Gluten-Free Baking Basics—plus a Breezy Blender Muffin Recipe!

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it is estimated that Celiac Disease affects 1 in 100 people worldwide, though nearly two and a half million Americans are undiagnosed. Celiac Disease is an Autoimmune Disease that affects the small intestine causing inflammation. It is triggered by the ingestion of protein from gluten found in wheat, barley and rye.

Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Gillian White, RDN, LD, CNSC, shares an easy gluten-free Breezy Blender Muffin recipe in this video below. These delicious gluten-free muffins are easy to whip up, low in calories and full of protein for a filling breakfast or snack. Print the recipe.



Learn more from Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services with these video tips on gluten-free ingredients and avoiding cross-contamination when baking for those with Celiac Disease, recently featured on social media. Access more tips, recipes and articles on our Cooper Aerobics Facebook and Instagram accounts.



For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.


Dietitian Approved: How to Enjoy Your Holiday Meal

November 20, 2018 Leave a comment

It’s that time of year. Pies. Cookies. Desserts. How do you navigate the holiday season when it comes to food? Do you opt for healthier, low-calorie foods? Maybe you allow yourself to indulge for just one day?

You might be surprised to learn our Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services team does both! They share their tips for enjoying the holiday season without any guilt.

Kathy Duran-Thal RDN, LD: I wear my fitness tracker during the holidays with a goal of hitting 10,000 steps each day (that does not include dedicated exercise time). I also implement the rule, “if I don’t love it, I don’t eat it.” Thankfully, I really do enjoy and love roasted vegetables and fruit!

Cynthanne Duryea, RDN, LD: I do not allow the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to interfere with my beloved exercise regimen. I need exercise more than ever during the holidays as a stress reliever! I also adhere to the saying, “keep it a holi-DAY, not a holi-week or a holi-month.” In other words, I allow myself to eat whatever I choose on the actual holiday and don’t modify my favorite holiday recipes to be “low-calorie” or “low-fat.” I prefer to enjoy the real indulgent favorite holiday foods without any alterations! That being said, once the holi-DAY is over, I go back to my healthy eating habits. It’s all about moderation!

Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC: I find the holiday season is a great opportunity to reinforce mindfulness. I’m a notorious speed eater which certainly doesn’t help me truly enjoy my favorite holiday foods. What’s the point in indulgence if we don’t slow down and enjoy it? I make a point to actively slow down with food, setting my utensils down and sipping a non-caloric beverage between bites, savoring every delicious morsel. I alsoBlog-Final take advantage of quality time with loved ones, steering conversation away from the decadent holiday spread so I can be more vested in this precious time and season with friends and family. I stay active by signing up for holiday themed runs or walks with friends and family. These events are not only festive, fun and healthy, but are another great way to bring everyone together during the holidays.

Patty Kirk, RDN, LD: Thanksgiving is a day I give myself a little forgiveness. First of all, I always start with breakfast. This helps me control nibbling all day and then gobbling down Thanksgiving dinner as fast as I can. I give myself grace when I have my Thanksgiving meal and allow myself to enjoy my favorite foods. No food is off limits, but I do try to see the bottom of the plate, avoid seconds, eat slowly and remember to feel satisfied, not stuffed. Remember, Thanksgiving is just one day, not an entire week. Try to avoid high-calorie left overs with the exception of turkey and unadorned vegetables. Keep active and enjoy the day!

Lizzy McCrary, RDN, LD: It really helps me to stay active throughout the weeks coming up to the holidays and on the actual holiday. I’m also a big believer in revamping your food environment. That means avoid lingering around the food if it’s too tempting to take extra bites and nibbles. They add up! Once you’ve enjoyed your meal, stay out of the kitchen and away from the buffet table. Out of sight, out of mind! Pick your favorite dessert, not multiple, and split it with a family member. Opt for zero-calorie drinks to keep calories in check and to make room for the other rich foods you’d like to indulge in. Lastly, load up on vegetables. If there’s anything you want seconds of, go for the (unadorned) vegetables! Most importantly, enjoy the day without guilt, knowing this is a single day out of the year and not something meant to go on for days, weeks or months.

Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE: I try to plan ahead for special occasions and pick and choose my favorites. I assess and ask myself, “is it worth it?” and “do I love it?” Just because the food is in front of me doesn’t automatically mean I dive in. Admittedly, there are so many options at a holiday meal and I personally would rather have a slice of pecan pie and skip the stuffing and roll. That’s my trade off! Bottom line—I can still enjoy my favorites without feeling deprived!

Katherine Tom, MS, RDN, LD, CDE: Thanksgiving usually revolves around more movement at my house, i.e. Turkey trots, flag football games and bocce ball tournaments. Staying active while having fun is a great way to keep calories in check!

Meridan Zerner, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD: I often try to do a little “extra” heading into the holidays in terms of exercise so that I have more wiggle room for family, food and fun. Holiday foods, especially sweets, are a challenge for me so not only do I make lighter versions of my favorite pumpkin bread or fudge (there are some amazing substitutions available in cooking), but I cut them into small pieces and put them in the freezer pretty quickly. I would rather eat my indulgences than drink them, so I am mindful to watch liquid calories such as juice, soda, eggnog or cocktails!

To schedule a one-on-one consultation or for more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Bullying: Are You Mentally Prepared?

October 31, 2018 Leave a comment

When you hear the term “self-defense,” being able to protect yourself physically is likely what comes to mind. But should a situation present itself, are you prepared mentally and emotionally?

“Despite what people think, self-defense is primarily mental and emotional,” says Cooper Fitness Center Martial Arts Pro, Mike Proctor.

While Proctor says physical self-defense is relatively simple to learn, mental and emotional self-defense can take time and practice.

Mental self-defense

Mental self-defense is an important skill in many instances, but especially when it comes to bullying. That’s because bullying is all about having power and control over another person.

“Bullying isn’t just a childhood issue,” says Proctor. “It’s an issue everyone faces, even in the workplace.”

How do you mentally prepare to stand up for yourself? Proctor says to not be afraid of the person trying to have power over you.

“Mentally, you need to know the parameters of where you are, what’s going on and how to handle it,” says Proctor.

If you’re in a workplace, Proctor says it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules set by your Human Resources department.

You should also know the environment of your office and what the policies and procedures are. Will your coworkers have your back if something happens? Proctor says it’s important to know who you can lean on for support.

Emotional self-defense

Proctor says anger and fear can make it tough to speak up when you feel disrespected.

“When you deal with people who are bullying you, it’s difficult to not be afraid and not be angry,” says Proctor.

Emotionally, it’s important to know what your response is going to be if someone does something inappropriate. Proctor recommends having a prepared response.

“If your natural response is to hold your breath and not say anything, that encourages the bully to keep going,” says Proctor. “You have to have a well-thought-out response for any level of misbehavior.”

Proctor says statements such as, “I will go to HR about this,” can catch the bully off guard and alert them that you’re not afraid to protect yourself and stand up for what’s right.

Bullies are looking for people who are willing to submit to their power. If you make it look like the bully’s actions and words don’t affect you, it often takes away their power, and they’ll move on.

For more information on self-defense or to schedule a session with Proctor, visit or call 972.233.4832.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Boxing Myths: Busted

If you’ve ever passed by a boxing studio, you know the sport can look intimidating. The punching. The grunting. The sweating. Cooper Fitness Center Boxing Pro Derrick James believes reasons like this prevent people from giving the sport a go.

“In the beginning, a lot of clients say boxing looks so grueling that they’re afraid to try it,” says James. “I think they’re scared they’ll get so tired, they won’t be able to finish the session.”

Yet, James says, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Boxing is a sport he says can be tailored to all ages and of great benefit no matter your fitness level. To prove his point, he breaks down some of the most common myths he hears both inside and outside the ring.

MYTH: Boxing is only for “tough guys”

This comment is perhaps one of the most common James hears and his response is always the same.

“Sure, I work with professional boxers, but I also work with kids, seniors, people with Parkinson’s disease, mothers and fathers,” says James. “My boxing sessions are tailored for each individual and their fitness needs.”

James says he is constantly monitoring his clients throughout the workout, asking them how they’re feeling and insisting they stop for water breaks when needed.

“Once they get over that intimidation factor and see how good it feels to punch, they’re hooked,” says James.

MYTH: 30 minutes isn’t a long enough workout

5Most of James’ boxing sessions are 30 minutes long, but in that time, James says his clients are constantly moving.

“Within that time, we’ll probably jog a half mile, do some work on the stairs, ride the stationary bike and spar,” says James. “This sport keeps you moving and keeps you motivated.”

James adds the calories burned in 30 minutes of boxing are more than you’d get jogging on a treadmill.

In fact, a Harvard University study shows a 155-pound person burns an average of 298 calories during a 30-minute run. Compare that to a 30-minute boxing session, which burns an average of 335 calories.

MYTH: It’s not a full-body workout

You may be punching with your arms, but one punch fires up almost every muscle in your body. When you throw a punch, you’re using power from your hips and legs. Each hit also targets your back, shoulders and core. Boxing can help tone your body from head to toe.

“Boxing is all about toning, not bulking,” says James. “This is a sport that helps lean you out. Weight lifting is for gaining muscle. If you look at professional boxers, they’re strong but lean.”

You’re also constantly moving, which helps make the sport extremely aerobic. Not only is the sport beneficial for your body, James says it can also have a powerful impact on brain health.

“Boxing helps with your cognitive skills, depth perception, balance and coordination,” says James. “It’s also an extremely empowering sport. It makes you feel like you can protect yourself should the need arise.”

In addition, it’s a great way to destress. Relieving stress can lower your blood pressure and make you feel happier─all the more reason to get inside the ring.

To schedule a session with James or to learn more about boxing programs available, visit



Categories: Cooper Updates

Extending the Mission of Prevention

September 11, 2018 Leave a comment

Improving the quality and quantity of a person’s life is something Cooper Clinic physicians strive to do daily. But they’re not just making a difference in Dallas─they’re sharing their expertise and patient care in a country more than 6,000 miles away.

Each year, Cooper Clinic President and Chief Executive Officer Camron Nelson, MD, travels to Braila, Romania, with ServingHIM, a Dallas-based ministry group. The group provides medical and dental services to those in need in the eastern European community of more than 206,000 people. The ministry sends several teams to Romania, Guatemala and Moldova each year.

“The ministry provides medical and dental services, but we also engage in training TheCooperized_September2018-Blogopportunities for doctors and dentists in Romania,” says Nelson. “We’re trying to invest in the future generation of physicians and dentists to increase their capabilities and surgical skills. Our teams are also very engaged in advancing spiritual health in the surrounding communities through our partnership with the local churches.”

While the dentists stay busy performing restorative services and extractions, physicians are diagnosing and treating a plethora of health conditions.

“There’s a huge problem with cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes in Braila,” says Nelson. “I spend a lot of time diagnosing and treating those issues while also teaching the patients, like I do here in Dallas, about the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle.”

Cooper Clinic Dermatology Director Rick Wilson, MD, FASDS, FABVLM, has also participated on multiple occasions and is often busiest of all the medical team.

“They don’t have dermatologists in that part of Romania,” says Nelson. “Dr. Wilson will see skin conditions there he’ll seldom see treating patients in Dallas because the issues have gone untreated for such a long time.”

“We see patients with fungal infections, commonly, plus skin cancers, benign skin growths, psoriasis and a host of other issues,” adds Wilson.

On the first day of the trip, ServingHIM hosts a health fair, consisting of free screenings for blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. Dentists also screen for diseases of the mouth and educate community members about the importance of smoking cessation and dental hygiene.

“We’ll set up on a Saturday morning and people start lining up around 6 a.m.,” says Nelson. “The medical team arrives at 8 a.m. and we’ll see approximately 300-600 people by 2 p.m. It’s a great way to reach out to the community.”

It’s a long, busy day, but one many in the community patiently await.

“Some people wait all year just to come see us because they know American doctors have a high standard of care,” says Nelson. “They value the fact that we take good care of them.”

Diaconia clinic started 20 years ago as a one room clinic with one doctor and a small staff. The clinic is a ministry outreach of Holy Trinity Baptist Church in Braila. Since partnering with ServingHIM, Nelson says the clinic has grown into a four-story building.

IMG_3361The Romanian physicians and dentists saw close to 19,000 patients in 2017, augmented by several medical and dental teams from the United States throughout the year.  The pharmacy at Diaconia provided approximately 16,000 free prescriptions in 2017.

Each ServingHIM team also stays busy with community outreach activities such as vacation bible school, goat ministry (providing goats to needy families) and local school outreach to teach dental hygiene.

IMG_3222Nelson travels to Romania twice a year, once in June to lead a medical/dental team and again in February as part of the Diaconia Board of Directors. The summer trip is approximately 10 days and the team usually provides needed services to several hundred patients during that time. Clinic days often run 10-11 hours each day.

“I always arrive home pleasantly exhausted,” says Nelson. “All of the volunteers, including myself, come home feeling extremely fulfilled.”

“It’s wonderful to give to others without expecting or receiving anything in return,” says Wilson. “Our journey there is just a gesture of love and compassion.”

Categories: Cooper Updates

Self-Defense Tips for College Students

Whether you’re male or female, young or old— knowing how to protect yourself is important. For young college women between the ages of 18 and 22, it is not only important, it is necessary.

It is important to note that being aware of your surroundings is the most effective and proactive method of defense.

“Keep your head on a swivel and refrain from looking at your phone when walking from Point A to Point B,” Cooper Aerobics’ Martial Arts Pro Mike Proctor says. “Do not put yourself in a vulnerable position by not paying attention.”

Proctor recommends taking a class from a skilled professional to actively learn and practice methods of self-defense. In the meantime, he shares a few basic moves in the event you should ever need to defend yourself.

Step 1: EnterNose

If someone is attacking you head-on, always move forward to proactively defend yourself. Turning your back to the attacker will only limit your options of defense.

“The closer you are, the easier it is to protect yourself,” Proctor says. “At arms-length, the attacker is stronger because they can reach out to hit you, knocking you out. You have to get close to really hurt somebody, especially if the attacker is bigger than you.”

Step 2: Strike

There are several methods of striking that are effective. The key is to learn which methods work in specific situations.

  • Eyes

“If possible, attack the eyes first,” Proctor says. “The attacker might be bigger and              stronger than you, but nobody has strong eyeballs. If you can get close enough, use            both hands to poke or claw them.”

  • Neck

Another sensitive area to attack is the bottom of the neck near the collarbone. This          method comes in handy if you only have one free hand available. All it takes is a two        finger push to momentarily cut off air supply and startle the attacker long enough to        get away.

  • Ears

Using both hands to hit the attacker’s ears in a clapping motion can disturb balance           and even burst an eardrum. The abrupt force can cause disorientation and the pain           can hinder the attacker’s ability to focus on anything else.

To avoid a sticky situation, Proctor recommends additional safety tips:

  • Always use the buddy system, especially at night.
  • Carry pepper spray at all times.
  • Never accept a drink from anyone if you do not know where it came from.

For more information on self-defense or to schedule a session with Proctor, visit or call 972.233.4832.

Categories: Cooper Updates

Why You Should Drink Chocolate Milk Post-Workout

Chocolate milk doesn’t have to be full of calories and sugar to be enjoyable. In fact, low-fat chocolate milk can be a satisfying post-workout staple! Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services shares why you might want to reach for a cold glass of chocolate milk after your next trip to the gym.

The Research

 Science shows what you consume after exercise matters and can even aid in your success as an athlete. Chocolate milk has been shown to be an ideal post-workout snack. Aside from being a treat for our taste buds, low-fat chocolate milk provides nutritional benefits such as protein, vitamin D and calcium.

Research from The University of Texas at Austin found low-fat chocolate milk to be a healthier post-workout drink compared to other sports drinks or calorie-free beverages.

The study compared the physical recovery post-workout of 32 athletes over a 4.5 week period. Participants were split into three groups based on which drink they consumed one hour after a workout: low-fat chocolate milk, a carbohydrate-heavy sports drink or a calorie-free beverage.

Results showed the low-fat chocolate milk drinkers had improved body composition over the course of the study, gaining more lean muscle and losing more fat. Athletes who consumed the low-fat chocolate milk post-workout also performed better during their successive workouts.

Health Benefits

 What makes chocolate milk so special? Three reasons you should consume low-fat chocolate milk after an intense workout include:

  1. Carbohydrate-to-protein ratio: Low-fat chocolate milk has the ideal carbohydrate-to-protein ratio of 3:1, which will optimally replenish glycogen stores and build lean muscle post-workout.
  2. Electrolytes: Electrolytes are lost largely in sweat, especially during the hot summer months. Luckily, chocolate milk contains varying amounts of calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium (nutrients all lost in sweat) to replenish these essential nutrients.
  3. Hydration: Chocolate milk is 90 percent water, making it an excellent way to rehydrate after your workout.

What to Look For

 Below is a list of chocolate milk brands recommended by Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services. The nutrition facts are based on a one cup serving.

  • Horizon® Organic Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 150 calories
    • 8 g protein
    • 23 g carbohydrates
    • 22 g sugar
    • 5 g saturated fat
  • TruMoo® Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 140 calories
    • 8 g protein
    • 20 g carbohydrates
    • 18 g sugar
    • 2 g saturated fat
  • Great Value™ 1% Low-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 140 calories
    • 8 g protein
    • 21 g carbohydrates
    • 18 g sugar
    • 5 g saturated fat
  • *Fairlife® Reduced-Fat Chocolate Milk
    • 140 calories
    • 13 g protein
    • 13 g carbohydrates
    • 12 g sugar
    • 3 g saturated fat

*Because Fairlife is ultra-filtered, it contains 50 percent more protein and 50 percent fewer carbs, making it a 1:1 carb to protein ratio.

Alternative milks such as almond milk or coconut milk have little protein and do not offer the same nutritional benefits mentioned above.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian nutritionist or for more information on Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit or call 972.560.2655.


Article provided by Adyson Mitchell, Dietetic Intern, and Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.


Categories: Cooper Updates