Health and Wellness Blog

Sugar Free Cranberry Relish

Simple, easy, naturally sweetened and delicious… it can’t get much better than that!



  • 1 pound of cranberries
  • Zest and juice of 1 large oranges
  • 1 pureed poached pear
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 pinch of salt


Zest and juice the orange and set aside. Cut the ginger into small discs and set aside. Cut the pear in half, remove seeds and stem. Place in a small pot and add water till the pear is covered. Add in the ginger, orange juice and zest and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Once the poached pear and poaching liquid is cool, add the pear, 1⁄4 cup of the poaching liquid and ginger to the food processor along with the cranberries and puree until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Healthful Life MD Opts Out of Medicare and Accepts 65+ Patients

Healthful Life MD announced they have opted out of the Medicare program. As result, they will now be able to accept patients 65-years-old and older. Up until this point, Healthful Life MD has not been able to work with 65+ patients because of Medicare program regulations.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with this new demographic of patient,” said Healthful Life MD founder and head physician Dr. Abby Bleistein. “I have found it heartbreaking to turn patients away simply because they were in the 65+ age group. Now we have the ability to help people of every age get healthy from the inside out, and I could not be more thrilled.”

Healthful Life MD has always used a fee-for-service payment model. This model allows Dr. Abby to deliver comprehensive medical weight loss programs that incorporate a whole team of specialists, such as registered dietitians, certified nutritionists and certified trainers who are not covered under most medical insurance policies or Medicare. This kind of 360-degree approach to patient care has been proven to be the only way to create long lasting weight loss solutions.

Take your first step towards getting healthy from the inside out today! Visit Healthful Life MD online to learn more about comprehensive weight loss solutions and schedule a free consultation with in-house physician, Dr. Abby Bleistein. Or call 720-336-5681 and to ask questions and get your complimentary appointment on the calendar.

Children are our Greatest Treasures


Our children are our greatest asset and most precious treasure. Not only is September National Childhood Obesity Month, but it is also International Child Protection Month. This month is a time to promote health and safety for our youth.

Did you know one in five children in the United States is obese? What a startling statistic! Childhood obesity easily gets overlooked, but it is a major issue for many of our country’s youth. Not only are overweight children at a higher risk for serious health conditions, but they often run into challenges socially which can lead to devastating struggles—low self-esteem, depression, isolation. Additionally, many children in our world are impacted daily by bulling, violence and abuse. They live in constant fear and do not know how to navigate these scary and often dangerous situations. It is heartbreaking to think about.

September is a month set aside to bring awareness to these situations that impact children. So what can we do? There is no easy solution, but there are many ways our community can support children on their journey to health and safety. One of the most important? Being good role models ourselves. Children are impressionable. When they see us making good, healthy choices, and standing up for what is right, they are bound to emulate those same behaviors.

Partner with Dr. Abby and Kidpower and take the Put Safety First pledge!



Click here for more information about National Childhood Obesity Month.
Click here for more information about International Child Protection Month.

Kid Friendly! Loaded Spring Roll

This is such a great recipe to make with kids. It looks beautiful and tastes delicious too!

Yield: 4 spring rolls
Serving Size: 2 spring rolls


  • 4 rice wrappers
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetables, sliced thin or julienned (Ex: cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, radishes, bell peppers (any color), snow peas, leaf lettuce etc. Choose a variety of colors.)
  • 1/4 cup peanut dipping sauce

Wash all vegetables thoroughly and peel any vegetables that require it. Have an adult help you to thinly slice all vegetables. Soak rice wrapper in water for about 30 seconds, until soft. Place on a plate and fill with 1/2 cup vegetables. Fold two sides toward the middle; roll the spring roll up like a burrito.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 table spoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white miso

Place the peanut butter, soy sauce, apple sauce, rice vinegar, white miso in a blender or food processor and process until well mixed. Add water to desired consistency.

Dip rolls in peanut dipping sauce and enjoy! 

Tap Into Your Inner Athlete

By Ashley DePaulis, Owner of ASH Fitness & Founder of The Inner Athlete

Feeling at odds with yourself and your body leads to high stress and low energy. It leads to managing your body as a project, or your injury or health challenge as a life sentence. NO ONE wants to play victim in that kind of story! The true story of your body is physical, it is personal and it is connected to the experience of your unique human spirit. Your true story is powerful. It is Your Inner Athlete.

In June, I introduced the concept of The Inner Athlete in my article Busting Through the Exercise Blues. Today I want to dig deeper and talk about how to tap into The Inner Athlete, and why uncovering and getting in sync with Your Inner Athlete can be one of the most powerful things you do in your journey towards health and wellness.

Everyone has an Inner Athlete. I don’t care whether you are a ultra-marathoner, a yogi, or a casual walker. You can think about Your Inner Athlete like an internal compass responsible for driving behavior when it comes to health, wellness and fitness. When in sync with Your Inner Athlete, you are at peace with yourself and your journey. You can assess popular beliefs surrounding health and wellness, identify truths and sift out the elements that align with your own personal goals. You are empowered and feel a sense of freedom because you experience success and know you are on the right path.

The Inner Athlete Advantage is the freedom to play and eat like a kid, with the wisdom of an informed adult. It is he freedom to never, ever “diet” or “exercise” again. The Inner Athlete eats and trains to be ready for all of life’s adventures.


That sounds great, right? So why is it so easy to feel at odds with yourself when it comes to health, wellness and fitness?

Well, there is an enormous amount of confusion about ideals stemming from the health and wellness industry. You are either “right” or “wrong” when adapting a strategy or approach to your fitness. Judgment is rampant and most people seem to have an agenda and are trying to control your belief set. A powerful “Cultural Compass” has emerged in the industry, and unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, it is nearly impossible to experience success while following its direction.

Some people will make you believe a certain kind of exercise is the best kind, or that a particular approach is bad. Others will say you need to dedicate a certain number of hours to your fitness routine daily or else you’re wasting your time. Still others will swear eating a certain way is the only way to lose weight, or that certain supplements or vitamins are your golden ticket to experiencing overall wellness. The list goes on and on.

The first step to tapping into Your Inner Athlete, is to accurately recognize the Cultural Compass and how it dictates your thinking. Knowledge is power and once you identify how this bogus compass has a strong hold on your thinking, you take your first step towards freedom.

You are your own unique person—spiritually, emotionally and physically—and what works for you will be different from what works for anyone else. You have your own likes, dislikes, history, challenges and goals. All of these things need to be considered when setting your course towards your overall health and wellness.


The Cultural Compass does not take into consideration any of your unique circumstances, rather it tries to ramrod you into the same box as everyone else. This only has the potential to leave you feeling unsuccessful, angry and frustrated.

Connecting with your Inner Athlete allows you to look internally and customize a program that speaks directly to the experience of your unique human spirit. You can clearly delineate where you are, where you want to go and the steps to get you there. If you trust Your Inner Athlete and give yourself permission to stay your course, despite everything else, you are sure to find energy, strength and aliveness in your journey to health and wellness. And in my book, that equals success. 


The Inner Athlete uses nutritious eating, movement and health habits as a path to living life with purpose.When you are facing a challenge, feeling low on motivation and inconsistent when it comes to your health habits, here’s what you can ask yourself:

  • What is most important to me right now?
  • How does my eating + exercise fit into this?

From here—no matter what your circumstance is—you can get clear about the steps to take at the present moment to move you forward. Your Inner Athlete is always here. Now. Within. Waiting to help you have a day full of whatever movement and nutrition is best for you at the present time. Seriously… just ask it! It’s waiting to let you know what the two of you can do together.

Want to learn more about The Inner Athlete, and connecting with yours specifically? The Inner Athlete Advantage program is open for enrollment and I would love to share details with you. Email me and say something like, “ASHLEY GIVE ME THE DEEEEETSSSS!”

Ashley DePaulis, is the owner of ASH Fitness and Founder of The Inner Athlete. She helps everyday athletes master their minds after an injury or health challenge so they can get back into action. She offers one-on-one accountability and training, and transformation through her group program – The Inner Athlete Advantage. To learn your unique pathway to sustainable health and motivation, along with the mental and physical tool set needed to navigate life’s adversities connect with Ashley and The Inner Athlete community on Facebook or visit The Inner Athlete online to learn more.

Peach Salsa

Peach recipes are great for this time of year and this Peach Salsa recipe from The Blonde Cook is awesome! Extremely simple to make and perfect on top of grilled fish.


  • 3 large peaches, seeded, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup diced red onion (about 1/2 of a medium red onion)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and gently stir to combine.



Watching Television and Eating

By Dr. Abby Bleistein, Healthful Life MD

It is completely understandable with the fast pace lifestyle of today, people are looking for ways to unwind at the end of the day. Many people chose to unwind by watching television. They come home, make dinner, kick off their shoes, turn on the TV and mindlessly eat dinner as they flip though the channels.

While in theory this seems like a great way to check out for a bit and recharge, the habit of dining in front of the television creates a link between television watching and eating.

Not only have studies shown people consume up to 25% more calories when eating while distracted, but eating in front of the television can also generate a trigger-habit loop.

The cue to the habit is turning on the television, the habit is eating, and food becomes the reward reinforcing the habit because food releases dopamine, the hormone that triggers a pleasure response. Once this loop is created, the pattern occurs without the frontal lobe of the brain getting involved at all and voilà, people are eating mindlessly, often without realizing they are even doing it, much less being aware of how much they are eating.

How can we combat mindless television eating?

  1. Practice mindful eating. Do not eat in front of the television. Ever. Make it a rule. If you want to eat a snack in the evening, turn off the television, sit at the table and eat. You will discover yourself eating less, and possibly that you do not even really need to eat at all.
  2. Reset your trigger-habit loop. This can be done a couple of different ways. One option is to choose a different reward for the cue of watching television. For example, if relaxing in front of the TV at night is part of your self-care routine, have a cup of tea instead of snacking. It will take some mental energy initially to reset the pattern, but after a few weeks, you will institute a new habit. Another way to reset is to find a healthier self-care routine all together. Perhaps reading, or playing a card game.

Click here for a Guide to Mindless Eating that provides exercise to help you develop mindful eating habits.

Take your first step towards getting healthy from the inside out today! Visit Healthful Life MD online to learn more about our comprehensive weight loss solutions and schedule a free consultation with our in-house physician, Dr. Abby Bleistein. Or call 720-336-5681 and we can answer questions and help get your complimentary appointment on the calendar.


Barramundi en Papillote

I love barramundi. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and has a mild flavor and lovely texture. I think of it as a sustainable, and affordable, Chilean Sea Bass (one of my favorite fishes to eat!). I have been eyeing leeks and fennel and put this recipe together. You can do in the oven too, but I decided to cook it on the grill. Delicious!

– Dr. Abby


  • 4 barramundi fillets (I get mine frozen from Costco)
  • 1-2 oranges, cut into slices
  • 2 leeks, greens cut off, cut in half the long way, rinsed well, and chopped in fine slices
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut in half and then sliced into thin half circle slices
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


Preheat grill, or oven, to 350 degrees. Cut sheets of parchment and fold in half—halves should be more than large enough to cover fish fillets. Lay some fennel and leek slices on half of the parchment. Cover with 2 orange slices. Place fish on top of orange slices. Drizzle olive oil over fish and salt and pepper to taste. Place 2 orange slices over fish and add more leek and fennel slices. Repeat on separate parchment squares for each fillet.

Fold the other half of the parchment paper over the fish/orange/vegetable stack so that the edges of the parchment line up. Starting at one corner at the fold in the parchment, fold over about 1/2 inch of the edge, pressing down to make a crisp crease. Continue working your way around the edge of the packet, twisting or rolling up the 2 halves of the parchment paper, making overlapping folds (like pleats), always pressing firmly and creasing the edge so the folds hold. Twist the end of the second fold to finish. If necessary, make a second fold anyplace that doesn’t appear tightly sealed. Cut several vent holes in the top with a sharp knife.

Place the packets on the grill, or on a baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until done, based on the thickness of your fish.

Carefully open parchment (the packets release hot steam when opened) and serve. Delicious!


Busting Through the Exercise Blues

How to get yourself motivated to exercise

By Ashley DePaulis, Owner of ASH Fitness & Founder of The Inner Athlete



Exercise always seems like a good idea until it’s actually time to put on your shoes and get out the door. I bet this is usually the point you start to question why the heck you were so pumped up to exercise in the first place. Then you begin formulating a list of reasons to justify your workout raincheck.

Why is it that motivation tends to easily slip away?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. It’s the antidote to your fitness blues and it is Your Inner Athlete. Whether you consider yourself an athlete or not is beside the point because EVERYONE has an Inner Athlete.

Your Inner Athlete is your story. It’s physical, personal and connected to the experience of your unique human spirit.

If you are struggling with getting motivated to exercise, there is a good chance you are missing the feeling of energy, strength and aliveness that are hallmarks of being in sync with Your Inner Athlete. Being in touch with your own Inner Athlete provides clarity and when you have clarity, motivation begins to appear organically.

Before connecting with your Inner Athlete, it is completely normal to harbor feelings of hesitation that keep you away from exercise. You want to wait until you “feel better” or “feel motivated” before you get started. Perhaps you believe there is a right way and a wrong way to exercise and you fear you will be embarrassed or, even worse, get injured if you do it wrong. Many times you are comparing yourself to others, or a past version of yourself you are unable to keep up with.

These kinds of mindsets have the ability to squash your enthusiasm before you even get started. This is why it is so important before focusing on your action plan, you first gain clarity on the “why” behind the exercise. Are you working to heal an injury? To lose weight? Are you training for a marathon?

Whatever your reason, when you are crystal clear on what you want, you will be focused and driven to achieve your goal. And that my friends creates motivation.

Once you have clarity and a readjusted mindset, it is time to channel your motivation into action. How can you do that?

  • Realistically gauge your current abilities. Always start right where you are. Remaining present allows you to push past your ceiling based on the here and now. It makes exercising more enjoyable because you are holding yourself to realistic expectations.
  • Structure workouts in a way you find enjoyable. One thing is for sure, if you do not find your workout fun and satisfying, it will not get you moving. Know yourself and what gets you going. If you like being with people, find a gym or workout club where you can exercise with other people. If you like being outside, find ways to exercises outside. Whatever it is that gets you excited find ways to incorporate it into your workouts.
  • Find someone or something to keep you accountable. Even elite athletes who have laser focused clarity need accountability. If they need it, so do you. Depending on what your goals are, find a coach, workout buddy, group fitness program, online fitness tracker, etc. to help you stay on track and keep you moving towards your goals.
  • Be consistent but flexible. Do something to work towards your goal every single day, but pay attention to Your Inner Athlete and be flexible. Some days you are going to be ready for hard work, but other days Your Inner Athlete may be screaming at you to get some sleep, or hydrate. Listen. The fastest way to achieving your goal is to consistently and harmoniously work with your body.

The truth is, you are not going to get through life without experiencing a lack of motivation at some point. Whether the struggle is past or present tense, experiencing a lack of motivation can be downright depressing. It is hard not to show up in your life and in your training as the lean, vibrant and powerful version of you that you dream of being. You want to feel good in your body and feel energetic. Yet for whatever reason, you feel hesitant. Just remember, when you start lacking the motivation to get your body moving, put the brakes on and clarify what you are working towards, because that will most certainly help you to bust through your workout blues.

Ashley DePaulis, is the owner of ASH Fitness and Founder of The Inner Athlete. She helps everyday athletes master their minds after an injury or health challenge so they can get back into action. She offers one:one accountability and training, and transformation through her group program – The Inner Athlete Advantage. To learn your unique pathway to sustainable health and motivation, along with the mental and physical tool set needed to navigate life’s adversities connect with Ashley and The Inner Athlete community on Facebook or visit ASH Fitness online to learn more.

The Nighttime Eating Trap

By Dr. Abby Bleistein, Healthful Life MD

One of the most common challenges my patients face in their weight loss journey is nighttime eating. Most of my patients are hungrier, note more cravings and eat more calories at night. There are a number of reasons this patter is so common:

  1. Fatigue: This is a huge driver to eat because the brain recognizes fatigue and looks for a quick fix, which usually includes fast energy—calories and carbohydrates.
  2. Mental energy: Willpower is the mental energy it takes to make positive choices. Mental energy is strongest first thing in the morning, but like a battery, the multitude of decisions made throughout the day drain power. By the night willpower is weakened which often results in making choices not aligned with long-term goals.
  3. Dehydration: The human brain has difficulty differentiating between hunger and thirst, so lack of daytime hydration can lead to over-indulging at night.
  4. Habit: Over-eating at night can be pure habit. People often unwind from the day watching television, surfing the internet or checking social media. While they unwind, they reward themselves with little snack or treat. This pattern becomes a habit and usually ends up with the person mindlessly consuming a lot of extra calories.

What can be done to counteract nighttime eating struggles?

  • Get adequate sleep. People who sleep less than 6 hours nightly have a 50% greater risk of obesity. Focus on getting 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • When you are tired at night, go to bed. Do not eat to stay awake longer. Accept it is time to sleep when you are tired.
  • Recharge your willpower battery through meditation practice. Use meditation in the evening to reset your mental energy and improve your choices.
  • Hydrate throughout the day with lots of water.
  • Practice mindful eating habits. You will find that you eat less and feel more satisfied.

Take your first step towards getting healthy from the inside out today! Visit Healthful Life MD online to learn more about our comprehensive weight loss solutions and schedule a free consultation with our in-house physician, Dr. Abby Bleistein. Or call 720-336-5681 and we can answer questions and help get your complimentary appointment on the calendar.

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