Liquid Diets Are Not My Cup of Tea

Who remembers Carnation Instant Breakfast? You just needed to add milk or water to these nutritious, artificially flavored, sugar laden meals-in-a-packet. My mother drank them before she took off for work. I drank them before I took off for school. We both tolerated the taste in the spirit of fast, nutritious and calorie conscious consumption. It’s still in the marketplace along with an assorted other liquid meal options.


Flash forward. Today, I dread the idea of liquid meals. They remind me of being ill or watching my sick father consume Ensure (also a nutrient dense but sugar laden drink) during his hospice days. Sure, I enjoy drinking smoothies, sipping soups and hydrating with fresh juices. but I also find pleasure through mastication, so I can’t tolerate the idea of a living on a liquid-intense diet for my nutrients.

What amazes me is all the smart, healthy people who are turning to liquid meals as replacements for the real deal meal. My inbox is flooded with offers and books on juicing-detox diets. The health food stores stock shelves filled with powdered concoctions to boost your metabolism, add protein and help detox your system.

The last straw hit me today in The New York Times. An article dated May 25, 2015 entitled “In Busy Silicon Valley, Protein Powder is in Demand” reports that Silicon Alley entrepreneurs and wonks are drinking liquid meals by the gallons. Who has time to eat when you’re working on the next big tech thing?   This quote really struck a nerve with me:

 “The time wasted by eating is, in Silicon Valley parlance, a “pain point” even for the highest echelon of techie. Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, once said, “If there was a way that I couldn’t eat so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal.”

And this is a quote from someone who is supposed to be a genius and a thought leader?  I’d like to see him put the brakes on the idea that eating is a waste of time. In auto talk: Eating provides fuel for your body. Why would you put second rate fuel in a first rate body?

Too busy to eat? What kind of message does that send? More important, think about the cracks it puts in the family table, the art of dinner conversation and just the pleasure of consuming a great meal?

Juicing loyalists says a fresh liquid diet boosts your energy, cleanses your system and makes your skin glow. I’ve tried juicing, meal replacements, energy boosting drinks and protein packs all in the spirit of health and wellness. I’m not knocking what I haven’t tried, and I really have tried to go the juicing route.  I  just don’t find the appeal of a liquid meal as pleasurable as eating – and chewing- real food.  I’d rather boost my energy taking a walk outside, doing yoga, getting a good night’s sleep and eating a delicious meal prepared with farm fresh vegetables and fruits and lean proteins.

I’ll take a gnaw over a straw any day, I enjoying masticating my food and plan to do so until the day comes when I have no teeth.  Chew on that!

My grilled portabello mushroom sandwich with pickled beet sandwich from GunksHouse. Vegelicious!

My grilled portabello mushroom sandwich with pickled beet sandwich from GunksHouse. Vegelicious!


Love the Sun? Love Your Skin and Health More

Summer is a sun lover’s dream. I grew up in the South with a beautiful blonde mother who turned dark golden brown. Unfortunately, I inherited my father’s pale skin which burned and freckled (and later speckled).  Skin cancer is on all sides of my family, and I am vigilant about skincare and sun protection.

When I was a teenager no one discussed skin cancer. In high school we gals competed to see who could have the deepest tan. I slathered on the baby oil and my mom’s Bain de Soleil Orange Gelée (I will never forget the scent!). This was a competition I would never win and may regret some day.  I stopped sunbathing when I hit age 30 but the damage from years of tanning had already set in. I have spent thousands of dollars trying to minimize the damage through peels, treatments and topicals- and that’s just for the discoloration, spots and other skin damage. For skin cancer, I can only monitor, hope and pray that my genes will not betray me.

Thankfully for everyone skin cancer awareness and prevention is front and center, especially at the start of summer.

Dr. Lindsey Bordone Board Certified Dermatologist, Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Lindsey Bordone
Board Certified Dermatologist, Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Lindsey Bordone, a board certified dermatologist at New York City’s Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), joins me Monday, May 25, 9:28pm ET to discuss smart summer skin care and skin cancer risk reduction. We will discuss proactive prevention, different types of skin cancer and new developments that may fight skin cancer.

Proactive health is the best practice for staying well this summer. As I like to say today: Get your sunny glow from daily exercise, a healthy diet and a good night’s sleep and not from tanning. Enjoy the sun but stay smart!

Wear broad spectrum sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection and a hat.

Fabulous Gals wear broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 protection against UVA/UVB rays and a wide brimmed hat. Photo credit: www.FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Read more on how to protect your skin and monitor for signs of skin cancer here at The Skin Cancer Foundation.  Here are more tips from Columbia University Department of Dermatology.

Follow ColumbiaDoctors on Twitter

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Fearless Fabulous You! airs live Monday’s 9pm ET on W4WN- the Women 4 Women network and can be heard anytime on iHeart Radio under and the iHeart App under Shows & Personalities. Visit

A Road Warrior’s Travel Health Tips

I’m an adventure traveler. But sometimes the adventure comes with a detour I didn’t plan: getting sick.  I’ve traveled the world and collected some amazing memories and photos for my scrapbooks. But sometimes I picked up a bit more than I wanted. I’ve had a few unplanned trips to doctors’ offices and pharmacies in various locations for an assortment of travel related conditions from food poisoning and many gastro-intestinal ailments to allergies, hives, rashes, nasty bug bites and even (ugh!) worms and scabies. I know! – Too much information!

But you can never have to much information when it comes to safe travel.  Here are my own Fearless Fabulous Health Tips When I Plan a Trip:

  • If you are traveling overseas check to see if you need vaccinations or if there are any health alerts you need to know.
  • Drink bottled water. I even brush my teeth with bottled water. If you are hiking or camping and need to drink water from a creek purchase water purification tablets to use before you leave.
  • Altitude sickness is tough when you are up in the mountains. In Peru I chewed coca leaves like the locals. But I always pack prescription medicine to counter altitude sickness and I hydrate more than ever with bottled or purified water.
  •  I wear Sea-Bands for road trips and boating excursions when motion sickness is an issue. You can find them at drugstores.
  • Do not- repeat- do not eat a heavy meal before you take off in small plane or boat. Your meal may arrive before you. Eat lightly and drink plenty of bottled water.
  • The dehydrating effects of alcohol are enhanced by heat and dry air. This means be taking extra care on picnics, at the beach, in hot tubs and in airplanes. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach!
  • Going barefoot on the beach is fun but be careful where you walk and especially at public beaches where pets can run – and pee- freely. Just know: I have unpleasant first- hand experience with this matter- twice- with infections.
  • If you have an allergic reaction to food, bug bites or anything, go to a pharmacy or seek medical attention.
  • Bring your own disposable utensils and plenty of antibacterial hand wipes, especially if you are traveling in a country where the safety of the water (drinking or for washing dishes) is questionable.
  • Pack a list of all medications and prescriptions you take along with a checklist of allergies and your blood type. It’s amazing how people remember to pack extra battery chargers and list of log-in passwords and neglect to pack a first aid kit and a list of medications they take.
  • If you have a medical condition consider purchasing a Medical Alert bracelet.
  • If you are visiting one or more foreign countries write down a list of all local translations for: Hospital, Doctor, Pharmacy, Bathroom, Feel Sick, Need Help, Stomach, Pain, Dizziness and Nausea. There are a few more but this is a starter list.

Helpful Info:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

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10 Steps for Better Breast Health

This week food media celebrity Sandra Lee shared the news that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 48.  When any woman receives the news that she has breast cancer it’s a terrible shock. To share the news and say the words “I have breast cancer” out loud for the first time is incredibly painful. I think everyone chokes. I know I did for months.

Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee

Ms Lee’s specific cancer, DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ), is relatively common. It’s also considered noninvasive, and can normally be treated with a lumpectomy followed by radiation. After undergoing a lumpectomy, further tests revealed Lee’s margins were not clear which means there was still risk for cancer. After consulting with her breast surgeon, she chose to undergo a bilateral (“double”) mastectomy.  Lee said her doctors told her she was “A Ticking Time Bomb.” She stressed the importance of younger women being proactive about their breast health.

I’ve invited my friend,  Linda Tantawi, CEO of Komen Greater NYC to join me on Fearless Fabulous You! Monday, May 18, 9pm ET to discuss ways woman can be proactive about their breast health, explain what more common breast cancer terms, like margins, mean and how to understand your options to make better choices.

Linda Tantawi CEO, Komen Greater NYC

Linda Tantawi
CEO, Komen Greater NYC

Linda has had a long career in not-for-profit and joined Komen NYC in 2013. The New York chapter provides grants for nonprofit organizations that help under served communities in the Tri-State area and will host its annual Impact Awards Lunch May 20th.

Many people think -erroneously – that breast cancer is an older women’s disease. While, it is true that risk increases with age, a smaller percentage of younger women in their 20s, 30s and 40s are diagnosed. There are many factors to consider aside from age that impact your risk such as genetics, family history, race, ethnicity, breast density and weight, among others.

I believe women should be proactive about their health throughout their life and should know their family history for cancer as well as any genetic diseases. I found my tumor during a monthly breast self-examination nine months after my last mammogram. Women must learn to be comfortable touching their bodies and looking for irregular signs.

Here are my 10 key points action steps to take at an early age to be proactive about your breast health:
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FAB Women: A Girl and Her Grill- Elizabeth Karmel

We’re dusting the Spring pollen off our outdoor grill in preparation for our first Memorial Day cookout. In my household my husband, David, mans the grill. This is probably because I haven’t taken the time to learn how to turn it on. But, according a 2014 GrillWatch survey by Weber-Stephens Product Co, 25% of Americans who grill are women. I figure it’s time to wo(man) up the grill this year to try my hand at grilling.

Chef Elizabeth Karmel

Chef Elizabeth Karmel

I’ve invited my favorite Girl at the Grill, Elizabeth Karmel, to join me May 18 on Fearless Fabulous You! to discuss grilling tips. A native of North Carolina, Elizabeth is a chef, author restaurateur, television personality and entrepreneur who is the Go-To person for all fabulous gals who want to be mistress of the grill. In addition to discuss grilling tips we’ll discuss the different styles of barbecue (e.g. Carolina style vs. Tennessee vs. Texas) so you can impress your guests this simmer with your I-Cue.

Her website Girls at the Grill is a helpful resource for tips, recipes and tools for grilling. There’s even a section called “Kids at the Grill” for your budding young chef.  She writes a bi-monthly column for the Associated Press called The American Table and is the author of three books: ”Taming the Flame: Secrets for Hot-and-Quick Grilling and Low-and-Slow BBQ”, “Soaked, Slathered & Seasoned: A Complete Guide to Flavoring Food for the Grill,” and “ Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More”

Taming the FlameSmoked and SlatheredPizza on the Grill






Elizabeth is the founding Executive Chef of Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York and Washington, DC and Hill Country Chicken in New York. And she is co-founder of, an “online barbecue shack” e-commerce site specializing in North Carolina whole-hog barbecue seasoned with her own signature Lexington-Style Vinegar Barbecue Sauce.

As a sought after media personality, Elizabeth is frequently featured in an array of national magazines from Bon Appétit to Better Homes & Gardens, and was named one of the top 100 chefs by Saveur magazine. She appears regularly on all three network morning shows and is a guest judge on Chopped and Iron Chef. She has appeared on a number of Food Network shows and hosted her own special on The Cooking Channel.

Like me, Elizabeth is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, an organization of leading women in food, fine beverage and hospitality. And like me, she cut her teeth in PR for many years which has helped build a media-savvy business empire that has made her the #1 Gal of the Grill.


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Tune in Live Monday, May 18, 9:28 pm ET on – the Women-4-Women Network. Fire off some questions for Elizabeth. to me at my Facebook Page or or Tweet me @mightymelanie.

Here’s the direct link:

All my shows are podcast on and the iHeart APP for you to tune in and download anytime. Here’s the direct link. Just scroll down and click the episode you want to hear:


Gone With the Wine

“It’s quittin’ time!”

“Who says it’s quittin’ time?”

“I say it’s quittin’ time. It’s quitting time!”

David and I have had this exchange more than once, not only about working too much but also about over-imbibing.

Both David and I work in the wine and food business. We’re Frequent Flighters who’ve logged a lot of mileage both producing and attending professional wine events. We spit a lot. It’s allowed and appropriate.


But sometimes it’s tough, especially when the day involves tasting many wines at different events. Last week we had a triple header- three tastings in one day. I was clearly not able to keep up with David who steered me out the door and home after “Round 3.” Rule #1: When your husband weighs 80 pounds more than you and has a steel tank for a stomach don’t event attempt to keep up with him.

With warm weather approaching, many of my fabulous wine drinking gal-pals are icing down rosé and fizz for picnics, al fresco dinners, barbecues and other summer soirées.

Knowing we all want to be regarded as luscious and not lushes, I share my professional tips for practicing safe sips. Continue reading

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No More Aching Back!

How many of you have back pain? Or shoulder pain?

It’s common and getting worse thanks to sedentary lifestyles and more time spent hunched over computers and necks stretched over digital devices. (Mea Culpa!)

In fact, two studies published in 2014 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  on January 30 and March 30 reported that nearly one in 10 people across the globe suffers from an aching lower back. And, back pain is a leading cause of work related disability.

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases  anyone can have back pain, but some things that increase your risk are:

  • Getting older. Back pain is more common the older you get. You may first have back pain when you are 30 to 40 years old.
  • Poor physical fitness. Back pain is more common in people who are not fit.
  • Being overweight. A diet high in calories and fat can make you gain weight. Too much weight can stress the back and cause pain.
  • Heredity
  • Other diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can cause back pain.
  • Your job. If you have to lift, push, or pull while twisting your spine, you may get back pain. If you work at a desk all day and do not sit up straight, you may also get back pain.
  • Smoking. Your body may not be able to get enough nutrients to the disks in your back if you smoke. Smoker’s cough may also cause back pain. People who smoke are slow to heal, so back pain may last longer.

The Institute also notes that black women are two to three times more likely than white women to have part of the lower spine slip out of place. Read more here.

Dr. Martha Eddy

Dr. Martha Eddy

Dr, Martha Eddy, CMA, RSMT, joins me on Fearless Fabulous You! Monday, May 11, 9:28pmET. to discuss how proper alignment and movement can alleviate back pain.  Dr. Eddy designs internationally acclaimed exercise and dance programs for specialized health needs.

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Fearless Fabulous Women: Judy Pearson & Karen Shayne

WSA_MainLogo_RevisedI have a special place in my heart for four kinds of women: Dreamers, Doers, Do-Gooders and Survivors. Judy Pearson and Karen Shayne are all four rolled up into two beautiful bodies of energy with huge hearts and super-sized souls. They are co founders of the Women Survivors Alliance and the annual National Women’s Survivors Convention (“Survivorville”) and publishers of Nou Magazine.

Their mission is “to establish a network where women affected by cancer can find their voice, improve their quality of life and embrace their second acts.”

Judy Pearson Martens and Karen Shayne, Co Founders, Women Survivors Alliance (Photo: Brian Powers)

Judy Pearson Martens and Karen Shayne, Co Founders, Women Survivors Alliance (Photo: Brian Powers)

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Big Heart? Small Wallet? A Thrifty Guide to Giving Back

My mother (aka “The Purple Lady”) lives by her “Purple Rules” which means “Do unto others and for others.” Give graciously and generously to help others without expecting anything in return.

According to the  Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Even though women, in general, earn less than men, have less in retirement, and outlive their spouses, this study demonstrates that Boomer and older women appear to be more generous in giving to charity than comparable men, when we take these factors into consideration.

“Philanthropy” is a big word that you think is applied only to the wealthy (as in a “philanthropist”).  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of philanthropy is “the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people….an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes.”

But what if you have a large heart and a small budget? Even a penny pincher can pay it forward. Here are five tips:

  1. Offer your time. Many charities are short staffed and need skilled help in areas like social media, website management, clerical support or event coordination. Offer to walk dogs at your local animal rescue center or volunteer to teach a class or give a workshop at a local community center.
  2. Donate supplies and equipment. Donate your old computers, office supplies and furniture to help furnish a charity’s office; or donate part of your office space.  Clean and collect old clothes you never wear to give to your local theater’s costume department or an organization like Dress for Success. Just about anything you have that you know longer want or need can be donated to charity or to a local thrift shop whose sales benefit a charity,
  3. Provide your knowledge and expertise. Join a committee where your voice and “brain trust” can make a difference. Often just providing a new perspective can generate fresh ideas for a charity.
  4. Connect your contacts. While you may not have the funds to donate largely you may know someone or a company who does. I have helped a number of charities secure sponsorship and donations with a simple email introduction. Whom you know can be as valuable as what you have.
  5. Give as a group to make your contribution go further. Organize a giving group and meet monthly to recommend and discuss causes to support collectively. Think of it along the lines of an investment club but for charitable initiatives. Invite representatives from charities to come to present their work.

Be smart with your heart and use your head when you donate:

Just because you have a generous heart doesn’t mean it should be a bleeding heart. Think before you donate and give to a charity that solicits you for money. Do your homework and ask questions. Read the charity’s mission statement and annual giving report on its website. Ask how the funds will be earmarked and spent. Here are two sources that rate a charity’s  performance and provide other helpful giving guidelines. Charity Navigator or Guidestar.

Want more information?

Julie Shafer

Julie Shafer

Listen to Julie Shafer who was my guest May 4th on Fearless Fabulous You! 9pm ET on W4WN Radio. Julie counsels individuals and companies and works with many charitable organizations around the world. Learn more about Julie here: If you miss the May 4th broadcast you can also listen to the podcast on anytime:

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Women Who Give – Julie Shafer May 4

With Mother’s Day approaching, I’ve decided to address an aspect of women that is continuing to grow and flourish. It is an ideal that my Mother, Sonia Young, passed on to me…”Do unto others.”

Women are drawn to giving and giving back. According to studies conducted by The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy:

  • single women are significantly more likely than single men to make a philanthropic gift;
  • female-headed households are more likely than or as likely to give as male-headed households in every charitable subsector;
  • married men and married women are both more likely to give and to make larger gifts than single men, indicating that women’s propensity for giving influences the philanthropic habits of their husbands.

You can read more here:

But, how can we become more conscious and conscientious givers? 

Philanthropy Advisor Julie Shafer joins me May 4th on Fearless Fabulous You! (W4WN – iHeart) to discuss her path into giving and how she turns individual and corporate donors into philanthropists by creating personalized giving strategies for families and individuals through exploration of giving goals and motivations

We will also discuss how anyone with a giving heart and a creative mind can be a philanthropist. I will provide my own tips for “Giving with a large heart on and small budget” in next week’s blog, Getting Things Off My Chest.

Julie Shafer

Julie Shafer

About Julie Shafer:

She’s a single mother of three living in New York City but her root stock is from California wine country. Her family had a vineyard dating back three generations. Julie’s upbringing and early life centered on community, agriculture and sustainability.  Her working-class upbringing grounds Julie’s thinking today.  She understands the importance of structuring investments make a difference donors can see and feel.  She knows how to organize nonprofit organizations to mirror a donor’s passion, and create the energy that attracts new donors to the cause.

With over 20 years as a nonprofit professional, Julie has a lifelong passion for some of the most challenging philanthropic issues of our time: aid for women and children, economic empowerment in underdeveloped communities, and education for all.

She has a BA from the University of California, a MFCC from University of San Francisco, and is a certified pastry chef.  When she’s not in her kitchen, she’s travelling the world to see her work in action, or running through Riverside Park training for her next triathlon.

Her work takes her all over the world. Some of her projects include: Sustainable America Wellbody Alliance and Nest .


Nest founders Rebecca and Chris Van Bergen have a vision – to train, mentor and support exemplary global artisans in order to sustain community economies around the world.


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Join Melanie live on Fearless Fabulous You (W4WN) 9pm ET and meet inspiring women and experts on health, wellness and nutrition. Listen to all show podcasts on iHeart anytime, anywhere here.

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