It’s My Birthday, and I’m Having Cupcakes!

On Wednesday I turned 49, which means I am barreling towards a landmark age at sonic speed. The idea of reaching the half-century mark feels as unfathomable to me as the solicitations I’ve begun receiving for burial plots. I’m sure my introductory AARP magazine with Brooke Shields on the cover is on its way, cementing that I, along with the icons of my youth, are getting old. Neither Brooke nor I are wearing tight Jordache Jeans anymore.

Aging can be emotionally challenging, and while it’d be nice to look 30, I wouldn’t want to be 30. My life now is an exciting, magical ride, that allows me to experience every single thing my younger self dreamed of. What I once yearned to achieve, I now have; the adventure, love, and the personal and professional fulfillment I enjoy, I  could never have manifested in my 30’s.

I was a mess back then. Fueling myself on coffee, ice cream, and Taco Bell, I ate to bury unhappiness and anxiety I felt about spending my life as a practicing pharmacist in an incomplete marriage. I saw no way out, so I ate. The more I ate, the worse I felt.

The decision to change course came swiftly and definitively as I pondered the bleakness of my future at the bottom of another pint of Chocolate-Peanut Butter Haagen Dazs. Envisioning my overweight 50-year old self on various medications to manage weight-related illnesses, taking two vacations a year to Florida because I would be too physically compromised to do anything other than lay on a beach, I felt sudden despair. The vision was so clear, it scared the crap out of me. It was so far from what I wanted. While I knew I had to eventually change careers and get out of my marriage, both seemed far away and scary. So I took control over the one thing I could right away: I began eating for health.

Till then, my food choices were entirely dictated by my weight. I was either “on” or “off” a diet. It didn’t matter that Sweet and Low could give me cancer, or that I was losing hair by cutting fat from my diet. If it promised thinness, I wanted in. Until I couldn’t sustain it , and then I’d go nuts on junk food. It was a horrible cycle. I didn’t realize it then, but my dysfunctional relationship to my diet, health, and body, mirrored my engagement with my life.

When I began nourishing myself, amazing things happened. The most profound change was that I felt better. My mood and anxiety levels balanced out, while my energy soared! My confidence grew. I soon saw that I could take my career in a new direction by getting my Master’s Degree in Nutrition and starting my own practice. That decision gave me autonomy and the ability to take as many vacations as I wanted. And because I was fit, and my body was in shape to do so, I could climb mountains on my holidays. I also lost weight, and never struggled with my body again.

Fifteen years since the day when in my despair I changed my diet to change my life, I can say the results have far surpassed anything I imagined. My life now is an endless adventure. Even work is fun because I love it, making it feel as though I don’t work at all.

So while I may be the age that as I child I considered old, I’ve never felt better, or younger, or more hopeful. And besides, I still have a whole year before 50 and there’s a lot to do!

Building upon the foundation of my health, fortified by daily green drinks, homemade food and exercise, I plan to make the coming year spectacular. Along with the completion of my book, I will be writing more for the Huffington Post, and some other venues that are in the works.

I’ll be trekking the Spanish Pyrenees as well as taking walks in the English countryside and the west coast of Ireland with Fozzy, who is a perfect companion. From our diets, interests and emotional intelligence, we are on the exact same page. We go together like, well, peanut butter and chocolate!

IMG_4768-001I’ll also make time to learn how to play my purple Passionflower Luna guitar. I’d always wanted to play, and when I saw it I felt as though the universe made it just for me. It’s my birthday gift to myself.

With solid lifestyle habits, engaging plans for my future, and the “miracle eye cream” that I slather on every day, I hope to feel and look as healthy and vibrant as I possibly can in the years to come. Life is a wonderful game. If you can approach it as one  you want to win, it can feel like magic sometimes, bringing around people and events that feel divinely guided. But in order for the universe to deliver, it needs your participation.

To create a life that excites you requires energy and engagement. It’s not an accidental journey, but instead an intentional daily practice. You need to know where you want to go, and then every day take a step in the direction of your dreams.

Nourishing yourself will go a long way towards helping you get there. By eating whole foods that promote health, energy and vitality, you are giving yourself the gift of life. When you feel healthy and alive, you can then more readily engage in the creation of a life that suits your soul.

What is YOUR greatest wish? What do you most want to create in your life? I’d love to hear in the comments below. And with it, can you think of one nutritional goal that you can use to help you pave the way? There is a synergy that happens when you pair your nutritional goals to your life goals and I’d love for you to be able to experience that for yourself.

Wishing you all a happy and exciting week!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I still think that there’s no better flavor combination than chocolate and peanut butter. Typically, I satisfy this craving with a piece of dark chocolate and a dollop of peanut butter. This time I decided to experiment in the kitchen and come up with something more befitting a birthday celebration. Made with almond and coconut flours and sweetened with honey, these cupcakes are moist, delicious and perfect for a healthy celebratory treat! Enjoy!


cupcakes3Ingredients for Batter

Makes 6 cupcakes

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl making sure to break up any chunks of flour so that it is well blended.
  • In a larger mixing bowl mix together all wet ingredients until well combined.
  • Add dry ingredients to wet ones and mix well until it forms a uniform batter.
  • Spoon out the batter into lined cupcake tray.
  • Bake at 325 for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool in tray for about 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack and allow to completely cool before frosting.

Ingredients for Frosting

  • ½ cup Wild Friends chocolate, coconut, peanut butter spread
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together in food processor until it’s the consistency of frosting and easy to spread. Spread evenly over each cupcake. Sprinkle with coconut flakes if you so wish. Enjoy!

Share Your Thoughts...

50 comments on “It’s My Birthday, and I’m Having Cupcakes!

  1. AvatarEd Rosenberg

    Happy Birthday Barbara. You have a vitality, honesty, open-heartedness, and wisdom that enriches your writings and is always available during the consultations we have. You are the best! Have a miraculous , joyous fulfilling birthday and 49th year.

    With much appreciation,


  2. AvatarTeresa

    Hello Barbara, Happy Birthday. You continue to amaze and inspire me. And your new website looks great. I look forward to your weekly blog. Wishing you all the best. XXOO. Teresa

  3. Avatarpeter devine

    You seem to have a grip on life and know what makes you happy:sooooo why change? Keep helping people the way you do and you end up helping yourself .Many more

  4. AvatarTheresa Lucchi

    Happy Birthday and a new year full of joy, peace, success, health , and FUN!! Truly want to arrange a consult with you in the near future! I always tell people about you and your blog even though I’ve never met you! But you are definitely not your average nutritionist !! Love you! Oh and can a sister share the name of that miracle eye cream for now?? Lol. Thanks for all you share and God bless you now and always. Xoxo Theresa

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thanks Theresa! That is so nice to hear!! I love knowing you enjoy the blog!

      The eye cream is called Results Rx Eye Doctor. It’s expensive but you only need a little dot of it a day so it lasts a long time.
      Stay well!

      1. AvatarTheresa Lucchi

        Thanks for the eye cream info. Also, how do I book a consult with you? Theresa.
        Ps I love how your mom asked for a pic of you with the guitar!! So sweet!!

  5. AvatarAurora

    Happy birthday Barbara! Your guidance and inspirational words of wisdom have impacted my life tremendously. I am now making the right food choices and I have transitioned from a sedentary lifestyle to an active -healthier lifestyle. I have incorporated all of your recipes in my daily cooking routine. I am a cyclist comitted to support those suffering with Multiple Sclerosis, and I feel very fortunate to be able to make a difference in the life’s of others, just like you do. Many thanks Barbara!

    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thank you for sharing this with me Aurora! That is so nice to hear! Glad I’ve helped you move along towards a healthier lifestyle and that it is helping you thrive.
      Enjoy every minute of your journey!

  6. AvatarCatherine Stapleton

    Happy Birthday Cupcake! :-)))
    Over so many years, I’ve witnessed your perseverance and joy grow — it’s awesome! Thank you for sharing your dreams and inspirations and PLEASE keep them coming!
    ox Catherine

  7. AvatarAnna Continenza-Larkin

    Happy Birthday Barbara ! You look gorgeous as always…and loved reading your story today. Love the guitar too….learning how to play the accordian (I have my dad’s) is on my to-do list! Enjoy the day! Love, Me

  8. AvatarDeborah

    Happy Birthday Barbara!
    It’s your birthday and you can strum and eat cupcakes if you wanna!!! Go girl!
    Thanks for your inspiration and recommend on linking food choice with life choice, it’s all about life, there is no separation.

  9. AvatarDotty

    Smooches….. and Happy Birthday Barbara,

    I love your guitar. Is there another one like it somewhere in this world ? 😉 Purple is my favorite color and I ‘ve also promised myself to learn to play the guitar one day ( I see your day has come). You’re such an inspiration ! Be well and stay “crispy”.

  10. AvatarM.Siddique

    Wish You a Great Happy Birth Day, I Pray for you a Long Happy and Healthy Life, so that You can Guide us for Healthy Life.

    Best Regards,


  11. AvatarMilton

    Since my birthday is tomorrow, I can really relate to this week’s posting! Thank you so much (as usual) for sharing those thoughts, and for spreading your joy and inspiration. I love each week’s thoughts.

    Btw – I’ve been making the “Cashew Lavender Mood Enhancing Pesto” every two weeks or so since you first posted the recipe! I’m not sure how much it enhances my mood, but I LOVE pesto, and it’s replaced whatever brand I used to buy religiously.

  12. AvatarRobyn Kopin

    Happy Birthday Barbara! Thank you for sharing your story! So glad you found happiness! Thanks for all your help. I have shared your blog & recipes with many friends. Hope to see you soon.

  13. AvatarKiesha

    Just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday! The guitar is priceless. Enjoy your day, you make 49 look awesome!

  14. AvatarMarianne Vitale

    Barbara, happy birthday again.This page was truly amazing. Thank you for your honesty and WORDS OF WISDOM,they have touched me dearly.Enjoy celebrating your birthday, you deserve a great one.
    All my love Marianne

  15. AvatarCharles Holmes

    Happy Birthday Barbara!
    I first met you several years ago at an evening lecture on nutrition you gave to members of the University Club. I’ve been reading your blog ever since! I have changed many things about my own dietary habits and exercise and am happy to say as I rapidly approach 59, I’m in the best shape of my life. I weigh 10 pounds less than I did several years ago and exercise almost daily. Combined with healthier eating habits the results make me feel better too! If I could only give up martini’s!

    Congratulations on all you’ve achieved!


    1. AvatarBarbara Mendez RPh MS Post author

      Thank you so much Charles! It is always great to hear that people I’ve met through lectures I’ve done gleaned enough info to maintain a healthy practice! Nice job at keeping yourself fit!
      Wishing you much health and happiness in the years to come~

  16. AvatarJill kaplan

    Happy birthday dear Barbara.
    I wish you all that you wish for yourself. Love this recipe and it’s gluten free!
    I’ve been eating gluten free for almost a month now.
    I retired the end of December and I’m down in Texas for the last 4 weeks. Coming back to NYC to get my apartment ready to sell. Not sure if I’ll stay in Texas or split my time between Texas and florida.

    Sending a big hug. Jill Kaplan

  17. AvatarGabriella

    Happy Birthday Barbara
    We share the same birthday month 🙂
    So The 21 is a perfect day to make your recipe.
    Thank you for sharing
    Sounds scrumptious.

  18. AvatarJim & Ann

    Have a great birthday! We will make some cupcakes to enjoy, think about you and plan the next adventure. How about the coast to coast in 2016? Jim

  19. AvatarMichele Mulvey

    Oh how i love and miss you! how did you know this is exactly what i needed to hear today! i’m so so happy for you and where this journey took you and will keep taking you!
    you continue to be such an inspiration to me!
    love you muchly!

  20. AvatarSandi

    Happy Birthday, Barbara!! Love the guitar.
    Really looking forward to the publication
    of your cookbook. Sandi


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