Donna and Tora want you to have a, “joyful relationship with food.” As authors, health coaches and fitness professionals, these fit ladies know a thing or two about creating healthy recipes but that wasn’t always at the forefront of their minds. Donna (pictured left) struggled to lose weight while Tora (right) fought her own demons and battled an eating disorder that once left her at just 81 pounds. After finding the strength to help themselves, they vowed to help others. Donna & Tora.com is their love-child blog.
More about Donna and Tora -
Why did you start your food blog? We started off just having a few recipes on our healthy living blog, but the recipes were by far the most popular things we wrote about so we kept going! We love food but also want to stay slim and be healthy, so we set out to find recipes that were easy to make and, “upgrades” of the things we love. For example, our recipes are all gluten-free and sugar-free, but we don’t want to feel deprived so we find delicious alternatives instead.
How would you describe your approach to eating/health? Our philosophy is “health is a lifestyle, not a life sentence,” so we are firm believers in eating healthy food and also having treats – we actually plan treats into our week so we don’t end up with such severe cravings that we go and pig out. We’re always upgrading, but we make it fun as we go.
Have you always had an interest in healthy food or did it come later in life? Great question! Donna used to be a smoking, drinking, dieting disaster and I used to be extremely fit but very unhealthy. Donna’s real passion for healthy food has grown since we started our business, while I had a wake-up call in my early 30s that I needed to start eating healthy food, and my passion for healthy food has grown ever since.
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Meet someone who not only seems to speak my language about life in general, but speaks my food language fluently. Elana Horwich does her thing with food and words over at MealAndASpiel.com, which serves as a web presence for this worldly chef’s fun-having cooking school. Rustic Italian techniques, prioritized flavor, and a loveable sass… see, Elana is like my culinary kindred spirit.
She kind of summed up the enthusiasm around this rare two holidays in one so well that we wanted her to tell you for herself. So enjoy Elana’s Thanksgivukkah message, which is as much a lesson in embracing our diverse, multi-cultured landscape as it is a free invitation to gobble down on her Thanksgivukkah Latkes with Butternut Chutney.
Why did you start your food blog?
Before I am a cook, I am a teacher. It is intrinsic to who I am. Since I truly believe that cooking with love adds genuine goodness to the human condition and since I can personally only teach so many people at a time in a cooking class, I started my food blog to share my passion and knowledge with those I will never have an opportunity to meet. It is my gift to the world.
How would you describe your approach to eating/health?
My definition of good food is that it should make you roll around on the floor shouting “MAMMMMMMAAAAA!!!!” While you are there rolling around on the floor your belly shouldn’t hurt and it should be easy to stand up afterwards. That about sums it up.
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Tune in to Biggest Loser tonight for a special Thanksgiving on the ranch. We’ll see the contestants gather ’round the kitchen for all of the traditional favorites like turkey, dressing, gravy, and of course a pumpkin dessert. But a few things will be missing – loads of fat, calories, and processed ingredients.
Don’t feel too bad for the contestants missing their families, though. By our calculations, this Thanksgiving episode would have filmed in mid August; meaning most or all of them are home with their families for the real holiday this week.
Cheryl Forberg, RD, the show’s dietitian and a James Beard award-winning chef, showed the contestants how to craft a Thanksgiving meal so out of this world they no doubt forgot how good it was for them, and you, too! Using fresh, wholesome ingredients, and what she calls flavor agents, all explained in her cookbook Flavor First, Cheryl was able to give the contestants a holiday meal to remember (and one their waistlines will soon forget!). Her best have-a-healthy-Thanksgiving tips are shared exclusively here.
Let’s start with the turkey. Low in fat and high in protein, it’s an inexpensive source of B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Cheryl served a non-traditional take on the bird, with her Turkey Roulade.
Baste your bird with flavorful fat-free broth (instead of butter). You’ll have lots of delicious juices to serve without breaking your calorie bank.
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My personal food philosophy is that it has to be healthful, flavorful, and no more complicated than is necessary. I genuinely enjoy cooking for my family; it’s not a task to me. That doesn’t mean I’m not busy and I don’t have to find ways to save myself time, but I’ve made the type and quality of food we eat a priority, so that means I cut corners in other ways.
The Dutch Oven roasted chicken is my “microwave dinner,” if you will. I can give up less than two hours (often on a weekend) to roasting this bird and have more than just one meal. So when I pay a hefty price for the free-range, feel-good chicken I’m getting my money’s worth for sure.
It’s not just any dried out, salt and pepper roasted chicken though. This thing is singing with flavor with plenty of juices to make you forget that whole white meat vs. dark meat debate.
And forget asking for seconds. No one can have them because I’m making a second dinner with this chicken.
The trick is to all that flavor and juice is to stuff this chicken full of flavor agents, things that offer plenty of good flavor without jamming it up with salts and fats. Fresh herbs, oranges, apples, garlic, onions, and whole peppercorns are my go-to flavor agents. These give the chicken a subtle flavor that makes it delicious enough to eat on its own, or save to use in other meals throughout the week.
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I believe cupcakes deserve their own food group and seafood gives me the heebie jeebies.
I can get behind that kind of food philosophy! Her strong feelings about seafood aside, the thing that drew me to Rachel’s blog, Little Chef Big Appetite, was the fact that she likes to cook a little bit of everything. Even though she’s a tee-tiny little thing that I want to keep on top of my flour canister like a non-creepy Elf-on-a-Shelf, and could probably eat whatever she wants, her recipes are healthy and flavorful.
Rachel talks about why she started her blog and shares a few of her favorite recipes -
Why did you start your food blog? I started my blog in college at the University of Pennsylvania as a way to share my love of healthy food and cooking with my friends and family.
How would you describe your approach to eating/health? I try to eat healthy most of the time so that I can “indulge” worry-free occasionally. I make sure all of my meals have lots of protein and fiber, so that way I am less likely to snack on unhealthy things throughout the day. When I do treat myself, I love wine and anything that has the words “cookie” or “cake” in its name.
Have you always had an interest in healthy food or did it come later in life? My interest in healthy food came in college. Before then my diet consisted of fried chicken fingers, pizza, and Easy Mac. Once I got to college, I began to realize I wouldn’t be able to keep that up without packing on the pounds. I started researching healthy foods and learned my way around the kitchen by watching my dad (who is still the best cook I know).
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