Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Staying true to my inner geek, I tend to be a big fan of PBS television, which is where I first discovered Zonya Foco and her 30-minute wonder-program, Zonya’s Health Bites.


A Registered Dietician in the U.S., Zonya describes her series as the one-stop place for “…practical grocery tips, fun in the kitchen with delicious recipes, [and] everyday fitness.”


Now I know what you’re thinking – this sounds like the description for every other dime-a-dozen cooking show on television these days. But the difference is that when Zonya claims something is practical, she’s not messing around. As in, she actually pushes a cart down the aisle of a grocery store and picks up REAL FOOD that REAL PEOPLE eat on a weekly basis. (Or, conversely, might stop eating in favour of healthier-but-just-as-delicious alternatives she suggests in each episode.)


And what really makes the show a success is Zonya herself. She comes across as the type of woman that you wish lived next door – sort of a Rachael Ray / Paula Deen* personality that’s full of positive energy and just makes you want to get up off the couch and get healthy. (*Okay, so Paula’s shows aren’t exactly about healthy eating, but doesn’t she just make you happy to be alive? Like, especially when she laughs at herself? It’s contagious.)


Sadly, my local KSPS-feed out of Spokane stopped airing Zonya’s Health Bites a while back, but in continuing to stay true to my (not-so-)inner geek, I signed up for Zonya’s “Healthy Habits e-News” updates to be delivered straight to my inbox. And it’s there that Zonya recently posted this gem:


Staying hydrated WITHOUT the calories!

If you overdo drinkable calories, this alone can account for 5 to 50 pounds of the extra weight you may be carrying around. Think I’m exaggerating? You tell me…





8-oz glass of orange juice


2 cups coffee with cream & sugar






12-oz cappuccino






12-oz soda






12-oz fruit drink




Before Dinner


Glass of wine (5 oz) or Light Beer (12 oz)






Water (good for you!)




Evening Snack


12-oz soda




Total Liquid Calories in ONE Day

1180 calories!



Now I realize that no two calories are alike – as in, 1180 calories of fat-drenched fast food is not the same as 1180 calories of assorted liquids – but this is still pretty shocking given that someone of my stature should only be consuming 1200-1500 calories per day. As my friend Carla (who has a Zonya-type personality herself) often says, “DON’T DRINK AWAY ALL YOUR CALORIES!!”


There are plenty of other eye-opening tips on Zonya’s website, and she even features a sampling of recipes from her Lickety-Split Meals cookbooks. My personal favourite is Simple Baked Chicken & Rice, which I originally replicated after watching Zonya whip it up on her (*sniff*) no-longer-broadcast-in-my-area show.   


C’mon, KSPS-Spokane peeps. Try the chicken and rice. I guarantee it’ll make you want to bring back her show for the masses to enjoy!

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