MountainStar Health - April 12, 2021
by Jennifer James

The Ogden Regional Medical Center / Heart Center, “Losing It & Loving It” weight loss class & support group newsletter


Such a lovely month. Hope returns as the bulbs re-emerge in our yards, the birds start their little families, and our world warms and softens. The flowers and trees take turns budding and blooming. And yes it rains, a lot. But that is the arrangement, it cannot be another way. We celebrate Easter, the start of Ramadan, Earth Day and Arbor Day. Enjoy this time of year my friends, it is a full year before it sweeps by us again.

In good health,
Jennifer James

Success Story

This is not really a Success Story, rather something I thought you might like to know. The five pounds I had lost last summer have partially crept back into my life. How did this happen? I will tell you. I got lax. I stopped weighing myself. I snacked more after dinner. I ate out more. I also thought it would just stay off. I was wrong. Weighing oneself regularly, say once a week, is a critical element of success with weight loss. Exercise has never been a problem for me, so that box is checked. But, exercising a lot can be outrun by food intake. You can run 10 miles, but still eat more calories than running 10 miles burns. Plopping an extra 500 calories into one’s mouth is a whole lot easier than the exercise needed to burn those calories. So my friends, as a dietitian and health coach, I am humbled once again. Practicing a healthy lifestyle is just that, practicing. Because we have to keep at it. I know, I know, not what you wanted to hear, but there it is.

Have You Tried…Taza Chocolate Mexicano?

Every once in a while we need a treat. Organic, unrefined stone ground cacao beans made into chocolate discs are just that. Taza Chocolate Mexicano Sampler offers eight different flavors: super dark, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla, salted almond, guajillo chili, cacao puro and chipotle chili. Spoiler alert: the texture is gritty. One disc is ~200 calories, 1/8 is 26 calories with 2.6 grams of added sugar. You can savor them as is, or make into hot chocolate. TJ Maxx carries them at times, or you can order online. A true indulgence.

Diabetes Food Hub

I came across a very nice meal planner which features hundreds of recipes, allows you to save these recipes, you choose when to make these recipes, and then you generate a grocery list based on said recipes. It is pretty slick. You don’t have to have diabetes to use it. They offer recipes in English and Spanish. It features a filter so you can choose from ethnic cuisines, low sodium, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. It provides very clear and easy to read directions, and a food label for a serving of each recipe. There are loads of recipes to choose from. I was impressed with it. If you need help finding new recipes, figuring out carbs and sodium for example, and just need to get organized with your meals, this may be the ticket. You can find it at It may also be good for your karmic bank account to make a donation to the American Diabetes Association while you are at it.

To Chelate or Not

In the mineral supplement world, you may have spied something called chelated minerals. Minerals have been around since the Big Bang, are not destroyed, and pair up with different minerals and other substances. Chelated minerals are lone minerals that are paired up with amino acids (protein). The purpose of doing this is to supposedly increase absorption of these minerals in our digestive tract. They are marketed as being superior to a standard mineral supplement (or food for that matter).

Mineral absorption in the gut varies widely, and can change based on a person’s physiological state and the type or form of food that carries the mineral. For example, a pregnant woman absorbs a higher percentage of calcium than she would if not pregnant. More calcium is absorbed from yogurt than spinach, which contains oxalates that hinder absorption. Eating spinach and drinking milk at the same meal will decrease calcium absorption from the milk. See how complicated this gets? There is a lot of interest in this area with livestock, so most of what I came across had recommendations for…livestock. Some research shows it increases absorption in the human digestive tract, other research shows it does not. The websites that sell them show glowing reports of their effectiveness. The websites that don’t sell them, well, don’t.

If you are iron, zinc, copper, or what-have-you-deficient as determined by blood work, you may need a mineral supplement. Chelated minerals will not harm you, but you will pay more. Triple the cost or more, from what I could gather. If you have no deficiencies, obtain your minerals the original human way. Food.

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, March 26). Calcium, fact sheet for professionals.

WebMD. (ND). Chelated minerals.


One of the main sources of pain and frustration in our lives, in my humble opinion, is that we expect things (I had nearly typed “thighs”), to be a certain way. Our thighs too I suppose. J Back on topic. A Buddhist monk whose name escapes me was asked what his secret to happiness was. His reply, “I don’t mind what happens”. When we are not attached to outcomes, such as how the weather should be, how our thighs should look, and how our spouse should behave, it frees us up to enjoy the moment. Which is truly our lives right in front of us. So we get served cloudy with a chance of rain, instead of sunny with a nice breeze. Is it really a big deal?

The fact that we are alive to read this is, in itself, a miracle. How our ancestors survived long enough to reproduce, that we are literate and can see, that we have a beautiful planet to live on, that we have all of this wonderful technology that allows you to read my thoughts on “paper”….it is all miraculous. Admit it!

We will all die one day. As the Cat Stevens lyrics from “Oh Very Young” observe, “you’re only dancing on this earth for a short while”. Indeed. If we could see the immediacy of our lives, and how important it is to embrace RIGHT NOW, chubby thighs included, we could let the rest go. Meaning, our expectations of how all should be, because all won’t be as we would like. Ever. This you can rely on.

JJ-Style Tostadas

I don’t order tostados in restaurants because, quite frankly, they are too messy. They break apart and it all goes everywhere. I figured out a way to make a tostada that behaves itself, and isn’t messy.

  • 1 16-ounce can of nonfat, refried black beans (or make your own black beans from scratch, and mash)
  • ¼ cup high quality salsa
  • Corn tortillas
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Grape tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh or dried herbs or spices
  • Olive oil

Combine the salsa with the beans. In a small, nonstick saucepan, heat ¾ teaspoon of oil on medium-high heat. When hot, add a corn tortilla. Brown on one side, turn over, and turn down heat. Smear ¼ cup of the bean mixture onto the tortilla. Place halved grape tomatoes, cut side down, to cover the beans. Sprinkle with a little cheese, sprinkle with seasonings, or sprinkle torn fresh herbs, such as basil on the tomatoes. Cover partially with a lid and turn down to medium-low heat. Let cook for several minutes until the cheese melts, and the tortilla edges are light brown. Add your own fixin’s if you like.

Repeat. It goes quickly if you have the ingredients prepped. You could use an electric skillet, or larger pan to cook more than one at a time.

I usually eat just two, as they are quite filling.

2 tostadas: ~350 calories

Spring Class and Support Groups

“Losing It & Loving It” weight loss/wellness class

Tuesdays, April 6-June 22
6:00pm-7:00pm, first class 6:00pm-7:30 pm
Aspen Room
Lower level, west entrance at ORMC

(ORMC employees and volunteers qualify for a $20 discount, check with Jennifer for details)

Register at, or call (866) 887-3999

Info: Call Jennifer at (801) 479-2133 or Email

Support Groups

  • Monday, 2-3 pm
  • Tuesday, 4:30-5:30 pm

In person, Heart Center Conference Room, or remotely via Webex.

For password and meeting number, contact Jennifer at the above phone or email address.

For after all, the best thing
one can do when it is raining
is let it rain.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow