Author Archives: Nutritious_America

About Nutritious_America

Owners Karen Sherwood and Abra Pappa, life-long friends and holistic nutritionists, are on a mission to radically improve the health of Americans. Using the principles of whole natural food, mindful lifestyle changes, innovative and easy healthy recipes, fitness tricks, and a healthy sprinkle of fun they have inspired thousands to reach their health and weight loss goals via NutritiousAmerica.com.

3 New Mashed Potato Recipes Get Pimped for Thanksgiving

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

There is one serious food rule in my family: if my Grandpa asks you to pass the mashed potatoes do not serve yourself on the way over to him. He called that a “mashed potato short stop” and proclaimed if you “short stopped” in the Army the penalty was a scoop of mashed potatoes in your face.

My family takes mashed potatoes very seriously, and even though my Grandpa passed years ago we still uphold his “no mashed potato short stop” rule and have a deep respect for the honorable dish at our Thanksgiving table.

I made a dedication to embark on this makeover with an equally serious devotion. You can remake a mash, but you better be sure it is delicious and worthy of its own set of beloved table rules.

As far as I’m concerned if you start a vegetable mash with extremely fresh ingredients you will end up with something delicious. It seemed only logical then to begin this makeover with a trip to my local farmers market.

Off I went without specific recipes in mind. I allowed the seasonal bounty to inspire. I came home with veggie loot to brag about and knew I was well on my way to a delicious party of mashes.

What resulted were three thanksgiving table-worthy mashes: a twist on the traditional, a Paleo mash, and a whizz-bang-boom masterpiece! (more…)

Eat 120-Calorie Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo to Pimp Your Pasta

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

If I had a dollar for every time Fettuccine Alfredo came up in a nutrition session with a client I would be a very wealthy woman. It seems to be the dish that is the ultimate counterpoint to healthy eating, the sin that must be confessed. That steamy bowl of rich creamy pasta is not sensible – it is evil, ridiculous, void of common sense, and completely and utterly delicious!

Unfortunately, one bowl piles in about a day’s worth of calories and fat. ONE BOWL has approximately 1200 calories and 75 grams of fat!

The original recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo was created nearly 100 years ago by a man named Alfredo di Lelio in Rome. He created the recipe to please his very pregnant wife who struggled with morning sickness. Butter, heavy cream, cheese, and pasta to the rescue!

This morning sickness cure can now be purchased jarred or frozen and is on nearly every Italian restaurant menu across the country. Fettuccine Alfredo is an indulgence that we tend to “indulge” in way too often.

Now you can have your Alfredo and eat it too. Just make it at home. The Abra Pimped way. (more…)

We Pimped a Homemade Vegan Pumpkin Spice Latte

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

Tis’ the season to consume many, many, many pumpkin spice lattes. A now ubiquitous beverage of fall, this Starbucks flavored java is loved the world over.

Last month there was a reported pumpkin spice syrup shortage at hundreds of Starbucks around the country; lovers of this beverage were outraged! It was the Pumpkin Spice LattePOCALYPYSE! Happily for the PSL fans (that’s what they affectionately call this fall beverage) the syrup was replenished and drinking resumed.


But wait! I am so sorry to burst your pumpkin bubble, but do you know really know what you are drinking? Espresso, steamed milk, and pumpkin spice syrup, yes, but what is in that pumpkin spice syrup? I for one, wanted to know. Starbucks isn’t terribly forthcoming about ingredients. Their website is extremely helpful with fat and calorie counts, but when it comes to actual ingredients one must dig deeper to come up with the truth.

I emailed them (which quite honestly, is very simple to do on their website) and asked for the ingredient breakdown. I received this:

Sugar, Condensed Nonfat Milk, Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk, Annatto (E160b, Colour), Natural and Artificial Flavours, Caramel Colour (E150D), Salt, Potassium Sorbate (E202, a preservative).

This list did not make a holistic nutritionist very happy. The first ingredient is sugar, then more sugar in the form of sweetened condensed milk, and numerous coloring agents and preservatives. Then the big whammy, under the guise of “natural and artificial flavors” are hidden health disastrous ingredients that legally do not have to be listed. Ingredients like Vanillin instead of Vanilla (synthetic vanillin primarily comes from wood pulp, a bi-product of the sulphite process. Yum!) are considered “natural ingredients.”

Well fear not pumpkin addicts, this is a truly simple and luscious drink to make at home. You will save calories, fat, and yucky franken-food ingredients, AND save yourself a pretty penny!

Consider the Pumpkin Spice Latte Pimped! (more…)

Pimp That Recipe: Caramel Apples for Fall

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

Fall is not fall without caramel apples. At least to me. Crisp tart apples and sticky sweet caramel. Yum!

As a child, October meant caramel apples. We would travel to the farmers market to pick out the perfect caramel apple for the ride home. This much-anticipated treat was homemade by the farmer’s wife, with a fresh apple picked from the tree and dipped in a simple caramel sauce, made from sugar, heavy cream and sometimes butter. Then, as Halloween neared, my mother would come home with a big bag of apples and get to work on her own caramel apples for the family.


What was once the simplest and purest treat has turned into the simplest, fastest pre-packaged (and full of scary stuff) treat. Walk down the apple aisle of any grocery store this month and you will find “caramel apple wrappers” and packaged  “old fashioned caramel dip.” Although convenience has its place in today’s hustle and bustle world, I wonder if you have ever read the ingredients in that easy-to-grab dip? (more…)

Pimp That Recipe: The Ultimate (Healthier) Chocolate Chip Cookie

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

What is more delicious than warm chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven? Not much I tell ya, not much. We all should have a reliable, delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe in our back pocket to wow impromptu guests and convince our kids that we are, indeed, super mom.

Trouble is most cookie recipes begin with ingredients that need..well.. pimping! I encourage you to push beyond your baking comfort zone to try this nutrient dense, crazy delicious treat. The ingredients here should easily be added to your arsenal of real food, health promoting pantry staples.

So let’s pimp that recipe! (more…)

Kid-Approved Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese Launches ‘Pimp That Recipe’ Makeover Series

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

The idea behind most recipe makeovers is to take out or replace the “naughty” foods with “lighter” versions in order to reduce the big numbers from calories and fat. While reducing numbers is a piece of the health puzzle it doesn’t tell the whole story. Specifically since high fat/high calorie items are frequently replaced with chemically processed or highly processed “lite” versions which leaves a recipe that, quite frankly, can have a negative impact on your overall health.

This recipe makeover, however, is based on a non-reductive food philosophy; one that doesn’t just rely on taking high calorie foods OUT but focuses on adding the right foods IN. Adding in real whole foods, clean foods, foods as close to nature as possible.

So off we go with a new way of re-doing recipes. Pimp That Recipe will take your favorite comfort foods and upgrade them to a new, wholly health supportive, nourishing, satiating, and delicious version. Surely you’re on board with that!

Pimp That Recipe Mission 1: Macaroni and Cheese

I am jumping right out of the gate with a tough one. Macaroni and cheese is delicious. There, I said it. I understand why many of my clients are in love with this rich, creamy indulgence. But, holy cow traditional macaroni and cheese is not a waist-friendly food. It typically weighs in at 600 calories and 30 grams of fat per serving, with very little micro-nutrients to speak of. Additionally, the standard white pasta and heavy dairy will wreak havoc on gut health, blood sugar stabilization, and your body’s ability to effectively burn fat. Let’s turn this yummy delight into a health friendly, (yet delicious) masterpiece. Shall we? (more…)

The Scientific Quest for a “Healthy” Cheese Leaves us Flavorless

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

In a world of endless food “science” it isn’t terribly surprising that even the mighty cheese is subject to investigation, processing, and testing in an attempt to create a cheese-like-food-product that scientists will deem “healthier” by reducing sodium and fat. In this never ending quest to make all food “diet worthy” and eternal dieters “happy” there is no food spared from their turn in the science wheel. Yet, each time we’ve attempted to replace a natural, whole food with a processed version of the food the results of “health” have not exactly worked out.

Case in point: changing butter to margarine. The partially hydrogenated fats that were originally thought to be much healthier then butter’s saturated fat have since proved to be the exact opposite. Why would a “new” cheese be any better?

The average American consumes nearly 30 pounds of cheese per year; that is an awful lot of fat and salt. But, cheese is so much more than a block of fat and salt, it has a story, a life, a history.

If you have ever spent time with a cheese expert or any amount of time in a real cheese haven like Murray’s cheese shop in New York City, you may have been graced with some of the history and story behind cheese. Stories of generations of sheep farmers in France creating glorious cheese from humble resources, or small American artisinal cheese makers who, with a much shorter history of cheese making, are taking this culinary world by storm. Cheese has been consumed as a traditional food in many cultures for literally thousands and thousands of years, and yet it is just in the last 50+ years that we are seeing the steep decline in the health of people. It makes us ask, is cheese really to blame? (more…)

Play More and Eat Less During August Family Fun Month

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

There is something inherently playful about August. Even as we are bombarded with the reality that fall is just around the corner and the kiddies will soon be off to school there is a bubbling mischievous and naughty nature about the final weeks of summer. We just want to play hooky, have fun, let loose, experience life, swim, frolic and laugh.

What if we allowed ourselves to do just that? What if play became more important and food less important? What if you spent a day like any 4-year-old where food was absolutely secondary to FUN.

There is a delicate balance that begs to be struck between nourishment from life and nourishment from food. When life is out of balance (unhappy career, long work days, little to no sleep) food can creep in to try to fill the void. When our very essence is begging for fun and our “busy trap” keeps us from having fun it’s amazing how food seems like the solution. What if we satisfied the need for fun? Would food become less important?

Here are three ways to increase your play and upgrade your fun in these last few weeks of summer and allow food to be secondary to the immense joy that a summer frolic can offer. (more…)

3 Eating Tips from the Fab Five Gymnasts

Karen Sherwood for Nutritious America

Every four years I am more inspired by the determination and power of the amazing athletes who compete in the Olympic Games. Gymnastics is one of the most-watched events in London this year as millions of people are glued to their televisions to witness the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, nicknamed “Fab Five,” and their quest for Olympic gold. Not since the Magnificent Seven in 1996 did a women’s gymnastics team win a gold medal and these five young ladies are ready to make it happen again! As teenagers, the pressure they are under is unimaginable, yet they hop onto their balance beams with poise and stamina.

Watching Gabby Douglas float gracefully across the mat, and Kyla Ross soar what looks to be eight-feet above the uneven bars, leaves a curious nutritionist wondering… what in the world are these teenagers eating that they look and move like superheros? More importantly, is it something sustainable and realistic? I began to investigate.

While their meal plans weren’t publicly listed (aside from Aly Raisman’s chocolate milk as a recovery drink), from what I discovered they have a great support system of coaches, trainers, and family members who do their best to look after them. Don’t underestimate these gals just because they’re young, they know how to create a safe and healthy relationship with food on their own. Fab Five member Aly Raisman takes her eating very seriously and knows that a nourished body means a better performance. A nice balance of healthy foods along with occasional “fun foods” always takes the gold. Too much restriction can be dangerous for young women since they are already susceptible to things like eating disorders brought on by media hype and the pressure of competition.  (more…)

Beat Summer Bloat with 3 Green Foods

By Abra Pappa for Nutritious America

The lazy, hazy days of summer are here; long days at the beach, picnics in the park, outdoor BBQs, family, friends, and puffy bloated bellies. Yes. The most common thing I hear from clients in the hot humid weather is, “I feel bloated. Can you help my belly not stick out?”

Did you know that water accounts for 60% of a person’s weight? In the summer, or extreme heat conditions, our bodies adjust the amount of water we retain, i.e. we retain more water in the humidity. Ugh. Unfortunately, for many people this can mean bloated puffy stomachs, and even up to 4-5 pounds of extra bloating weight! Ah, the irony of it all, a puffy belly in the season that we most frequently show our belly.

If you are a summer belly bloat sufferer here are three fantastic foods to add to your diet to help combat that puff and help you feel trim and slim and bikini-strut worthy.

Celery – Rich in both potassium and sodium, celery contains the minerals most important for regulating fluid balance. This keeps us hydrated while it stimulates urine production, helping to rid the body of excess fluid. Chew on a few stalks of fresh celery at the first sign of intestinal madness. (more…)