Pick your passion and roll with it!

Happy Friday everyone! This post is going to dive into some of my thoughts about physical activity and trends with exercise. I know people can get very passionate about exercise, so just take everything with a grain of salt and hear out my perspective!

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Sometimes we get caught up in trends and forget to pay attention to what we truly enjoy. What makes your heart full and your body happy? Of course this can be related to food, but trends can also effect other parts of your health and well-being.

The main things that come to mind when I think about this topic are work-out trends. I have tried a variety of different exercise regimens or classes from basic work-outs at the gym to yoga or spin. I definitely thank undergrad for that, because I was able to take a variety of classes such as TRX, Pilates, yoga, and cycling all for free. This gave me the opportunity to dive into new things and see what I really liked!

The problem with trends in any aspect of life (exercise, health, dieting, clothing, etc) is that we often get caught up in what is most “popular”. What is everyone else doing? Everyone else likes cross-fit, so shouldn’t I too?

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I am focusing on the exercise aspect because I think that keeping up with trends in exercise can often times be the most discouraging or frustrating. I remember when the cross-fit trend started and I thought to myself, “Am I supposed to try this? It’s so not me or what I enjoy about exercising?” With social-media being a hot way to communicate, we often times get wrapped up in what others are doing and what we think we should try to “get fit” vs really tapping in to what we love and enjoy. I have realized over the years that I continuously go back to running, so I have used this as an opportunity to perfect and really focus on this passion of mine.

When you are looking for a way to stay active, go for what you enjoy, not what is trending on Instagram or Facebook. When you enjoy the type of exercise that you are doing, it often times makes you more willing to continue and push yourself harder. Of course, trying new things can be fun, exciting, and you might find a new way to be active that you really enjoy, BUT don’t feel like you have to love something just because every else does!


How do I stay engaged and interested in running and not burn myself out? I challenge myself by running various races or switching from long-distance runs to quick sprints on the treadmill. I thrive off exercising in group settings. I love pushing myself to be faster and catch up to someone ahead of me, so running a 5k or training for a half marathon is something that really challenges me and pushes me to better myself! When I really do need a break, I go to my other loves — yoga and pure barre. Yoga is very relaxing for me and my body. Pure barre is a total “rock out to awesome music and feel my body shake” type of work out (you know…the ones where you can’t walk the next day?!).With these breaks in between races and an occasional HIIT workout, I have totally found a system that works for me and keeps my interest.

I encourage you to find something you enjoy and really dive into it. Become comfortable with yourself and where you are with exercise and fitness and always remember change takes time!


Learning from my mistakes…

Alrighty everyone… time for a little personal moment. I have been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks, but honestly was a little nervous about it. Sometimes it makes me squirm to acknowledge my imperfections or my past mistakes because well, who wants to really come face to face with those things?

Yesterday I read Alexis Joseph’s (Hummusapian) post, I Have Been Changed for Good, and so much of what she talked about resonated with me and gave me a little push to share my own story of how I have evolved over the years. If you haven’t read her article, I highly recommend you take a look and see if you feel some of the inspiration that I felt after finishing.Everyone has a “story” or has something about themselves that they dislike or work to change. I’m not going to sit here and talk about all my problems or struggles as someone who works in a profession where talking and thinking about food can consume a good chunk of my day. I more want to reflect back on where I was and who I hope I am becoming now in my career and in this hobby I have adopted, blogging.

No, I don’t have over a million followers. In one day, I really don’t know how many people I reach. My hope is that for those who read this, maybe they can reflect on themselves in a similar way. Maybe you will just get to know me a little better and either appreciate my honesty and flaws or think that my words have little value. I can only hope that what I say might just help one other person.

I have been blogging for about 5 years. I started blogging in college as an outlet and way to help others “eat healthy”. What a blanket statement right? It’s interesting as I look through my various phases of blogging the different names that I took on and how they related to that period of time in my life – Nutritious, Fit Me; Nibble on Nutrition; and now today, Her Healthy Kitchen. Boy, does this bring me full circle. It may not be apparent to you, but to me this timeline truly shows my growth as a person and as a health professional.

When I first started my blog and was in the height of taking nutrition classes and “training” myself to be the best nutrition professional possible, I was doing anything and everything possible to maintain that image. “The perfect dietitian.” What even is that? To me, as someone who wanted so badly to have that title this meant eating perfectly, being at an optimal fitness level, and being a “role model” for those trying to achieve the same.

If I could go back in time, I would change so many things about this point in my educational career.

My recipes and my advice were all about having “less”. Less sugar… less fat…less dairy; the more I took away, the smaller the chance was of me not looking the way I needed and achieving the image that I was going for. I was fueling my body with “diet” products that were filled with artificial sweeteners or weren’t filling or satisfying (rice cakes — AWFUL decision) all to keep my calories where I wanted them. I was extra careful with the foods that I chose and was very proud of my diligence and dedication to “healthy eating”.

At the time, I was training for half marathons and not fueling properly, and when the training was over would struggle with the thought of not continuing to “feel fit” or exercise in the way that I was. I was prideful when people told me I was thin because I was doing it the “right way” in my eyes. Of course I am thin. I mean, I was studying nutrition for goodness sake?

Now, I’m not saying I had a problem with eating. I ate a lot… I was just extra cautious and would avoid foods that I though may effect my body in a way that I did not want or like. I have had many close people in my life struggle with disordered eating, so I am well aware that this is a slippery path that many people can find themselves going down. I don’t think I was at that point, but I do think my perception of food and nutrition was very skewed.

A few things happened to me since that time period.

For one, I actually became a Registered Dietitian. As a Registered Dietitian, my looks and my appearance mean nothing to a 5 year old child who doesn’t know where he’ll receive his next meal if it is not at school. It doesn’t matter to a newly diagnosed diabetic teen who is angry and upset that they cannot eat what their friends eat. Being a dietitian is so much more than teaching people to “eat healthy”. My job helps me build connections with families, children, new mothers, and help them prevent future disease and disparity. I can play a role in breaking the cycle of diabetes for a family by educating a child on how to make themselves balanced meals on a budget. I can teach a mother how to properly feed her infant so that it can thrive and grow at an optimal rate. This is my job, and this is something that I live for.

The second thing that happened is I got married! I have one of the most supportive spouses ever. When I started really getting into Her Healthy Kitchen and revamping my approach to blogging, Jeff was and still is my number one supporter. Being married to someone that has complete opposite eating habits than myself has actually helped me become more balanced with my own eating. I want to fuel our little family with wholesome foods that are not only are satisfying, but nourish us and keep us healthy and fulfilled. While some days the challenge of hiding veggies in our food (sorry Jeff!) can be tiresome, cooking for two has opened my eyes to new recipes, new challenges, and has made me really appreciate sharing a meal with someone else — not analyzing every part of that meal.
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I think about my views on food and nutrition now, and I am so proud of where I am. Five year ago, I was eating PB2 to make sure I didn’t have too much fat from peanut butter. Today, I probably have at least 1-2 Tbsp of full fat peanut butter every day on top of eating handfuls of nuts such as almonds or cashews for snacks while I’m at work. Why did I make this change? Because why miss out on all the healthy fats that REAL peanut butter and real nuts have to offer? Fat is good baby!

A few years ago, I also fell into the thought that I shouldn’t eat whole eggs and would only eat egg whites; now I eat eggs almost daily for breakfast INCLUDING one big, tasty egg yolk. I now happily eat chicken, turkey, and pork (actually, I hate going a day without one of these proteins) whereas I previously avoided meat at all costs. I now look at whole foods as my fuel. I eat fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and some grains, and you will very rarely find me looking for a “low fat” product.

While I still support eating for good health and love posting all of my recipes, I think my life has become much more balanced and my approach to talking about food and nutrition has changed.

No, I still don’t support going to McDonald’s and ordering an extra large fry and thirst buster of soda, but I see the obsession that people can develop with eating “perfect” and never making a “bad decision”. Yes, there are circumstances where “low fat” or “diet products” have their place, and I recognize when those arise during a consult or counseling experience.

Today, my hobby for blogging incorporates my world of balance. Her Healthy Kitchen shows everything that I love about food, nutrition, and living my version of a healthy lifestyle. I love to eat! I want to be able to help others without creating obsessions or making people feel bad about themselves or who they are as a person. There is such a blurred line between being obsessive with healthy eating and eating for good health. I choose the latter and hope that I can help and inspire others to do the same!

 

 


OHSO Brewery & Distillery

Time for another local eats review! I can truly say hub and I have tested this one out thoroughly. OHSO Brewery & Distillery is just a few blocks down from our home and is dog friendly, so when we are looking to take out our pup, this is our spot!

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The back of the restaurant has an indoor/outdoor atmosphere with space for kids (or dogs!) to run around, play, and test out different games such as corn hole or ping pong! If you are a dog lover, this is definitely a spot your want to check out!

With a variety of local and seasonal brews, this spot is great to have a cold beer on a sunny afternoon or refreshing cocktail made from locally distilled vodkas. There are a variety of fun and funky food options as well as small bites that are perfect for sharing! OHSO offers brunch, lunch, and dinner and has 2 happy hours that run during normal afternoon hours and late at night for those who want to stay out a bit later.

If you enjoy a good burger or sandwich, I can definitely give you a few recommendations! My favorites are The Gobbler (a turkey burger topped with pear compote, spring mix, bacon and tomato; usually pair this with sweet potato fries) and the Grilled Cheese (a cheese combinations of gouda, mozzarella, prosciutto, and tomato jam; usually pair this with a side salad and citrus vinaigrette).

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If you’re curious what I look for in a restaurant before checking it out, here are a few things that tends to spark my interest…

  1. It’s not a chain! — This is within reason. A few of my favorite places to eat, such as True Foods, aren’t necessarily chains but have a few locations out here on the west coast/mid west. If its a place that you can’t find off any highway or in any state, I am definitely interested!
  2. Unique menu — I love something that is a little different. I am also a big fan of small bites, so if I can try a variety of things on your menu in small portions I am definitely going to go check it out! Local beer or wine list? Even better!
  3. There’s a healthy twist — By this I mean a few things. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a “healthy restaurant” or a restaurant that is know for serving lots of vegetables or only gluten-free foods. If there are options or ways to tailor foods to specific diets, I consider that a healthy twist. Of course, a big old plate of roasted veggies doesn’t hurt either 🙂
  4. Local ingredients — I’ve already explained that I love eating local and supporting local farms, orchards, you name it! If there is a place that locally sources ingredients, you can sign me up!

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Why diet and exercise work better together!

I commonly talk about food, eating healthy, and filling your body up with nutrient-dense foods while still taking time to indulge every once and a while. Occasionally, you will catch me talking about exercise or sharing some things that I like to do to keep myself physically active. One thing I want to emphasize a little today is why it is so important to have balance with these two concepts: healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Sometimes I see people fall into the fitness slump where all they are focused on is burning calories. While there are many people that do spend hours upon hours in the gym and have the body to show it, high fitness level doesn’t necessarily equal good health. Also, most people don’t have 2-3 hours to spend at the gym or exercising daily. Many of the people I see on a daily basis struggle with getting in 20 minutes of exercise 2 times per week. In terms of weight loss, physical activity actually doesn’t have as much of an impact on losing weight as does one’s diet. Don’t take this the wrong way… I’m not saying don’t exercise. Exercise is crucial to maintaining not only good health, but it can help regulate your mood, stress levels, and keep you at a weight that you feel comfortable. Exercise is definitely effective in weight maintenance. (If you don’t believe me… look it up! There is actually research done on this topic.)

Let’s switch gears. I am a Registered Dietitian. It is my job to help people connect what they are putting into their bodies with their overall health or health conditions. It is no secret that “eating healthy” is something that people want to do (for the most part). I don’t think anyone wakes up thinking “I really hope the 3 sodas I drink today lead me to have high blood sugars.”

While I try to help people learn to eat a balanced diet and focus on whole foods rather that processed and packaged foods, I don’t believe that eating healthy and spending the entire day being sedentary is good either. What good is eating salads and lean proteins if you spend the whole day sitting on the couch or at a work desk. I know sometimes it is hard to find balance between eating healthy and getting in the recommended 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week, but this is something I feel is so important to maintaining good health. Whether you are trying to lose a few pounds or just maintain a healthy body, physical activity and making healthy food decisions together can provide optimal success.

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Think about food as fuel to your day AND to your ability to have a good and successful workout. Without proper fuel, your body might not react to your workouts the way you hope. If you spend 30 minutes doing ab work 4 times per week but go home and eat 3 cups of ice cream each night, those abs might not pop the way you want then to! On the other side of the spectrum, think about exercise as a way to keep yourself motivated to make good food choices. I don’t know about you, but after I go on a 3 hour hike, the last thing I am thinking about is sitting down to a burger and french fries. Often times, the more consistently we exercise, the clearer we think and the easier it is to differentiate a healthy food choice from one that maybe isn’t as great!

I hope that this information sparked interest in thinking about the way you look at your own diet and physical activity regimen (or maybe I just babbled for nothing!). I have always been a believer in balance within my life, whether that be balancing diet and exercise or school work with my desire to have a little relaxation time on the weekends. As always, message me with questions if you have them! Happy Tuesday!

 


National Nutrition Month Tidbits

Well, if you have any dietitians in your life it’s no secret that it is National Nutrition Month! That being said, this is a perfect time to plug the “reliable nutrition” card! If you are seeking nutrition advice or have nutrition questions, always go to your RD first! Registered Dietitians are trained and have education and extensive training on science-based nutrition information and how to apply the research and science to every day practice. Before you click “search”, reach out to one of us and pick our brains instead… please!

I also figured I would use this month as a chance to give a few basic tips to healthy eating and maintaining your healthy lifestyle within reason. There is a reason that fad diets are called fad diets… they tend to not last long or be sustainable for extensive periods of time (hens FAD). My biggest pet peeves when it comes to nutrition advice: cleansing, juicing, and over-consumption of nutritional supplements. Juicing, just to pick on one, takes a very important part of fruits and vegetables…. the fiber… and completely disposes of it. What is left though is sugar and plenty of it. Yes, it is natural sugar, but no that doesn’t give anyone the green light to over-consume it. What happens with excessive sugar and no fiber? Blood sugar peaks and dips which more than likely leads to feelings hunger soon after you’ve consumed your juice.

My tips are very basic and simple. They build upon my basic principles for healthy eating  “Pick plants often, vary your diet, don’t deprive yourself, and enjoy what you eat!” that you see on my home page. Please feel free to ask me questions, I would love to answer them, and take this month as a good learning experience if there is something in the nutrition field that sparks your interest!

3 Tips to Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Changes:

1. Follow the 80/20 rule. Make 80% of your daily food choices healthy and nutrient dense. Allow 20% for leniency, “special” foods, treats, or things you know you probably shouldn’t have often. There is no harm in treating yourself every once in a while; no one is perfect! When we deprive ourselves of what we love, it often leads to relapse or over-eating.

2. Hydrate yourself with H2O! Each time you feel the hunger bug, take a second to think if you are actually hungry or thirsty. Often times we confuse hunger with thirst. Drink water throughout the day and skip the sugar-sweetened or caffeinated beverages. Caffeine can often be dehydrating, so after your morning coffee fix keep the caffeine to a minimum. There really isn’t an explanation for the sugar-sweetened beverages other than they aren’t necessary!

3. Move towards a primarily plant-based diet. No, I’m not asking you to get rid of the meat, but I am asking you to incorporate more plant-based foods at every meal. The nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds do wonders for your body in more ways than one. Whether it be reducing inflammation, boosting your immune system, or aiding in muscle or tissue repair, there is no denying how important the fruits and veggies are (as well as other plant-based foods!) to your body. It could be adding some veggies to your omelet in the morning, throwing a handful of raw almonds into your yogurt, having a piece of fruit with lunch, or filling half your plate with colorful veggies at dinner; just make it a point to pick plants often!