Dr Laura Delizonna: Stanford University “Happiness” Instructor

June 2012 Update: Laura has a 2 hour workshop at Stanford, this upcoming Tuesday June 5th at 7pm  For more details and registration info click here

I’ve known Dr. Laura Delizonna  since high school, through my younger sister.  I hadn’t seen or heard of what Laura had been up to in years until I signed up for her “Choosing Happiness” class through Stanford University’s Adult Continuing Education class  6 years ago.  I was right out of treatment from my stem cell transplant nightmare and had what seemed to me like the world’s worst case of “chemo brain” ever.  In my efforts to counteract all my “chemo brain” issues, I began taking a lot of classes, trying to re engage my brain at the different university’s around here.  I didn’t even realize I “knew” the teacher when I signed up for the 6 week class, so imagine my surprise when I walked in day 1 and recognized her from high school.  I am so glad I enrolled, her classes and seminars are  awesome, and you learn a lot of applicable tools to use in your everyday life.

Dr Delizonna is a really inspirational teacher with a lot of enthusiasm for the subject matter she teaches and it shows.  She has quite the following now, with her classes through Stanford University’s Continuing Education program, being some of the most popular,  quickly filling  to capacity, having  wait lists.  The last class I attended had grown to the size of a small auditorium.

Laura Delizonna’s  Stanford program has now expanded to a  3 part quarterly series in “applied positive psychology”, covering “Emotional Intelligence”, “Social Intelligence” and “Happiness”.   In addition to her teaching and  busy clinical psychology practice, Laura travels the lecture circuit nationally and internationally,  speaking on a number of “Positive Psychology” subject matters.  In the San Francisco Bay area she has recently held seminars and programs at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco as well as the Stillheart Institute and Retreat Center in Woodside, California.

In the next upcoming months I would recommend you check out “Choosing Happiness”, Dr Delizonna’s class at Stanford University this Fall 2011.    Each week the students are given practical assignments, applying principles learned in class, to their personal and professional lives.  Many students, including me, have taken this class more than once, getting more out of each time. The new added bonus to this quarter’s class,  is that Dr Delizonna is co teaching  with Ted Anstedt , whom I have met.   Ted is just an amazing teacher with an incredible wealth of information and life experience to share.  Ted has spent the past twenty years creating and delivering workshops for major companies across the US, Canada and Europe related to positive psychology and emotional intelligence.  Laura’s background is equally impressive, having received her Ph’d from Boston University, and having been a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.

To learn more about the Fall 2011 quarter class,  course text and what you can expect to get out of the class, check out the link here.

For more information about Dr Laura Delizonna, you can also check out her website at www.choosinghappiness.org or read a recent online interview with her here at Sevenpods blog.





Healthy Chocolate Almond Butter “Milkshake”: Vegan or Organic Dairy

This shake is packed with protein and and healthy fats.  Super fast, easy to make, filling and great for recovery after working out.  I used almond butter because I like its flavor better than peanut butter, but you can substitute peanut butter if that’s what you prefer.  For me this is super “decadent” tasting, so I make a batch and split it into 2 servings of 8 ounces each.  Works out to about 210 calories each with over 25 grams of protein.



  • Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (I use my vitamix) until well blended.
  • Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder on top
  • Serves 2.  Enjoy 🙂







Healthy Sante Fe Style Sweet Potato, Veggie and Chile Frittata



A frittata can be an incredibly healthy egg dish made mainly on the stove.  For starters I love eggs so much its kind of a joke with my friends and family.  I can come up with almost any excuse to eat eggs at almost any meal.  Cooking a frittata is much easier than an omelet, and can be used as a  vehicle for almost any kind of veggie, cheese, protein, herb or spice you happen to have around. Frittatas  are traditionally served in pie shaped wedges, kind of like a deep dish pizza, and are easily transportable – in Italy it’s common to take a wedge to work for lunch. I love their versatility, the endless number of ingredient combinations and the fact that a frittata  can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack.  Since its just my boyfriend and I here, I usually make one big deep dish style frittata, in an oven proof non stick pan. (usually a 12 inch  pan) I layer my favorite  ingredients of the day (usually with a lot of sauteed greens), aromatics/ herbs, and  spices and then pour the eggs on over them all and let it set. This size dish can provide several  meals and stores well covered in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

I almost always make my frittatas as flavorful and nutritious as possible, which is really easy to do by cranking up the veggie content, the aromatics, and by using less egg yolks and more whites if you choose.  This particular frittata’s flavor combination reflects my love of southwestern food.

The recipe, ingredients and directions below are exactly how I cooked my breakfast today.  I usually make all my frittatas with more  egg whites than whole egg .  I did include the directions for this recipe for the “regular” version of this dish, which is still extremely healthy on its own.  As a rule of thumb, I almost always add as many different veggies and ingredients as possible, for a more nutritionally dense and balanced meal.  I love potatoes for breakfast but but don’t eat them very often since they are a starchy carbohydrate with not much nutritional value, but sweet potatoes are a much more nutritionally complex version of their not so healthy cousin and play well off of the southwestern flavors in this dish.


  • 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled  and cut into 1/2 to 1/4 inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper (I prefer yellow) chopped
  • 2  fresh serrano or 1 Anaheim chile, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 fresh jalapenos, cored , seeded, and minced (Optional)
  • one small can (aprox 4 ounces) of diced roasted green chile peppers
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped or sliced white mushrooms (Optional)
  • 1 cups of yellow or green zucchini chopped (Optional)
  • 1 small any color tomato seeded and chopped ( Optional)
  • 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar,  pepper jack , Monterey jack  (optional: 1  cup of shredded cheese for much more flavor, yet more calories and fat)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice or if desperate bottle lime juice
  • 5 whole eggs plus 5 additional  egg whites ( optional higher calorie version use 8 whole eggs)
  •  Optional adds:  8 to 12  ounces chopped organic spicy lean sausage
  • Optional serving suggestions: a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, healthy guacamole, or cilantro stems for garnish


  • Adjust top oven rack – with a skillet (ovenproof!) on it, you want the top of the skillet to be 4-6 inches from the broiler. Turn on broiler
  • Cooked the diced sweet potato in salted boiling water for 3 minutes then drain them, or just nuke them in the microwave whole until tender and then dice them. (I’ll admit I totally did the fast “cheater” way in the the microwave.  Its much easier)
  • In a large, aprox 12 inch, non stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, and saute over medium heat the chopped onion, chopped peppers, diced fresh and canned chiles, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes until soft and onions are light brown. Then add the fresh minced garlic and chopped fresh Jalapenos, stir and set aside onto plate.
  • While chiles and onions are cooking take eggs and whites (or just whole eggs), crack them in a big bowl and whisk together until well mixed.  Set aside and return attention to stove.
  • Return non stick skillet to heat and add 1 more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until hot.  Add optional  chopped mushrooms and zucchini until barely soft and set aside on plate with chiles and onion
  •  Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil  to skillet over medium heat and add the sweet potatoes, stirring frequently and cook until the edges begin to turn light brown (7 to 10 minutes).

  • Then add plate to the now slightly browned potatoes the set aside plate of  cooked chiles, onions, and veggies back to skillet along with fresh chopped tomato, and optional chopped sausage, cooking until all is warmed through.
  • Stir in cilantro, lime juice,  salt  and pepper to taste. (about 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper)
  • Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture to the eggs before pouring  egg/cheese mixture over the cooked veggies in the skillet until its evenly distributed throughout.
  • Continuing at medium heat, cook eggs for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom with heat-resistant spatula. When eggs are mostly cooked but still very wet, stop stirring. You want to see cooked egg scattered throughout, but loose egg in between.
  • Continue cooking on stove for another minute so underside sets.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Put skillet under broiler. Watch carefully while top browns. This will take 2-4 minutes
  • Remove skillet from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking in center.
  • Cut in wedges and serve either directly from skillet
  •  Optional:  for a prettier family style service style, place a plate on top of the skillet about 15 minutes after egg has time to cool down, and flip the skillet and the plate over at the same time, so egg  holds it shape when you remove the skillet to serve at the dinner table.  Similar to how you would flip and serve an upside down cake.
  •  For serving suggestions,top each wedge sized serving with sliced avocado, guacamole, salsa, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, and or cilantro sprigs.

Each large wedged size serving contains aprox 350 calories each,  is nutritionally dense and packed with about 12  grams of protein, lots of healthy carbohydrates and healthy fat.





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