About Me

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Technically speaking, I'm a dietitian, but I see myself as a listener, a motivator, coach and teacher of nutrition. I prefer to end a busy day with a glass of red wine while chopping vegetables. Lover of almost anything pickled and fresh baked scones just not at the same time. I'm happiest when I'm cooking for people I love. Why am I so into food? Because I KNOW how much eating well can change your life. What you eat every day is going to impact your body and your mind. It's a confusing world out there - full of diet and food advice that always leaves you feeling like it's that one next diet that's going to be the weight loss answer. Stop waiting for that magic diet, and begin to take one step at a time in the right direction. I'm here to help you on your life-long journey, there's no better time to start!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reach Your Goals with Lifestyle Changes

I wanted to share this article from ABC news that confirms data from recent studies demonstrates lifestyle changes are where it's at for long term weight loss.

How are you doing with not dieting?  If you still find yourself turning to old habits to get weight off quick, and feel like you're not making progress toward your overall goals guess what - that is NORMAL.  I consider relapse part of the process of change.  It's just a speed bump. Tomorrow is a new day. Forget about wasting any energy on what you didn't do right, or what "bad foods" you ate.  Do what you can to re-focus on what's important to you the very next time you make a food choice.  You can't erase the past, but there's always tomorrow.  I challenge you to make one goal right now- about 1 behavior you will work on this week. Write it down, and post it somewhere you will see it each morning to remind you of your new behavior.  It takes weeks to truly change a behavior, so stay consistent and soon your new behavior will become a lifestyle habit.

For example:

The behavior you want to change:  Getting home from work ravenously hungry and grabbing junk food because it's the quickest thing available.

Goal: This week I will bring a healthy snack to work to eat in the afternoon that is satisfying enough to last me until dinner time.

Ok - now that you are about to set 1 measurable goal for yourself this week, I'll share some of what I'm loving now for healthy meal and snacks:

1/2 cup nonfat plain organic European style yogurt from TJ's + 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese + 1 cup of fresh berries (I mix raspberries, blackberries & chopped strawberries). ~ This is a really filling breakfast and lasts all morning. It is a good balance of protein and carbohydrate + powerful antioxidants and fiber.

Air-popped popcorn: snack on 3 cups of this for around 140 calories. Make sure to choose one that is low fat and definitely trans-fat free. Read the ingredient list and make sure your product does not have hydrogenated oil in it. Popcorn is a whole grain too!

Wasabi Wow - a fabulous mix from TJ's. It has peanuts, almonds, wasabi peas, golden raisins and cranberries and I think some other goodies too. 1/4 cup is lower cal than most trail mix and the flavor combination really satisfies sweet and salty cravings.

2 omega-3 hard boiled eggs + fresh cut veggies. This is a fresh and filling afternoon snack.  Eggs are such a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Very satisfying and easy to grab n' go. Boil eggs at the beginning of the week and have them ready to go each day.

So - go ahead and take a couple minutes to dedicate yourself to that 1 goal this week.  7 days from now, check back in with yourself to see if you met your goal. Remember to make is realistic and measurable. If you accomplished your goal, add on a new goal next week.

It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. Make choices that match your goals to make your goals your reality.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soup Season is Here!

It's soup season! Fall has arrived and there is not a better way to welcome the fresh cool air than with a hot cozy bowl of soup. Soup is basically a meal in a bowl. Make a big pot of soup on Sunday and enjoy it all week for quick dinners or bring some to work for lunch. Usually when I make soup, I tend to throw a bunch of stuff in a big pot, let it simmer and see how it comes out. I guess there is some structure to this madness though.. let me share with you how I like to make soup!

Lower cal soups are just as easy to make and are still filling with less calories per serving. Load your soup full of your favorite vegetables like: shredded cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, onion, mushrooms, potatoes, okra and tomatoes. Whatever ingredients you like - and toss it all in the pot!

Step 1: Sautee some veggies: generally onion, carrots, bell pepper, and celery make a great start. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat in 2 Tbsp olive oil. Then add some flavors like crushed red pepper flakes, 2 tsp of dried thyme and garlic powder. Thyme is that amazing woodsy flavoring that reminds you of Thanksgiving, chicken soup, and other fabulous comfort foods.

Step 2: Add your protein - some suggestions are lean ground meat, shredded roasted chicken or cubed chicken breast. You can also go the vegetarian route and add a couple cans of beans later on if you don't want meat.

Step 3: Add your liquid - this can be vegetable, chicken or beef stock or a mix. I suggest you use low sodium, then add salt to your liking to keep it under control. Also add 1 large can of crushed or diced tomatoes. Bring all that to a boil, then drop the heat and simmer!

Step 4: Create more flavor- some additional ingredients that add depth to your soup are a few dahes of cider vinegar, italian seasoning, tomato paste or for a spicy soup go for chile powder and cumin; worcestershire sauce or even some ketchup.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are you out of touch with your food?

Well, starting a new job a couple weeks ago led me off the blogging path for a bit... but this weekend has inspired me to share with you something that I always try to make a part of my day - being in touch with what I eat.  Working with dozens of different people each week to help improve their diets can be challenging in many ways, but one thing I notice so frequently is how out of touch Americans are with their food. Unfortunately- I can't step into my clients' kitchens, grocery shop for them, or plant a box of gourmet lettuces outside their back door to help them make getting in touch with their food a priority.  Many dietitians I know agree, that food is medicine, and eating well is the most important thing you can do for your health.  Have you ever realized how you can feel so crappy from an unhealthy food choice after eating... or how you can feel so great after just one day of eating well - fueling your body the way it needs to be fueled?  Now that's powerful stuff if you ask me.

Ok.. now about getting in touch with your food.  Think about a typical day for you - what and where do you eat breakfast, where does that food come from?  How far did it travel to get to your plate? Are you eating a Starbucks egg sandwich, perhaps a scone, bowl of cereal, or instant oatmeal?  Do you know anything about any of those foods - have  any idea where those oats were grown? Do you have a clue where the eggs in that breakfast sandwich were shipped from and then prepared before they got to the facility that put the eggs together with a piece of ham from another far away corner of the country... and then traveled to another destination that finally shrink wrapped it and put it in a box to be delivered to one of the hundreds of Starbucks locations in your city? A little overwhelming to think of it that way isn't it?  The truth is, most of us are completely out of touch with the food we eat every day. I want to encourage you to take some small, realistic steps to getting more in touch with your food - and just by default I think you will be eating better, appreciating your food more,  slowing down a bit and perhaps even eating less as a result.

So, what have I been doing to get more in touch with my food?  About 4 weeks ago, John and I cleared a plot of weeds and dead palms in our front yard, got our hands dirty, and planted a vegetable garden.  4 short weeks later we are no longer buying bagged lettuce from the store. We are eating fresh picked salads right out of our own soil.  I can't describe to you how flavorful and tender freshly picked salad greens are.  We're waiting on the squash, beets, onions, carrots, peppers and tomatoes. The herbs - the herbs are fantastic. Basil, thyme. parsley, cilantro and chives. Absolutely delish! Although I've known before how great it was going to be to finally get off the pre-packaged salad bandwagon - I never realized I was going to have such appreciation for each little leaf, and taste the difference between each variety, and really slow down when eating my salad.  It has truly brought me a new appreciation for our food supply, the variety of choices we have available, and how much work, energy, and time goes into producing food.  Here is a picture of the greens and herbs from Thursday's dinner:

Ok, so I'm well aware that not everyone has the space to plant an outdoor garden, and that in most places of the country summer is disappearing and fall then winter is upon us.  Do your best to buy what's in season locally where you live. Maybe its potatoes, spinach, butternut squash, cranberries, pumpkins... there are so many choices if you open your eyes, ask questions, and think outside your usual box. We are trying to switch things up here to eat better, so push yourself outside your comfort zone and take a look around.  Nutrients and taste will be far better if you can minimize the travel time between farm and table - not to mention the benefit to our environment.  I met with a pro athlete from Africa who was not eating vegetables. When I asked why, he told me the vegetables in our country tasted bad, like chemicals. I knew then he was right - most likely getting conventionally grown produce, artificially ripened after it was picked, and transported from 1,500 miles away. Many people ask me,  "Is eating conventionally grown produce better than not eating any produce at all?" I think, yes.  But is there a big difference between that and organic, vine-ripened, locally produced fruits and vegetables? - Absolutely. The point is to slow down, really taste what you're eating and appreciate it.  If you do this at all your meals, you will fill up on less food and get much more of an experience rather than just a plate full of calories.

Besides growing your own, or buying locally grown food - there are other ways I want to encourage you to get in touch with your food.  This one is hard to beat.  Make it yourself! Now that we have moved, unpacked, planted the garden, thrown our housewarming party and the summer is over - things are finally slowing down and I can spend a bit more time in the kitchen.  This weekend it was all about baking.  Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. You're probably thinking - the dietitian must have taken out the butter - added some fiber junk, used fake sugar.. blah blah blah.  Nope! These cookies are the real deal.  Remember, how we are Not On A Diet?  Fresh baked cookies fit right in to a healthy and normal eating pattern.  We knocked on a few doors last night and gave our new neighbors a plate of warm cookies - chocolate chips still gooey and all. There's something really warm and fuzzy about surprising someone with fresh baked cookies that feels even better than eating one! Share your food experience: invite friends over for a local organic dinner party or potluck; or bring in something to share with co-workers. You will have a great day at work - I promise.  Don't forget about the joy and pleasure of eating delicious foods, whether it is fresh arugula out of your garden, or fresh cookies straight from the oven.  

I also made pumpkin flax muffins - yes, these are made from a recipe that was altered to lower some fat, improve the protein and fiber and still taste great.  I'm not trying to confuse you,  but want you to see that not being on a diet is about balance, moderation; viewing food for what is provides us and also appreciating it for the experience and pleasure it can create. The cookies are for treats, not so much for breakfast. I would love to tell you to grab cookies for breakfast but I'd like you to try and start your day off with some protein and fiber...which are just what these muffins have.  I like to freeze them and have for an easy grab-and-go breakfast or snack.  It's better than a packaged bar filled with sugar  and preservatives. The  pumpkin is packed with nutrients and the flavors of fall are perfect for this time of year.

So whether  its fresh vegetables or fresh baked cookies - this week slow down, enjoy, and do your best to get back in touch with your food in some way.  Eat something local this week - leave a comment and tell me what you ate!