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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Call with Bob Greene, Oprah’s Personal Trainer!

Last month I was invited to participate in a conference call with BOB GREENE…yes, THAT Bob Greene, Oprah’s personal trainer and health guru. There were less than 10 bloggers on the call (Bob’s first blogger conference call, in fact), and we each got to ask him two questions directly. He was super nice and shared some great information, so thought I would finally sit down and share it with YOU!

barilla whole grain pasta

Here are a few of Bob’s health pearls of wisdom! I’ll start with my two questions for Bob.

1) Are vitamin supplements and vitamin-fortified foods worth it? Do our bodies actually absorb them and should we be taking/eating them? Bob said that yes, supplements are a good insurance policy. He talked about how even though vitamins directly from foods are the best, so much of our food is picked early, so its nutritional content is not as high as it should be. A vitamin supplement is a good way to fill in the gaps and your body will absorb some of the nutrients. He recommends taking a multi-vitamin and a calcium supplement each day. He also thinks the vitamin-fortified foods are great and help with absorption.

2) How do you get kids to eat healthy foods? He literally said, “I know you’re all going to roll your eyes,” but just feed them healthy food. He talked about how it’s all about exposure. If they don’t know about something, they won’t want it. He also talked about the importance of the parents’ diet as an example to the kids. Okay, nothing I didn’t already know…but a good reminder nonetheless. I suppose the battle continues! 😉

A few other things he said that I liked:

  • When asked what one big habit should someone change to get healthy…he said there is none. It’s all about balance, small steps, gradual change. The most successful people are the ones who take small steps every day. When you try to change too much at once, you’re setting yourself up for failure. The key is BALANCE.
  • Any specific foods to aid weight loss? There are no miracle foods out there. Step 1: Eat smart…fruit in moderation, lots of veggies, lots of whole grains, foods high in calcium and fiber. Step 2: EXERCISE, including strength training
  • Beans are a super food…eat them at least 2 times per week.
  • Yoga – serves as an excellent strength training exercise. Again, he mentioned the importance of strength training and that the more body weight placed on a joint the better…strength training needs to challenge you in order to see change.
  • Regular pasta is different than white bread…as in healthier. It’s not the same refined white flour. That said…the whole grain pasta is even better for you than regular pasta!
  • Is exercising for 30 minutes twice in a day the same as working out for 1 hour at one time? Splitting your workout is okay to do. There are benefits when doing a long workout…but there are also benefits to getting two different boosts to your metabolism. Either way, you’re good…just exercise!
  • Bob loves BOB jogging strollers…which is funny since it’s his name. And might I add, I also love BOB jogging strollers…one of the best investments we’ve made.

There you have it, the highlights from my hour with Bob!

Oh! And you may be wondering why there is a box of Barilla pictured…Bob is working with Barilla to promote their new Whole Grain pasta line (hence the conference call). Visit for more information. I bought my first box of their whole grain pasta and, as Bob promised, it was good! The texture was a bit nicer than other whole grain pastas that I’ve had and I definitely liked this penne better than other whole grain pennes I’ve tried.  My way-gourmet friend Adrianne lived in Italy for a few years and says Barilla is the only dried pasta in America that she likes…if it has Adrianne’s seal of approval, you know it’s going to be good!

Thanks to Bob and Barilla!


  1. 1

    We’ve been eating Barilla for years! I made the change due to having type II diabetes and the rest of the family has hardly noticed! It also allows me to eat my favorite foods again without a significant blood sugar spike! Yummy!

  2. 2

    FUNNY! I was just reading the post thinking, ohhh I better comment on how much I love Barilla Pasta…. Thanks for doing it for me! Even their whole wheat is better than other brands in my opinion. Seriously, it’s the best and not as expensive as De Cecco(another really good brand).

    Another thing that I love about Barilla is their Piccolini line of smaller shaped pastas. My kids LOVE them. Perfect for little hands.

  3. 3
    Jane Maynard

    that’s great to hear, kim! and adrianne…I never forget your culinary wisdom…every time I buy pasta (barilla!) I think of you 😉

  4. 4

    Yes Barilla is a brand very use in Italy and the other is DeCecco….even is more so expensive in America.
    I wouldn’t eat other brands.
    I eat Barilla all my life and I was glad to discover that was in America when I move here from Italy.

  5. 5

    I’m disappointed in bob’s cop-out answer to the vitamin question. Personal trainer though he may be, it doesn’t seem that’s he’s much of an expert with small bowel absorption or cell uptake of vitamins and minerals. (That being said, he’s in all likelihood right, supplemental vitamins and supplemental calcium are good insurance policy, especially if you’re a post-menopausal woman or 65 year old man–but it can be an expensive one too…especially for a young healthy individual with no need to supplement). It is a billion dollar industry though, and who doesn’t like a little bit of expensive urine?

  6. 6
    Jane Maynard

    I love your comment, aaron. you always make me laugh and keep it real.

    I must admit…I remain unconvinced and skeptical of vitamin supplements and especially vitamin fortified foods…but I do think “insurance policy” is good way to look at it…and there is something to be said for the lower nutritional level of a lot of the fruits and veggies on the shelf at the store. but yeah, I’m with ya.

  7. 7

    I have always eaten only Barilla pasta (I grew up in RI, which was 96% first or second generation Italian at the time) and as soon as they came out with the whole grain variety I switched over completely..okay, except for their angel hair. My kids love it. You can buy it in bulk at Costco and BJs so I’m happy!
    As far as kids eating vegetables. My kids are expected to eat them and all four like most vegies. (We don’t serve brussel sprouts in our house!) If they 1. Have them at every meal and 2. Are expected to eat their food then you don’t have an 18 year fight on your hands. My ex-mother-in-law used to put something in front of her kids and say, “You may not like it but please try one bite.” Ack!

  8. Check out an article that Bob contributed to as’s Celebrity Guest Guide. Also check out his Q&A with our Exercise Guide.

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