It's hard to keep up with my blog. I do it on my own personal time and recently there hasn't been much personal time. With work I've been working crazy long hours (not by choice) but it is what it is. And when I do have free time I'm cooking or baking - a girl has to eat! And my bread making skills? Well, they're getting better - just look at that cinnamon bread!
The truth is that I haven't had too much creativity flowing to even think of a topic to write about - stress will do that to you. Working on the home/work balance has been a struggle with my last job (too long a commute) and now with my current job there's just too much work plain and simple. It's a struggle and something I continually am working on but have yet to say that I have found the balance. To be continued, right? The baking has been a way to channel my stress. Strange maybe, but it's been helping.
Over these last few weeks I'll write a topic down but really don't have enough content to make a whole blog about it. I thought I'd just write a few things for ya that's either been of interest to me or recently in the news.
May is Mental Health Month. I'm not sure why but there's always seems to be a stigma attached to having mental health issues. The stats say that 1 in 5 people live with a mental illness - so either yourself or a friend or family member currently are dealing with this. I saw this hope and grace initiative the other day from Love Philosophy and I can't say enough good things about it. All it takes is one small act of grace - asking someone how they REALLY are is that first step in starting a whole new conversation. It's about breaking the stigma around mental health and showing grace - being true to yourself and encouraging others to do the same.
I recently purchased 'A New Way to Bake' by Martha Stewart. In her opening cover her editors describe this as a cookbook "that definitively ushers the baking pantry beyond white flour and sugar to include natural sweeteners, whole-grain flours, and other better-for-you-and delicious-ingredients." So here are some of the discussions - butter versus oil, honey versus agave, whole-wheat flour versus gluten-free flours - all being debated across the country as we speak. Don't worry, I'm not really going to debate these topics with you. Like I said, they're currently being debated ENOUGH as we speak. Nutrition is a science and it's always evolving and we're always learning new things. I try to go to the science behind these debates and #followscience NOT trends, but the truth is that trends sell. The influx of gluten-free products currently on the market is beyond belief - and the truth is how many people actually have Celiac's disease and would benefit from these products? Gluten doesn't make you fat and gluten can be tolerated by the average American. Would I say that we have ultra-processed foods here in America and some gluten products might not be as tolerated as others? Absolutely, but that doesn't mean you need to eat everything gluten-free. And by the way, let me just clear something up - oats are gluten-free naturally. Yep, that's right. Companies are now labeling that they are certified gluten-free as some oat products are manufactured in facilities where other products could create cross-contamination - but again that's only an issue in someone with an actual gluten intolerance. I thought I said I wasn't going to get into a debate?
What I wanted to say is that what I've taken away from this book is that dessert is dessert. That's right. A bold statement, right? And it's not as if I didn't know that already. But I was curious to see what Martha and her team had put together. Desserts are meant for special occasions and should be thoroughly enjoyed. Is everyday a holiday? Should you be eating desserts everyday? If you have any doubt as to my answer, that's a no. I am a dietitian, but I'm a #dietitianthateatsdesserts #inmoderation - yes, I started those hashtags.
I made a brownie recipe so far from this book and Martha used spelt flour - spelt flour is a hardy variety of wheat - sorry it's not gluten-free - but it is a whole grain. So kudos to Martha for baking brownies with spelt flour. But don't be fooled, Martha used a TON of sugar in these brownies. Oh, that's right, this is a DESSERT, albeit a dessert made with a whole-grain. I wouldn't even say the picture does them justice. The spelt flour gave them a maple-type flavor and for someone that doesn't even like brownies, I found myself going back for more. Even though it's made with spelt flour, it doesn't automatically make it healthy. Now, if we can use less sugar would the product still turn out the same? I also purchased, Naturally Sweet, by America's Test Kitchen. They've done the science behind all their recipes - I wouldn't say they're all without fat - because within baking if you take one thing out you end up adding another. So we're back to our original debate - fat versus sugar? Moderation. Portion Control. And frequency - desserts are meant for special occasions, not to be had every day - so whatever your dessert is made of, enjoy it.
I've written about this before, but if I had the "weight loss solution" I'd have bottled it up and become a millionaire by now. Losing weight is always so much more than just what people are eating - do I think that people need to change the way they're eating? Most times, absolutely! But I get many a patient in that will say, "I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong," or "I really don't eat that much to be this big." So they come to me, the said nutrition expert, to figure it out for them. In a one-hour session, I can't figure it out - sorry, but I'm being truthful. If I was able to follow people around and help them make better decisions in the moment, maybe. And no, contrary to popular belief I am not the food police. But the truth is I'm there to teach these concepts so that when you're in the moment you can make the healthier choice. The only problem? Food is so much more than just nutrition and nourishment to people - it's what they use when they're stressed, it's what they do when they're bored, and it's definitely used in social celebrations - Mother's Day is next weekend, with Memorial Day right around the corner, and let's not forget Father's Day is coming right up. So where does that leave us in regards to weight loss? I'm not really sure. That's right, the dietitian just said I don't have the answer. I wish it were simple and I knew what to tell people - but I don't. I think each person has to reflect and find where their issues lie and begin to work on establishing healthy habits, one step at a time. I can give you various tools and tips - I've written about it many times before, here, here, and even here! I really do believe we put too much weight on weight (pun intended) where we should be focusing on becoming healthier beings, mind-body-and soul. It will help your whole being to begin with one small change, whatever that might be.
Breaking 2 - 3 years in the planning, Nike selected three elite runners to run a marathon (using their shoes of course) to break a sub-2-hour marathon. Kipchonge finished in 2:00:25 - so while he didn't break the record, he did run his personal best. They tried to select the best time of day and the best weather, but he still fell short, 25 seconds, but albeit short. You can read about it here. So while on our long run yesterday, my running partner and I were talking about him - I mean every runner was talking about him. He had an average pace of 4:35.7 per mile - I mean I only dream about running that fast! But in all seriousness it got us to thinking about our previous marathon. If we had had better weather conditions, could we have run a faster marathon? And so the talk began about possibly training all over again - yes, I said I'd never run one again, but I was probably feeling a little runner's high yesterday when the talk began. Ha! What would probably be more of a challenge as I'm reflecting today would be to train for a duathlon or a triathlon - talk about really testing the strength of your body by having to do more than just run. It might just be the mental stress relief I need. Maybe, just maybe. To be continued...
And that's a wrap for now. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. I think that's what blogging is supposed to be. Am I right? Have a great week ya'll. Leaving you with more scenes of my amazingly healthy yet delicious food!