattoos and piercings, Angie may be a walking advertisement for her industry.  But don’t let her appearance fool you.  With professional precision, Angie placed my earrings in an autoclave to be sterilized for seven minutes then escorted me to a squeaky-clean treatment room and explained the piercing process.   Then, before I knew it, with virtually no pain, I walked out with two pierced ear lobes, a copy of strict after-care instructions and a friendly handshake from the charming and colorful, Angie.

The best part?  Walking into the small lobby as a couple of young Marines stood waiting their turn.  “Mam, yes Mam,” the polite young men said as I excused myself to walk by.  The expression on their faces as a woman who could be their mother walked out of a piercing salon? Priceless.

I’ll bet they’re still debating what exactly the old gal got pierced. Tee-hee.

What’s Pickleball?!
By Carol LeBeau
9/16/2013 12:18:17 PM


What’s Pickleball?! It’s the fastest-growing new sport in the nation and it has nothing to do with pickles!

At a recent family reunion, I learned my husband’s sweet, petite cousin, Carolyn, is also quite the athlete.  I had no idea, but cousin Carolyn and her husband, Dale, are the reigning New York state double’s champions… in pickleball!

“Wow!  That’s awesome,” I said…fake smile masking the fact I had absolutely no idea what Tom’s cousins were into.  Pickleball?  I’d never even heard of the game with the funny name.  Turns out, Dale and Carolyn are on the cutting edge of a sports trend that’s exploding in popularity especially among older adults.   

Unfortunately, I was still in a pickle about pickleball!  So, I talked to Carolyn and got the “scoop.”  First off, the game often described as a mixture of tennis and ping -pong has nothing to do with pickles! 

Here’s the deal.  If you take a game of tennis and slow it down, use a smaller court, slower racket and harder-to-hit ball…you get pickleball!

The sport is played with a wooden paddle and a plastic ball on a short, square court.  The net is hung at 34 inches in the middle (it’s 36 inches for tennis.) There is a non-volley zone on both sides of the net to prevent high-speed spikes as dictated by the U.S.A. Pickleball Association rulebook.  Players score when the other side can’t return a shot.  The first side to reach 11 points with a two-point lead wins.

Pickleball’s popularity has made it the first sport to be added for competition in the National Senior Games (NSGA) in 20 years.  The pickleball movement is averaging a thousand new players a year.  There are now more than 100,000 players in the United States and the number of pickleball courts has doubled to more than 5,600…just since 2010.

“It’s good exercise,” says cousin Carolyn.  “In my first six months of playing pickleball, my cholesterol dropped 40 points!”  But she also loves the social aspect of the game.  “It’s fun.  It’s something Dale and I can do together and we meet so many wonderful people.”   

Interestingly, the popularity among seniors is creating a trickle-down effect, with pickleball becoming more popular with school PE programs and at recreational camps nationwide.   

And that includes the San Diego area. If you’d like to try your hand at pickleball, you can find teams and leagues from Oceanside to Alpine, La Jolla to Lakeside.  Check out San Diego Parks and Recreation for more information and become part of the fastest growing sport in America!  

In fact, San Diego boasts a gold medal-winning pickleballer.  Pat Carroll took the gold in the 70-74 age division at the National Senior Games last month in Cleveland! (Where, if I may brag just a bit, Dale and Carolyn placed fourth in the doubles division. Way to go, Cousins!) 

As more folks become sweet on pickleball, maybe it’s time to give it a try.  “This is a game that has a lot of participation from people who have never been an athlete in their life,” says Tom Burkhart, pickleball competition director for the NSGA. “They can still acclimate and become a decent player.”

Need a little incentive to try your hand at pickleball?  According to a report on San Diego’s KPBS, “Pickleball is really a great game with a silly name. It’s addictive and might just lead you on the path of health, happiness and a heck of a lot of fun!” 

Healthy "sides" for your next cookout
By Carol LeBeau
9/10/2013 11:01:27 AM


You all know I’m no Martha Stewart, so there’s no use pretending.   When asked recently to bring a side dish to a backyard barbecue, I admit…I picked up some potato salad at a grocery store deli. 

Carol LeBeau's Health JournalWhile transferring my store-bought salad to a plastic serving bowl, I couldn’t help but notice the little chunks of potato literally swimming in gooey dressing.  Yuk!  Not very healthy (and probably not very tasty either.)

I debated getting out my Mom’s famous potato salad recipe and whipping up a batch.  But while her famous recipe is delicious, it, too, is loaded with rich, heavy dressing.  

Growing up in the Midwest, summers meant burgers on the grill and classic cookout favorites like coleslaw, bean salad and, of course, potato salad.  I still love a traditional barbecue buffet! 

I just need some updated recipes with fewer calories, less fat…AND plenty of flavor.

My search led me to several classic cookout side dishes that have undergone healthy makeovers and they’re delicious! (Easy, too!)  Next time you’re asked to bring a “side,” give one of these a try.  (Beats the grocery deli every time!)

Bean Salad

6 Tbsp chopped red onion
4 Tbsp wine vinegar
4 oz. thin green beans, trimmed
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 c shelled, cooked edamame (about 10oz), thawed, if frozen
1 can (15 oz) dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1. Combine onion with 3 Tbsp of the vinegar in small bowl and let stand 15 minutes to pickle.  Cook green beans in boiling, salted water until tender, 3 minutes.  Drain, rinse under cold water and cut into thirds.

2. Whisk together mustard, honey, oil and remaining 1 Tbsp vinegar in large bowl.  Stir in pickled onion mixture.

3. Add cooked green beans, edamame, kidney beans and chickpeas.  Toss together until well combined.  Season to taste.

New Potato Salad

1½ lb. new potatoes
3 ½ Tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot or onion
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon.
2 lg. hard-boiled eggs, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 lg. rib celery, chopped

1. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. When potatoes are just cool enough to handle (but still warm) cut into quarters.

2. Whisk together vinegar and mustard in large bowl while potatoes are cooling. Add oil in slow stream, whisking until well combined.  Stir in shallot and tarragon.  Immediately add warm potatoes, tossing to combine.

3. Add eggs and celery and season to taste with salt and pepper. (Makes 4 cups.)

Tri-color Slaw

3 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz. fresh coleslaw mix (about 3 cups)
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1 bell pepper, sliced (optional)
1 Tbsp poppy seed, toasted (optional)

1. Whisk together vinegar, lime juice and honey in large bowl.  Add oil in slow stream, whisking to combine.

2. Add remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to let flavors develop. (Makes about 6 cups.)

Spa Water - Relax, Refresh and Hydrate with your Favorite Flavors
By Carol LeBeau
8/30/2013 11:17:13 AM


I can still remember my first spa experience. The day of pampering was a birthday gift from my husband – a relaxing day including a massage, facial, pedicure and a lovely (and healthy!) spa lunch on a peaceful patio surrounded by lush gardens. It was heavenly!

That special day years ago also included my first taste of spa “water.” Coolers of water throughout the facility were infused with fun flavors from cucumbers and lemons to mint and watermelon. Who knew water could be such a treat!

These days, you don’t have to pop for spa services to enjoy fruit and veggie-infused H20. Waiting for the color to set at my hair appointment last week, I relaxed with a glass of cool water infused with a delicious combination of fruits, veggies and herbs. Doug Yeagley, owner of TOPS Salon in Mission Hills, says he wants to provide his clients with a healthy alternative to coffee and sugary drinks.

“For good health, we need to drink lots of water,” says Yeagley. “But water can be boring. Why not add a little flavor and make a glass of ordinary water something special?!”

I’ve had cherry-flavored water in a hospital lobby and orange and pineapple-infused water at my gym. Even my favorite Coronado boutique features a cute cooler of water “seasoned” with basil and fresh chunks of strawberries.

And when you’re not out and about, why not have a taste of spa water at home? My friend, Pat always has a chilled pitcher of yummy water with all kinds of fun, floating fruits. (My fave is her lemon and ginger combo…so soothing.)

I’m excited about this growing trend that’s getting many of us to drink more water. We have an obesity epidemic in this country and replacing sugary soft drinks with healthy water alternatives is a great way to cut calories.

The summer heat has arrived. What better time to fill a water pitcher with your favorite fruits, veggies and herbs and drink to your health.

Here are 50 awesome flavored water ideas. Pick your favorite combo and have fun staying hydrated!

1. Watermelon
2. Cucumber
3. Lemon
4. Cantaloupe
5. Orange
6. Cherries
7. Lime
8. Grapefruit
9. Basil
10. Mint
11. Grapes
12. Blood orange
13. Rosemary
14. Lavender
15. Strawberries
16. Blackberries
17. Raspberries
18. Pineapple
19. Kiwi
20. Papaya
21. Honeydew melon
22. Fresh ginger root
23. Mango

And don’t be afraid to try fun combinations of the above ingredients. Get creative and combine them, so it never gets dull. Here are some of my favorites:

24. Watermelon and mint
25. Cucumber and mint
26. Lemon and mint
27. Cherry and lime
28. Watermelon and cucumber
29. Ginger and lemon
30. Orange and pineapple
31. Lemon and lavender
32. Lime and mint
33. Cucumber and lime
34. Lemon and basil
35. Strawberry and mint
36. Blackberry and ginger
37. Lemon and blueberry (yum!)
38. Thyme and blackberries
39. Cucumber and rosemary
40. Cantaloupe and watermelon
41. Cucumber, lemon and mint
42. Lemon and lime
43. Strawberry and basil
44. Cranberry juice and lemon (use a capful of unsweetened cranberry juice)
45. Ginger and lime
46. Pineapple and mango
47. Strawberries and lime
48. Orange, lime and lemon (my absolute favorite!)
49. Lemon and a pinch of cayenne
50. Papaya and mango

The possibilities are endless! Have fun coming up with your own creative combos. Then, drink up!

Helpful hint! For the herbs, crush or chop them up to get the best flavor. Similarly, squeeze citrus wedges, slick or cube melons and crush berries.

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.