SB County Food Action Plan Meeting

Come to a free community listening and activation session on Wednesday, October 25 from 6-8 p.m. at the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Public Library (40 E. Anapamu St.) where participants will explore the vision, progress and next steps planned for the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan. This is a great opportunity to share what your neighborhood, business, or organization is doing, and connect with others engaged in making a secure food system for our county.

Come learn about the goals of the plan and hear about successes from the organizations and individuals actively pursuing these goals. Attendees, including individuals, businesses, schools, and organizations of all types, will also be encouraged to inform the process by sharing about their own regional work to create a more secure, sustainable food system. A networking session will provide time to seek out new partnerships and opportunities to support each other.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 24, 2017.


Cocktail Corner: 7th Annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival

Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, courtesy photos.

Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival, courtesy photos.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years, but the 7th  Annual Santa Barbara Fermentation Festival (SBFF) is coming up this weekend and it looks like it’s going to be even better than ever. For those of you who’ve never attended, SBFF is an annual gathering that showcases the history, benefits, and preparation of fermented foods while encouraging attendees to learn, engage, share, eat and drink!

Touted as “every bit as fun as it is healthy,” SBFF features four stages offering hands-on fermentation experiences, educational panels and presentations, tastings, live music and more. New this year are DIY Fermentation Stations, “so the whole family can make ferments and enjoy the endless activities on our festival schedule,” say festival Co-Founders Lynn Hartman and Katie Hershfelt. “Get there early and plan to stay all day.”

Exhibitors  include a number of food artisans, brewers and health experts including brewLAB, Biomic Sciences/RESTORE, Wild at Heart Ojai, Fermentality and others. Do-It-Yourself fermentation stations will offer lacto-fermentation recipes including cherry tomato bombs, sweet lipstick peppers, carrot coins and spiced squash pickles. Expert panelists will discuss the latest research around gut health, the microbiome and childhood development, among other critical topics. A complete list of panelists can be found here.

My personal favorite section, the Farm-to-Bar, will feature extended hours to sample locally made adult beverages from more than 40 purveyers, including:

  • 101 Cider House
  • Ascendant Spirits
  • Boochcraft
  • brewLAB
  • Captain Fatty’s Brewery
  • Cutler’s Artisan Spirits
  • Draughtsmen Aleworks
  • Farm to Bar
  • Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company
  • Lama Dog Tap Room + Bottle Shop
  • Leashless Brewing Company
  • Libertine Brewing Company
  • Martian Ranch & Vineyard
  • Smoke Mountain Brewery
  • Telegraph Brewing Company
  • Test Pilot
  • The Apiary Meadery and Ciderworks
  • The Good Lion
  • Third Window Brewing Company
  • Valley Brewers
  • Ventura Independent Beer Enthusiasts
  • Wylde Honey Wines
  • and more!

This year’s festival will be held on Sunday, September 10, at Rancho La Patera & Stow House (304 N. Los Carneros Rd.) in Goleta from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are available at

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 8, 2017.

A Day Away: The Oaks at Ojai

Healthy spa cuisine at the Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Healthy spa cuisine at the Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Looking for a bit of spring cleaning for the mind, body and soul? The Oaks at Ojai (122 E. Ojai Ave.) is a great place to refresh and recharge your spirit any time of the year. I had a girlfriend getaway for a few days last fall and was pleasantly surprised and charmed at every turn.

Spring is an even better time to visit The Oaks, as April in Ojai brings special celebrations to honor the Pixie Tangerine, a special orange orb grown only in that area. In prior years, The Oaks’s guests have devoured more than 7,000 sweet, seedless Pixies during Pixie month. Expect to find special deals on tangerine tints and scents everywhere this time of year.

The Oaks at Ojai is a great spot for a getaway with friends, courtesy photo.

The Oaks at Ojai is a great spot for a getaway with friends, courtesy photo.

The Oaks is first and foremost a health spa, offering an all-inclusive healthy fitness and weight loss program with up to 15 optional fitness classes every day; hikes; three surprisingly tasty calorie-conscious meals per day, plus snacks and beverages; an on-site health advisor; evening activities and wellness lectures; and complete use of all resort facilities.

Fitness classes are a key component of the packages at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Fitness classes are a key component of the packages at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

Other than spa treatments (which are included with some of the package deals), you won’t have to open your wallet for anything additional at The Oaks. Everything is included, which makes it a perfect time to try out new types of fitness classes. In just a couple of days, I was able to take classes in yoga, aqua cardio, Qigong, stretching, Zumba, aqua tone,Pilates and world grooves dance. Hiking, cardio/sculpting, balance, ballet/barre, dance Beliu and ball & band toning are also offered, along with other classes. There’s also a pool and a nicely outfitted weight room, for those who can’t get enough fitness!

A complete menu of spa treatments is available at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

A complete menu of spa treatments is available at The Oaks at Ojai, courtesy photo.

The pampering side of the spa experience is also well done, with a nice steam room and sauna available, as well as any spa treatment your heart desires. I had an excellent Skin Authority Signature Facial, as well as a pedicure that lasted several weeks beyond my spa experience.

Fresh local ingredients are on the menu at The Oaks at Ojai, including Pixie Tangerines, which are only grown in the Ojai area. Courtesy photo.

Fresh local ingredients are on the menu at The Oaks at Ojai, including Pixie Tangerines, which are only grown in the Ojai area. Courtesy photo.

The food was also surprising tasty. Quinoa was once a dirty word in our house, but after trying Chef Christine Denney’s clever incarnations, I’m hooked and have tried several ideas from her Recipes From the Heart cookbook. All in all, the 1,200- 1,500-calorie-per-day menu was balanced and tasty, inspired by an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lean protein featuring wild fish and poultry, all without a touch of additional salt or refined sugar used in the preparation. Sure, my friend and I brought in our own wine to reward ourselves at night after all of those exercise classes, but it wasn’t because we were actually hungry!

The Oaks at Ojai is located right on the main drag in Ojai, within walking distance of boutiques, restaurants, galleries and more. Courtesy photo.

The Oaks at Ojai is located right on the main drag in Ojai, within walking distance of boutiques, restaurants, galleries and more. Courtesy photo.

An active and inspiring presence at the resort is founder Sheila Cluff, an internationally known fitness expert who created cardiovascular dance in the 1950s, later known as “Aerobics,” and pioneered the concept of the modern destination spa in the 1970s. Now an 80-year-old mother of four and grandmother of seven, Cluff still leads some of the brisk morning walks and hikes at The Oaks and absolutely embodies the lifestyle she teaches.

Cluff has said that she created the retreat to fit the needs of women over 40, and we certainly make up the bulk of the clientele these days. That’s not to say that all ages (and men) are not welcome. The Oaks at Ojai is truly a great place for a girlfriend getaway, but the spa’s approach is casual and welcoming to all, as well as affordable and fun. Plus the charming 1920s Spanish Mission Revival-style hotel fits right in with the artsy laid-back vibe of the town and is right on the main drag of Ojai, within walking distance to boutiques, restaurants, galleries and more. It’s an excellent place to regenerate or spring clean your mind, body, and spirit.  

Leslie Dinaberg

The Oaks at Ojai, 122 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai, 800/753-OAKS (6257),

Originally published in the Spring 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Style File: Natura Bissé’s Pure Air = Pure Bliss

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Natura Bisse Bubble Pure Air at Bacara Resort & Spa, photo by Savannah Johns-Pedrocchi.

Bacara Resort & Spa (8301 Hollister Ave., Goleta) recently added Spanish cosmetics brand Natura Bissé to its world-class 42,000-square-foot Spa and Wellness Center, and as a special treat, had a pop-up appearance of Natura Bissé’s infamous Bubble Pure Air last week.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to be the “girl in the plastic bubble,” and my facial was amazing! The bubble creates an exclusive place to perform treatments where according to a company spokeswoman, “the air guests breathe is 99,995 percent pure. The exclusive experience allows spa goers to immerse themselves in a serene environment filled with soft aromatic notes that take guests on an exquisite journey to well-being. It is a singular experience, providing exceptional results that rejuvenate and purify.”

I have to agree: it felt great and my skin has never looked better!

Established in Barcelona, Natura Bissé has become a worldwide success in the cosmetics industry as one of the fastest growing beauty companies with a strong commitment to research and innovation. The Bacara has launched a new treatment line and service menu with Natura Bissé, with special pop-up appearances of the Bubble Pure Air, so stay tuned for your chance to be the next girl (or guy) in the bubble.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 12, 2016.


Style File: Five New Skin Care Habits for Fall

Courtesy Sebamed

Courtesy Sebamed

Changing seasons call for a few change-ups in our beauty routine. Dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum recommends incorporating these five habits into your daily ritual for a smooth, soft transition into fall.

1. Switch Cleansers.

Start with the basics – If you’ve been using a shine control cleanser (or skating by with a bar of soap), make the switch to a more hydrating, soap-free cleanser. Coconut oil-based cleansers like Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam are one of the most effective moisturizing and anti-aging ingredients, and act as antibacterial active ingredient that removes bacteria to prevent the formation of new pimples. (

Editor’s Note: Another one to try is “Kate Middleton’s favorite cleanser,” Karin Herzog Professional Cleansing, a gentle cleansing gel and makeup remover in one.

2. Don’t Stop Using Sunscreen.

Don’t be fooled by lower temperatures. Cover exposed skin with sunscreen, just as you would in the summer. UV rays are just as strong when hitting the slopes or walking in the rain as they are on the beach. Applying sunscreen daily is the easiest way to prevent sun damage, protect your skin, and not to mention – look younger. Try using products that offer Broad-Spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection, and have a SPF of 30 or greater.

Editor’s Note: Check out this post on Double Duty Sunscreen Solutions.

3. Move to a Heavier Night Cream.

Recover and restore your skin after a long summer with a heavier night cream like Sebamed Anti-Dry Night Intensive Cream which works to protect, smooth, calm and regenerate the skin without clogging pores. The intensive and rich properties of this Night Cream stimulate the skin’s own renewal process overnight for fresher skin by morning. The pH value of 5.5 promotes the skin’s own acid protective barrier against dehydration and irritants. (

Editor’s Note: Here’s a Total Beauty survey of the 16 Best Night Creams.

4. Exfoliate Flaky Skin.

In the summer, we don’t need to exfoliate often. As temperatures cool, practice exfoliating once a week to keep dry flaky skin from shedding around the nose and chin. Select a soft facial scrub (those made with rice bran are less rough) that also uses naturally hydrating ingredients like avocado, coconut or almond oils to avoid excessive dryness and irritation. Immediately following, moisturize with balancing night cream.

Editor’s Note: Exfoliation is key for so many skin issues. We recently tried, and really liked, the Suki Resurfacing Enzyme Peel.  This resurfacing masque is effective from the inside out (it treats the source, not just the symptoms) and the outside in (it treats the surface signs like redness, acne, dryness, etc.). (

Courtesy Uni K Wax Center

Courtesy Uni K Wax Center

5. Maximize Moisture in the Shower.

Our skin loses water to radiator heat and dry air all day long. Replenish and balance moisture content by using a hydrating body wash and lotion every time you shower, like Sebamed Anti-Dry Derma-Soft Wash Emulsion and Hydrating Body Lotion. To prevent dry, crackly, irritated skin, pat (don’t rub) skin dry after a hot shower and apply a moisturizer within 3 minutes to seal in hydration. (

Editor’s Note: We also like Uni K’s Ultimate Balm made with Green Tea and Cucumber to restore hydration to thirsty skin. It’s infused with cucumbers, a natural hydrator and green tea, chock full of antioxidants to ward off environmental toxins, as well as rice extracts to help retain the skin retain moisture.  (

 —Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 16, 2014.

Glow in the Park Benefit for Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine

Glow in the ParkJust when you think we’ve had every kind of fundraiser you can imagine, someone comes up with something new. This time the creative group is Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine, a nonprofit dedicated to providing free, volunteer medical care for the homeless and underserved population in Santa Barbara.

Adventurous participants will assemble atop Elings Park to take healthcare to new heights on September 13. Doctors Without Walls – Santa Barbara Street Medicine (DWW-SBSM) invites the community to take part in an extraordinary experience, right in their backyard. The evening includes a memorable tethered hot air balloon rides, for those who attend the reception, as well as a relaxing meal overlooking the ocean before a dance party amongst the stars.

The evening commences at 4:30 p.m. with an exclusive VIP reception, complete with tethered hot air balloon rides, hors d’oeuvres, and bar. Hosts will be given the special opportunity to thank generous sponsors in an intimate setting as all prepare for the spirited evening ahead.

Glow in the Park opens to all members of the community at 6 p.m. where a gourmet, custom catered field dinner accompanied by signature drinks will be served. Several glowing hot air balloons will illuminate the celebration as the sun begins to set and dinner is savored.

The evening will continue with an AfterGlow dance party with a performance by Hollywood U2, a Los Angeles-based rock band known for their likeness to U2! A heavenly dessert bar paired with Champagne will bring the evening to its peak.

DWW-SBSM saves valuable community resource by providing free, humanitarian medicine for the most vulnerable in the Santa Barbara community. There is a communal understanding of the importance of taking responsibility for our neighbors. “[To combat homelessness] can’t be a cookie cutter approach, and it must be collaborative,” states Mayor Helene Schneider. “We are unique when it comes to our philanthropic community. I like to tease that there are only two degrees of separation in Santa Barbara.” It is this closeness that the DWW-SBSM team relies upon to enable their continued service to the underserved.

“We hope you’ll join us for this special evening in honor of the volunteer doctors in our community, in order to further the essential care that they provide,” invites DWW-SBSM Executive Director, Maria Long. “We are so fortunate to live in such an engaged and enthusiastic community!”

For more information on DWW-SBSM visit For more information on Glow in the Park or to reserve your tickets, please visit

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 3, 2014.

Style File: Staycation Day at the Bacara Spa

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Our summer days are dwindling—at least according to local school calendars—which makes this a perfect time for a staycation day at our very own Bacara Resort & Spa.

I recently enjoyed the heavenly Signature Barbor SeaCreation Facial, an amazing treatment that “unites the elements—Ocean, Sun, Earth and Atmosphere—to refine pores and heal sun-damaged skin.” It was lovely. According to the literature, “utilizing precious extracts of exclusive microorganisms found in the depths of the sea, this treatment is designed for those who want to see a dramatic improvement in their skin while indulging in a strategically choreographed stress relieving massage.”

I don’t know if it was the repairing antioxidants, vitamin c, hyaluronic acid and organic seaweed extracts; the healing fingers of my lovely therapist; or just the rare treat of a quiet Sunday of complete rest, relaxation and pampering, but my skin has never looked better. Plus, a portion of the proceeds from this treatment benefits the Gaviota Coast Conservancy.

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

The Bacara recently revamped its entire spa and wellness program to include an oceanview rooftop terrace for open-air massages, a self-applied marine Mud Bar, and two private lounge areas for European sunbathing and relaxation. In addition, there are a variety of new European and locally-inspired spa treatments including the signature BABOR SeaCreation Facial that I had.

Other popular services include the Organic Bliss facial (“50/80 mins Committed to planting a tree for every product sold, this facial by Eminence Organic is ideal for those deeply committed to the health of our planet. Only the freshest, most natural antioxidants, vitamins and enzyme-rich ingredients are combined to nourish and restore the skin to a new level of beauty and health.”), the Citrus Avocado Polish (“50 mins This invigorating exfoliation uses mineral salt blended with oils of avocado, orange, lemon and tangerine rind and is followed by a warm Swiss shower. Includes a shea butter lotion application.”) and the ExFoleyation (“50 mins Out of the Foley wine tasting room and into the spa, this gentle exfoliation with grape seed extracts is followed by a mineral and antioxidant rich grape seed body butter wrap designed to quench and hydrate the skin to a new level of suppleness.”).

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

Mud Bar at Bacara, photo by Erin Feinblatt

The Spa Café is also delicious. We tried the edamame dumplings, which were fabulous (and healthy!), as was the soba noodle soup made with rock shrimp, asparagus, snow peas and enoki mushrooms. They also have a full menu of customizable smoothies, as well as a nice selection of breakfast and lunch items.

For more information about The Spa at Bacara (8301 Hollister Ave.) including a complete list of services and amenities, visit For reservations, call 877/935-8415 or email

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 27 2014.

Free Screening of “Dislecksia: The Movie” and Q & A with Filmmaker Harvey Hubbell

DIS-400x600_R3Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 individuals, and Harvey Hubbell (who has dyslexia) is spreading the word across the nation that dyslexia is a difference, not a disability. The award-winning independent filmmaker screens his well-reviewed film, Dislecksia: The Movie at a special appearance at Santa Barbara High School on Friday, January 17 at 7 p.m. (700 E. Anapamu St.).

The event is FREE to the public and is the only Central Coast showing scheduled during Hubbell’s West Coast tour. A Q & A session will follow the film.

The film explores the issue of learning differences that are widely misunderstood, and the reason for much difficulty in school; due to increasing research and technological advances, these differences can be handled in a positive way  when there’s greater awareness and understanding.

The event is sponsored by the Santa Barbara School District, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, The Kirby Jones Family Foundation and The Dyslexia Project. Spanish interpretation will be available.

For more information email

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on January 13, 2014.

Neighborhood at odds

Planning Commission hears concerns on converting St. Francis into Cottage employee housing

Almost 150 people packed the hearing room at City Hall on Thursday, no small feat the week before Christmas. In the hot seat was Cottage Hospital’s plan to develop condominiums on the old St. Francis Medical Center property.

“No one at Cottage Hospital ever imagined that we would have to build houses to fulfill our mission, but we have to do just that,” said Cottage Health Systems‘ CEO Ron Werft, in presenting the project to the Planning Commission. It costs roughly $40,000-$50,000 to recruit and train an employee, said Cottage spokesperson Janet O’Neill, so part of the hospital’s motivation is to retain employees.

Describing the proposal to build 116 units on the site — 70 percent of which will be affordable or “workforce housing” for employees — Marshall Rose, chairman of the nonprofit’s housing task force, anticipated objections from neighbors. “This is not about ruining a neighborhood; it is about replacing a once vital healthcare organization with an even greater need,” he said.

The crowd was split on the project’s merits. Expressing empathy for the difficulty Cottage has recruiting and retaining top talent in this expensive housing market and applauding its efforts to provide housing were top officials from UCSB, Santa Barbara City College and Westmont. One neighbor against the project commented afterward, “They really brought in the suits. But our opinions are just as important.”

Criticism mostly centered on neighborhood compatibility concerns. While Cottage and city officials held two neighborhood meetings, the general consensus among those who live nearby was that their concerns weren’t being accommodated. “The comments have neither given the neighbors much hope or much confidence,” was Steven Doty’s written response to the plan.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of fear, I think it’s a matter of trust. I don’t think it’s been earned,” said Joan Marshall, another neighbor.

“We’re all for workforce housing,” said Dee Duncan, who works closely with Bungalow Haven neighborhood association. “But protecting and preserving is equally important to the people who live here.”

Cheri Rae, also from the Bungalow Haven group, expressed dismay after the hearing. “It sounds like the employees are pitted against the neighbors. That’s not true. We are workforce people. We just don’t want to lose the quality of life that has attracted us to Santa Barbara.”

Several in the audience and on the commission said they thought the concurrent Cottage Hospital remodel project should be planned in parallel and suggested that some of the existing St. Francis Medical Center facility (set to be demolished) could be put to medical use, with workforce housing put in the neighborhood near Cottage. Other concerns were how long the property would remain affordable, the number of market rate units, a lack of green space on the property and that there was too much parking, since Cottage said it plans to run a shuttle to its facilities in Santa Barbara in Goleta.

The meeting was an initial concept review, so the commission took no formal action on the project other than to provide feedback.

Originally published in South Coast Beacon

Do Kids Make You Fat?

Photo by artur84

Photo by artur84

Only if you add sugar.

I have no doubt that having kids makes your heart fuller and your wallet slimmer, but what about your waistline? According to a study by the University of Iowa College of Medicine and the University of Michigan, living with the little darlings also makes your belly bulge. And I’m not talking about pregnancy pudge here. Nor am I referring to all of that “drinking for two” that most fathers-to-be indulge in.

Nope, an examination of the nutritional cost of parenting found that simply living with children boosts your fat intake by almost five grams a day.

Could this mean that those last few bites of macaroni and cheese, pizza crusts and Girl Scout cookie crumbs actually count as calories? Even if you eat them standing up? What if you don’t want to carry the rest of the soccer snacks all the way back to the car? Or what if you bought the extra box of candy for a good cause? Those calories couldn’t possibly make you fat.

As caring and health-conscious parents, my husband and I do our best to intervene with the Halloween candy, Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses, Hanukah gelt, chocolate Easter bunnies and infinite supply of birthday goodie bags. Was it possible that this conscientious parenting was making us fat?

Before I got too stressed out about all this (and began foraging through the leftover birthday goodie bags for chocolate), I went to the most reliable and accurate source of health information available, Google. What do you know, not only does having kids make you fat, so do a lot of other things.

The International Journal of Obesity asked a group of scientists to weigh in on some of the causes of obesity. Number one was subscribing to The International Journal of Obesity.

Their remaining top ten list: 1. Inadequate sleep (there is definitely a connection to having children there). 2. Endocrine disruptors — substances in some foods that may alter fats in the body (I knew all that celery would end up biting me in the butt). 3. Pleasant temperatures — air conditioning and heating limit calories burned from sweating and shivering. 4. Fewer smokers — less appetite suppression. Also, dying makes you very skinny. 5. Medicines that cause weight gain. 6. Population changes — more middle-aged people in the population, who have higher obesity rates. 7. Older mothers — they tend to have heavier children (because they can’t hear Junior when he asks for that fourth cookie). 8. Genetic influences during pregnancy. 9. Darwinian natural selection — fat people living longer. 10. “Assortative” mating — overweight people procreating with others of the same body type, gradually skewing the population toward the heavy end (and providing a boon for the wedding registry business by providing the “supersize” option for china, bedding, towels and lingerie).

Architecture can make you fat too. That’s right, now they are saying that buildings and the way they are designed can make you fat.

“Take out all the elevators in buildings and people would be more fit,” urges a British architect. Even making stairways easier to find will help encourage fitness. And putting houses closer to shops, restaurants and workplaces will encourage people to walk or ride bikes. That’s right, that suburban ranch house that you bought once you had kids…it’s making you fat.

To counteract this phenomenon, I hear that an aerobics tycoon in Dallas is developing a 51-acre community that will be geared around a comprehensive wellness program.

Homeowners will pay a premium to build their own homes alongside a personal trainer, in 300 hour-long sessions. Only a limited number of cars will be allowed in the complex because guess what–you know what else makes you fat–cars. According to a study of Atlanta residents, there is a correlation between driving and weight gain. Each additional hour spent in a car per day is associated with a 6% increase in the likelihood of obesity. You know where moms spend most of their lives? Cars.

All of which leads me to the obvious conclusion that the witch in Hansel and Gretel must be thin because she built her own house, drives a broom, and eats kids instead of living with them. Hmmm…could this be the new Atkins Diet?

Do kids make you fat? Sound off at by emailing For more columns visit Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on October 7, 2011.