It’s that time of year again - where we round up and reminiscence about the past year. Instagram started this a few years back and they collate your #BestNine pictures based on the number of “most liked pictures” As you can see, I definitely have an assortment - who would’ve thought that a veggie would come in at #1? The Baked Alaska and Pumpkin Pie were shoe'-ins., I mean come on.

But it’s also that time of the year when people make resolutions for the new year.  I heard somewhere that “losing weight” and “going to the gym” were the two most popular resolutions.. My job as a dietitian is safe - and by my job, I mean teaching people how to make lifestyle changes, NOT playing in to all the ridiculous elimination diets and weight loss gimmicks. Nope, not my sch-tick. Nor should it be yours either. As a dietitian, I want everyone, me included, to make changes towards better health. Here’s my year in review and instead of resolutions, my intentions for the new year. - all things to make me healthier, mind, body, and soul.

Work - I’ve been at my current position for a little over a year now (transition started last year). We started off the New Year with a team retreat, where we all come together and see where we are as an organization and where we’re going. They gave us a word for the year, perspective, and I really like that idea. Pick a word for the year - I’ll be thinking of that as I write my blog today to choose for 2019. Perspective is key in helping us work together as well as in our day to day activities and how we see things - you know the famous saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, am I right? What might seem overwhelming at first may in reality not be when we take a few steps back. Perspective.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
— Wayne Dyer
#BestNine2018 - Perspective.jpg

Other notable work events this year (and there have been a lot, so I’ll narrow it down to just my top 3). Following the team retreat in January we had a health fair. Instead of focusing on the normal “weight loss” like I mentioned is the common theme for the New Year, we went with the overall theme of working on lifestyle habits. We called it, “Eat Well, Move More, Live Better” - a long title, but truly meant for people to find what it is that they needed to work on to improve their health. We had different sessions and a panel discussion with different professionals. We also invited Shannon Allen, owner of Grown Restaurant, to come and share her story and her mission. Simply put, she wants organic, healthy fast food available and a viable option for people that can’t cook. There’s more to it than that, but just trying to keep things concise. Her story actually all started when her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (if you’ve never heard her story, definitely google it and read about it. She had us all in tears. She almost lost her son had she not trusted her mother’s instinct). Healthy fast food - sounds like an oxymoron, but she is making a mark and demanding better. We all should. May our theme continue from last year to 2019 - change one thing at a time to becoming healthier.

#BestNine2018 - Shannon Allen.jpg

#BaptistHealthy - What started as creating one minute videos showing people how to cook has now evolved into the discussion of a possible cookbook. Not bad, right? More than that, #BaptistHealthy has actually sparked in me the ability to create my own recipes, something I thought I could never do. Here I am looking over many recipes to get ideas of what to make next and from analyzing countless recipes, I’ve now created my own. Just last week I published the Maple-Glazed Pecans for a holiday DIY gift. I have chimichurri and more coming - stay tuned! While I know not many people like being in the kitchen and cooking, I do know people like to eat good food. Minimally I am going to try to show recipes that are easy to do and staples for people to have and make. The Basics. Chimichurri might not be basic in preparation, but to me it’s a basic staple sauce to have in your kitchen to make your meals pop with flavor. Trust me.

#BestNine2018 - BaptistHealthy.jpg

PBS Health Channel - South Florida WPBT2 and Baptist Health South Florida have collaborated to bring you The Health Channel  - a TV channel connecting you with medical and health professionals in real time.  I was first on in June talking all things Heart Health. Since then I’ve been on about once a month. It’s a great opportunity to spread the word about nutrition to a lot of people all at once. And while it is a local station here in Miami, it streams live so anyone, anywhere can tune in and watch! How cool is that? It’s a live TV show and I’ll admit there were a few nerves in the beginning, but now I feel like a seasoned pro. Ha! I have a good time on the show and try to make it fun. Football and Tailgating might have be the best one yet!

#BestNine2018 - Health Channel - Tailgating.jpg

There were other amazing opportunities with work and events that were special this past year. But suffice it to say I’m looking forward to 2019 and all that awaits with work - I have finally found a job that I love what I do and really don’t feel like it’s work. Okay, maybe summer camps aren’t my favorite.

#BestNine2018 - BHSF.jpg

Cookbooks/Recipes with Dates/Homemade - I was already starting to get addicted to cookbooks in 2017, but 2018 took it to the next level. Why? One of my favorite food bloggers came out with her 2nd cookbook, The Pretty Dish , and then well others just ensued. It was like all of a sudden I had to have them all! What's Gaby Cooking , The Minimalist Kitchen , Ottolenghi Simple , and that’s just a few. I love to sit down and plan my meals for the week looking through them all and trying to decide. Each one is different and has a different concept behind it, so it kind of goes with how I’m wanting to cook for the week. Easy, go to the The Minimalist Kitchen . Difficult, head on over to The Pretty Dish. Not all the recipes are keepers, but I’m here to tell you, I haven’t repeated a recipe once in 2018 (that’s my goal, not yours).

I am known to make desserts. It’s kind of my thing - #thisdietitianeatsdesserts #inmoderation. But in 2018 I started trying to use dates as the only sugar, natural, in different recipes. And while some might not call it dessert if it only has dates, you’d be surprised what you can do with those so called dates. The best item I made was more like an energy bar if you will, but it was crazy good - those dates can turn into a caramel, just see that goodness below. I’m always on the search for a recipe using just dates. And even if it is just an “energy” bar, it’s homemade and it’s using less added sugar. That’s a win win in my book.

#BestNine2018 - Date Sweetened.jpg

I continue the trend of making all things homemade. 2018 brought some difficult recipes but it also highlighted some simple ones too. Baked Alaska and The Milkbar’s Pumpkin Pie Naked Cake made the top nine. If you’ve never had a baked Alaska, you are going to want to order that the next time it’s on the menu. Think pound cake with ice cream on top, covered with a meringue/marshmallow on top - so it’s hot but cold. Oh, it’s just so tasty (and my description is definitely not doing it justice). The raspberry sauce is homemade too. Leave it to Ina (Garten) to challenge me and take things up a notch. But then there was the simple. It made it to #1. And it was a vegetable nonetheless. Kombu celery - a simple drizzle of sesame oil, soy sauce, and furikake for your leftover celery (you know you have some and you don’t know what to do with it). I’d say the #BestNine2018 got it just right - extremely difficult and extremely simplistic. ‘Bout sums it up just right. Here’s looking at 2019 - not sure how I’ll challenge myself, but surely there are recipes I have left to try.

The homemade marshmallow and graham cracker, also known as the best s’more I’ve ever had in my life, sadly did not make my #BestNine2018, but it surely did in my book.

The homemade marshmallow and graham cracker, also known as the best s’more I’ve ever had in my life, sadly did not make my #BestNine2018, but it surely did in my book.

Travel - For my 40th birthday a couple years back I went to Italy. It was then that I got the travel bug in me. I definitely knew I wanted to experience places and see all the things. 2017 I didn’t really go anywhere - maybe it was because I had started my new job. I’m not sure, but 2018 I started to travel more. Some of of the trips were work related (continuing education and a training program) but regardless I made sure to find some downtime and explore! Baltimore, MD and Charlottesville, VA - never did I think I’d be sitting with the locals and playing bocce ball or walking through an apple orchard eating local apple cider donuts with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background. Experiences that will last a lifetime. That’s what I’m looking for. Now to plan where I’ll go in 2019!

Gifting Experiences - 2018 was the year of giving experiences as gifts. I wrote about it just a couple of weeks ago. You can read about it here . #BestNine2018 only confirmed it was liked by many as well. The Umbrella Sky Project was an art installation put in to a local area of Miami for just a couple of months. I had the pleasure of visiting it a couple of times while it was there. The shadows created by the umbrellas was truly remarkable. We went for one friend’s birthday as well. She really had wanted to visit and it was quite a surprise when we ended up taking her there (as she had no idea that was one of her destinations that evening).

The Alternative Gift-Giving Guide - Umbrella Sky.jpg

Goat Yoga - let’s just say it was an experience all right (see the picture in my #BestNine2018 at top). I’m thankful the goat did not poop or pee on my yoga mat (as they did so on others). It was great to be in nature and soak it all in and I will definitely never remember that day. I’m pretty sure we will be talking about this experience for years to come. Never going to forget it. That’s for sure. Naamaste.

Blogiversary - This past year I had my 5th “Blogiversary”. What better way to celebrate than making a homemade cinnamon roll only cookies and cream flavored? Am I right? And how did that not make my #BestNine2018?? It’s all things I represent - making all things homemade, showing that all foods fit, blogging about it and keeping it real - no one ever said it’d be easy - and it was a definite time to reflect. Blogging has changed so much over the years. I have never done blogging to make money, but believe me when I tell you that many of the food bloggers have blogged about this very topic. It kind of loses a level of authenticity when everything you’re posting and/or blogging about is simply sponsored and/or being promoted in some way shape or form. And while this used to be just a food blogger issue, it has now become more apparent than ever that dietitians are doing this too. I’ve written about this here and here if you care to read.

#BestNine2018 - Blogiversary.jpg

2019 Intentions - But back to my reflection/intention as I near 2019. What do I want to do to continue to promote the message of nutrition? Blogging is one avenue. The Health Channel is another opportunity that I’ve been granted through work. So where to next? I’ve talked about this for awhile now but I think I want to try a podcast. (yes, I know these too are now the mainstream and not so out there…only it’s out there for me). Like who would listen? Will it just be me blabbing for like 10 minutes at a time? I haven’t thought all of this through. I just know that my writing every 2 weeks probably isn’t being read, so if I want to really get the message of nutrition out there I need to progress with the times. So definitely going to look into what all it takes to start a podcast. Stay tuned!

And the next little project I’ve been working on is something that I’ve talked about for years, but only really truly started working on within the last couple of months. My website - http://rdamy.com/ Yesssss! I’ve finally converted from just a blogspot page to an actual website. And while it’s as plain as plain can be right now - think not many graphics of sorts (and maybe fonts that aren’t the best) - it’s a better way for me to organize all of my posts. (the website has been live for awhile now, by accident, there’s been a learning curve, what can I say?). I’ve been formatting all my old blogs and converting them to the website, all while trying to learn how to use this so called formatted web-page. It ain’t easy my friend. But I’ve talked about it for too long now. This current blog post, this one you’re reading is the new website - you may have noticed from the link in my Instagram (or maybe it’s your 1st time reading and didn’t even notice). Either way, you will find all of my blog posts here.

I also am starting a section for “Recipes” - while I never thought that I would be creating my own content, I am. As much time as I spend in the kitchen, things are finally clicking and I’m starting to format some of my own recipes. You will find them here. In this section it is also my intent to show you some of the basics - so think, how to make perfectly hard-boiled eggs, how to make brown rice perfect every time! - so even though I might post the most difficult cake I’ve ever made in my Instagram feed, I also want to stick with basics here on the site to help people begin to cook. It takes some practice, but it isn’t as hard as some people may think it to be. Promise. Here now you can find the chimichurri sauce I mentioned and the Kombu Celery - which did make it to #1 on my #BestNine2018. So go make it today and waste no more celery ever again!

The next section is “Media” - currently there is no content in this section, but that’s where I’ll see if a podcast evolves, recipe videos evolve - who knows, the sky is the limit!

And the final section is where I organized all of my “Keeper” recipes. People ask me all the time what are some go-to recipes to make, those are my Keepers. I’ve written 10 different posts and now they are easy to find on my website (sounds a little weird saying, but hey, I’ve finally organized all my stuff on MY WEBSITE. Yay!) Which reminds me, another post is due as more keepers have made it to the list!

So as you can see, my intentions for 2019 do not involve the gym or weight loss. And while I know that these are actual resolutions that people choose, I like to think that they’re choosing these as an intent to become healthier. For me health involves the mind, body, and soul - and you can see that in some of my blog posts - so to those choosing the resolutions of “weight loss” make an actual goal of how you want to become healthier by losing this said weight - maybe it’s that you’ll start cooking more at home and eating out less. Maybe it’s that you’ll commit to walking at least 10 minutes at lunch every day (and see if you’re able to do more after work) - all with the intent to become healthier (and maybe the end goal will be weight loss). I’ve said it again and again, I think we put too much weight on weight. Hopefully you’ve perused my page and you can be inspired by some of the things I say, have support from the posts that I make and who knows, even make a recipe of mine in the new year.

It’s hard to limit my intentions to just one word. But as I’ve been writing this blog, this quote is what came to mind:

“When you stop learning you stop growing.”
— Kenneth H. Blanchard

As 2018 comes to an end and 2019 begins, it's a great time to reflect.  I look back on the past so that my view going forward can be that much clearer.  Be present.  Breathe it all in.  Enjoy the ride and keep growing.

I compiled an alternative #BestNine2018 of a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

I compiled an alternative #BestNine2018 of a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

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