Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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At Wellbody Academy, we are huge fans of 10-year-old Amber Kelley of Woodinville, WA who shares her message, "Being healthy is COOL!" through free online cooking videos and healthy recipes.AmberKelley Her on-screen persona charms grown-ups and young children without being an overly sweet turn-off for other tweens. And she has terrific recipes: Green smoothies, dehydrated fruits and vegetables, healthy sleepover snacks, roasted veggies with quinoa, potluck hummus with secret NON-ingredient...


Raves for Else's mom's Almost Paleo Pancakes from the 'tween sleepover crowd!PaleoPancakePaleo Pancakes©Paula Bock

"Almost" because Else's mom subs in whole wheat flour for some of the almond meal, but if you're going all Paleo, you can use all almond meal or mix with coconut flour. 

The almonds in the recipe add protein, the blueberries and grated apple bring soluble fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. No sugar or refined flour! Read how the DNA in ancient tooth tarter gives clues about modern diseases linked to processed sugar and flour. 

Else's Mom's Almost Paleo Pancakes

1 C almond meal
1 C whole wheat or oat flour (To go gluten-free, use 2 C almond meal and no flour or 1 C coconut flour)
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes
3 eggs
1 C coconut milk
2 T coconut oil (melted)
1 apple, grated
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries (can substitute any fruit in season).

Mix all ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased skillet. Turn when small bubbles appear. Serve with more berries and a drizzle of thick coconut milk. 

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, try these healthy Mexican-inspired recipes: cabbage enchiladas with red sauce, baked chicken flautas, and broccomole guacamolecabbage enchiladasCabbage enchiladas ©Katelyn Del Buco

By baking instead of frying and substituting cabbage for tortillas, tomatoes and chili powder for sour cream, and broccoli for avocados, you'll cut down on calories and saturated fat while adding fiber, vitamins and protein and lots of flavor.

Buen provecho!

Cabbage Enchiladas


1 head of cabbage
Shredded chicken(poach, or use leftovers from a rotisserie chicken)
Fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper (to taste)
Shredded cheese (optional)

For the Enchiladas:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the cabbage leaves – make sure to peel them gently so they don't tear. Sometimes it helps to run warm water over the cabbage as you're peeling. Throw the cabbage leaves into the pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. Remove and set on a towel to dry. Mix the shredded chicken with chopped fresh cilantro and (optional) shredded cheese. Seaon with salt & pepper.

Spread the enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. Then take the cabbage leaves and place the chicken mixture inside of them and roll up. Place each cabbage roll in the baking dish. Once done, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over them. Topped with (optional) shredded cheese.

Bake at 350° for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce (from Shrinking Kitchen)

Makes enough for an 11 x 13" pan of enchiladas.  


1 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons flour
1 15 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups lower sodium chicken broth
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin

In a large sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chili powder and flour, whisking constantly to combine. Mixture will be a thick paste (roux).

Slowly add in a small amount of tomato sauce, whisking until the roux has dissolved. If you don't whisk, it will end up a lumpy mess! Once the roux is combined, add the rest of the tomato sauce and chicken broth. Whisk to combine.

Add in the rest of the spices, stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and use in your enchilada recipe, or cool and divide into containers for storage.

Can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for 3 months.

Broccomole (from Domestic Fits)broccomole cropped©Katelyn Del Buco

Hard to knock avocados since they're packed with vitamins (including B6 and folic acid), fiber, protein and potassium. But the "alligator pears" are also high in fat and calories. Creamy  green broccomole is about 1/3 the calories of traditional guacamole with twice the protein and less fat. Plus, one cup of broccoli has the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, an antioxidant key in fighting cancer-causing free radicals; high levels of calcium and vitamin K for bone health; and potassium, magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.


3 cups chopped broccoli
1 jalapeno, chopped, seeds removed
2 tbs green onions
1 tsp olive oil
2 ounces fat free cream cheese (or silken tofu, goat cheese, sour cream, cashew cream, something creamy)
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tbs cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Cook the broccoli in lightly salted water until very soft. Overcook the broccoli in comparison to the al dente cooking that most recipes recommend.
Drain broccoli very well.
Transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth, add additional olive oil for a smoother texture.
Serve warm.

Baked Chicken Flautas (from Lauren Keating on Healthy Delicious)

Baked flautas stuffed with seasoned, shredded chicken, spinach, and cheese are crispy, but don't have the greasiness of fried versions. To shred poached chicken easily, put it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on medium for 45 seconds. Store-bought rotisserie chicken can be substituted for the poached chicken to save time.


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4)
16 ounces beer (or chicken broth)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
5 burrito-size flour tortillas (9 inches)
6 ounces queso quesadilla or other melting cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon olive oil, or cooking spray
Salsa, for serving

Preheat the oven to 450*F.
Put the chicken thighs in a deep sided saute pan and cover with the beer and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid and shred it. Mix together the chicken and seasonings.

Pour out all but ¼ cup of the cooking liquid. Add the jalapeno and spinach and cook over low heat until for 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.

Cut the tortillas in half. Spoon 1/10th of the chicken (about 1 tablespoon) along the long edge of a tortilla. Repeat with the spinach and cheese. Roll the tortilla up, starting with the straight edge. Place seam-side down on an oiled baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

Brush the flautas with olive oil or spray with cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn them over and bake for until 10 minutes, or until crispy. Serve with salsa.



Warm and satisfying, creamy yet light, these fritters are so yummy, it's hard to believe they're also so healthy. swisschard2

Packed with fiber-rich chickpeas and succulent Swiss chard (a low-calorie source of antioxidant vitamins and minerals), the recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make. Kids love these melt-in-your-mouth patties. Whip up a double batch and pack leftovers for lunch the next day! They'd also make a substantial appetizer.


Swiss Chard and Chickpea Fritters

(from Real Simple with some Wellbody suggestions)

• 8 cups stemmed and torn Swiss chard (about 1 bunch) or spinach
• 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
• kosher salt and black pepper
• 2 ounces Feta, crumbled (about 1/2 cup) or ½ cup Swiss and gruyere cheeses, grated
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
• hot sauce, for serving (Apple sauce is terrific for dipping, too!)

1. In a food processor, combine the Swiss chard, chickpeas, garlic, cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer to a large bowl, add the cheese and flour, and mix until combined. Form the mixture into eight 2½-inch patties.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the patties until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet for the second batch. Serve with the yogurt, applesauce and/or hot sauce.

Popcorn! If there's any snack food that has a split personality, this is it.

Healthy, low-fat, low-calorie source of dietary fiber? Or artery clogging, sodium slathered tub o' fat? 

All depends on how you pop and top it.PBs popcornSprinkle home-popped popcorn with nutritional yeast for deep umami flavor and a protein kick.      Copyright©Paula Bock

If you use an air popper or microwave naked kernels in a brown paper lunch bag with minimal or no oil, two cups of white popcorn have about 65 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber. If you pop popcorn in a pot on the stove with a olive, grapeseed or coconut oil, a two-cup serving is 110 calories.

Consumer watchdogs have long lambasted the buttery salted tubs of popcorn served in many movie theaters citing excessive sodium, saturated fat and trans fat (which can lead to clogged arteries) and monster portion sizes. Large movie popcorn vats can hold up to 1,030 calories – not including the ladleful of extra butter flavor that pours on 130 to 500 additional calories.

Commercial pouches of microwave popcorn often contain trans fat and dozens of added chemicals, including some that leach from the packaging when it's heated. One of the additives, diacetyl, can cause severe respiratory disease if you breath in the vapors when the bag is first opened. So definitely don't inhale!

When it comes to popcorn, the healthiest choice is to make your own at home. Bonus: It's quick and only pennies a serving!

For a boost of flavor and protein, sprinkle with nutritional yeast  a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, sold as yellow flakes or powder. It's a source of complete protein, low in fat and sodium and free of sugar, dairy and gluten. Filled with B-complex vitamins, some brands of nutritional yeast are fortified with vitamin B12.

Also known as "nooch," nutritional yeast does not sound yummy, but it is—adding a musky, umami, cheese-like flavor to popcorn or whatever else you put it in.

Other terrific popcorn toppings: soy sauce, miso, smoked paprika and parsley, cumin, hot sauce, furikake (with seaweed and shaved bonito flakes), lemongrass, chili, lime zest. Check out this popcorn topping slideshow on Serious Eats and go wild! 

And when you visit Wellbody Academy's Cafedium, be sure to stop by Professor Rosemary Baker's desk to peek at her recipes and cookbook.