Showing posts from 2017

Bettering Ourselves Part 2: Mental Health

This blog usually focuses on food. But there’s so much more to health and wellness than that.  As a Registered Dietitian, I recognize that and often play the role of “wellness coach,” helping people find the resources they need. I also am often part of an interdisciplinary team a.k.a. a health care team. Health care professionals don't work alone. We work together and know when to refer clients (patients) to other professionals. So, even though I can't treat your mental health directly, I can direct you those who can...

Bettering Ourselves Part 1: Physical Health

As we approach the New Year, we are looking at possible New Year's Resolutions or ways we can better ourselves.  I don't want you to look at New Year's Resolutions in a negative light. Some people make New Year's Resolutions that they know they aren't going to keep because they're making sacrifices. They might even view it as a punishment. For example, many people think they overindulged during the winter holidays and have to start at New Year's diet to make up for it.  But you shouldn't look at resolutions as punishments or sacrifices. Instead, make a New Year's Resolution because you love yourself and care about improving yourself.  See how that's a gentler approach? When you're phrase it this way, you're building yourself up rather than tearing yourself down.

It's Been A Sick Year; Next Year Doesn't Have To Be

I’m always trying to better myself. The first time I remember trying to make healthier habits was when I was in seventh grade. I decided that my breakfast of toaster pastries wasn’t a smart choice. I haven’t eaten them since. That was also when I realized I was living a fairly a sedentary lifestyle and started exercising outside of gym class. No wonder I became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, then, right? In the years since, my diet has changed and my exercise has changed, but so have other aspects of my health. At the time, I didn’t think about social health, spiritual health, or mental-emotional health. But, now, I know that these are equally as important. In 2015, I decided to work on my mental-emotional health. I started seeing a free counselor and set keeping a gratitude journal as my 2016 New Year’s Resolution. I successfully wrote in it daily, always listing at least 5 things I was grateful for that day, sometimes listing several dozen. My 20

Strawberry Swirl Brownies

I already knew I wanted to make some sort of strawberry-swirled brownie. I chose hers for a base because I liked the portion sizes. She makes desserts for two! As in, I wouldn’t have a bunch of extra dessert sitting around for days on end and possibly getting moldy (which has, unfortunately, happened). Strawberry Swirl Brownies Adapted from I already knew I wanted to make some sort of strawberry-swirled brownie. I chose to use Christina's brownies for a base because I liked the portion sizes. She makes desserts for two! That means, I wouldn’t have a bunch of extra dessert sitting around for days on end and possibly getting moldy (which has, unfortunately, happened). That said, I had to vegan-ize it. 6 strawberries, fresh or frozen, pureed 1 Tbsp. chia seeds 4 Tbsp. margarine 1/3 c. cocoa powder 1/4 c. stevia-sugar blend 3 Tbsp. aquafaba (chickpea brine), or another vegan egg-replac

Sam Turnball's Fudgy Double Chocolate Brownies

If you missed last week's post, I reviewed Sam Turnball's new cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan: 101 Everyday Comfort Food Favorites, Veganized. Sam and her publisher gave me permission to share one recipe from the book with you and I chose her Fudgy Double Chocolate Brownies. If you know me, you know I love dessert...

Cookbook Review: “Fuss-Free Vegan”

I was excited when I got my hands on Sam Turnbull’s new cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan: 101 Everyday Comfort Food Favorites, Veganized . Sam is the blogger behind It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken .                  Introduction Sam starts with an introduction, as any good cookbook author should. What makes her introduction unique is how personable she is in it.  I just pulled another vegetarian cookbook off my shelf for comparison. It dives right into the fact that studies show diets containing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are nutritious. Boring. There is no mention of who the author is. Sam, on the other hand, is completely honest about who she is. She’s not a dietitian and doesn’t have a bachelor’s in culinary arts. But her introduction still makes me relate to her and trust her. Like many vegans, Sam used to eat animal products and thought it might be hard to go vegan. Sam says, “I soon discovered that any meal could be made vegan, and with a few clever tweaks

Paula's Puppy Chow

I’ve been having cravings lately. No, I’m not pregnant. But I am a woman and cravings are pretty typical in womanhood…not to mention, they're pretty common in stress. Anyway, what this means for you…One morning, I was planning to eat my no-sugar-added wheat squares (like frosted shredded wheat squares only without the sugar). Suddenly, I craved Puppy Chow (not the actual dog food but the human snack). It goes by other names, one of which is apparently a registered trademark, so I can’t mention it here…. Being the dietitian I am, I decided not to just pull up a recipe online and follow it. Nope. I made my own lower sugar version, which I actually think is way tastier than the powdered sugar-coated version…

Six Weeks Without Coffee

Six years ago, I didn’t drink coffee. I didn’t drink tea. I didn’t drink caffeinated soda. If I drank soda, it was root beer which is not usually caffeinated. But that was six years ago.  Four years ago, I was introduced to naturally caffeine-free herbal teas, which I still love. Then I was introduced to coffee and flavored caffeinated teas. Both of which I liked and both of which I thought helped me get through working part time, interning full-time, and going to night school.  That lifestyle ended a year ago and I continued drinking coffee and caffeinated teas…until I was hospitalized. 

A Look at the Philly "Soda" Tax From a Philadelphian

The Philly "Soda" Tax may be old news to non-Philadelphians. But, those who live in and near Philadelphia know that they still hear about it all the time.  I hear advertisements about it on the radio, watch commercials about it on T.V., and read signs about it in stores.   I'll confess...I am not originally a Philadelphian. When I first heard of the plans for the Philly Soda Tax, I was living in the suburbs. I didn’t think it would affect me but I thought it could be a decent idea.  Even when I moved to Philly, I thought it wouldn’t affect me. I don’t drink soda. I don’t buy lemonade, sweet tea, cranberry cocktail, or the other beverages frequently discussed.

We Eat Billions of Pounds of Sugar

You may have seen the news last week that KIND, a snack manufacturer, displayed 50,000 pounds of sugar in Times Square. The point was to show how much added sugar Americans eat. (We actually eat billions of pounds of sugar each year, but that would have been expensive for KIND.) Most of us probably know by now that our foods contain added sugars and that added sugars have been linked to poor health outcomes.  Even so, we continue to eat it. I do, too.  It’s hard to find products without added sugar.  Even some   KIND products contain added sugar! 

Red, White, and Blue Vegan Cookies

At work, we served Red, White, and Blue Cookies at our Memorial Day picnic. I was hoping they would be served again for Fourth of July. And, initially, that was the plan. I pointed out that some of our residents were unable to eat them due to dietary restrictions and we'd have to make an alternate dessert. Rather than making an alternate dessert, the idea was nixed entirely. So, I decided to make my own... Since my company didn't make them from scratch, I couldn't borrow the recipe to follow. (Not to mention, it wouldn't have been vegan or otherwise met my nutrition preferences...) I started with Minimalist Baker's 1 Bowl Vegan Sugar Cookies as a guide. You could also use your favorite sugar cookie recipe or even store bought sugar cookie dough and add dried blueberries and dried cranberries. Red, White, and Blue Vegan Cookies Makes 9 small cookies 4 Tbsp. margarine 2 Tbsp. brown sugar 2 Tbsp. powdered stevia (or another sugar substitute e

Defining Junk Food (Part 2)

The term "junk food" was not something I remember defining in school and it wasn’t on the CDR exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  So, I asked other dietitians how they define it.  Most of them said they didn’t like the term “junk food” and didn’t even use it. Julie Seale, RD , explains, “ This places moral qualities on foods, which can then lead to feelings of deprivation, guilt and potentially binge eating. Instead, I think of those less nutritious foods as ‘sometimes’ foods.”   Jenny Jackson, RD , also referred to them as “less nutritious foods.” She added, “ These foods can be different for different people [due to medical conditions]. There are also foods that are made in manners which are more ethical which makes them more acceptable and desirable for some people, and that is a decision for each person to make based on their own values.” Jenny brings up two good points. First off, without going deep into medical nutrition,

Defining Junk Food (Part 1)

I spent the past month writing a series trying to determine whether or not certain snack foods were junk foods. It made me ask myself, “What is junk food?” The thing is, we all define it differently. 

Health Food or Junk Food: Flavored Applesauce

Over the past month, I’ve looked at several healthy-seeming snack foods and shown you which aren’t as healthy as you might think.  Today, I have one more snack for you…Flavored squeezable applesauce pouches.  You might be thinking, “No way is that healthy. It has to be full of added sugar and artificial flavoring.” But that’s not true. At least, it’s not true for Musselman’sSqueezables . I’d call these a health food. In addition to unsweetened applesauce, Musselman’s Squeezables come in fun flavors: Sour Raspberry, Sour Cherry, Sour Lemon, Strawberry, and Honey Cinnamon.     None of them contain artificial flavors or artificial colors. The Honey Cinnamon applesauce contains honey, but none of the others contain added sugars.  The main ingredient, of course, is apples. The three berry-flavored ones contain raspberry puree, cherry puree, and strawberry puree respectively. The lemon one contains lemon juice. Of course, there’s cinnamon in the Honey Cinnamon on


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