spring

Call for Guest Posts!

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follow your dreams Good morning and happy Saturday! I’m off to my last day at the conference and am looking forward to some great lectures.

Can you believe we’re in the last week of February? We’re also only 4 weeks away from the official start of Spring!

Looking ahead to the coming season, I thought it would be fun to hear from you guys. I’d love to feature a few guest posts in the last weekend in March. Send me an email at keepingitrealfood(at)gmail(dot)com if you’re interested!

Have a great weekend!

What are you looking forward to this Spring? 

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The Return of Smoothie Season

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It may not be hot out yet, but my taste buds have been transitioning toward warm-weather staples: cold salads instead of warm vegetable plates, white wine and gin vs red and whiskey, and green smoothies.

Personally, I tend to associate smoothies with positive, active times in my life, as they’re one of my go-to foods when I need something quick and nutrient-dense to fuel myself for a fun event or “replenish the stores” after a good time (I’m a dietitian, not a nun). That said, they’re also a great breakfast or after-work snack.

I also love smoothies for their versatility—you can easily make them as light or substantial as you like. For example, if I’m making a  quick smoothie after work, I’ll just use half a frozen banana, some ice, 3/4 cup milk (dairy or non), and some spinach or kale—just enough to get me to dinner without gnawing my arm off.

However, if I’m making a smoothie for breakfast/brunch/”I didn’t mean to stay out so late” dinner, I might use more milk and maybe even a scoop of protein powder. I’ll also add cereal on top for extra texture, carbs, and calories to balance out the meal. A little drizzle of coconut makes a fun “magic shell” too if you’re into that.

This afternoon’s restorative creation is a good (if unphotogenic) example of the latter: IMG_2153

Here’s what I threw into the blender with my less caffeinated hand:

  • 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  •  1/2 a frozen banana
  • ~5 ice cubes
  • ~1/8 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 giant handful of spinach

After blending and pouring the mess into a bowl, I added a cup of puffed millet and 1/2 tsp of coconut oil. That should keep me going until dinner with my mom and sister later.

Here are a few of my other favorite smoothie recipes:

PS—Check out some other awesome weekend recipes from other bloggers over at Weekend Kitchen Creations!

What are your favorite smoothies combinations? 

Springing ahead for real

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Technically, anyway. It’s still a tad blustery in NYC, but spring just happened, so cheers to that…I may or may not have wandered into the makeup aisle when I went to stock up on allergy meds yesterday. Nothing like a seasonal impulse buy. I wish my insurance covered pick-me-ups like lip-stain. IMG_1926

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These boots are worn the f*** out

Even if the temperatures suck, the lighting situation is definitely improved. I love that it’s so much brighter out. While out running errands, I spied a few budding plants. Signs of life!

The start of a new season seems like a good time to check in with those new years resolutions and see which ones are worth keeping with, which ones to chuck, and which ones to get started on already. It’s also a good time to see if there’s anything you need to focus on that didn’t occur to you in January. Not that January 1st is the only time to make resolutions, but since so many of us do, it’s a good jumping-off point.  Read the rest of this entry »

Stay-cation

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Good morning—happy Monday! How was your weekend? I enjoyed a little stay-cation. It was so nice to unplug and unwind. I’m really bad at relaxing, but after almost 4 years of grad school with a dietetic internship and some crazy studying thrown in there, logic told me that one should totally take a few days off after passing the RD exam.

So I made a deal with myself: every time I felt that I “should” be doing something productive (on a weekend, I know), I would write it down so I could get to it come Monday. I was mostly successful, save for a few work emails and stats homework. Other than that, I did only fun things.

Friday I got a reflexology massage and went to a really fun Zumba class—endorphin overload in the best way possible. My muscles were so sore by the time I went to bed.

Saturday I cleaned, took a few walks, and made use of some giftcards I’d gotten for my birthday. Then I organized my closet. I’m embarrassed to admit I had more than a few items that had been lurking in the mix since 2003. Somehow, “maybe I’ll wear it this summer” turned into ten years. Whoops.

I love that Ann Taylor LOFT actually has a decent petites selection. Tiny ladies are people too!
I love that Ann Taylor LOFT actually has a decent petites selection. Tiny ladies are people too!

I also went to a favorite cafe and sat with a glass of wine (first white of the year!) writing in my notebook. I don’t really care if the couple next to me knew that I was taking in every little word and analyzing their conversation. Um, people in their late twenties and early thirties: why do we pretend to own less Ikea furniture than we do? Whomever you’re trying to impress will find out eventually! Case in point: someone who came to my apartment for the first time once said, “Hey, I know this table!” It was actually a good ice-breaker.

No matter your profession, I think it’s really important to just free-write sometimes, whatever the hell pops into your head. It’s a form of meditation for me, but a meditation that is especially enjoyable with a cup of coffee or wine. I used to be afraid to go and have a drink by myself, but it’s really nice once in a while.

Sunday I did yoga and spent more time outside. I also managed to read a whole book. A friend had recently recommended a popular author whose work, for better or worse, bears that “airport best-seller” label, but I was glad I gave it a chance—there’s a reason some writers’ books can get you through a transatlantic flight, no problem. Good, engaging writing that lots of people like is not a crime! I need to remind myself of that every once in a while, lest I wander into lit-snob territory.

I didn’t take a whole lot of food pictures, but I do have to admit, it was so nice to enjoy a simple salad between excursions outside. IMG_1864

Are you good at relaxing? How do you like to unwind? Thoughts on Ikea? 

Food and Mood

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Here we are, just a few more weeks until it’s officially spring! Is anyone else super-excited to be moving towards a new season?

During the wintertime, especially where it gets cold, it’s easy to feel exhausted and bummed out—and to reach for comfort foods. Though we may feel psychological benefits in the short-term, some of these foods (think sweets, salty snacks, or heavy, fatty dishes) may leave us feeling sluggish and, ultimately, worse. Factor in less sunlight and a decrease in motivation to get up and work out, and you’ve got a recipe for sad bastard-itis.

In a recent news segment, Bethany Thayer, an RD based in Metro Detroit, emphasizes the importance of “lean proteins and healthy grains” to boost serotonin production, along with foods rich in selenium such as Brazil nuts and mushrooms, as selenium deficiency has been linked to depression. 

Haha I wonder if this explains my recent mushroom cravings…

Another important thing is to make sure you eat regularly and focus on enjoying balanced meals to keep your blood sugar levels—and mood—stable. Putting oneself on a spring break starvation diet isn’t exactly gonna help you feel good. It might not also be the best time to listen to Leonard Cohen, Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, or whatever your personal sad bastard music might be.

Speaking of sad bastard music, please enjoy this clip (f-bomb warning in case you’re at work):

What are your wintertime comfort foods? Are you looking forward to spring?