nutrition

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on

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It comes back to David Bowie way too often on this blog. I don’t even know why. Some of his songs (especially this one, this one, and this one) would certainly make my desert island playlist, but I wouldn’t think to put him in my top 5 or anything. Unless, of course, I haven’t checked in with my Top 5 Brain since I was, like, 18. I heard somewhere that’s where a lot of people get off the boat, musically, and I didn’t come around to Bowie until I was 25 or 26, so…

Anyway.

I guess that line from “Space Oddity” ended up in my head because some weeks I’m so busy, it feels like I may as well be on a different planet from my home base. This is why my freezer is often stocked as if in preparation for nuclear winter. Like so: freezer 1

freezer 2

So basically, lots of frozen soup, frozen fish, frozen beans, frozen sprouted grain bread, and frozen vegetables. No wonder Whole Foods sends me coupons more befitting a family of four instead of, well, one.

If you’re thinking, “Your microwave probably will not work in the case of nuclear winter, Jess,” you are absolutely right, and have obviously thought this through way better than I have. This is why I just count my blessings that a busy week is about as bad as it gets—and to make sure I have plenty of sardines and dry-roasted edamame on hand. Just in case…

What’s in your freezer? Who were your favorite musical artists at age 18? 

Alone in the Kitchen

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Sometimes I joke about publishing a cookbook of foods I make and love but would never have the balls to serve up to another human without first letting them know what they were getting into. And obtaining said fellow human’s permission, of course. However, the market’s not exactly hurting for anecdotes on solo cooking and dining behavior. Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant covers that territory so well. If you haven’t read this book, I’d highly recommend checking it out. Reading it a few years ago was a nice revelation that I’m not the only mad scientist out there.

savory oatmeal with tahiniThat said, l fully support the notion that savory oatmeal should become a more mainstream thing. Yesterday I enjoyed a bowl of it topped with roasted veggies, caramelized onions, tahini, and goat cheese.

Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it…Aside from being delicious (in my humble opinion), it’s a great way to get in some veggies first thing.

What’s the weirdest thing you eat but would be hesitant to serve to someone else? 

Halfway

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Anyone else relieved we’re halfway through February—and thus, another month of winter?

V-Day red wineDespite the snow, I can’t complain so far about this winter. I also actually had the first enjoyable (aka conflict-free) Valentines Day I can recall since, well, ever. After an amazing, headache-clearing massage, I spent the afternoon working in my favorite coffee shop before meeting up with a girlfriend for a glass of wine.

There was a lady at the bar teaching her clueless man-friend how to eat oysters. It kind of made my night.

I’ve been working a lot of Saturdays at the hospital, so a mellow Friday evening with an early  bedtime suited me just fine. Besides, full moons make me tired.

Speaking of full moons, have you heard about the lunar/werewolf diet yet? Or excuse me, Moon Diet. Though I can get on board with the idea that our bodies might be more inclined to retain—or get rid of—water during a particular phase of the moon, I don’t really see why fasting is necessary. You could do just as well being mindful of sodium intake and filling your plate with bloat-fighting foods that are rich in potassium. Also, losing 6 pounds (of water weight that you’ll probably just gain back) in 24 hours isn’t exactly healthy. Just my professional opinion, of course…

Anyway, happy weekend.

How did you spend Valentines Day? What’s the craziest diet you’ve ever heard of? 

 

A Few Good Things for Valentines Day

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Rather than post a chocolate recipe for two with witty little comments about having better things to do than the dishes, I thought I’d just share a few random good things on this Valentines Day.

Like this virtual Valentine from Women’s Health:

(I don’t want to admit that yesterday’s monster headache was likely related to inadequate caffeination in the setting of intense weather, but what can I say? #addicted)

10 Creative Ways to Eat More Beets.

The Getty Images “Lean In” Collection. As one of my Facebook friends put it, “Surprisingly awesome.”

This hilarious Serious Eats post debunking aphrodisiac food myths.

What it sounds like when a foodie and a non-foodie have a meal together. I think my favorite part is the description of the Sangiovese. I want to sip an adulterous wine, dammit.

In the spirit of my post on 10 Ways to Love Yourself this February, I’m cashing in a Christmas gift card for a massage. This is basically all I want ever.

What are you up to this Valentines Day? 

Nutrition for Healthy Skin

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cutest little avocado ever
cutest little avocado ever

So, remember that time I smeared avocado on my face? Eating it also happens to be pretty good for your skin.

Tuesday night, I spoke about nutrition for healthy skin at a super-fun fitness event in New Jersey, put together by a consultant from Rodan & Fields, who talked about some of their awesome products. Participants were also treated to healthy snacks and a free kickboxing class.

Here’s a little cheat sheet version of what I covered at the event. Here’s how to nourish your skin from the inside out!

Eat a Balanced Diet: Consume regular, balanced meals and snacks including: fruits and veggies along with lean sources of protein, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and healthy fats. 

Eat the Rainbow: Pigments in fruits and vegetables such as the beta-carotene that gives carrots their brilliant orange color can also make your skin glow.

Pay Attention to Antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that may prevent or delay cell damage caused by free radicals. Popular sources include: fruits, vegetables, red wine (and champagne!), dark chocolate, coffee, and tea.

Choose Supplements Carefully: Aim to get your vitamins and minerals from food first and use supplements to fill in any gaps (for example, iron and vitamin B12 for vegans). A few exceptions: many of us, especially in the northern states (especially in winter), would benefit from a vitamin D supplement. You might want to consider fish oil as well.

Use Sugar Sparingly: Inflammation caused by rapid sugar breakdown leads to sagging, wrinkles, and exacerbation of conditions like rosacea and acne. Sugar also deactivates the body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. Save the sweet stuff for special occasions and check labels for hidden sources in processed foods.

Drink Plenty of Water: Hydrated skin is happy skin. Aim for 8 cups a day to get your glow on. Your needs may be more or less, depending on age, activity level, and other factors.

Go Easy on Alcohol: To avoid wrinkles and blotchy, tired-looking skin, stick to one drink per day for women or two for men.

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight has been linked to inflammation and related skin problems like acne, sweating, and impaired wound healing. Being underweight can cause skin dryness and a pallid appearance.

Get Enough Sleep: Aside from keeping “hunger hormones” leptin and ghrelin in check, sleep gives the body a chance to repair and regenerate tissue. Also, when we’re tired, we’re more prone to stress, another known skin irritant.

Know Your Triggers: Keep a food journal and note skin’s appearance before and after eating to help you identify problem-foods if you suspect something is causing a reaction.

Don’t Smoke: All the antioxidants in the world won’t offset damage caused by the free radicals introduced to your body when you light up.

Are there any particular foods you try to include—or avoid—to keep your skin healthy? 

What I Ate Wednesday #148: How the Light Gets In

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Good morning! How’s your week going? My inner clock is a bit confused from working Friday through Monday, so today is sort of like my Sunday this week. Whatever works, right?

This actual past Sunday was gorgeous in New York. Waiting for the bus in the morning felt almost like spring. While scrolling through my Instagram feed, I noticed a post from Foodtrainers featuring a quote from one of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs: “There is a crack, a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.”

That line has been in my head since then. It’s the kind of thing that, when you sit and think about it, takes on more meaning and depth. The way I respond to it certainly has changed and evolved since I first started listening to L. Cohen when I was 18, but in other ways, some things remain the same.

Anyway, light has been on my mind a lot in general, mostly because I’m getting a lot more of it in my day to day life. I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. After spending almost nine months in a windowless office, I’m still not over the novelty of sunlight as I eat breakfast at my desk. Today’s What I Ate Wednesday post will feature Sunday’s well-lit meals and snacks. I definitely notice I need to eat more snacks to get me through work days, especially at this new place, where I feel like on my feet in a way I haven’t been since I was a dietetic intern. I can’t lie, though—I kind of love it. As always, many thanks to the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons for hosting the weekly link party—take a little trip over there to see more WIAW from other bloggers!

  • Breakfast: Overnight oats made with Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp flax, 2 tbsp oats, cinnamon, and berries—simple and satisfying
  • Lunch: Big salad with roasted veggies, black beans, and half an avocado
  • Snacks: Green apple, Trader Joe’s teriyaki turkey jerky
  • Dinner Part One/After-Work Snack: Sprouted grain toast spread with nonfat ricotta and topped with roasted eggplant and a sliced hard-boiled egg
  • Super Bowl Party Snacks: I was pretty full from my snack/mini-dinner, so I munched on some carrots and hummus
  • Dinner Part Two: Red lentil chili (again—I have lots in my freezer) when I got home from the party and realized I was hungry. Working hours that are different from other people’s “normal” means weird meal times occasionally, but as long as it all works out in the end, no harm no foul.
  • Chocolate Fix: I had a square of this before calling it a night. This chocolate is basically my wildest PMS dreams come true.

Actually, I think my wildest PMS dream of late is a recent one about trying to froth coconut water, mostly to see if it worked. Long story. Paging Dr. Freud.

Do you have natural light in your workplace? What’s your wildest PMS dream? Any good Super Bowl eats? 

Keepers: Photos I Just Couldn’t Delete Part I

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Just to get this out of the way: I have nothing to say about the Superbowl. I have nothing against football—it’s just not on my radar. That said, I still have plans to attend a gathering at a friend’s place after work today to chitchat about the commercials.

So, moving on…

I don’t know if it’s the Year of the Wood Horse spirit or some other force that has compelled me to clean the f*** out of my closet and old photo files, but I’ve been very focused on making space in my life—and on my hard drive—as of late. For what, I don’t really know yet, but I”m curious.

The way that some articles of clothing are impossible to get rid of, here are a few food photos from 2009-2011 I just couldn’t part with:

What articles of clothing are impossible for you to get rid of?