#WIAW– New Job, New Commute, & A Half Marathon this Sunday!!

010 So I’m starting off this week’s WIAW with a picture of cannister of coffee. What can I say? Its spring, I started a new full time job last week (And yes! I am still seeing and accepting clients for my practice, Serena Marie RD, as well :D), and I loveeee me some iced coffee. Last week I had two newly diagnosed diabetics come to me admitting that their latest and greatest sinful treat was a large Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts. Ya know I love me some iced coffee, so I was curious to check out whether the “Coolatta” was as bad as my patients were makin’ it sound. Um, and then I nearly died when I saw a large Coolatta has ONE HUNDO-TWO GRAMS of SUGAR and 860 calories! HOLY CRAPPOLA! You can imagine how psyched I was to recommend Trader Joe’s Coffee a Cocoa blended with ice and coconut milk as an alternative. No, its not as sweet as the sugar-bomb that is DD’s Coolatta, but its sweet enough and full of anti-oxidants and medium chain triglycerides (which may rev fat burning in the bod!). Spinach pancakes I promise, however, that I do more than sip coffee for breakfast. I’ve been waking up starved lately… all the awesome daylight has had me doing wayyy more walking and running and vinyasa yoga (because I love walking/running to my yoga class!).  I alsoooo have had to learn how to eat breakfast on the go, since I now commute to my aforementioned new job. Hence, spinach pancakes have come into existence. I simple take Juli Bauer’s banana pancake recipe and add fresh spinach. BAM! Veggie loaded goodness (and, no! You cannottttt taste the spinach at all! They taste like vanilla and banana, yum). mrs greens salad chickpeas fetaFor lunch I enjoyed a colorful salad chock full of chickpeas, sprouts, chicken, red onions, feta, tomato and cucumbers! A salad this jam packed with flavorful veggies and seasonings does not require any dressing :) photo 1 For dinner I “treated” myself to Annie Chun’s gluten free rice noodles** and CestSiBonMD’s spicy basil tofu dish. I’m running a half marathon this Sunday, so I’m eating more carbs than usual! The rice noodles were delicious (I eat noodles and pasta so rarely– its always the most delicious treat!) and the spicy flavor of the tofu recipe rocked. Just remember to always buy organic tofu :) And choose coconut aminos instead of soy sauce if you’re avoiding gluten!!

That’s it for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday! Thanks for stopping by :) Wish me lots of luck in the half marathon this weekend and at my new full time job-a-roo!! <3

** Formula PR did send me Annie Chun food products for my review, however I will receive no additional compensation for recommending their product to you. All opinions are my own and I would never, ever recommend a product I would not eat myself!

 

Mediterranean Eggplant Bake #Recipe #VeggiePower

ITS WARM OUTSIDE! ITS WARM OUTSIDE! IT IS FLIPPIN’ NOT COLD OUTSIDE!

I am so happy! And I bet you are, as well! Are you spending WAY more time outside now? Before you know it, we’ll be enjoying loads of vitamin D & time in our bathing suits!

If bathing suit season is giving you more anxiety than pleasure, then its time to get serious about increasing the amount of veggies in your diet. The best strategy to decrease inflammation and your waistline is to make some really simple swaps. Take a little less pasta and help yourself to a double (or triple!) serving of veggies. (Hey, I won’t complain if you want to skip the pasta altogether!)

Anyways, I probably won’t be posting very much the next few weeks. I’m making a really big life transition which is bound to take up a lot of time (and its a great thing, because its a really exciting transition!), but my blogging time is going to be down to nill. That said, be sure to peruse the Recipe section of my site to keep your life occupied with loads of healthy, fat burning recipes in the interim!

Mediterranean Eggplant Bake #Recipe

Mediterranean Eggplant Bake #Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 egglant, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 pepper (red/yellow/orange), diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp each of:
  • sage
  • parsley
  • garlic powder
  • red pepper
  • 3 Tablespoon pine nuts
  • Half a lemon, juiced
  • Parmesan cheese **optional**

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400*F.
  2. Lay out non-stick foil, large enough to fold over itself.
  3. Place the eggplant, onion, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers in the foil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top, and toss to coat.
  4. Add sage, red pepper, parsley, & garlic powder. Add pine nuts & top with lemon juice. Toss again.
  5. Fold over the foil to create a foil "packet."
  6. Place in preheated oven and let cook for 45 minutes. If you prefer a mushier, softer (more dip-like) eggplant, leave in for 1hr 15 min.
  7. Remove from oven and open the foil packet carefully! Hot steam will release.
  8. Top with parmesan cheese and more pine nuts, if desired.
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 eggplant bake

Guest Post CestSiBonMD #FoodieChat #Recipe

Hello! I’m Rebecca, a resident physician.  I’m so excited to be posting here, and many thanks to Serena for the invitation!

You can find me at CestSiBonMD, where I share how I live a balanced lifestyle through residency. For now, I’m focusing mostly on food. Nearly all of the recipes I post are quick, easy, and filled with whole unprocessed foods (with a few indulgent exceptions!).
Through it all, I believe that nourishing your body with simple, nutritional powerhouse foods is absolutely one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Residency & fellowship often mean that my husband and I are short on time with plenty of stress, but to me, that’s even more reason we need to take care of ourselves!  I hope CestSiBonMD will inspire you to find time to cook wholesome, delicious meals at home. It doesn’t have to be complex, crazy expensive, and time consuming. With just a little bit of effort, you can prepare foods at home that are infinitely better for you instead of eating the ubiquitous highly processed, high salt and high fat foods that are all too common outside your home. If I can find time to cook, you can too. Here’s to your health!
~Rebecca

I’ve been on a mission to make more meatless meals recently – so, during a recent trip to the store, I picked up a box of firm tofu. I’ve eaten plenty of it growing up (it’s a great source of protein, and surprisingly, calcium) – but I have very little experience cooking with it. How hard could it be though? I decided to give it a shot.

You’ll notice a lot of basil heavy recipes coming up – that’s because our little basil plant that has been prolifically sprouting leaves. Although our basil plant is a little bit of a drama queen (withers dramatically after 3 days, perks right up again with water), I love it – my husband especially, since the scent of basil automatically takes him back to Naples and its classic margherita pizza.
So that being said, I was scouring the kitchen for ingredients to throw together a quick, meatless-but- protein-rich weeknight dinner. I had several ripe bell peppers on hand, and decided to do a free-for-all scramble. The results were delicious, and I’m so happy to share them with you!
When you make this, you’ll slice the tofu into thin blocks first. After you add the eggs, you’ll have to scramble them all together – don’t be afraid if the tofu breaks up and it gets a little messy. Your dish will still be beautiful with the vibrant peppers, and most importantly, delicious. Also, keep in mind that this is highly customizable – you can easily adjust the amount of chili paste you use, depending on your spiciness preference.
Spicy Basil Tofu & Egg Scramble
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Ingredients
  • 1 package firm tofu, sliced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch squares
  • 2 bell peppers (I used orange and yellow – you can use any that you have on hand), sliced longitudinally into strips
  • 2 tsp chili garlic sauce (readily available in the Asian section of most stores) 
  • Basil leaves, sliced
  • Soy sauce 
  • Pepper
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 4 eggs
Directions
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Turn to medium-low, and add garlic. Cook until fragrant
2. Add tofu, peppers, chili paste to the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook for approximately 5-10 minutes until tofu is warmed through and peppers are still slightly crispy
3. Crack 4 eggs into the pan. Turn up the heat to medium-high. Allow eggs to start to cook and “set” slightly
4. Once the eggs are slightly set, gently scramble everything together until evenly mixed and eggs are cooked through
5. Add soy sauce and pepper to taste
6. Add slivered basil leaves and cook for a few more minutes, tossing gently to combine
I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did – thanks for reading!
~R
I’d love to connect with you! Join me on Facebook

#WIAW: Real Food Snacks (@EPICbar), Real Food on the Go (@Chipotletweets) & Loads of Greens

Hola world :) I’ve been slacking on my What I Ate Wednesday participation. I apologize! I’ve been busy, busy, busy! Anywho, let’s get to the eatzz. (Ending things with “zz” is like my favorite thing to do right now, don’t ask me why.)
So for breakfast I had an [unpictured] green smoothie packed with spinach, strawberries, coconut milk and peanut butter.
For a little snackage, I tried an EPIC bar. Have you tried one of these yet? I was really psyched when I saw my local Whole Foods carried them. Yes, the price is steep, but they’re really yummy and satiating. Made from well-treated animals fed an evolutionary appropriate diet and packed with >10 grams of protein per serving and carb only from fruit. Pretty darn awesome. I tried the bison bacon cranberry and the lamb currant mint and loved both! (But I think I liked the lamb more). Anywho, I defs recommend!
Part of being busy, busy, busy has meant that I may have skipped cooking one night and grabbed Chipotle. I grabbed a salad packed with lettuce, grilled peppers, black beans, extra guacamolezz, and barbacoa. Sorry not sorry. This was BOMB.
Best part was that the guac-server was totally not paying attention and gave me a HEAPING portion of guac. I was SO happy!
By the way, you should check out The Sassy Dietitian’s  facebook page because she’s a #FearlessFatLover like me (totally stole the hashtag from her!). And then be sure you’ve visited my Facebook page too :)
Okay then, moving on. Let’s talk about my most favorite meal of all time- Diane San Fillippo’s Chicken Piccata. And its SUPER quick to make. Its legit all about ripping open a package of organic chicken thighs, dumping a bunch of delicious stuff on top of them, and forgetting about them in the oven. Over arugula? Ahhh. I die of delicious perfection. Check out Diane’s cookbook for the recipe :)
Thanks for stopping by :) Be sure to check out my Instagram for loads of healthy food pics & to follow me on Twitter! And feel free to peruse additional WIAW posts on Jenn’s blog!

#MondayMotivation – Slashin’ Calories with Yummy Food! #MondayBlogs

 

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If you’re looking to drop some fat this upcoming swimsuit season, ya gotta do it with some serious nutrient density in mind. That way your flub turns to tight, lean muscle, rather than just a “smaller” flubby stomach.

Choosing a diet rich in vegetables, protein and natural sources of fat is the best way to eat an appropriate amount of calories (read: not too many, but also not too little!). 

Check out my article in Elm City’s blog for some tips to slash calories without slashing nutrient density!!!

Half Marathon Countdown (24 Days!) & Checking in with #EnergyBits (#PoweredByBits)

photo (60)Happy SPRING, my fellow runners! April 27th, and the Jersey Shore Half Marathon, are a few short weeks away! I cannot believe it!

While the unseasonably temps aren’t my faveeee, the weather has made for awesome workouts. I love running in 30-40*F weather! And  since the pep is seriously in my step (what with awesome running weather and an impending race!), I thought it was time to revisit the topic of the greatest running fuel of all time… le ENERGYbits!

This is my first race where I’ve trained exclusively using ENERGYbits for fuel (in the past, I used Honey Stingers), and its been an awesome experience.

The boyf and I last year at the Jersey Short Half where I PR’d! 3:33.31!

Last time I reviewed ENERGYbits, we talked science, so this time I am going to discuss my personal experience with using spirulina algae instead of goos/gels! First of all, I love that a handful of tabs before a run and a few sips of water keeps my stomach totally content. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m not the type who can eat a full meal then run out the door. That said, I’ve frequently experienced the annoyance of feeling hungry before a workout. I don’t exactly enjoy being hungry. Its not fun. So you can imagine how awesome it is that ENERGYbits literally stops hunger. Its weird and its brilliant. Not gona lie, I’ve grabbed a handful of them at work too, when I’m hungry but didn’t pack enough snackage to make it through the day! They’ll tie me over for a good hour or so ;)

Anyway, since I may be the only person complaining about pre-workout hunger pangs, let’s talk about the *REAL* appeal of ENERGYbits…the supremely steady supply of energy. Its an incredible product.

 

Throwback to the Socal  Ragnar Relay! Almost a year ago today!

Throwback to the Socal Ragnar Relay! Almost a year ago today!

Ya guys have heard me complain before about my issues with low blood sugar, and how I have effectively vanquished that pesky devil with high quality, dietary fat.

But I don’t think you guys truly understand how annoying it is to experience low blood sugar while running. Scratch that, not annoying, but scary. One time literally ran into a moving vehicle. As in, the car didn’t hit me, but I hit the car mid-run because I was experiencing some surrious-hypoglycemia. You have no idea how confusing/embarrassing it was when the car pulled over because a person hit her car/she hit a person? It was no bueno. And all the honey stingers in the world never helped, even though I was noshing 30 grams of pure sugar at a time in hopes of mitigating the problem.

Enter ENERGYbits. Bits of pure, clean, organically grown, non-GMO energy. Genius.

20140312-083933.jpgThirty tabs before a run not only keeps my stomach sated, but it literally carries me throughout a 90 minute run without a moment of low blood sugar dizziness. After a run, I have time to shower without experiencing that previously familiar sensation of “GIVE ME FOOD BEFORE I FAINT AND DIE.” If this is you now, then you know how annoying and difficult it can be to convince yourself to embark on a long run, knowing what you’ll face at the end: HANGRY PANGS!

ENERGYbits are awesome. That’s all I can honestly say.

Check ‘em out & get 25% off your order using the code: RDFUEL. Anyone whose serious about running and training needs to try these tabs gems out.

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. However, I only recommend products or services I personally use, endorse & believe in whole-heartedly. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Affiliate links help compensate us “poor” bloggers for our obsession with typing our lives away for free! :) :)

The Perfect #Weekend #Breakfast

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I hate when a meal isn’t brimming with veggies, but sometimes ya gotta live.
I had the day off from work today, so I treated myself to a little “no grain” hot cereal. Its so simple. Simply heat almond butter, unsweetened shredded coconut flakes, coconut milk, spices and mashed banana on the stovetop over low heat. I topped with strawberries.
The result is a creamy “oatmeal” like concoction. Eggs, bacon and broccoli/kale are my weekday go-to faves, but I do enjoy me some grainless cereal or protein pancakes once in a while.
What are your fave weekend breakfast/brunch treats?

#MondayMotivation: Dim da Lights to Zap Sugar Cravings at Night

I love that sleeping more is associated with a svelte bod & better health. I mean, who doesn’t LOVE to sleep?! Sleeping is basically my favorite thing to do. More so than running. More than listening to geeky nutrition podcasts (Holla at Balanced Bites & The Calorie Myth!). Maybe not more than watching Game of Thrones reruns on repeat. That’s debatable.

Anyway, people nowadays are pretty bad at sleeping. Myself included. I’m just so busy, and you are too. And with the invention of the light bulb, it’s become easy peasy to put every second of the day to use, if you really want.

But here’s the thing, we gotta dim da lights at night.

Keeping your home dim at night helps your body’s natural circadian rhythm and hormonal signaling prepare for sleepy-time. Staring at the television, the computer screen and/or keeping your home fully lit when the sun goes down confuses the bejesus out of your pineal gland (which is in charge of sleeping patterns).

Here’s the deal: All that light signals your brain to believe that there’s a permanent summer (being that in the summer the daylight lasts longer). Unfortunately, our bods are still wired to survive the stone age, so that light cues our brain to believe, “Awesome, its summer right now. Lots of plants to forage and fruit to eat…but after summer comes winter and in the winter food is scarce, and HOLY MOLY, EATTT! EATT!! We gotta eat those carbs to store more fat and prepare for winter’s scarcity!!!”

Too much faux sunlight literally triggers our body to crave carbohydrates due to evolutionary biology. And I bet you’re not reaching for quinoa while watching KUTK reruns. More like ice cream, chips or pretzels.

So what to do?

Well, there’s the obvious—SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS! And save yourself some money while you’re at it. Use dimmer lights, night lights or your phone flashlight to help you get around your house, but minimize your exposure to a bright, well lit room.

For my late night TV watchers, have you met DVR? It’s fabulous because it records nighttime TV so you can watch your fave show at a more respectable hour!

And… of course, there’s the fashionable option of purchasing blue light blocking glasses. These sexy babies help filter blue light, the light which mimics sunlight and causes our body distress at night. You can also download a filter for your computer screen/iPhone which illuminates the screen with a red hue at night!

Salt Cravings: Time to Defeat ‘em with Good Eatin’ #MondayMotivation #MondayBlogs

I’ve got a sweet tooth, so its hard for me to reconcile with the fact that some of you guys are dancin’ with a different demon; salt cravings.

When it comes to salt, I’m totally not anti-salt if you’re eating the appropriate diet. When consuming a diet rich in whole, natural foods, then the calcium and potassium content of those items help you balance sodium. Real food is truly magical. Not to mention, high salt intake has really only been associated with increasing blood pressure with those diagnosed with hypertension, and only has a marginal impact of approximately 5 mm Hg.

But, if salt cravings are driving you to pry open the Pringles or inhale Doritos, well then that’s a different story. I don’t plan on condoning Doritos anytime soon. :)

Salt. Dun dun dunnnn. Its a major part of the addictive appeal of processed goodies crappola. When paired with fat, sugar/starch… well, ya just can’t stop.

Want your skeleton to be statue-status dense with calcium and minerals well into your 90s? Give the Doritos a break, then.

Want your skeleton to be statue-status dense with calcium and minerals well into your 90s? Give the Doritos a break, then.

So let’s remove the triggers. There’s the usual advice, such as changing up an external trigger (ie. every time you go to Such & Such Mexican Joint, you always crave their chips and salsa… so to remove the trigger, you’d have to stop going to that Mexican establishment for lunch/dinner). But there also may be a physiological trigger at play!

Salt cravings, a lot of times, are driven by calcium deficiency. Salt is a very rich source of sodium, and sodium temporarily increases calcium concentration in the blood by leaching calcium from the bones. YIKES. But, your body, for a period of time, gets what it wants from that salt-fix; a higher concentration of blood sodium, and that’s all it cares about.

If you were to ask your skeletal system how it feels about your salty pretzel addiction. It would sound a lot like, “Try pickin’ on someone else for once! Get your own calcium. Elsewhere. Thanks. I’ve got a job to do… like keeping you standing upright and strong well into your old age.”

Eekk. That’s harsh.

So, the solution to correct a calcium deficiency is clearly to eat calcium rich foods! Calcium, however, does require vitamin D for optimal absorption, so be sure to get a few minutes in the sun or a rockin’ source of vitamin D too!

Great examples include:

  • Homemade bone broth –(rich in calcium & vitamin D– hooray!)
  • Yogurt from grass-fed cows (and remember, ya need the dietary fat to utilize the vitamin D content!)
  • Kefir
  • Dark green leafys and/or broccoli –(pair with some grass-fed butter, such as Kerrygold, or pastured egg yolks for vitamin D)
  • Canned fish with ze bones (Wild Alaskan salmon, bones-in? MY FAVE)

Get noshin’, my salt craving lovelies, and thank me lataaa :)

 

#WIAW Sunshiney Vitamin D Dosed Days (coming our way!)

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! And! Happy Registered Dietitian Day to my fellow RDs! Woot woot!!!

I am so delighted to be living a life filled with extra doses of sunshine :) Leaving work with hours of daylight ahead of me really makes me super duper happy! Its the little things, right? I can’t wait for the rays to be strong enough to get my sunshine vitamin D fix!

You know else makes me super, duper happy? Pastured egg yolks! Dripping with vitamins A & D, loaded with choline… when paired with broccoli (my fave yolk soaker-upper) for vitamin k…this breakfast combo is the perfect synergistic trifecta for vitamin D absorption and utilization. Okay, but forget vitamin balance, its also DELICIOUS. Broccoli dripping in yolk? NOM.

In case you’re interested in a little tangent… do you know what is my biggest PETPEEVE EVER?! When egg cartons advertise that their eggs are produced from hens given “VEGETARIAN ONLY FEEDS!” Argh! Chickens are supposed to eat bugs & grub, not GMO poisoned corn & soy! I love vegetarians, but not vegetarian chickens!! (If you love learning little interesting facts such as that, you should totally follow me on Facebook!)

Anyway, after a divine breakfast, ya need a divine lunch to compete.

In the spirit of vitamin D rich days (well, they’re on their way!) and vitamin D rich breakfasts… let’s move onto my vitamin D rich lunch paired with my vitamin D rich book :) Ah! Which do I talk about first?! Its hard to choose!

Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe is an incredibly funny (nay, hilarious) book about how food myths and lies came to corrupt and permeate our food industry, the media and our government recommendations. Her writing is incredibly fluous, fun and you barely know you’re learning (but you’re learning SO MUCH!). I kinda feel like I’ve got a really good grasp on most of this stuff, so I was shocked at how many little facts I learned from the lovely Liz Wolfe. I highly recommend! And, no, I’m not Paleo, and I still love Liz’s real food approach to nutrition (plus, its a funny book, who doesn’t love to laugh?).

Anywho, competing with the loveliness of Eat the Yolks was the deliciousness of 3D Vitality’s creamy green salmon salad!! I used canned, wild Alaskan salmon with ze bones for extra vitamin D goodness. Paired with fresh sprouts, this lunch was light and very springy. AND Its quick, FILLING & inexpensive to make. I have too many great things to say about this recipe to be honest. :)

After a darlin’ run in the last cool days of winter, I enjoyed a small sweet potato topped with almond butter, cinnamon, and unsweetened coconut. Sweet potatoes are SO awesome because they contain the exact nutrients needed to convert glucose into energy, so you deposit the same nutrients into your body’s “bank” that you withdraw to turn that sweet potato into useable energy. How freakin’ cool is that?! (Almost as cool as the fact that SPRING IS NEAR!)

So… if you can’t tell, I’m totally obsessed with salmon lately. For dinner that night, I heated up some leftover homemade salmon burgers. For a side, I stirfried some pre-shredded carrots with peanut butter, lime juice, honey, garlic and soy sauce for a knock-off peanut sauce. The carrot noodles were okayyy, but the burgers were dynamite! :)

 

Thanks for WIAW-ing with me this week :) Be sure to subscribe using the toolbar to your right for more treasure troves of nutrition-y facts!

 

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