The Week in Review
I’ve been trying to write my blog every other week. I always said I’d write when I had a topic. This past week I missed a week because I was in California and I didn’t really have any pressing nutrition topic to discuss. This week I still didn’t have an actual topic to discuss but instead started writing about a few things that happened over the past week. So here it is, random thoughts and events in my life:
This past weekend I went to California to visit my nephews. I used to live in San Diego and I do miss California. Going to visit my nephews feels like a mini-vacation. The bonus is they live in a great destination. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve grown and changed in such a short period of time. My one nephew loves to read and any chance he gets he’s immersed in a book. My other nephew is a bundle of energy at age 5. I’m not sure how I kept up like I did, but I think I didn’t want to miss out on anything! From going to the Botanical Gardens and making our own origami boats to race at the stream (Curious George made some boats in a book my nephews had read and my nephew remembered and thought it’d be a good idea for us to bring our own boats. The origami making ensued.) to jumping on the trampoline and creating super powers to fight off the “bad guys”, there wasn’t a dull moment in the visit.
It got me thinking. They’re so full of energy and they just inherently have the instincts to eat when they’re hungry. I’m not sure where that gets lost along the way, but somehow it does. We had our three main meals and if they were hungry they ate, if they weren’t hungry they played with the food. It was pretty simple. In between if they were hungry they’d ask for a snack (maybe they didn’t eat enough from the previous meal or maybe they were busy burning off the energy they just consumed or maybe they’re in a growth spurt) – it was simple, if they were hungry they ate! Now they are pretty normal 5 and 9 year olds and vegetables are not their favorite thing in all the world. But the truth of the matter is you just have to keep offering them the vegetables and offering them in different ways. Some days the 5-year old will eat the mushrooms and some days he does not. It’s the truth. No need to get riled up when he doesn’t and no need to beg them to eat them, simply keep offering. Get creative with the vegetables and make sure they’re full of flavor – healthy foods can taste good! Here are a few to get you started.
My flight was delayed on the way back from CA. I was expected to get in at an appropriate time – ample sleep before the next day, or so I thought. It ended up being just 5 hours of sleep. And while my work week was just a four day week each day was BUSY with late nights. Let’s just say I think I finally wore myself out! It was the perfect storm – adjustment to the time change, lack of sleep, long work hours – my immune system tried but was finally depleted. I haven’t been sick with a cold or the flu in over 2 years! I like to think that I feed myself and am overall healthy so I can fight anything off. This time, not so much. Sore throats are the worst. Everything you eat tastes off. Then mix in the now stuffy nose and I can’t smell anything – that makes eating more of a challenge. Resting and blogging today. Hopefully the worst has passed over. Aiming to get lots of natural vitamins and antioxidants, I’ve been loading up on all the colors of the rainbow. Even if I can’t taste it I’m making sure I’m getting it (and not in a juiced form).
One of the spices that has become quite popular in this past year is turmeric. Turmeric contains loads of nutrients especially antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Patients are always asking me how they can incorporate this spice into their routine, since they’re not too familiar with it. Here are a few helpful hints:
-Add it to a scramble or frittata. Simply add a pinch of turmeric when you’re scrambling your eggs or tofu. It’s a great way to start using turmeric – the color is familiar and the flavor will be subtle (just a sprinkle, not too much).
-Toss it on roasted vegetables: turmeric has a slightly warm and peppery taste. When I roast my vegetables for the week I simply add in a dash as I do my pepper. Depends on what I’m using these vegetables for, but if it’s my rice or quinoa bowl, I definitely add it in. If they’re for my pasta type dishes, I leave it out.
-Add it to rice. A dash of turmeric will bring color and flavor to a pot of plain rice.
-Sprinkle it on your greens. If you sauté or braise greens like kale, collards, or cabbage, sprinkle some turmeric in (key word being sprinkle – it WILL stain your fingers – so be thankful the spice container has holes for sprinkling).
-Use it in soups: another way to add it into your everyday items, adding it to soups will simply make the soups feel more warming (although now that we’re entering spring, you might hold off on this till the fall).
-“Golden Milk” – simmering turmeric with milk and a small amount of honey or agave will make an earthy and comforting beverage – it’s quite popular right now. I even made it into “ice cream” – the funny story is I let my “ice cream” melt and simply had it as a drink. I actually enjoyed it more this way.
Every day is EARTH day! This past Friday was Earth Day. I’m always telling people that every day is EARTH day. Here are a few small changes that we each can make. When we all come together with these changes the results will be helping to preserve Earth. We are all connected.
· Use reusable bags.
· Turn your computer off.
· Go outside – when you connect with Earth you are more likely to feel a responsibility to protect it.
· Go Meatless – at least one day/week. Following a plant-based diet would cut down on food-related emissions by 70% (according to Oxford University). A plant-based diet is healthy for your body and good for the environment.
· Recycle – how many people are actually doing it all the time? Make a conscious effort to recycle versus throwing it in the trash for convenience. My goal is to remember to bring my coffee cup when getting coffee at a coffee shop. Small changes, big difference.
· Bring silverware to work – that’s right, stop using plastic as much as possible. There are glass storage containers, glass water bottles – this helps avoid the toxins in plastic while also reducing the overall production.
· Compost your food!
· Save water by taking fast showers, running full loads of laundry, and always brushing your teeth with the water off.
Remember each and every one of us can make changes. Live more sustainably and in return be kinder to our Earth because EVERY day is EARTH day.
I’m always searching the internet/social media for recipes. I follow lots of food bloggers (probably too many at this point) and round up my recipes that I’ll try for the week. I’m behind and have a stack of “to try” recipes because I can only make so much food (and probably because I’m following too many people). The other reason I try recipes is to pass them on. If I’m able to find a “keeper” recipe why shouldn’t others be able to access easy to make, healthy recipes? Here are a few I’ve found just in the last couple of weeks. Mind you I did alter one of the recipes because even though it’s overall healthy, I’m constantly trying to balance the carbohydrate with the protein and fat. Some recipes these days are still carbohydrate heavy. While I never isolate any one nutrient, I am more conscious of carbohydrates (seeing as I work as a diabetes educator) - we've got to lessen the load of carbohydrates at meals. When food is balanced with all nutrients you feel fuller longer and satisfied.
Cashew Butter Granola - I used one less tablespoon of the maple syrup and a little more cashew butter. Today I ate it in my plain full-fat yogurt. Delish.
Coconut Cashew Energy Balls - not even on purpose did I plan that they were the same flavor! I only used 5 Medjool dates and added one more tablespoon of the cashew butter. These were great for having on the plane as a quick snack (with all the delay).
Homemade Enchilada Sauce - Still keeping to my “trying to make everything homemade”. I made this homemade enchilada sauce by cookie and kate. I’m making the rest of the filling for the enchiladas now and can’t wait to try the finished enchiladas!
Homemade Taco Seasoning - I'll be honest, I can't remember where I found the homemade taco seasoning mix recipe. But when I just “googled” it right now, tons popped up. This one by the Pioneer Woman, Foods and Friends, is quite similar to the one I used. It’s so simple with all the ingredients people tend to have right at home in their pantry. Make some up and you’re good to go for Taco Tuesday. The benefit of making your own? Controlling the sodium. The packaged ones are loaded. This way you have the control and can alter the other spices so it’s not without flavor!
That was my week in review. Random musings in the day to day life of a registered dietitian and diabetes educator. Packing my lunch now, soba noodle bowl, and going to bed early. I need my rest. Have a great week!