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[whitespace] Eating Toward Health

The right balance is a lifelong challenge

By Christina Waters

LIFELONG IS A NEW, holistic approach to weight loss that tunes in to the whole person--body, mind and emotional health. In other words, the program--a yearlong intensive "makeover"--is designed to address your entire lifestyle and arm you with skills to achieve your weight and health goals. Integrating conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine, LifeLong is based on the emerging field of integrative medicine and will begin in April at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose. I asked local chef/nutritionist Laura Stec, a member of the LifeLong team, what she felt made this particular structure unique. "Lifelong's strength is that it combines a medical program with a community support system," Stec believes. "Weight Watchers offers community support. Medical Weight Management offers medical support. No program combines both as effectively as LifeLong. Jenny Craig offers food products--LifeLong helps establish permanent changes in eating habits." LifeLong's holistic approach helped Elad Levinson, LCSW, lose over 100 pounds. A former smoker and former 275-pounder who brings his astonishing personal story to the LifeLong professional staff, Levinson says, "The LifeLong program meets people where they are in their weight loss struggle and stays with them." In addition to medical and psychotherapeutic support, exercise programs and stress reduction workshops, LifeLong involves a full culinary curriculum taught by Stec, whose career has been spent educating consumers about planet-friendly and delicious food choices. "As a chef instructor, I'm working with our doctors, nurses and nutritionists to develop the menu for the one-day and week-long programs," said Stec, who will co-teach the crucial food and menu component. If nothing else has worked for you, test-drive the LifeLong approach by registering for a One-Day introductory session (Feb. 9, March 10; $125 per person) and the yearlong program which begins in April. For more information, call the Center for Integrative Medicine at 408.283.7626.

Winter Wonderland

Just got the new menu from my favorite Palo Alto bistro, L'amie Donia (530 Bryant St.; 650.323.7614), and was instantly transported to France. Brandade of salt cod, so intense and satisfying, is on the menu, paired with celery root pancakes and green olives. A pork loin braised in milk is stuffed with chestnuts and prunes--these really are quintessentially cold weather brasserie dishes and the restaurant serves sea bass with a winter salad of roasted beets, avocado and blood oranges. The pommes frites here are worth the drive alone. Stop by some chilly evening and dine with an authentic French accent.

Speaking of great menus, the meals I enjoyed last month at Florence's lovely wine bar/ristorante Beccofino--on the bohemian side of the Arno--were highlighted by a dish I'd like to see on every menu in the South Bay. A salad of pungent arugula was topped with a warm terrine of mushrooms (these were fresh porcini, but any mushroom would work), a few shaves of parmeggiano reggiano and an intense sage purée. It was elegant, satisfying, and best of all was that charismatic contrast between the cool greens and the warm mushrooms. ... When leaving on my Christmas trip I dined on a wonderful roasted veggie pizza from Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza, located inside the humongous SFO International Terminal. What a concept--decent food at an airport! ... Lynn Merrill updates us about her search for a great business-breakfast venue. She just received a rave review of the Il Fornaio in Palo Alto as having "grown-up food, large room, last-minute reservations possible and ample parking."

Keep that in your electronic Rolodex.

Email me! Readers restaurateurs, chefs: Please send any news items, tips, menu changes, openings, special events and juicy gossip to [email protected]

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From the February 1-7, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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