Less is More

Sometimes more is not better. Gasp! I know, right? It's shocking. It goes against what society tells us. But hear me out. My boss made these amazing muffins the other day and shared some at work. Banana chocolate chip with oats, ½ whole wheat flour, almonds, milk and white chocolate chips. They were perfectly fluffy and the proportion of chips and nuts to fluffy muffin was spot on.

I asked her for the recipe and she said she had altered one from Allrecipes.com to accommodate ingredients that she had on hand. She sent me her version and then I altered it some more to accommodate the ingredients that I had on hand. I had some pumpkin that needed using. In the Fall I always have pumpkin on hand. I just opened my last can...must get more. Anyways my baking endeavor was not without its hiccups.

First mistake: Buying chocolate chips from the bulk bin so I wouldn't have leftover chocolate chips tempting me. I love chocolate chips. Especially semi sweet. Turns out they were organic and about 1 cup cost me the same as the bag would have. Amateur.

Second mistake: I went food shopping without going home first and ended up having to make two trips when I realized I didn't have oil or sugar. And I went in my pajama shorts which were a bit too short.

Third mistake: I didn't measure the mix-ins. I never do because I believe more is better. But when you don't measure you lose the desired ratio of mix ins to fluffy quick bread texture. The bread also ends up a bit more crumbly. You'd think I would learn by now, but no. Well, lesson learned. When it comes to muffins and quick breads less is more.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Walnut Bread

adapted from All Recipes Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix the first 5 ingredients. Add the next 4 ingredients and mix. Add the next 2 ingredients and mix. Finally add the last two ingredients or any desired mix ins, but remember to measure!
  3. Pour into desired baking dish (either muffin tins or bread dish). If making bread bake about 50-60 minutes or until firm to touch. If making muffins bake about 12-15 minutes or into firm to touch.

References:

Resciniti, K. Banana oat muffins. All Recipes. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/6714/banana-oat-muffins/. Accessed October 15, 2017.

Will Run For Bread

I cannot tell you how many times I have heared someone say "I am giving up carbohydrates." If we are being scientifically correct your body needs carbohydrates to survive. In fact, your brain's main source of fuel is carbohydrates. Therefore, you cannot "give up carbohydrates" completely and it's more than likely that you are still eating carbohydrates day to day. I know most people mean bread, pasta, chips, crackers, cookies, etc. when referring to the "dreaded carbohydrates." Or at least from my experience that is what it typically means. One time a friend told me he gave up carbohydrates and I looked down at his lunch. It was a salad with a whole variety of fruit and vegetables and a side of cottage cheese. I looked at him and said, "You're eating carbohydrates for lunch." And hence here I am to let you know that if you say you are giving up carbohydrates, it's likely that you aren't really giving up all carbohydrates.

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Let's get down to the basics, first. What counts as a carbohydrate? 

The common answer and misconception is: 

  • Grains (bread, pasta, rice, quinoa, barley, crackers, pretzels, etc.)
  • Sweets (cookies, cakes, candy, etc.)

BUT carbohydrates are also found in: 

  • Fruit (dried, whole, juice, etc.)
  • Dairy (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.)

And therefore...Not all carbohydrates are created equal. 

Even if you say that you are giving up carbohydrates and what you really mean is grains or sweets, it's still vital for me to say that not all grains are created equal. 

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Whole grains are nutritional powerhouses. Take the bread I recently bought. No, it's not whole wheat. Your grains do not have to be whole wheat all the time. The recommendation is whole wheat 50% of the time. If you want to go crazy, choose whole wheat 51% of the time. Go ahead, tip the scale. Anyways, this bread is about 50% whole wheat flour and it's baked with millet, cornmeal, and oats. Right up this girls' alley.

If you love bread like I do, eat bread. If you love pasta, eat pasta. If you love freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, eat chocolate chip cookies. Balance is about choosing the foods you love and savoring them. I don't eat bread every day. I usually freeze it and have it a few slices at a time, some weeks more frequently than others. When I have really great toast it's a good day. I also love chocolate chip cookies. I've realized I enjoy them best when homemade and right out of the oven. Therefore, I will save store bought chocolate chip cookies for everyone else because they don't do it for me the same way fresh ones do. My gramma made the best chocolate chip cookies and so I save my craving for the homemade ones hoping they will live up to hers.

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When you deprive yourself of foods you love, like bread, you are that much more likely to crave it. To want it every day. To not be able to stop thinking about it. And consequently overindulge. Therefore, enjoy the foods you love. Savor them. Choose more nutritious versions most of the time, but also live a little. I choose whole wheat most of the time, but certainly not all of the time. I keep bread around because I like it. I value the taste and the texture. I value the memories it triggers. I also value the fiber, the vitamins and minerals, and certainly the carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are not the enemy. They're actually what makes your body work properly. Even the foods that carbohydrates that are commonly dreaded or feared have something to offer your body, nutrients that your body needs. So maybe you gave up grains or you gave up sweets. If you feel better and it works for you then great. Just remember to keep getting some carbohydrates from dairy, and fruit. On the other hand, if you find yourself craving the things that you've "given up" it may be helpful to meet with a dietitian to understand how you can enjoy the foods that you love in moderation, in a way that works for your physical and mental health. Because remember, food is about so much more than the calories it provides.

Working and Weekending

I've been sick so in all honesty I needed an excuse to lay low. Thursday I left work a little early and crawled onto the couch. Friday I felt better but still needed to do the same thing that afternoon. What made it the best sick day(s) ever?! Shows came back this week! I binge watched all the good ones. Friday I didn't know what I wanted to eat so I wandered the grocery store and bought broccoli and pesto thinking I'd make pasta. Nope. When I got home (aka TWO minutes later) all I wanted was toast. So I made a pesto Parmesan omelette because there's this pan that perfects them! With carrots and two pieces of toast. Then I cried while watching Greys Anatomy. Typical...

Sunday I woke up hungry. But then I'm not sure if its hunger or this weird pain/discomfort I've been having near my stomach. Anyways I ate a banana and peanut butter to ward off the pre-brunch hunger. I suck at brunch because I wake up ready for breakfast.

It was super fun to have a reason to get up and get dressed and go into the city. Today I have blisters on my toes from my booties though. Why won't they break in already?! At brunch I wanted something hearty but couldn't pass up s'more pancakes. I wish I could find a picture from my high school days!

The thing about pancakes...I'm never full from them. It's just a sugar high, then a crash, and then I'm hungry again. French toast is a different story...especially when it's Magnolias French toast...I miss Vermont. Anyways you have the egg there for staying power. When I make pancakes I add peanut butter and yogurt usually. To fuel me for longer. As delicious as these were I got home after some wandering and needed a snack.

I made popcorn topped with nutritional yeast and reminisced about Chicago Fire night with Maia. I miss Vermont...I also had some carrots...I miss my Vermont CSA...those were good carrots. I binge watched the last season of Sons of Anarchy. I have a terrible habit of not finishing shows....

That night I made a beef peanut soba noodle stir fry. I added extra vegetables if broccoli and baby corn and then realized I forgot the actual vegetables that the recipe called for (cue head smack). It was still delicious and I have some leftovers! Woo!

Sunday I woke up for work. I made breakfast at home because I wanted hot oatmeal but quickly realized I have the oats that take way longer to cook. I'm a creature of habit what can I say. I also wanted to wait for it to get a bit lighter since not as many people are out on a Sunday morning. Dad would be proud.

I walked from the train to work and it was lovely. A bit chilly but so lovely that I got to thinking why don't I walk every morning?! Not sure that will happen haha.

Work went okay. I'm trying to be more confident in myself. It's a work in progress. I've officially been working full time hours for three months! Gasp. Where does time go?! Lunch was tasty of chicken, peach, blue cheese salad and chicken noodle soup. I'll be dreaming of that soup!

I left work at 4:30 and started on the most wonderful walk. I walked to Haymarket first, waiting to hear from a friend if I should stay on the South Side. I even walked through part of Quincy Market. Then I decided to find my way to the Green Way. I contemplated going to Trillium for a beer but I've had so much alone time this weekend that I couldn't so I kept walking to Park Street. If you notice all of the "I miss Vermont" comments above. There's one big I love Boston today. The weather. The views. The opportunities. The job. The coworkers. The new friends. The everything!! The walk was just what I needed. And Julie picked up the phone and we got to catch up 😊

<<<<< good. Cheers to October 1. Cheers to pumpkin beer season.

I'm not perfect.

We all have realizations that we aren't good enough. We're human, we aren't perfect. We forget to do things at work, we skip workouts, we eat giant pretzels with dinner, and we spend too much money. That was my Tuesday, how was yours? I wish I was perfect. I am so incredibly hard on myself when I forget to do something or don't do it as well as I wish I could. But something I'm working on is realizing that I am not perfect, nor should I be.

I wish I could be perfect at my new job. Key word there: new. You're still new(ish), Megan. Cut yourself some slack. And remember that you aren't alone. You can ask questions, you can go back and fix something. You're learning. 

I wish I could be perfect at budgeting. I just realized my budget wasn't adding up my "other" expenses...which has been a lot lately after moving. I've had to buy organizing things and also wedding gifts! Anyways when I realized that today and then consequentally saw that I have sucked at saving money I felt like a failure. My dad made this budget for me to help me save for my future and for emergencies and here I am blowing it. But, Megan, like you said, you've had some additional expenses. Perhaps mom is right and you need to adjust your budget. First, I have some goals to help me spend less:

  1. Only go out to eat one time per week (preferably on weekends)
  2. Plan active get together or dinners in with friends
  3. Dont go shopping after work..you're too vulnerable

    I wish I could be better at eating nutritious foods. I've been adjusting to eating lunch at work. I bring my own breakfast because I love my oatmeal, but lunch usually includes the salad bar. I've been trying to be better about balancing the raw vegetables with a grain (usually barley or quinoa) and eithet chicken or tofu. Usually there is something fun like edamame salad, roasted cauliflower, salsa, or blue cheese. It makes for an exciting lunch. But not having to bring lunch makes dinner a challenge because I don't want to eat the same thing four nights in a row. It's tough and I'm not good at planning meals. But I also feel invigorated and accomplished when I cook. This week I'm eating leftover chili, leftover Mac and cheese, and fish tacos...but there are only three different dinners because it's all leftovers. Usually I'm eating the same two things all week long. My goal lately has been to eat 5-6 fruits or vegetables each day. That's !y starting point. And going out to eat only once per week will force me to cook more. Some nights might be Annie's macaroni or avocado toast.

    I wish I could be perfect at exercising. My sister loves running and does it all the time. I have a gym membership and should go more consistently. I'm hoping to get back into lifting and maybe that will spur the motivation. If I've learned anything, you need to enjoy the exercise in order to make it a habit. Otherwise you will resent it. Trying to lift weights and see if I start to enjoy working out again. I've been enjoying my walks in the afternoons for sure!

    Lesson here is, nobody's perfect. Nobody. Even I, a registered dietitian, feel imperfect in my eating habits. Among other things. Life is all about monitoring your progress and evaluating your goals. Then adjusting as needed. I'm monitoring and evaluating now. My goals are being adjusted to see if can succeed at this whole adult thing. Breathe in, breathe out. You've got this, Megan. 

    Weekending at Home

    Friday was a whirlwind. I had plans in the financial district at 6pm so I planned to hang around that area after work. Work ended up being crazy and I barely made it to my plans! What were my plans?! Truffle making with Taza chocolate coupled with a chocolate and wine pairing. My favorite pair? The chocolate was a cinnamon guajilo chile. It was unbelievable. Currently trying to find it so I can buy all of it... The chocolate (of which I tried to eat mindfully-key word tried) paired perfectly with a spicy Syrah. It blew my mind. I didn't pay much attention to my truffles because I was so into the chocolate wine pairings!

    I loved this event because I got to spend time with a great friend and learn more about Boston Public Market and its vendors. Taza has an inspiring mission and supports many communities advocating for fair trade. I wonder if they need a dietitian ;)

    I ended up joining Boston Public Market. It was $47/year and you get discounts to their events in the Kitchen. A community kitchen that provides Snap-ed and cooking classes? Hello! Right up my alley. I can't wait to sign up for more classes. I might go to one next weekend. They also have sip and shop on Friday nights. Yes I'd love to sip wine while shopping.

    I bought sheep's milk cheese made in Massachusetts and got free bread to save it from the trash when a bakery was closing. The market is a place I feel at home. It reminds me of the feeling I had in Vermont. My passion for connecting to local farmers and supporting their passions. I may be in Boston but I'll always be a farm girl at heart.

    Saturday started with a train ride home which ended up being so easy. I loved how simple it was to get home.

    After lunch and catching up with my parents I went for a run with my dad. It was muggy but I needed the motivation of a running buddy. This is when my dad gives me life advice.

    Justin and Casey's wedding BBQ was later in the afternoon. The food (BBQ and cake!) was delicious.

    I had a few drinks while chatting with my high school friends. It was great to catch up. A few are still in Boston and actually really close to me. I've missed them, it was so nice to catch up and I'm already planning the next get together.

    Still can't believe this guy is married.

    I ended the night facetiming my sister and a good friend before watching some Fuller House. I'm a sucker for that show.

    Sunday morning I had a slow breakfast. No oatmeal at my parents house, though. Then mom and I prepped our chili for the Patriots game. Then I went for a run that was probably between 3 and 4 miles but who knows. I've been enjoying just running and today was hard.

    I got back and had a snack while talking to my mom. Then we decided to shop. I tried on a lot of things at The Loft and liked a long sweater and a shirt and a skirt but didn't live anything. So we went to Old Navy because I need sweaters. Didn't get any sweaters but I did find my favorite dress in long sleeve (score) and got some comfy and cute long sleeve sweaters. Winning. Oh and running socks!

    We missed the first quarter of the Patriots but still saw a good game! Mom and I enjoyed chili, homemade sourdough bread and my sheep's milk cheese! So tasty. Dad isn't a chili guy. The game was intense and I'm so glad I stayed for the end.

    We went for a family walk before this girl had to head out. I had some toast with peanut butter and jelly before leaving because my stomach was nauseous. I felt a bit off all day. Maybe catching my mom's cold. Last minute my dad (and mom) decided to drive me back to the city. I'm too lucky to have these two for my parents, always looking out for me.

    I love that I can just pop home for the weekend and have it be no big deal. I got some quality time with my parents and my friends. I'm too lucky.

    Brewery Tours and Boston Adventures

    This weekend. Where to begin? Well after a long week at work I really just needed some down time and some fun. On the train ride home I learned in my book that being alone in life is more harmful to your health than obesity. So enjoy nights out with friends! (Body Kindness) Friday I decided to stay in. I really wanted to cook and watch a movie. I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home and picked up supplies which definitely included wine. I got rained on again on the walk home but it wasn't so bad.

    Once I put the groceries away I went to the gym for a quick 3 mile run. Then I took a long shower and cracked open the vino to start cooking. On the menu: baked pumpkin Brussels sprouts macaroni and cheese from Cait's Plate. It was so delicious AND I found pumpkin shaped pasta.

    I ate dinner while watching a sad but inspiring Netflix movie called 1 Mile to You.

    Saturday the whole apartment (me, my roommate, and her boyfriend) all went on a run. Michelle and I did a very muggy 4.8 miles around the BC reservoir. Then we came home to make brunch. On the menu: pumpkin and regular pancakes, cheesy scrambled eggs, and fruit. So tasty! And copious amounts of coffee.

    We then hit up our first brewery: Winter Hill. Christine and I split a flight of 6 8-ounce pours.

    Then we walked over to Aeronaut. Thank you to my coworker for pointing me in the right direction! So fun! And I met someone from Burlington!! We each had two beers and played some Go Fish and Bullshit. I did not win.

    We also had pizza delivered from Jumbos and I thought of Sophie's Tufts days. We got buffalo chicken with blue cheese and devoured it. We didn't realize it was 5pm.

    Next stop, Lord Hobo. We walked a little over a mile to get there. The sporadic walks really helped pace me! This place was more of a bar and it was very dark. Michelle, Christine and I split a flight. Can you tell we are slowing down?

    Then we got a ride to Harvard Square and went to Felipe's. We put our name in for the rooftop bar and ordered margaritas and nachos. I gave my margarita to Joe because it was so strong. But the nachos were on point.

    And before we knew it we got to go up to the rooftop! We got some more drinks, beer and water for me. And hung out, it was beautiful weather.

    And then we went to Seaport. We were all over! We met some of Michelle's friends and then went to a bar. Christine and I tried Soylent which we learned about in undergrad. Sure it has the nutrients that your body needs and all that chemistry. BUT it takes the joy out of eating. It takes away the social aspect. I see how it could help in countries struggling to provide enough food for the population BUT that's different. It tasted like cheerios and milk and it was quite the experience.

    Anyways then we went to a bar in Seaport and danced a bit before crashing.

    We got back to Allston and grabbed some mediocre pizza near the apartment and called it a night. We had been drinking for 11 hours...

    Needless to say we slept in on Sunday and about half the day is gone. But we got bagel sandwiches at noon which definitely is helping to get me going and feeling normal again. I didn't even take a picture but you know what it looks like since I eat them almost every weekend. So glad my best friend and my roommate got to meet. So glad we had the opportunity to spend a whole day exploring and having fun. So glad I am where I am right now in life. Even if it means spending a bit more, eating more pizza and nachos and bagels, and sleeping all morning on some weekends. I feel lucky to be around great people who have similar interests and to be in such a diverse and interesting city.

    References:

    Scritchfield, R. Body Kindness.

    http://www.bodykindnessbook.com/

    Soylent. https://www.soylent.com/?utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Search-Brand-Generic-Geo_US-Exact-GP&utm_term=soylent&utm_content=220617850934&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1Mj06Mes1gIVgQNpCh1vagCNEAAYASAAEgJ-p_D_BwE

    What Does a Dietitian Do?

    When you hear the word dietitian what do you think of? Someone who eats salads all day and tells people to eat less and exercise more? Probably. Most people do. Any yet ask any dietitian and we all think we are the most food obsessed people out there. I have a growing restaurant bucket list and thrive off the times that I can go out to a new restaurant and experience something new, something exciting. I'm not a food snob because I will basically eat anything (except cottage cheese), but I do get frustrated when something disappoints. Last week my dad and I got lunch at this place that did nothing for me. Plain wrap with nada, no flavor. If I'm going to eat out I want the experience to be worth it. But if I am starving and borderline hangry anything will do. Just get this girl some food. smores

    Let's talk poutine for a second. It's definitely not something I indulge in frequently. I've had it maybe 4 times in my life? But it's extremely tasty and much more worth it than some plain fries most times, unless they're truffle fries. My dad got mad at me the first time I told him I ate poutine because he thought I was "wasting" my nutrition degree by eating a dish that would basically clog my arteries just by looking at it. Last week my roommate and I were discussing this over a plate of poutine (made with fingerling potatoes! drooling...) and she said something along the lines of "you know someone's a true dietitian if they will eat poutine." What I think she meant is, the world of dietetics is changing to show that all foods can fit in a healthy lifestyle and that health is more about habits than a number on the scale or the dish you order at a restaurant. Habits, people. Habits.

    We are not the food police. As I just mentioned we love all food. Sure some foods have more fiber or more vitamin C while others have more saturated fat. But all foods provide your body with nutrients in some combination or another. AND food is about so much more than just calories in, calories out. Food is cultural. Food is comforting. Food triggers memories. Food is delicious. I've made this argument before and I will keep making it until it sinks in. I remember at my dad's retirement party someone commented on my brownie sundae since I was in school studying nutrition at the time (it was probably loaded with all the toppings because I am not a plain brownie fan). If I don't judge what you eat, there's no reason to judge what I eat.

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    We are change agents. We are qualified to work with clients to help them make meaningful lifestyle changes. Whether that means eating more fruits and vegetables or cooking 3 days a week to eat out less. It could also mean finding ways to eat more to get to a "healthy" body weight. Dietitians do not decide what change to make (unless someone is extremely sick and even in that case the decision is made with the entire medical team) or how to make it for you, though, like some people believe. We help to uncover your hesitations, your values, your desires and guide you towards changes that align with all of that.

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    We are knowledgable about medicine. We didn't go to med school but we did train in hospitals. While many people think we just talk about food all day long, that's not the whole of it. Clinical dietitians and some outpatient dietitians spend a good chuck of time reading lab values, asking about bowel movements, assessing weight changes, adjusting tube feeds, and overall trying to understand the big picture and how nutrition fits into that picture. This requires collaborating with a number of health care professional and being able to understand the medical jargon that's used. That is no easy feat.

    We think big. We advocate for nutrition and for health care change. I work in a hospital so I mainly have an impact at the individual and sometimes group level. By being involved in social media I have an impact on the community. Some day I hope to be involved at the policy level. By having a hand in many different levels you have the greatest possibility for change.

    We are not the enemy. Healthy is possible at every size. Remember what I was saying about habits? It's your habits that make you healthy or not. It's not your pant size or whatever the scale is telling you. Dietitians work with individuals, with groups, with communities, with governments, etc. to help people create healthy habits. Notice I did not say "help people lose weight."

    blueberry-picking

    I wanted to write this post so that people can finally understand that dietetics is not just counseling people to lose weight. It's clinical. It's community focused. It's government driven. So the next time you meet a dietitian ask them what area they work in. Ask them what their job entails. Don't assume we talk about food all day while eating our salads and sitting on our high horses. Ask us if we eat poutine...

    First City Weekend

    This weekend was just what I needed. A mix of fun, family, and rest. Friday night my cousin came over for dinner. I made us fried rice (thank you for bringing soy sauce, Elena) with a side of my favorite red wine. This new rice cooker is coming in handy!

    We watched Burnt because we both love cooking. It was pretty good. Can't wait to have more nights like these now that we live super close!

    Saturday I woke up early and cleaned! For some reason cleaning on a Saturday is definitely a feel good activity. After cleaning I went for a run that felt amazing. And it ended up being five miles! Go me! I ran along the Charles River and loved the ample shade, the abundance of active people, and watching the rowers out on the water.

    Julie got to my place around 10am and we hung out (and snacked) waiting for the rents. Once mom and dad got here I unloaded a few things hey brought for me, mainly plants and condiments I forgot. Dad also fixed my closet and hung up a mirror. He's so handy to have around.

    Then it was lunch time! Or should I say brunch! We went to a place called Lulus. It's such a fun atmosphere! I primarily went there to get Conehead, my favorite Vermont beer but they were all out. So sad. Instead I got frose! For ordering food I could not decide. I wanted the white trash has (aka tater tots with short ribs and a poached egg with hollandaise sauce), but then I sauce their medley breakfast potatoes... so I got the vegan Buddha bowl (greens, avocado, curry chickpeas, and rice noodles with a spicy peanut sauce) and a side of breakfast potatoes. I went to town on those breakfast potatoes.

    It was a hit and just getting to hang out with my family for a day trip was just what I've been wanting. So glad we all live close now.

    Afterwards I made the trek to South Boston to go to Trillium Brewery. It's a pop up beer garden on the greenway. Well of course I accidentally went to the actual brewery instead but lucky for me the greenway is only a 15 minute walk away. It was a gorgeous day for a walk too!

    The beer garden was super cool. It's no Foam or Zero Gravity but it has really good IPAs and the atmosphere is definitely hopping. I had the house IPA and then two of their double IPAs. Yes, I may have overdone the beer but I was having fun and not really paying attention. I also didn't drink water that day so may have been drinking out of pure thirst...although beer dehydrates.

    Around 8:30 we took an uber to Southie (still confused by the difference) to go to Lincoln for dinner. Well the line was insane so we hopped over to Loco, another place on my bucket list, and the wait was an hour and 45 minutes. Nope. No thank you. Note to self, go when these places open even if it means a 4pm dinner. We went to a small pizza place and got a buffalo chicken pizza. I had a few slices, or three. And then started crashing hard so I hopped on the train and immediately fell into bed once getting home. I ended up walking and running 20,461 steps yesterday!

    Sunday started with a slow morning. It feels like fall lately so I love laying in bed and listening to the breeze.

    Christine came over to see my place and to get our favorite weekend food, bagel sandwiches. We found a place literally across the street which had great sandwiches called Pavement. It's quaint but a great little shop with a hippie vibe. Right up my alley. Also, any place with overnight oats on the menu wins me over. But I was there for a bagel sandwich. Sausage, egg, and cheese on a jalapeno bagel. The eggs were so fluffy! And the coffee is delicious! We talked for so long and then came back to my apartment and talked some more.

    Having friends and family so close by makes me so happy despite still missing Vermont.

    Move In Day

    Tuesday was a wee bit stressful. First off I didn't sleep well so I was up at 6:30 ready to go and we couldn't pick up the van until 9am...what to do. We got the van and luckily I had moved everything to the garage to limit the number of stairs we had to do. That was nice. My dad kept saying "there's no way we're going to fit everything." But we did! It fit perfectly despite my subpar packing skills.

    Dad and I were off! Props to him for driving a very difficult van into (and out of) the city! We chatted a bit and then Dad reminisced about when he lived in the city. Walking in his footsteps!

    We got to the apartment and started unloading. What we ended up having to do was take loads. Like carry things to the front. Unlock doors. Carry things to the elevator. And so on, you get the picture. It worked!!

    We took a break to get some food before tackling the bed. Dad wanted something quick and simple so we went to a pizza place right next door. This foodie probably won't be back. I ordered a pita wrap thinking a pita pocket with turkey and guacamole. It ended up being a "normal" wrap. I put that in quotes because it was as long as my arm and super thin...I didn't get it. I was hungry so I ate it but I should have gotten just a slice of pizza. But it was so hot!

    Anyways we then went to tackle the bed and lucky for us...IT FIT IN THE ELEVATOR! we were so so so happy! It made things a million times easier. Dad set up my bed and hung a few pictures for me before leaving. It was sad but I can visit him any time now so it's not that sad. I got to tackling unpacking and struggled. I wasn't sure where to put things and I hate feeling unorganized.

    My roommate came home and graciously helped me unpack the kitchen. Then I ran across the street to a market that reminds me of City Market in Vermont to get some food. I just got salad stuff and ingredients for overnight oats. I don't have to buy much these days so that's always nice.

    At 5:30 my roommate and I went to the gym for a workout class called Burn. It was SO intense. And you need a partner so I won't ever go alone likely. The instructor had us doing so many things! Suicides, burgers, squats going from sitting to stand, partner push ups, walking carrying a medicine ball thing and spinning! I loved the variety but it felt like a 3 hour long workout!

    We were beat after that class but I finally felt rejuvenated to work out again. It's been too long! And the gym is a hop skip and jump away.

    We hit up Hopewell in Allston for apps and drinks. Beer sounded SO good at the moment. I got a skullpin IPA at the suggestion of my roommate and loved it. We also shared fingerling potato poutine and roasted Brussels sprouts in aioli. How dietitians do apps! All food can be enjoyed!

    It was a stressful day that turned into a great day! I still have some unpacking to do but at least now I have time to take care of myself after work as well! Taking breaks for self care is definitely worth it. So thank you for yesterday Michelle! Looking forward to tackling the food scene with you and going to some crazy workout classes.

    Making Swaps in the Kitchen

    As you may have already read, I made the best banana bread this weekend. I still can't believe how good it is. It's this recipe from The Kitchn. Go make it. Right now!

    It got me thinking. This is perfect banana bread but usually I make swaps to lighten it up. There's nothing wrong with that. Just like there's nothing wrong with making the original version with all the fat and sugar and enjoying it mindfully. I'm working on that whole mindful thing...

    So what if you want to make a lighter version but aren't sure how? It's simple! Although it may not always have the same texture and consistency it will still taste delicious.

    First up, go whole wheat. Theres also white whole wheat flour. If you really don't want to go all in try ½ whole wheat and ½ all purpose.

    Next up choose your oil/fat. Butter is not your enemy. But there are some healthier options. Unsaturated fats (aka oils at room temperature) have been shown to be heart healthy as opposed to saturated fats (solid at room temperature). So more often than not it's recommended to choose canola or olive oil over butter or coconut oil. Yes, coconut oil is a saturated fat. Easy swap!

    Now for the sweet stuff! Sometimes I simply swap maple syrup or honey (or a combo!) for the sugar in a recipe. Does that change much? Nope. Sugar is sugar when it comes down to it and your body processes it the same. BUT maple syrup and honey have some additional minerals that I wouldn't necessarily get from sugar alone (calcium, potassium, etc.). You also can try added ½ of what the recipe calls for for sugar or even ⅔. Banana bread is naturally sweet from the fructose (natural sugar) in the bananas so it really doesn't need that much sugar. Try it out!

    You can also add things too! Blueberries for additional antioxidants. Nuts and seeds for healthy fats and protein! This is your chance to be creative! Go crazy! Well maybe not too crazy...

    Reference: Christensen, E. How to Make Banana Bread. The Kitchn. Published August 16, 2017. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-banana-bread-the-simplest-easiest-recipe-139900

    Quick weekend

    Most weekends this summer have consisted of some exercise, some meal prepping and usually a trip to Target. I also try to clean the house up a bit. This weekend I worked on Sunday but Saturday was pretty typical. I woke up at 6:30 which most people would think is super early but not when you go to bed at 8:30! I was so well rested! I love the cooler temperatures.

    I had overnight oats for breakfast and then made a packing list while Netflix was on in the background. I'm so much more productive in the morning, I really shouldn't be so lazy...oh well.

    That being said I moved all of my apartment stuff from the basement to the garage before 9am so I guess I wasn't that lazy. Then I worked on changing my address for a bunch of things and setting up online payments. Why is adulting so hard?!

    I had to get out of the house so I swung by Target. I'm coordinating all of the frames in my room to be black so I had to get a few more. Of course I left $65 later with two cardigans as well. I picked up milk and yogurt for my meal prep this week.

    I'm eating up the leftovers in my house and didn't want to buy more food. Therefore my meal prep only consisted of making some overnight oats for breakfast and banana bread. I had frozen bananas in the freezer. This banana bread is so good. I used granulated sugar and butter! Like I mentioned on Instagram I usually sub maple syrup or honey and oil or yogurt for those items but sometimes you want the real deal. I though a holiday weekend when I'm working was the perfect opportunity.

    While the bread was baking I had lunch of leftovers (spinach, turkey burger, and sweet potatoes). Then I painted my nails while watching Reign. The bread was still cooking and I was still hungry so I had a yogurt with granola. Hit the spot! I like yogurt but only if there is something crunchy involved.

    Once the bread was cooling I decided to pack up my clothes. I saved some work outfits and packed the rest up. I plan to do laundry Monday and then everything will be ready. I also read a little bit but felt super tired and didn't make it far.

    I was craving some bread (who can make banana bread and not have a warm slice?!). I had a piece before going for a run. It was perfect running fuel! I've been feeling a bit too body conscious lately and needed to run it off. Perfect day for a run! I love stopping mid run to do some strength exercises. Feeling strong is the best feeling.

    I came home and took the longest shower. It felt so refreshing and rejuvenating. Sometimes that's just what you need. And then I threw together more of the same leftovers (peas, sweet potato, turkey burger, and tomatoes). I hate wasting food.

    Then I curled up on the couch with a hoppy beer (it was so good) and an action movie. I have a hard time concentrating on movies by myself unless they're intense. So I chose Shooter because I adore Mark Wahlberg. It was so captivating! And now I'm in bed (it's 9pm if you're wondering) and mentally preparing to work tomorrow and Monday.

    Happy long weekend for everyone!

    Packing "Healthy" Lunches

    I'm lucky enough that I don't have to pack a lunch each day. Although, I could definitely make some better lunch choices such as less cheese and more raw vegetables. Live and learn. Anywho, I'm here to talk packing lunches and offer suggestions. Please consider your own food preferences, time, etc. These are merely suggestions. img_5644

    Where to start?

    My first thought for lunch is how can I increase the fruit and/or vegetables. My personal preference is to have vegetables for lunch because I don't like to eat vegetables for breakfast. Examples could be raw leafy greens, a side of raw veggie sticks, raw fruit, cooked vegetables leftover from dinner, etc. Whatever you have around works! And remember frozen or canned fruit and vegetables are just as nutritious. Just look for options without added salt, sauces, juices, etc. Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, in addition to numerous vitamins and minerals, which fills you up and will keep you regular (you know what I mean).

    Next up, choose your protein. Do you have leftover turkey burgers? What about some low sodium deli meat? Nuts? Beans? Hummus? Rotisserie chicken? Hard boiled eggs? Try to choose lean protein such as lean red meat (look on the label for less than 15% fat), poultry, fish, beans, and legumes. Protein adds staying power.

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    Don't forget a grain! I like to cook a big batch of rice, quinoa, barley, etc. Early in the week to have on hand. You can also buy rice that cooks in the microwave in less than 2 minutes! I use this grain for multiple meals including my mock fried rice (check out the recipe page). Another go to for me is bread or a pita. I love toast. Literally love it. You could also sub starchy vegetables here if you want such as potatoes, corn or squash. Or fruit has similar amounts of carbohydrates per serving as grains. Then you could get fruit AND vegetables at lunch! Winning! Dairy products are also good sources of carbohydrates and carbohydrates are your body's main fuel. Choose grains, fruit, and dairy throughout the day to keep your body fueled and ready to tackle anything!

    And last but not least...add some fat for flavor. A little goes a long way. Add some salad dressing. And if you don't like oil and vinegar don't force it! Food is meant to be enjoyable too. I like nuts or nut butter, butter on my toast, oil in my dressing, cheese, vegetables cooked in oil, etc. If your lunch includes a higher fat protein (red meat, hummus, etc.) or a higher fat dairy product then you may not need additional fat. Check in with how hungry you are and then decide. You do you!

    Some of my favorite lunches are:

    • Classic turkey sandwich/wrap. I get a low calorie spread like mustard, turkey, cheese (of course), and veggies. On the side I usually have a piece of fruit since sandwiches can't fit as many vegetables as this girl would like.

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    • Leftovers on a bed of greens. Leftover anything goes great on some spinach, in my opinion. Go heavy on the spinach (unless you take Coumadin) to up your vegetable intake. Leftovers can be homemade or from dinner last Friday with your loved one. Take the chance to increase your vegetable intake.
    • img_5937Tuna or chicken salad made with plain Greek yogurt and Dijon mustard with carrot sticks and crackers or a pita. You can also make this with mayonnaise, I just don't like it.
    • Kitchen sink salad. Get your greens and throw in other veggies on hand (for me they're usually cooked), leftover meat or rotisserie chicken, avocado, and toast on the side (or a grain).

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    • Sweet potato (easy to cook in the microwave), frozen vegetables, and chickpeas. Top with some avocado.
    • Hummus plate. Scoop of hummus, pita or pretzels, and all the veggies. I like carrots sticks, peppers, cucumber, and tomatoes.
    • Any crockpot meal! Cook all day, serve into to go containers and lunch is served. My favorites are chili and a Mexican casserole I make frequently. Anything works! Let the pot do all the cooking.
    • What I like to call a power bowl! Grain of choice (say quinoa for example) plus any cooked veggies (roasted or steamed or microwaved), plus protein (I tend to go with beans and legumes at lunch) and a fat. Goddess dressing is my favorite for a meal like this. Or cubed cheese to off set the crunchier vegetables. So tasty.

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    I hope this is helpful! And even if you don't cook there are many options out there to save time and energy!

    Similar but Different

    This weekend was similar to most other weekends, but also different. I did the usual chores...go to the dump, do laundry, grocery shop, meal prep. Blah, blah, blah. They're necessary chores but not the most fun. So what was different?

     

    I moved my body in enjoyable ways. I went for a 4 mile run on Saturday. It was an out and back to a cranberry bog where I decided to stop and do some squats and lunges. I still can't move after that. Then on Sunday I wanted to shake out my legs so I decided I'd try to run three miles. At the 1.5 mile mark I walked about another 0.5 miles before turning back. I was caught up thinking and listening to music and just wanted to be outside. It felt great to be outside just being. Rather than feeling like I should workout or I had to force myself to fit in some movement.

    I bought enough food to cook THREE different meals. I think I've been overindulging (aka drinking lots of wine and eating more desserts) because my meals are unsatisfying. Yes they're delicious at first, but by the fourth or even third night I'm over it. Food is more than just fuel for your body. If a meal doesn't satisfy you you're likely to keep eating until you find that satisfaction. Therefore, this week I meal planned for three different meals: sushi, mushroom turkey burgers, and BBQ chicken with sweet potato wedges. I made the sushi last night. Mom and I still enjoyed wine and a bite of a donut, but I felt satisfied that I didn't need the whole donut.

    I journaled. This is an activity I need to do more of. I've been motivated by reading Body Kindness. I find myself pausing throughout the day and looking for the bright side of things. One thing I struggle with are my emotions. For people who know me, you know I feel deeply and cry often. And lately it's been a constant lonely and tired. And yes sometimes my emotions, even boredom, causes me to eat. One of the best lines, in my opinion, from Body Kindness was that just because I'm feeling a certain way doesn't mean that I need to respond to it. I can feel the emotion and realize that all emotions, even good ones, pass.

    So where did these changes come from? What else was different? Well, Saturday morning I was curious and stepped on the scale. And even though I haven't seen that number in quite some time and normally I'd be upset, I wasn't. A number means nothing to me. How I feel is what matters, both physically and emotionally. I know I don't feel the best and that I'm in limbo right now. So I'm okay with gentle movement and slowly working towards habits that will make me feel better.

    References:

    Scritchfield, R. Body Kindness. Workman Publishing Company, 2016.

    From Burlington to Boston

    Counting down the days to the big move. T minus 12 days. But so far while waiting for the move I've had mixed feelings. Burlington was my home and I do miss it, but Boston will soon be my new home.

    The hardest part...

    The hardest part is coming home. And it's not the commute. It's coming home to a big empty house where I'm used to having my parents. It's coming home to a town that I said goodbye to seven years ago. And so did my friends.

    This week I was lucky enough to see my friend from grade school. That was refreshing and wonderful. I also saw my friend from grad school who also moved to the city. And my other friend from grad school is moving in just a few weeks time! Maybe once I move the loneliness will start to fade.

    The best parts...

    I'm so close to home and the twin! I can go home for dinner or to watch the Patriots with my dad. Or I can take a bus to Portsmouth to play with Lyla. These were the main reasons I moved back to Massachusetts.

    The food scene. Oh my god the food scene. I still can't get over Barcelona. And I'm in search of the roof top bars to go to. And other great restaurants. It's SO difficult to choose a place to eat or even a type of food because it's all here!! And the wait staff is so knowledgeable. It's truly a profession. Being a dietitian I LOVE that the waiters always ask about allergies.

    The job. Can't say enough good things. Still can't believe it's real. Every day is a challenge but also an opportunity to learn.

    The people I still have to meet and the places I still have to go. Think of it all! I can't wait to join The November Project (on Wednesdays) and to just spend more time around people! I feel like I've been isolated all summer.

    Looking forward to the move. I miss my cozy apartment in Burlington, but this girl grew up and needed to step out of her comfort zone. That she did, that

    she did. Don't worry, my kitchen will still be tiny.

    My Favorite Foods

    While reading Body Kindness I came across an activity to write down your favorite foods. Without judgement. You're allowed to like what you like and dislike what you dislike. Preach.

    And being a dietitian does not make me perfect. Sometime (more frequently lately than I care to admit) I overeat. It could be because:

    1. I'm with friends.
    2. I'm eating something delicious.
    3. I'm eating something comforting that reminds me of home.
    4. I'm not listening to my hunger cues.
    5. I'm eating too fast.

    Whatever the reason it happens. And it's normal. It doesn't mean you have to exercise extra hard the next day or restrict what you eat. My friend once said "isn't metabolism great." And it is. Sure I feel better when I listen to my hunger and satiety, but it's a work in progress. And as seen above, things happen in life!

    Food is so much more than just fuel for your body in the form of macro- and micronutrients. Food is cultural. Food is social. Food is comforting. Food is pleasurable. Food is {insert adjective of choice}.

    That being said these are my favorite foods...

    PIZZA: It's basically cheese and bread. Throw on some veggies and pesto and I'll basically marry you. I love pizza, especially homemade pizza. This past week I made homemade pizza twice and had takeout once. And yes I overshot my hunger with 3 big slices but I'm the moment it was oh so delicious.

    PEANUT BUTTER: I have always loved this nut butter. I've tried others and they don't live up to the classic peanutty spread. I used to eat it with everything. Nowadays I tend to enjoy it every day for breakfast either on oatmeal, toast, or pancakes. Or peanut sauce. Anything with peanut sauce.

    BLUEBERRIES: If you go picking with me prepare to be amazed. I pick a lot and they'll all be gone within a week. Blueberry is my middle name...jk. Throw it in a pie and that's perfection. Although I tend to just eat them raw.

    SALMON: The best fish in my opinion. Maybe it's the higher fat content but oh boy I love this fish. If you take me to dinner and this is on the menu that's what I'm getting. Sorry not sorry.

    FALAFEL: I'm starting to see a theme and wonder if my favorite foods are all favorites because of fat content. Anyways falafel and all that come with it is a fav-pita, veggies, tahini. Must go back to Boston Public Market...

    DONUTS: But only cakey donuts, preferably made from potatoes...and sold at The Holy Donut. That being said there are some donut shops in Boston I can't wait to try.

    CARROTS: I used to always have colorful carrots from my farm in the fridge (no I don't own a farm just referring to my CSA). Now it's mostly baby carrots for convenience.

    BRUSSELS SPROUTS: Roast these babies in some oil. I can't have a lot because they're gas producing vegetables (TMI?) but I enjoy them when I do.

    MUSHROOMS: Sautéed or basically in anything. Can't wait to try adding pulsed mushrooms to burgers. I always buy mushrooms. I hope that means I have a decent vitamin D level.

    I enjoy most foods. These are just a few favorites. But honestly the only food I won't eat is cottage cheese. It's the texture. I cannot. I used to be such a picky eater. Oh how my taste buds have changed.

    Twincation: Don't Compare

    Wrapping up a great weekend at my sister's in Portsmouth. I got here Friday around six. Julie was out running so I opened a bottle of wine and chatted with Greg while he got to work making sushi. I'm spoiled I know.

    Don't compare yourself to others. Julie is training for a marathon and basically lives and breathes running. She also has a five minute commute. My days are very different and I usually get home exhausted and find that exercising would bring me more stress both physically and mentally. Just because Julie was running doesn't mean I should be running. Or just because Julie ran doesn't mean I should eat less at dinner.

    Dinner and wine was fantastic. I bought a bottle of red and Greg made spiny tuna rolls. I haven't had sushi in forever so I went to town. Overshot my hunger a bit but that's a-okay. Being in social situations, drinking wine, and eating a delicious food can cause that to happen. It's normal.

    We watched Lion while eating dinner and I can't recommend it enough. It's so heartfelt! Julie and I cried at the end. I could easily watch it again. Then we went to bed before 10pm.

    Saturday I woke up first around 7am and read for a little bit. I am reading Body Kindness and it's really inspirational. Eventually I made the twin and I avocado toast with a poached egg. I put some jam on the side with the egg. Try it.

    After that Julie and I went for a run. I felt like a winner getting Julie to eat something before running! Fuel!! I ran three miles with Lyla and struggled. I haven't ran in two weeks simply because I don't look forward to it. This week I did yoga three days (I do half hour videos from YouTube) before bed. It's just what I need since I can be a ball of stress most days. Anyways the run was hard. Julie dropped me and the dog off and did a few more.

    Don't compare. Sure I came home to shower, read and take a nap while Julie ran another 4 miles and made pickles. My body clearly needed different things. If running isn't enjoyable to me why would I do more of it? If my body needs sleep why would I deny it?

    My mom arrive around eleven and we came up with a plan for the day, first stop wine tasting. We went to Flag Hill winery and it's gorgeous! We got there just before the tour which was very interesting.

    The fun facts that I loved were:

    1. The rose is made from black grapes which aren't pressed, they just sit in the press.
    2. The pigs on the land are there to eliminate waste from whiskey making.
    3. The vodka is made from apples which have a similar profile to butter (we tried it...I didn't taste butter) and smooth texture. Therefore they don't need to add glycerin like most other vodkas to get the smooth mouthfeel. I loved this. Why don't more people do this?! Less additives for the win.
    4. Some people think Niagara grapes taste like diesel fuel similar to how some people think cilantro tastes like soap. This is also the grape used to make Welch's.

    After the tour we took some pictures, signed up for Brunch and Bubbles for my mom's birthday, and did a tasting. My favorites were the rose and a white fruity wine that was delicious. I'm usually a fan of red wine but the white and fruit wines stole the show for sure. We each left with two bottles.

    After this we were starving so we drove to downtown Portsmouth for Thai food, we went to The Green Elephant. I've been dying to go. We got a bottle of white wine to share and some appetizers to start. Roasted Brussels sprouts that changed my life and dumplings. For my entree I ordered the assorted vegetables with peanut sauce. I will do anything for peanut sauce. I love how well rounded this meal was. It came with brown rice (!), lots of steamed vegetables (!), steamed tofu (!), and such a delicious peanut sauce (!). I almost licked my plate. Mom got the pad Thai, a classic, and Julie got the mango curry.

    After lunch mom and I did some shopping since she starts school next week and I always have to look nice (that's Boston). I also love getting dressed up. I needed tops so I bought three, one lace which I love, and two necklaces. Mom bought two shirts and a sweater once I convinced her. It wasn't the most successful shopping day but we had fun. Julie didn't come because she doesn't wear nice clothes to work and had to take Lyla for a walk.

    Unfortunately then mom had to leave to get back to Maine. Julie and I sipped some wine (how did we need more- I probably didn't since I barely drank water all day) and made pizza. We put two eggs on one because Julie wanted to try. They weren't cooking so I told Julie to broil the pizza. Turns out she has never realized that her broiler is her bottom drawer. Well I taught her and now she knows. And the pizza finally cooked. I had my fair share. Homemade pizza is one of my favorite meals.

    We watched a random Netflix show called White Gold with Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl (adore him) and fell asleep at 9pm. Greg was shocked...I passed out. Day drinking is rough. Ruger was tired too and tried so hard to cuddle me on the couch.

    It's been a weekend full of eating and drinking. Julie is currently out doing her long run for marathon training (probably like 9 miles). She got up at 5:30. I'm still in bed and it's after seven. I feel like I should go for a run. I feel like my body isn't myself lately. I haven't had as much time to exercise or move my body. And my favorite pastime continues to be going to new restaurants, trying new recipes and exploring vineyards/breweries. Body kindness, Megan. Don't compare and don't judge yourself.

    On another note, it's been a weekend full of family. I feel so grateful to live closer and to be able to have these adventures with my family. It's refreshing and comforting. I love my family to pieces. I see my mom next weekend but have to wait a few weeks for my dad to come home. I'm looking forward to it though.

    The book I mention throughout this post is Body Kindness by Rebecca Scritchfield. It's life changing and the author's voice is so warm and inviting!

    A day in the life: day off

    I worked my first weekend this past weekend. It was challenging but just what I needed to boost the confidence. Every day gets a little bit better as long as I believe in my knowledge and training. Every day it still feels surreal.

    I tried sleeping in this morning, but two glasses of wine last night meant I was a little more restless. I was up at 6:45 but that is definitely sleeping in for me. I couldn't decide what to have for breakfast. I've been wanting to get on the egg, avocado toast bandwagon (I tend to eat that for lunch) but really wanted my peanut butter. I didn't have milk so oatmeal was out of the question. Toast it was! One slice with pbj and the other with Greek yogurt and jam. My mom makes the best jam.



    While eating breakfast I watched an episode of the Tudors. I've been switching off between the Tudors and the Ozarks lately. Sometimes I "watch" while I'm working on other things which I need to stop doing.

    The next task was doing laundry and organizing the basement. All of my apartment stuff is down there. My dad wanted me to make a new pile of what I'm bringing with me. I'm going from living alone to living with a roommate so I definitely don't need everything. This task was rewarding because I feel lighter and more organized! I also found some nutrition journals that I skimmed for relevant articles.



    Time to read my book! I'm reading The Boys in the Boat and loving it. It's a pre-world war II novel and the story/writing is great.



    I ate lunch before my hair appointment and some errands. It was leftover chicken, brown rice, and vegetables. Tasty but by day four I'm getting bored of the same meal.

    I went to a place "downtown" to get my hair cut. It's a small town hence the quotation marks. I explained my dilemma of showering at night and having terrible hair in the morning. She recommended sleeping with my hair in twists or buns and using a product to subtly style it. I'll try anything. So of course I was a sucker and purchased the product. I also took a few inches off. She was done so quickly. I guess it feels quick when I've been going to teaching places for so so long now...

    Then it was off to Target, where I spend most days off. I went for sunglasses because my previous pair broke. I left with a rug, a mirror, a few frames, and bobby pins.

    Once I got home I made a smoothie to sip on and read my book until falling asleep. The clouds took over and I love naps on days off. My body feels very tired and I'm just trying to listen to it.



    I read for a little bit after drinking the above beauty but I quickly fell asleep. I napped hard for about an hour and it's just what my body needed.

    I finished my laundry, changed the sheets in my bed, semi-vacuumed (mostly the kitchen) and did a half hour yoga video. I feel like I should have exercised more today in the sense of gone for a run or did a longer yoga video. Running feels almost impossible these days because I'm so tired and it's muggy and hot. I'm trying to be gentle and increase the amount of yoga in my life. Lately it's been hardly any exercise so now it's slowly increasing how often. I know things will get easier and I won't be so tired or unmotivated forever. But it is a daily struggle. I enjoy my walks in the afternoon and I try to be active during the day (like taking the stairs whenever I can). Little things add up. And if you feel tired on your days off and you frequently fall asleep. Your body is telling you something. I'm trying to listen without judging myself.



    Anyways then I made pizza! Whole wheat dough, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers, and an egg. I ate the rest of the peppers that didn't fit on the pizza...aka a lot because I always buy extra veggies. It turned out amazing! However the first egg cracked on the floor. Fail. But this was delicious!! The cornmeal I added to the crust added a delicious crunch.



    Now I'm finishing an episode of The Tudors before showering and reading in bed. Tomorrow is a new day. And I'm taking with me the motto of my yoga video: accept where you are without judgement. I am still adjusting and still learning. I am a work in progress. Gentle movement. Gentle words.

    Birthdays: A Dietitian's Perspective

    I always wish people a delicious day on their birthday. It's a day to savor life and everything that brings you joy. For me that often includes all the delicious food and wine. And I'm a twin so it often means being with the other half.

    Saturday started the birthday shenanigans. We got to Maine around 3 pm and snacked on chips and salsa while catching up with our parents. Then we sipped on wine and casually opened presents.



    Dinner we requested to be salmon. I love salmon. We also had corn on the cob (another favorite) and rice pilaf. I made a Greek yogurt, dill, parsley and garlic sauce for the salmon. Delicious!! I had extra salmon of course.

    We were going to get ice cream on the lake but the skies opened up and dumped buckets! So mom made a blueberry galette that we topped with coconut ice cream. Delicious. After dinner Dad toasted us with maple dessert wine and we spent more time talking.



    In the morning I woke up early (used to that 4:30 alarm now) and decided to make Greek yogurt blueberry pancakes. I love pancakes but hate feeling hungry two hours later because of the lack of protein so I try to add yogurt and always top with peanut butter (and maple syrup). Also if you hate soggy pancakes keep the cooked ones in the oven at a low temp.



    Mom and I adventures to the farmers market to pick up a few things. I found a chèvre coated in herbs de Provence and had to get it. Thanks mom! We also unwound with some yoga. Trying to get into yoga more now that the race is over.



    I made a pre lunch snack since my stomach was growling and Julie went for a run. Who knew how long she'd be gone for. Something I need to mention here is just because you eat the same thing (pancakes) at the same time as other people does not mean that you will be hungry for the next meal or snack at the same time. I was hungry at 11:30. Doesn't mean I'm weird or something is wrong. Maybe my body metabolized my breakfast quicker. It's just your body talking to you. Listen to and honor your hunger. Anywho I made baguette slices topped with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes. Delicious! And then we cooked sausages and veggies on the grill.



    We did a quick family hike and got our beloved Gifford ice cream before saying goodbye. The trip was wonderful but way too quick.



    Julie and I got to Portsmouth and Greg had rotisserie chicken, couscous, and kale salad for us. I massaged the kale with creamy dressing and threw it all in a bowl. I wasn't super hungry but it felt good to have some nutritious food after a big bowl of ice cream. Julie and I toasted with champagne and some liquor from Iceland.

    The next morning (my actual birthday) I got up at 4:15 to catch a 5am bus to Boston. I didn't sleep well but my mood changed when the bus stopped in the North End shortening my commute. Happy birthday to me.

    I worked and all of my coworkers wished me a happy birthday. Definitely don't mind working on my birthday when I really like where I work and who I work with. AND my coworker made me a blueberry pie from scratch. It was gorgeous and also absolutely delicious. I couldn't put into words how much it meant to me. I even brought the leftovers home because it was that good and I would never let blueberry pie go to waste.



    After work I scurried across town with all my weekend bags (and got lost once) to meet Christine for dinner. One of my coworkers recommended Barcelona a tapas and wine bar in Back Bay. It was a gorgeous place with excellent wine, food and service. I will be back.



    Christine and I had a lot to celebrate. For her moving to Boston and starting a new job and for me being one year older (and hopefully wiser). We started with a flight of three wines which the waiter chose for me based on my likes. He did a fantastic job!



    We then order a trip of charcuterie. Hello chorizo, goat cheese, and gooey bread! We also got two tapas: croquettes (fried potato balls-a favorite from living in Spain) and albóndigas (meatballs).



    As you can see we had zero fruits or vegetables...unless wine counts. For me I can get my fruits and vegetables other days. I almost ordered the street corn but croquettes hold a place in my heart. I'll go heavy on the nutrient dense food today and save my birthday for special indulgences. Barcelona is a place to save for special occasions. I had the best time. Thank you Christine!!! I can't wait to meet you for more drinks and dinner (and maybe we should balance it out with exercise classes) now that we both live in Boston.

    I am so lucky. To have a job I enjoy. To have coworkers i admire and appreciate. To have a roof over my head. To have a loving family. To have supportive, kind, and caring friends. And to have another year to look forward to all of this.

    Beach 2 Beacon

    I was lucky enough to get an entry to Beach to Beacon through my sister's friend Happy Fit Mama. She had a bib through Cabot and I was more than excited to accept. I did a 1-week exploratory rotation with Cabot during my dietetic internship. I am also a die hard fan of their cheese and their mission. Coops and local farms are my jam. I will always support Cabot even though I've moved to Massachusetts. Huge thank you and shoutout to Cabot for the entry! It's a race I will definitely be back to.

    So Friday after work I caught a bus from Boston to Portsmouth to meet my sister. After a few trains and a bus I hopped into Julie's car for the ride to Portland. We got Panera sandwiches and plugged in a podcast (Ali On The Run). I got a turkey, avocado BLT.



    We were staying with one of my best friends and her family in Cape Elizabeth. Lucky for us we didn't hit any traffic! We got to Colleen's house and spent a few hours catching up and talking about the race since we were all running. We also picked out our race outfits. My choice was easy...#willrunforcheddar duh. I tried getting Julie to wear it too!



    Saturday morning we woke up at 6am and changed. I had two slices of peanut butter toast because you don't want to see me wait until late morning to eat something...I woke up hungry and prefer to run with some fuel in my belly. Carbohydrates and some protein every time.

    We walked to the busses which dropped us off at the start. When I saw there was coffee I was overjoyed. Just what I needed for a little pick me up! Then we hopped in the portolet line (yes, that is equivalent to portajohn).



    Colleen and I started at the 9:30 pace as that was Colleen's goal. I was running with Colleen to prove to myself I can still run even though my hip is still bothering me and my schedule is challenging. I also had been looking forward to the time to catch up with her! We haven't seen each other in a while.



    The race was SO much fun. I talked the whole way, probably annoying Colleen. And took some great pictures. This was the twentieth anniversary so there was music all along the race. I loved that the crowd of runners never really thinned out so you were never alone. This kept me going. The spectators were also in abundance but Colleen was often telling them to make some noise (she's the best spectator!)



    We got to the lighthouse and neared the end. I was so proud of Colleen and overjoyed to have spent the time with her even if just a quick night and a race. It was so much fun and I definitely want to race it in the future. Cape Elizabeth is gorgeous and the people (particularly Colleen's family and friends are so nice).



    After the race we picked up as much free stuff as possible. I got chocolate milk, granola bars, trail mix, watermelon, sunglasses, blueberry soda (!), more sunglasses, a towel, and probably more! Oh they also had blueberries! You know I loved that!

    Colleen's family had some friends over for appetizers and mimosas after the race. I'll run for mimosas almost as fast as I'll run for wine.





    Julie and I hit the road to see our parents in central Maine. It's a quick overnight trip for our birthday weekend but worth it. The day has been spent snacking, catching up over wine, eating salmon (my favorite), eating blueberry galette with coconut ice cream (so good and all gone) and cuddling with dogs. That's a perfect day if you ask me.



    I miss my friends and family. Moving has been a challenge for me. I love my job but I miss my people. Here's to a weekend of fun runs, being with my people (both family and friends) and delicious birthday food.

    Finding Time

    Self care. What does that look like to you? This week has been crazy so far. But so so good.

    Monday after work I met Molly for a drink (and a half) near Downtown Crossing. We went to a random place we found which had generous pours of wine (winning!!) We could have gone to a dump and I wouldn't have cared, I just wanted to see Molls. We had a great time and her bf joined half way. Having a friend here and knowing Molly will be here
    eventually makes me smile. Dinner that night was a boatload of crackers, some cheese and nuts and a peach on the train home. Cabot cheese of course because they sell it presliced now!! Thank you Cabot!!! Wasn't feeling super great after not eating many fruits or vegetables that day but it happens. Wasn't about to eat at 8pm when I got home and go to bed at 8:30.



    Tuesday was another meet up after work. I met Sierra and my new roommate. We got dinner at 4:30 at Tatte Bakery, one of my new favorite places. The menu is superb and I adore the atmosphere. I got the eggplant, pesto, and feta panini on a ciabatta roll. It was gigantic and amazing. Dinner at 4:30 beats being hangry on a long commute and then eating late at 8pm. When I got home I felt energized for a two mile run before bed! If that isn't balance idk what is.



    Today I left work a little later but the traffic wasn't bad. I had a big dinner of leftover spring roll bowls (can't get enough peanut sauce). I'm gone this weekend and have too much food to eat. Won't make that mistake again. But I also had some of my Milka chocolate bar because I wanted something sweet.

    Tonight I asked myself what I needed for self care. Do I want to exercise? No. Do I want to run errands? No. Do I want to eat a homecooked meal, veg out with Netflix and paint my nails? Yes. The chocolate was an added bonus.

    I've had bad cravings lately. I blame less sleep, a crazy schedule and less time for me. It's okay. Portions of chocolate here and there, going out to eat, having wine and then a whole lot of crackers is not going to kill me or tip the scale. This is right now. Yes meal planning and having fruit and veggies will help me stay fueled and feeling energized for work. But that doesn't me I have to eliminate chocolate or crackers or restrict myself. All foods can fit in a healthy lifestyle.