Author Archive: Johnny Jacobs

A Guide to Healthier Eating 

Eating less junk food and adding more nutritious food to your diet are simple changes that can make a significant improvement in your nutrition and health.

One way to do this is by cutting back on foods that have only limited nutritional value, that are over-processed, or that contain too much fat, salt, sugar, and refined white flour.

Try eating more of these kinds of foods: 

Close to their natural state: Just-picked fresh fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious, but fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables are a good alternative because they are almost immediately frozen after picking. The canning of vegetable requires heat, which destroys many vitamins.

Less processed: According to the USDA, whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins and complex carbohydrates. On the other hand, white flour is basically just carbohydrates.

Plain rather than flavored: Plain milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese (ideally low or nonfat versions) generally have a better ratio of nutrients than their flavored alternatives. When flavoring is added, sugar is often added which increases calories.

Healthier: To keep your heart and vascular system healthy try to avoid saturated fats. As a rule, saturated fat is solid at room temperature. So, use olive oil instead of vegetable oil; vegetable oil instead of shortening; and low trans-fat vegetable margarine over butter.

Better meat choices: Different types of meats contain different amounts of saturated fats. Lamb, beef, and pork are very high in saturated fat. Chicken, turkey, and other fowl have less saturated fat. Fish have the least saturated fat. Making these changes won’t require driving miles out of your way. Nutritious, healthy food is plentiful in any grocery store and at most restaurants, if you know what to search out.

Crustless Spinach Quiche

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 6 ounces Cabot 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup Cabot No Fat Cottage Cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg


Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat 9-inch pie plate, preferably nonstick, with cooking spray; set aside. In a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add spinach and stir until moisture has evaporated, about 3 minutes longer. Sprinkle cheese evenly in prepared pie plate. Top with spinach mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, egg, cottage cheese, red pepper, salt and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture evenly over spinach. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until set. Let stand for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

The TOP 5 Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Group Fitness

Weight loss and improved health are the most obvious benefits of group fitness, but there are also some not-so-obvious (yet still very important) benefits that keep people coming back for more. For some, monthly group fitness programs have become a way of life. For others, the camaraderie of working out with a group in a friendly and motivational environment is necessary to help them achieve the results they want.
Every month, Celebrity Fitness Expert and Trainer Monte Sanders runs group fitness programs designed for all ages and fitness levels. He and the Sanders Optimum Fitness team have had many conversations with program participants about why group fitness works for them. Here are some of the not-so-obvious benefits they shared.
  1. Accountability – When you work out in a group, eventually you start to realize that you have to show up and push yourself a little harder each class or someone is going to notice. While it’s easy to ignore personal accountability, it’s harder to let down others that believe in you. After a while, you want to perform at your best for the group, not just for yourself.
  2. Motivation – No matter what happens outside of class, when you walk through those doors you leave it all behind. Your trainer and classmates are there to push you beyond your limits. Sometimes you end up surprising yourself and are able to do exercises you never thought possible.
  3. Support – The journey to better health and achieving your fitness goals is not easy. Joining a group of people who have similar goals keeps you from having to do it all by yourself. There is power in numbers and knowing there is someone there with you along the way makes the journey better.
  4. Stress Relief – Living with stress is a normal part of life for many. The time you spend in a group fitness class can be the stress-free part of your day. When you show up for class, you don’t have to worry because your trainer is there to support you and help you feel better. All you have to do is give your personal best.
  5. Network – You never know who you could be walking or running next to in a group fitness class. People from all walks of life are there for one common goal…to improve their health and fitness. Over time, health and fitness can become a bigger priority in your life thanks to your trainer and classmates. You may find yourself participating in marathons, recreational sports teams, weight loss challenges, etc. You become more like the people with whom you spend the most time.

If you’ve never tried a group fitness class before, JOIN MONTE SANDERS @ 11:30 AM ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 4th AT THE HARBOR PLACE AMPHITHEATER FOR A FREE WORKOUT. Adults and kids are invited for a Total Body Workout designed to keep you moving while having big fun with one of the best trainers in Baltimore. All you need is one hour to devote to yourself and your mind, body and spirit will never be the same.

Monte also offers a FREE group fitness class every month. For details, please email Leslie Anderson, You can also log on to, follow Monte on twitter (@MonteSanders) for regular health and fitness tips or on Facebook, Sanders Optimum Fitness (official FAN PAGE).

Black Bean Chili Dip

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained and partially mashed
  • 1/2 cup drained canned low or no salt whole kernel corn
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Cooking spray
  • 5 ounces Cabot 75% Reduced Fat Cheddar or 50% Reduced Fat Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons drained canned green chilies


Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine beans and next 4 ingredients; pour into a small casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese and green chilies. Cover and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes or until cheese are melted and filling is bubbly. Uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve with low-fat tortilla chips.

Delicious potatoes recipe

  • 1/2 cup sweet potatoes – boiled and pureed (I make extra and freeze it)
  • 1/2 cup butternut squash – boiled and pureed (I make extra and freeze it)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery – chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper – chopped in small chunks
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat, low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Dash of pepper
  • Whole wheat rolls
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 avocado – sliced
Always be sure to rinse vegetables prior to cooking.
Cut sweet potatoes and squash into two-inch chunks and boil separately until soft
While those are boiling in separate pots… Chop onion, celery, red pepper, garlic and saute on medium heat with olive oil until tender.
Add the ground turkey breast and continuously break with a spoon and cook until no longer pink – about four minutes.
Stir in vegetable broth.
Drain sweet potatoes and butternut squash and puree, then add 1/2 cup of each
Mix in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, chili pepper and a dash of pepper Cover with lid.
Simmer until the liquid is reduced– about 10 minutes
Toast whole wheat rolls and spoon mixture on top.
Sprinkle with a small amount of cheddar cheese and avocado chunks if desired.
As an option, serve open-face on a roll or with no role at all and on top of chopped romaine and spinach.
I serve with roasted red potatoes that we’ve cut into chunks, drizzled with olive, and baked at 400 degrees until tender and crispy on the outsides – about 25 minutes.

Preventive Screenings

Here are just a few of the FREE Preventive Screenings offered throughout the year.

Call the Baltimore City Health Department at (410) 396-4398 for more available services.

Maryland Cardiovascular Promotion (MVP) Program

220 Arch St, Baltimore, MD 21201 // 410-706-8612

FREE Blood Pressure Screenings, Weekdays by appointment

Park West Health System, Inc.

4120 Patterson Avenue, 21215 or 4151 Park Heights Avenue, 21215

410-764-2266 Ext. 5349 or 443-874-5502 Ext. 108

FREE Confidential HIV Counseling and Testing, Monday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm.

Baltimore City Cancer Program University of Maryland Marlene & Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center // University of Maryland Medical System or an associated health facility

410-328-HOPE (4673)

FREE clinical breast exam, pap test, mammogram, colonoscopy – appointment required – times vary

Saint Agnes Hospital

900 Caton Avenue, 21229


FREE Blood Pressure Screenings,

12:30 – 2:30 pm on the1st & 3rd Tuesday of each month@ the Main Entrance next to Lenny Moore Display

10:00 am – 2:00 pm on the 3rd Wednesday of each month @ Security Square Mall, Food Court Entrance


1. Have a Primary Care Doctor

  • For a referral call Baltimore HealthCare Access 410-649-0500
  1. Be Tobacco Free
  • 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  1. Know Your HIV Status
  • Free testing and treatment at 1515 W. North Avenue: M-F (410-396-0176) 620
    N. Caroline St.: M-F (410-396-9410)
  1. Get Help for Depression and Mental Illness
  • For a referral call Balto. Mental Health Systems 410-837-2647
  • If having a crisis call 410-433-5175
  1. Be Drug-Free
  • For treatment call Balto. Substance Abuse Systems 410-637-1900
  1. Get Immunized
  • Free Immunization Clinics for Children 410-396-4454
  1. Plan Your Family
  • Plan Your Pregnancy With Birth Control and Education at:

1515 W. North Avenue: TuTh (410-396-0186)

620 N. Caroline St.: MWF (410-396-9401)

  • Referrals for Prenatal Care 410-649-0512
  1. Protect Your Family
  • Develop a Family Emergency Plan 443-984-2618
  • Domestic Violence Hotline 410-889-7884
  • Help with Lead Hazards 443-984-2470
  • Report Child or Elderly Abuse/Neglect 410-361-2235
  1. Exercise and Eat Well
  • For Activities Near You call Recreation and Parks 410-396-7900
  • Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children 410-396-9427
  1. Look Out For Your Neighbors
  • Report Illegal Drug Activity 410-666-DRUG (3784)
  • Get Rid of Rats, Trash, and Dead Animals call 311
  • Help for the Elderly 410-396-CARE (2273)

Zucchini-Blueberry Banana Bread or Muffins

At a time when zucchini and blueberries are abundant in many parts of the country, this is a healthy and easy recipe to create muffins or bread. Once baked, they can be frozen and defrosted the same day, once completely cool.
3 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups zucchini – grated
1 cup very ripe bananas – crushed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup blueberries – rinse well and dry with a paper towel
1/4 cup wheat germ
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray 9″ bread pan with Pam Cooking Spray or use paper inserts in muffin tins.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, zucchini, bananas, and vanilla.
Combine flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and wheat germ.
Add dry ingredients to wet and stir well.
Gently fold in blueberries.
Bake at 350 degrees one hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.