Healthy Habits: Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk!

Some truly terrific Harvard medical students invited me and lifestyle medicine hero Beth Frates MD to give a lunchtime talk last week. I could talk about nutrition and healthy lifestyle stuff all day long, so I jumped at the opportunity! The event was organized by members of the activity-oriented Fit4Life as well as the Lifestyle Medicine student groups, so of course also featured a healthy buffet: Leafy greens and veggies, fresh fruit, whole grain bread, hummus and a few deli items. We were so impressed! I also brought samples of my Chock-full of Antioxidants Cherry-Almond Dark Chocolate Bark (find recipe at the end!). 

Our talk centered on actual patient cases where diet and lifestyle change made a lasting, meaningful clinical difference. My cases are real patients who are also featured in my book Healthy Habits for Your Heart. Beth discussed her book The Lifestyle Medicine Handbook, and we had some free copies for students. It was amazing that we had the crowd we did, as legendary international health expert Paul Farmer was giving a talk next door!

The students asked great questions, enjoyed a heart-healthy powerhouse lunch, some got free books, and a good time was had by all. 

Students munching a healthy lunch as I launch into my case-based talk


Beth Frates, MD literally wrote the book on Lifestyle Medicine practice
Lunch featured whole grain bread, fresh greens and veggies, fruit, and I brought my antioxidant dark chocolate cherry-almond bark to share
We had a good crowd considering tropical medicine and international health legend Paul Farmer was giving a speech next door!

Chock-full of Antioxidants Cherry-Almond Dark Chocolate Bark

Easy, yummy, and healthy dessert recipe!

  • 20 ounces dark chocolate chips (This is two bags. I use Ghirardelli 60 cacao chips. )
  • 1 tsp flax oil (You can use any oil, but flax oil is full of omega 3 fatty acids. )
  • 1 tbsp almond extract (Adds extra almond flavor and counteracts the flax oil taste)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (Can be toasted or not. )
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries
  1. Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl.

  2. Pour the flax oil (or whatever oil you're using) over the chips and stir.

  3. Microwave the chips for thirty seconds and stir well.

  4. Repeat on twenty or thirty second intervals until melted. DO NOT microwave for any longer than thirty seconds or chocolate will burn.

  5. Stir in the almond extract. The aroma is incredible!

  6. Pour melted chocolate onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread out to a nice flat 3 mm thick rectangle.

  7. Sprinkle the almonds and cherries over.

  8. Allow to cool and harden, about twenty minutes, depending on the ambient temperature. If its hot in the room, place the tray in the refrigerator or outside.

  9. When hard and cool, break bark up into pieces of desired size. Keeps for a few days in sealed bags

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