Posts Tagged ‘wellness’

Taco Soup, Our All-Time Favorite Recipe

October 4, 2014 Leave a comment

So have you heard that October 4 is National Taco Day? According to the National Taco Day people, last year we ate more than 4.5 billion tacos. While taco is essentially the synonym for a sandwich in a tortilla, I want to take this one step further and talk about a sandwich in a bowl, what we call Taco Soup.

If you’re like me, a soup named “Taco Soup” sounds a little spooky—it connotes Tex-Mex flavors, but then I have images of previously crisp taco shells mixed with lettuce, tomato and cheese floating around! However, this poorly named soup is actually the number one, hands down favorite “go-to” recipe for legions of people who have attended our week long Cooper Healthy Living program over the years. It’s a workhouse of a dish exactly like all the various kinds of soft tacos. We incorporate leftover bits of protein with fresh crisp vegetables and salsa! But I digress.

Nutrition is a huge interest for most people, and in the Cooper Healthy Living program we spend about a third of our time either talking about food, or eating! In addition to workshops on optimal nutrition, stocking your pantry and refrigerator and dining out, each session includes two cooking schools and numerous healthy eating cooking demonstrations. This soup often turns up sometime throughout the week and so far, everyone loves this soup!

The recipe makes serious cooks scoff—definitely a semi-homemade recipe, if ever there was one! And yet it tastes delicious, healthy and somehow unhealthy all at once. You know what I’m talking about when I say it tastes “unhealthy”—it’s so delicious it’s hard to believe it’s really a terrific option when you’re trying to eat well and maybe even lose a few pounds!

When we talk with all the folks who have come to Cooper to live a healthier life, a concern for most is that they just don’t have time, or are simply too overwhelmed to figure out how to get a great, good-for-you meal on the table every night. Enter Taco Soup, dinner in a bowl.

Director of Nutrition for Cooper Healthy LivingKathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, was thinking about the harried home cook when she concocted this soup. This recipe is quick and easy and it’s adaptable, exactly like building individual tacos. Do you like things hot and spicy? Add a can of green chilies or a can of Ro*Tel®. Hate bell pepper? No problem, just leave it out! Does your kid think they really only like corn? Add an extra can! Want to expand the recipe as you’re having more people for dinner than expected? Again, not a problem!—Add a couple more cans of beans, corn and/or hominy.

All of us on the Cooper Healthy Living team make this recipe and we all make it a bit differently. At my house, I always use two cans of fire roasted tomatoes, a big can of green chilies and three cans of beans (usually one each of pinto, red kidney and black). I sometimes add a second can of hominy (and yes, the yellow and white taste the same). All of us like to make as big a pot of soup as possible as, sans the garnishes, it freezes beautifully.

On nights when we get home late, or are just too tired or busy to think about dinner, I pull out a dinner-for-two sized container from the freezer and pop it into the microwave. As the soup heats, I set out bowls and dig through my pantry and refrigerator for garnishes. While fresh lime, chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream are my favorites, fresh diced raw onion (any type) and pickled jalapenos are also wonderful.

In Cooper Healthy Living we teach the science of nutrition, but within the framework that healthy food should taste good and be easy and attainable. And this soup fills that bill. With a little bit of lean protein, beans for fiber, corn and tomatoes as vegetables, and a little bit of fat, this magic combination makes for an entree that will keep you full for the next 5 or 6 hours. It’s truly a perfect example of healthy eating.

If you need help in making sense out of your health and incorporating some healthier habits into your routine, think about coming to spend the week with us. Until then, enjoy a delicious bowl of Taco Soup. Share in the comments how you and your household adjust this recipe to make it your favorite soup, too!


  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced (we like red)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 lb lean (97/3) ground beef or turkey
  • 15 oz. can low sodium pinto beans, undrained
  • 15 oz. can low sodium corn, undrained
  • 15 oz. can yellow hominy, drained
  • 15 oz. can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 package reduced sodium taco seasoning mix
  • 1 package (dry) Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix
  • Fresh lime (optional as garnish)
  • Chopped Cilantro (optional as garnish)
  • Light Sour Cream (optional as garnish)


  1. Saute yellow onion and bell pepper in olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Cook ground beef and drain.
  3. Combine vegetables and meat into a medium soup pot. Add beans, corn, hominy, tomatoes, and chicken broth (optional).
  4. Stir in taco seasoning and Hidden Valley Ranch mix. Cook until warm and combined, about 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, fill bowl and garnish with fresh lime, chopped cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.

Nutritional Analysis
One Serving | One Cup

Calories: 134
Protein: 6 g
Fat: 1 g
Sodium: 650 mg
Carbs: 28 g

BIG Things Happen at Cooper!

Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, Founder and Chairman, Cooper Aerobics

Have you seen the B&G letters around the city of Dallas? When you stand in between the B&G (like Dr. Cooper here), the six foot tall letters spell BIG! These letters are part of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau (Dallas CVB) branding campaign “Big Things Happen Here!”  Now until July 7, we at Cooper Aerobics have our own set on campus.  Prior to joining the Cooper Aerobics team as Vice President of Marketing and Communications, I worked as a VP for the Dallas CVB on its rebranding campaign. Two years ago we conducted research studies alongside TracyLocke with residents and visitors alike to determine our city’s new tagline. At Dallas’ brand launch event in March of 2013, the life-size letters were part of a four-week social media contest but have gained popularity resulting in more than two dozen sets across the city a year and half later. Thousands of photos have been shared on social media with #DallasBIG. As I made the transition to Cooper Aerobics earlier this year, I quickly found out that BIG things happen every day on the Cooper Aerobics campus.

Cooper Fitness Center completed a $7.5 million renovation in February and the Cooper Hotel is in the final stage of its $1 million renovation.  Just this week, Olympic Bob Sledder Johnny Quinn shared his story to more than 40 youth campers and last week Olympic Speed Skater Jordan Malone joined Summer Camp at Cooper Fitness Center. Our concierge medicine program Cooper Clinic Platinum announced a third physician joining that practice and Cooper Consulting Partners recently hosted a Fit:Business Seminar, just to name a few.

See photos of members, patients, guests, campers and teammates (employees) in the B&G on the Cooper Aerobics campus. Share your spirit to Get Cooperized by taking a photo between the B&G. Share with us on social media with #DallasBIG and @CooperAerobics.


Cooper Fitness Center Renovation Celebration

In February Cooper Fitness Center celebrated the completion of its $7.5 million renovation. We marked this milestone the Cooperized way with a ribbon run-through and media were on-hand to capture the moment. We also had a members’ event and Cooper Aerobics teammates (employees) demonstrated exercises in each of the newly-renovated areas.

Not only did the renovation bring expansion to the facility, modern technology and beautiful finishings, but it was a milestone in the aerobics movement Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper started in 1968. Watch the video below to hear about Dr. Cooper’s impact and the vision his son, Dr. Tyler Cooper, has for Cooper Fitness Center to Cooperize the next generation.

View Photo Gallery | Read News Release | Request a Tour | Visit

The next phase of the campus-wide renovation is Cooper Hotel & Conference Center. Read the press release, see photos of the progress and stay tuned!

Live Longer, Be Lean, Be Strong!

November 20, 2013 1 comment

Cooper Clinic’s Rick Wilson, MD, FASDS recently published a new book/his first book, Ultimate Health with Tony Jeary, Jennifer Engels, MD, and Tammy Kling.

Ultimate Health isn’t your traditional health book. “This book in intentionally basic and designed for simplicity,” says Wilson.

Dr. Wilson just celebrated his six years as a preventive and cosmetic dermatologist and vein specialist at Cooper Clinic. He said he has always wanted to write a book and is glad he found a team to produce Ultimate Health.

“We wrote this book to change your beliefs about aging and longevity. We want to guide you to developing helpful habits that will add years to your life and life to your years,” Wilson’s co-author, Tammy Kling stated.

The Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH and his son and CEO Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH contributed to Ultimate Health as along with many other health and wellness experts from Cooper Aerobics.

In the first section of the book, the authors selected 20 areas that can have the most impact on your health from lifestyle to mental management, vision to vitamins. Each topic is covered at-length and has Ultimate Health VIPs (very important points) at the end of each chapter for quick reference.

The second section of the book consists of “Reference Lists of 25”. This includes, 25 Healthy Foods, 25 Unhealthy Foods, 25 Terms to know, 25 Actions to Speed up Your Metabolism and 25 Tools for Your Ultimate Health Tool Chest. And, the third section is packed with Health Tools.

We are proud of Dr. Rick Wilson and his team’ collaboration to create Ultimate Health and help extend our mission at Cooper Aerobics, to Cooperize the World!

Ultimate Health is available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle. Learn more about the Cosmetic & Preventive Dermatology and services by Dr. Rick Wilson at Cooper Clinic here.

Dr. Rick Wilson is a preventive and cosmetic dermatologist and vein specialist at Cooper Clinic. He received a Bachelor of Science from The University of Oklahoma and a Doctor of Medicine at The University of Texas at San Antonio. He completed an internship in internal medicine at The University of Oklahoma, Tulsa and a dermatology residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Dr. Wilson is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and author of Ultimate Health: Live Longer – Be Lean – Be Strong! (Carpenters Son Publishing, 2013). Dr. Wilson served in the U.S. Army as a flight surgeon and was Chief of Dermatology at Irwin Army Community Hospital in Fort Riley, Kan.

Cooper Clinic Dietitians “Clear Up the Confusion”

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

If you’ve attempted to live healthily, then you know it’s difficult to navigate the myriad of diets and nutrition claims on the market. How do you distinguish what’s  fact and what’s fiction? Are you really on the right track to live a healthy life?

Cooper Clinic is hosting its 2012 Nutrition Seminar on Saturday, October 6 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. here at Cooper Aerobics Center. Our leading registered and licensed dietitians will clear up your confusion about nutrition, weight loss and health with practical tips and strategies to achieve real results.

The seminar will cover hot topics like:

  • The truth about the latest fad diets including Paleo, Dukan and more.
  • What’s new in fitness and health.
  • “Wheataphobia” vs. needing a gluten-free diet.
  • New strategies to begin a well-rounded healthy lifestyle.

The seminar is $40 and will include a live cooking demonstration by a Cooper Clinic culinary expert Kathy Duran-Thal, RD, LD, and a healthy breakfast.

Click here to register.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Happy Birthday Dr. Cooper

Kenneth Cooper, MD, MPH, turns 80 on March 4, 2011. The acclaimed “father of aerobics” and fitness icon couldn’t be happier about his accomplishments in his professional and personal life. Hear what Dr. Cooper has to say about his upcoming birthday and what the future holds.

Visit our Facebook page to wish Dr. Cooper a very special “Happy Birthday,” or leave a comment below the story.

Go through history with Dr. Cooper with the Cooper timeline and read more about Dr. Cooper’s upbringing and success.

Don McNelly, 744 marathons at 89 years old

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Legendary marathoner Don McNelly joined Cooper Aerobics Center members today for a special discussion about his life’s run. Don has been a patient of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper for 35 years, and is living proof that exercise can ‘square off the curve’ as Dr. Cooper always says.

The subject of the recently published biography, The Madman, The Marathoner, Don and author Juanita Tischendorf regaled the audience with tales from marathons, 60 plus years of marriage and more.

Hear more from Don and Juanita in this post event interview:

Snacking — It’s a Good Thing

Do you want to have more energy throughout the day and less stress, and lose weight while you’re at it? If the answer is yes, then you’re in for some great news!

Snacks can help fill in the gap between meals, giving your body and mind a real boost. If you select sensible snacks they can also help meet your nutrient needs for the day, especially if you’re running low in certain areas like fiber.

As a dietitian, when I’m asked what I eat in any given day to keep my weight on track, my answer always includes my planned snacks. Honestly, I couldn’t see a day through without them!

What’s a meaningful snack? The formula for smart snacking is as follows: start with a high fiber carb (a piece of fruit such as an apple or pear or a whole grain food such as whole wheat crackers or a whole wheat tortilla), then add a healthy protein or fat (1 tablespoon of peanut butter or 2 tablespoons of almonds).

Six steps for power snacking:

Plan ahead—the more you plan your snacks, the more likely they are to be healthy. It takes the stress out of having to think about what you’re in the mood for.
Listen to your body—pay attention to hunger and fullness while you snack so you can strategize the best snack to fit your schedule in regard to time of day, type, and size of snack.
Balance—combine healthy carbs with protein.
Keep snacks handy—stash your snacks where you need them (in other words, don’t leave home without them!).
Moderation—it’s okay if you get off track every now and then, just get back into the swing of things the very next day.
Calories count—keep your snacks around 150-200 calories a piece.
Here are some simple snack ideas for 200 calories or less:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla + 2 tablespoons of hummus
  • 1 small piece of fruit + 1 low-fat string cheese
  • 5 reduced fat whole wheat crackers + 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes + 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
  • 1 small piece of fruit + 10 almonds
  • 6 oz. non-fat flavored yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon raisins + 1 tablespoon peanuts + 1/4 cup high fiber cereal

Now that you have a plan, get snacking! Let snacks be one of your tools for permanent weight loss success.

For more information about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit our  website or call 972.560.2667.