Postino Wine Cafe

Ok my foodie friends! Time for another one of my FAVORITE local eats. Today I’m going to talk a little about Postino Wine Cafe. If you are wanting a little fun and funky atmosphere, some amazing small bites or unique and fresh entree options, and of course a glass of wine or two… this is your spot!

While this brand is growing and more locations are popping up throughout the valley, my favorite is still the Arcadia branch, located on Campbell and 44th Street. I think the reason I tend to go to this location is because it truly has the local, quaint feel that I love in a restaurant. With an indoor/outdoor vibe, wine bottles throughout the seating area, and a unique menu that has a little something for everyone, I could spend hours here people watching and enjoying a local, fresh bite to eat.

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Now, what makes their menu so unique? Besides the fact that there are plenty of healthy gluten-free, vegetarian, or health conscious options, their pick-4 bruschetta board can truly make anyone get excited for their food to come. Talk about options! I remember the first time I sat down with a friend and she asked if I wanted to split the board, I couldn’t understand why she was so excited? Now, having tried a variety of their choices I see why she had the reaction she did.

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Each flavor combination is better than the next…. seriously! With options like Sweet & Spicy Pepper Jam with Goat Cheese, Ricotta with Dates & Pistacios, and not to mention the variety of seasonal options available, how are you supposed to choose just four?! If you choose to check out this local favorite, I beg you to try this board. I promise (well… I am 99.9% sure) that you will fall in love with the unique flavors that this cafe has been able to create.

If you enjoy a glass of wine, obviously they offer a variety of choices, as well as a few local and craft beers. This is a charming and cute spot for a relaxed date night or just a night out with the girlfriends! I brought a friend here during her visit last month, and I think she was entirely pleased!

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I just want to leave this post with something a little personal about me and my transition through “healthy eating”. When it comes to eating out, I thoroughly enjoy trying new things and new places. Obviously I love eating local, but something that has changed a lot with me over the past few years is the types of foods that I “allow” myself to eat. I quote that, because over the past few years I have adapted a better concept of being “balanced” with my eating. I have learned that if I want to try something that may have a few more calories than my typical salad or bun-less veggie or turkey burger, I should not hesitate to do it!

It is OK to enjoy the experience of trying new foods or eating out at one of your favorite restaurants. One special meal will not ruin your health efforts! Something that I do to help me moderate my portions when we are eating a special meal or trying something a little more calorie dense is split the meal with my husband. Bless his soul that he has become more open to doing this with me so that we can enjoy these experiences together and both get to try something new! If he really doesn’t want to split something (there are those times when his appetite is bigger than I can keep up with!), I will usually stop eating the second I feel sensations of fullness and box up the rest of my meal for leftovers. It is that simple! I hope you can use some of these tips to help you do the same and enjoy your experiences with eating out and trying new foods!


What did I think of the Whole 30?

Ok, so I announced a few weeks ago that I was doing the Whole 30, but I never mentioned if I finished or how it went. All of these thoughts and feelings are my own. You or someone you know may have had a completely different experience.

To answer the first question of did I finish? No. I did not finish the Whole 30 for a few reasons. First, I want to say it drove me nuts that I stopped. I am a person who loves a challenge, and I like to see things all the way through. So, even though I started to have poor feelings about what was happening to my body and started to question some of the concepts, I still didn’t like that I was stopping.

I stopped the Whole 30 at day 13. In those 13 days I lost approximately 6lbs. I was currently 5’2″ and 112 lbs, so this brought me down to 106 lbs. I really didn’t want the weight loss to continue, but I was at a loss of how to increase my calories without drowning myself in even more nuts, avocado, and eggs than I was already having. Red meat is something I never really had in my diet (I grew up not eating it!); I’m allergic to fish/seafood; and I was already having 2 servings of chicken per day and 1 serving of eggs per day. I felt a little stuck.

Besides the weight loss, I also didn’t like the way I started to think about food. I never think obsession is a good thing when it comes to healthy eating. I have never been a restrictive person with what I eat. That is not how I choose to live my life, and trying this diet just enforced my belief in this concept. I didn’t want to develop a poor relationship with food… everyone has their limits, you just need to know when to recognize yours. This was a big eye opener for me that I needed to continue the way I have always lived my life and keep food something that is enjoyable and a part of my life…. but not my whole life.

Some positives from this experience:

  • I realized how many foods actually contain added sugar. Even as a dietitian who chooses a lot of plant-based foods, does a lot of home-cooking, and tries to eat whole foods frequently, I was shocked as I dug a little deeper into some of my basic kitchen staples. I was amazed to find sugar in my pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, and even in a jar of organic salsa. I have chosen since stopping the Whole 30 to make a conscious effort to continue to monitor my sugar intake and look for foods with minimal, whole ingredients.
  • I realized what an impact reducing sugar had on my skin. I have always struggled with keeping my skin clear. Cutting back on the quantity of sugar I had in my diet helped tremendously!
  • I realized that as a dietitian, my credentials and education have given me the true tools to living and teaching how to live a healthy lifestyle. I can’t stress enough that if you have any type of body issues, whether that be the desire to loose weight, gain weight, maintain weight, or just feel good in your own skin and reduce your risk of health problems, go see a dietitian. Dietitians are trained to meet you where you’re at in your life and create a plan that is best for you, your every day life, and your desires. Dieting is something that is short term in terms of happiness. What I mean by that is seeing the scale go down by a few pounds may be satisfying now, but as soon as the diet is over it can cause feelings of disappointment, sadness, and even depression when he weight trickles back in. A dietitian can help you create a better lifestyle for yourself so that happiness and healthy living is long term.

So in short, would I recommend the Whole 30? I think the decision is up to you. I highly recommend that you know yourself and pay attention to your body if you do choose to try it. I recommend you seek advice from a Registered Dietitian on how to modify the concepts of the Whole 30 to better fit you, your lifestyle, and your goals. Eating a diet that focuses on more fruits and vegetables, proteins, healthy fats such as nuts and avocado, and eliminating added sugars is something that I support. Just remember to give yourself a break, don’t deprive yourself, and know when restriction becomes obsession. Lastly, carbs are not evil. Learn to moderate and choose the right carb sources, and I promise you, you won’t blow up like a balloon after one meal containing whole wheat pasta. 🙂

 

For any additional questions regarding my experience or thoughts about this process, feel free to email me @ chelseamrd.1@gmail.com. Thank you!


Fast food for lunch? Not a problem…

Last weekend I attended my first family function as a registered dietitian. That may seem like an interesting opening sentence right? Well the reason I bring this up is because (and my sister is going to laugh if she reads this) for the first time I felt like my new credential, RD, was actually effecting a few of the people around me. My niece had stated that she was afraid to eat one too many cookies when I was in the room (we were at my brother’s graduation party), and my sister had told me later that my niece was calling me the sugar police. Now, my first reaction was a giggle and a smile, but the more I thought about it, I began to realize that this is the farthest thing from the truth when it comes to my own beliefs and practices with being healthy (although I still think “sugar police” is a bit funny). I probably have the biggest sweet tooth out of anyone in my family, and I have written many times about my belief that you can eat anything as long as it is in moderation. Although I am not a huge fast food person and never really have been, fast food commonly gets the misconception of being “unhealthy” as well. Some people, I find, blush a little or break eye contact when you ask “what did you have for lunch today?” and their response is a fast food restaurant, especially ones that have built up a bit of a bad reputation.

I want to break the bias a bit and give my take on the concept of eating fast food. In my opinion, it is all about the choices you are making. Fast food and weight gain or obesity are commonly used in the same sentence… right? At least this is what I find. Well why do we make this connection? Weight gain occurs when one eats more calories in one day than their body needs to produce energy. This can occur in the comfort of my own home, can’t it? 

Without exercise, my body can burn about 1,200 calories in 24 hours on its own. Could I consume this amount of calories in one day entirely from fast food and not gain weight? Of course. Net in = net out. That is the key. If net in > net out, weight gain will occur. Of course there are special circumstances, and calories needs are very individualized based on sex, age, height, weight, lean body mass, etc, so what my body needs may differ greatly from the person sitting next to me. This concept can be followed using solely fast food. Would I recommend eating out every meal of every day; probably not… but that is not the point of this post. The point is that it can be done without gaining weight. If you have to eat out, or your day is very hectic, busy, and fast food just happens to be the best option, there are ways to do it. I will show you how I could do this in one day. 

1,200 Calorie Day:

Breakfast: Starbucks

Egg-white spinach feta wrap: 290 calories

12 floz coffee, black: 5 calories

Lunch: Wendy’s

1 Jr. Cheeseburger: 290 calories

Apple slices: 40 calories

1 small fountain Diet Coke: 0 calories

Dinner: Panera

You Pick 2:

1 cup Low-fat Black Bean Soup: 170 calories

1/2 size Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad + 3 Tbsp Low-fat Poppyseed Dressing: 195 calories

Whole-grain baguette: 180 calories

Ice water with lemon: 0 calories

Total: 1,170 calories

 

This is just one example of how I could get in my calories needs (with a little wiggle room actually) in one day by solely eating fast food. I did not deprive myself; I was still even able to have a cheeseburger if I wanted! If I had exercised this day, I could have even added in a small dessert or snack throughout the day. It is all about the choices I made. Fast food for lunch? Not a problem! 


Sometimes, you just need to live a little.

Would I say I’m an expert in diet and nutrition…no. But, I do feel that I am getting pretty darn close. Even with all the education I can get on good fats vs bad fats, the reasons to watch sugar intake, or why a certain diet can provide these benefits, sometimes I just need to turn off my dietetic student brain and learn to live a little; and by live a little I mean indulge without guilt.

Everyone has their vice, and mine is sweets. Cookies fresh out of the oven, ice cream smothered with silky smooth chocolate sauce; you name it, I would probably love it as long as it satisfies that sweet tooth that loves to make an appearance weekly. Should I have an extra large chocolate chip cookie every day of the week, probably not, but I do like to satisfy that sweet tooth every once in a while. How do I do this without completely ruining a hard days work at the gym or that veggie packed salad that I ate at lunch? I minimize, and satisfy. What I mean by this is I have a very little portion of something decadent. Something that is tiny but packs a big punch.

Throughout my time learning and beginning to practice as a dietetic intern, one concept that I go back to over and over again is moderation not deprivation. Think about it. How many times have you deprived yourself of something that you really really wanted, say that extra large chocolate chip cookie. The whole time you are trying not to think about that cookie, you continuously shove something else that is “healthier” into your mouth to try to stop the craving. And what happens in the end? You’ve eaten twice the amount you would have if you initially just took a bite of the cookie, and you STILL want it despite everything you’ve just shoveled into your mouth.

Here is where that saying comes into play again…

Moderation, not deprivation.

Next time, take a bite of the cookie first. Savor the flavor, engulf your nose with the smell. Finish chewing, stop, and think. Wasn’t that great? Did that bite satisfy you? You got to taste what you initially wanted right? So throw the rest away, why do you need the rest? You just got to taste it?

I try to practice this concept all the time. Recently, I just make red velvet cake balls with white chocolate. You know why these are so great for me? When I am really craving something sweet, they are tiny, rich, and already perfectly portioned. What better way to eat something delicious without overindulging, right? I also always have dark chocolate on hand. When 9pm comes around, and I really just want to dive into a container of ice cream, I break off a square of dark chocolate, and boom the sweet craving is satisfied.

Sometimes we need to indulge a little, and there are ways to do this without feeling guilty or feeling like you just ruined your day. I hope this little bit of information helped!