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!

Monday, February 28, 2011

You Ate, but did you Appreciate? Beauty of Food

One thing I try to teach clients, is to learn to appreciate food more. We tend to take food, in such abundance in our country, for granted. Mindless eating is a behavior that so many of us work hard to change. Instead of trying to change the old, perhaps you can try to focus on something new, appreciating and staying mindful of food. This post is all about reminding you just how excellent food can be. 

In Portland, Oregon ( the city I'm proud to call my hometown) there is an amazing market. It's called New Season's and they provide an abundance of organic, locally grown products as well as specialty items I've yet to see anywhere else. Its being in a place like New Season's, that makes me stop and realize how awesome food is. Natural, beautiful, nourishing foods. I mean, look at this Easter Egg Radish!

 Here are some shots I took just for you. (I also wish someone would see this and open a New Season's down here in the South Bay or at least in LA somewhere!) I am lucky enough to have what I think is the world's best farmers market (blog to come!), so I'm not complaining. But I tip my hat to New Season's for doing a great job of purveying such fine foods.

Local trout stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, garlic and herbs. When was the last time you ate like this?

Our good friend Chris, perfectly helpful with all things produce

An abundance of SUSTAINABLE seafood

See What I mean!??

And their canned goods and products are so special:

Talk about Organic Whole Grains!
The New Season's Bakery - baking fresh every day; sans preservatives, sans high fructose corn syrup

Love This! On a large mural when you walk in: "Sustainable: to keep in existence"

Seemingly endless local specialty products, jams, juices... I am in heaven every time.
A big part of Intuitive Eating, is to eat with awareness. To taste and appreciate your food.  I think too often people are in such a rush, or perhaps so hungry, that we don't take the time to stop and appreciate what we are eating.  When you do this, and truly commit to eating slower and tasting your food, you can be satisfied on less total food. When one slows down, you are able to listen to your body's fullness signals. If you do this, eating all foods in moderation becomes instinctual and simple.  If you struggle with overeating, or you think you have room in your life to appreciate food more - make this a goal to focus on this week.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Unexpected Tasting

Last weekend I spent a dreamy three days in wine country. We were in Santa Ynez, CA and the surrounding areas. You might know this beautiful place if you've ever watched the movie Sideways - a wine-o classic! (If you missed it, watch the trailer here!) It rained and it poured, and on the second day the sun came out. More to come on all the wine later, but for now I want to share what I think is one of the best olive oil and vinegar producers in California. 

We were so lucky to arrive at Lafond winery, a place to go for great wine, on a day when they weren't only pouring wine, but olive oils by il Fustino as well. We met owner Laura and Claire. Laura and her husband started il Fustino oils and vinegars when they realized 3 weeks after retirement that they weren't done working. This time around though, business would be an artful combination of his love for great food and her passion for cooking. They couldn't have done better with this family owned and run operation. These olive oils are fruity, silky, pure and full of depth, you almost want to drink it right out of the bottle! They're amazing all on their own, but I've already begun to experiment with the Extra Virgin Garlic Olive Oil (EVGOO) and 25-year aged balsamic vinegar we took home. The garlic oil is not just olive oil infused with garlic. Both olives and garlic are pressed together so the flavor is out of this world! If you love the flavor of great olive oil you will want to order some il Fustino oil, or perhaps stop in at their charming store the next time you visit beautiful Santa Barbara. 

Here are some ideas I've taste-tested in my own kitchen this week:
  • Fresh Popcorn tossed with two teaspoons of EVGOO
  • Sweet potato wedges baked in the oven with sea salt and drizzled with EVGOO after cooking and just before serving
  • Butter lettuce and arugula salad with heirloom tomatoes, drizzled with aged balsamic and fresh meyer lemon juice
  • Whole wheat linguine with diced tomatoes, and broccoli, shaved Parmesan and drizzled EVGOO
Gorgeous Santa Ynez wine country

So, although we went expecting wine, we left with wine and an amazing new duo of out-of-the-ordinary oil and vinegar I'll be experimenting with for months! Thanks, il Fustino!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thoughts for you on Valentine's Day
We all have someone unique we love:

Perhaps you love your neighbor

You may spend Valentine's with your closest girlfriends 

You might be speding today with the little ones you love

There are some who have romantic plans with their loved ones

Or perhaps today there is a little extra love for something sweet

But wherever you are today, and whoever you're with, don't forget to love yourself! You're not a number, you're YOU! 

 Let's raise awareness for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week starting Feb. 20th.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Living With an Eating Disorder Is Not a Choice

In recognition of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which starts Feb 20th - I'm posting one of the official poster images from the National Eating Disorders Organization. One of the messages I want to spread is "Talk About It". There are so many suffering from shame and silence - and it's time to help the nearly 50% of teen girls and nearly 30% of teen boys who practice unhealthy behaviors that lead to eating disorders. 

Let's stop ignoring this epidemic in our society and start talking about it. Join me and leave comments or questions to get the dialogue flowing. 

Here are some questions to get us going: 
1) What do you think are some of the main contributing reasons why eating disorders are on the rise?
2) How have you helped a friend or family member with an eating disorder?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Oil Obsession in Whole Foods Market

So.. there I was, walking the aisles of my local Redondo Beach Whole Foods Market for lunch and a Kombucha, when I noticed some beautiful oils staring at me. As a food professional,  one of my favorite topics to educate clients on is FAT and OILS.  Fat plays such a powerful role in fighting or contributing (Omega-6's) to low grade inflammation in the body.  By now, you've probably heard about some of the health benefits of Omega-3's, but if you missed it make sure to check out my Reasons to Eat Your Omega-3 post to learn more.

I desperately wanted to share with you what I came across today. In constant search of tasty salad dressings that are not made from soybean oil, (I look for Olive or Canola Oil based dressings because they are lower in Omega-6)... I started turning to the backs of some new dressings I haven't seen before. Here are some good finds:
Why I like it: Made with cider vinegar and olive oil, plus some nice lemon peel, pepper, onion and other goodies. I will definitely try this one, or even attempt to make it at home

Wild Thymes Parmesan Walnut Caesar Vinaigrette
Why I like it: Much lower calorie than other traditional Caesar dressings and it is made with heart healthy oils.

I could not pass up taking a shot of these beautiful cans of oil from La Tourangelle. Hazelnut Oil is super high in Monounsaturated Fat (MUFA) making it great for your cholesterol and it also has a particularly high smoke point so it is good for cooking at higher temps. It is also a good source of Vitamin E. With great nutty flavor, whats not to love about this?  Walnut oil is a rich source of Omega-3's, but needs to stay at a lower cooking temperature than Hazelnut Oil and also needs to stay refrigerated to keep the precious Omega-3s from losing their spunk. This would be a great oil to use with lemon or vinegar as a home made salad dressing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tackle your Health Goals with Your Honey this Valentine's Season

As a girl who aims to stay healthy and happy, I know that I'm always the most successful with my eating and activity routines when my live-in boyfriend, Johnny, is by my side.  When we're both feeling our best, we have more fun and have more energy.  Just because you've got love in your life, doesn't mean all your healthy habits like cooking dinner at home and working out after work have to be thrown overboard.  Living your best life is all about BALANCE. Love and relationships are as equally important as taking care of your body and mind. Read some of my healthy tips for couples in this article on Naturally Savvy, a fun website hub for everything savvy about health, wellness and balanced living

Very often when you find yourself holding hands with someone new, you may let go of  the hold you had on your health and fitness routine. Believe it or not, it is possible to be in a relationship, whether new or existing, that creates a supportive, motivating, and sustainable way for you both to stay healthy and in love. With Valentine’s Day coming up, here are some tips on what you and your honey can do to support each other’s health and  be the best you can be for yourself and your relationship.
Talk about your goals
Share what is important to you with your significant other. Communication is the key to keep expectations of each other’s time realistic. How will you agree on fitting in workouts, keeping a healthy kitchen stocked, and eating out less? If your health and fitness goals are not necessarily similar (and often they are not), talk to your partner about the importance of these routines for your well-being so you can continue to be the awesome person that you were on your first date!

Cook healthy meals together
Use a weekly meal planner and shopping list as an easy way to stay organized during the week. One of the best ways you two can relax and enjoy each other’s company is to throw on some old aprons, get comfortable, and whip up a tasty, healthy meal together. Make sure to keep copies of recipes that turn out great so you can make it again another night. Your recipe database will grow quickly and so will your affection for each other in the kitchen!

Go on dates that do not revolve around a meal
Eating out is usually the center of romantic dates, but if you end up feeling full and weighed-down from rich food, the night might end on the early side. Think outside the box and set dates that include excitement and activity. Get to know each other from another angle, rather than from across the table. Try ice skating, surfing or stand-up paddle board lessons. Jogging or hiking through a state park, or going to an arcade are activities that can help you stay active and get to know each other in a unique setting.  You can even register for a race or marathon together, which will help you both stick to your exercise and healthy eating habits.
Give the gift of health
These gifts are not only generous and thoughtful, but will help motivate your partner to stay active and get fit!  Great gift ideas include a new mp3 player, workout clothes, Wii Fit, or a stability ball for at-home exercises. For the ladies, I cannot leave out perfume or jewelry - we can wear those while staying healthy any day!
Take the lead
With all team activities, it can help if one person stands up and takes the reigns. If you have both been considering getting gym memberships, go tour a local fitness center. Be the one to make the call and sign up for a couples meeting with a registered dietitian in your zip code. Visit www.eatright.org to get more professional support, information and accountability. 
The better you both feel about yourselves, the stronger and more stable your growing relationship will be.  It is also important to remember to schedule some “me time” to decompress, maintain friendships, and of course, make your sweetie miss you just a little.

Written by Sumner Brooks, RockIt Body Pilates’ Registered Dietitian. Follow Sumner on Twitter @MyDietitian or learn more at www.NotOnADiet.com