What Motivates You?

Hello Everyone! Doesn't it feel like when things can't get any worse, they do? Or when you finally get ahead, you have to take 2 steps backwards? Yah, story of my life. I actually read a quote the other day on Facebook, and it said:

"When things feel like they are falling apart, they are actually falling into place"

Wow. Never thought of it like that.

I think this goes along nicely with what I wanted to touch on in this blog post. When I was first starting my business, I was ALWAYS working, mostly just because I was trying to figure everything out. I was spending less time with my family, or even just less time paying attention to my family! I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed, and felt like I was "falling apart". But what I didn't realize, was that everything I was doing was actually leading me to place where I could spend more time with family, and doing the things I love. 

I took a step back and reflected on what was really important in my life, and why it is I do what do. I bought a couple books on Mindfulness, started to meditate here and there, and really starting be more present in the moment. What I realized was that my 2 boys are what I truly live for in this world. They are what motivates me everyday, and the reason I continue to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to be around for my children as long as I can be, and show them that living a healthy lifestyle is well worth it. So when I felt like I was falling apart, second guessing if starting my own business was right for me, I was actually creating a more "in the moment" mindset that I have never had before, which has led me to much greater happiness.

The reason for me saying this isn't so that you go out and start your own business, but for you to realize that when you start to struggle with barriers on a new life journey, such as creating a healthier lifestyle, that it's natural to take the easy way out and fall back into old habits. When you come to a road block on your journey to better health, just bring to mind what motivates you, what is your "why" for doing what you are doing. That you are not "falling apart" or failing, but yet realizing that this is only helping you learn how to over come obstacles to achieving and maintaining a long term healthy lifestyle. You will find greater happiness in the end : )

Have a wonderful day!

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Photo credit: Portraits by Jenna

5 Need-to-Know Tips for Keeping You Sensible on Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving already? What!? My how time sure flies! This will be my first Thanksgiving as a "non-meat eater", and the thought of not eating turkey on Thanksgiving is still so foreign to me. Growing up, we are subconsciously taught that turkey is the center of this holiday feast, so it will be interesting to see how I handle myself when I'm in the moment tomorrow sitting around the table with all my meat-eating relatives. I will admit though, that I don't really miss eating meat at all, so I'm pretty certain I will be able to stick with my usual plant based eating pattern.

This week's blog post is written by my dietetic intern, Rachael, who just happens to be vegetarian! What are the chances! She has put together some great tips that I know you guys will love, for helping you stay sensible during the big feast. Check out her post below!

 

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it marks the beginning of yet another fun and food filled holiday season! The weather just keeps getting colder up here in the northeast and the days are growing shorter and shorter. For me, this season screams warm mugs of tea, big batches of homemade bean and lentil soups, and of course, many nourishing holiday meals. Since becoming a vegetarian about six years ago, I have lots of experience finding those vegetables at every holiday meal, no matter where I end up! My Thanksgiving favorites are things like roasted squash and sweet potato with a drizzle of olive oil and tons of spices, roasted root vegetables like carrots, beets, and parsnips, and a new favorite this season is a plant based shepherd’s pie with a creamy and dreamy sweet potato topping. If you ask me, Thanksgiving does not have to be centered on turkey, you can always find tons of colorful veggies to fill up your plate.

This year is going to be my first year not spending the holidays with my family, instead I’ll be spending it with my boyfriend’s family. A little tip I always use when I’m unsure about the amount of plant based options available at the meal is to offer to bring a side dish or an appetizer. You can always count on the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course, dessert, but there is always room for more veggies! This year I am bringing a veggie tray of my choice with a little hummus for dipping. That being said, even if you are not bringing a dish to the meal, there is always the option to choose a vegetable (or maybe even twoJ) at your Thanksgiving meal. Of course, there is always going to be room for a piece of your favorite pie and a scoop of those mashed potatoes, but staying focused on the veggies always helps me fill up on mostly good stuff!

Here are my 5 tips for staying healthy on Thanksgiving while still enjoying the special time with family and friends!

1.       Don’t skip breakfast or lunch before your Thanksgiving meal! Treat the day as a normal day and don’t show up to the big meal totally famished. If you keep your eating mostly normal throughout the day, you will be less likely to eat way too much at Thanksgiving dinner.

2.       Fill your plate up with vegetables! Make at least half of your plate vegetables and leave the other half for a small portion of all the other goodies you want to try. Try to keep one quarter of the plate for turkey and one quarter for your choice of starches.

3.       Eat slowly! Try to focus on really chewing your food and engaging in conversation with others. The slower you eat your food, the slower you will finish your plate. This is a great way to both eat less and really focus on enjoying the deliciousness of the meal.

4.       Drink water! Instead of going for that soda, or apple cider, or juice, or alcoholic beverage, stick to a glass of water. Water is a zero-calorie drink and it is way better to save those calories for the food.

5.       Keep dessert in its place! Fill up on your meal first and choose your dessert mindfully. Even if there are what seems like 1 million desserts to choose from, try to stick to that one (or two) choices that excite you and that you don’t get to have very often. If you cut the piece of pie in half and take the time to enjoy each bite you will feel satisfied with way less dessert.

I wish everyone a great Thanksgiving and hope these tips motivate you to stay in control of your plate!

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About Rachael

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Rachael is a graduate dietetics student with only a couple months left until graduation. She has an undergraduate degree in human development and education and is excited to see where she ends up as a future dietitian. Rachael has learned a lot working with Emily for the past month and is hoping to have her own food and nutrition blog in the near future! In between clinical rotations and thesis work, Rachael loves cooking new recipes and being outside.

 

 

Best. Hummus. Ever.

I just made pumpkin hummus for the first time and HAD to share! It was by far the best hummus I have ever had! I mean, maybe that it is home-made has something to do with it too haha. It amazes me how making stuff at home is SOOO much better than all that processed stuff you buy in the store is. Even a healthy food like hummus is so much more incredibly delicious when you make it in your own kitchen. And so easy! And if you don't know by now, easy is key for me with my 2 energizer bunny boys running around. 

You will see many flavors of hummus around, but traditional hummus usually consists of chick peas (aka garbanzo beans), tahini, and garlic. Chickpeas are legumes, and are loaded with fiber, iron and protein. If you don't like them on a salad, don't let that scare you away from hummus! Tahini is an ingredient you may be a little more unfamiliar with. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It can be a little bitter on its own, so mixing it in recipes is usually the way to go. And then there's garlic! One of my absolute favorite flavorings! Garlic not only tastes great, but has been shown to promote heart health, and protect us against certain cancers and even the common cold.

So here it is, the best hummus ever!

Pumpkin Hummus

Ingredients: 

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp pure maple syrup

Puree all ingredients in a large food processor. Serve with veggies, tortilla chips, or spread on a wrap!

Thankfully this recipe makes plenty to share! Enjoy!

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Check out the VRG!

Over the summer, I attended an event in Buffalo called VegFest. The timing could not be more perfect as this was the time when I was starting my transition to an all plant based diet. The purpose of the event is to provide people (vegan or not) with information on vegan products, food, and plant based resources. As I was wondering around (it was so nice not to have to worry about chasing 2 screaming kids around), I came across a table for the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG).

The VRG is is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on vegetarianism and veganism and the interrelated issues of health, nutrition, ecology, ethics, and world hunger (definition adapted from VRG.org). This was my first time hearing about this organization, and now I can't imagine not being without this valuable resource!

I have now volunteered for them a few times, by writing blog posts and reviewing restaurants that carry plant based food items, so I wanted to share my latest guest blog post-Staying Vegan During Your Hospital Stay! It gives a great overview of how to stick to your vegan foods should you have to be admitted to a hospital. And while you're on the site, check out the abundance of info they have to offer! And when you decide to transition to a plant based diet, I'll be waiting to work with you ; ) Short blog post I know, but don't worry, more good stuff to come next week!

 

Are You Eating These Superfoods?

SUPERFOODS!! I'd be shocked if you've never heard this term before. But if you haven't no need to fret, as superfoods aren't any bizarre or abnormal foods that you have never seen before (well maybe some them lol). Super foods are simply foods that are packed to the rafters with nutrition, and may give us an additional health benefit above other foods. So well we are on this topic, I'm just going to come right out and say it, that I've become obsessed with kale. And surprise! Its a superfood! I try to sneak it in wherever I can. Which is odd because I must admit, that before transitioning to whole foods plant based eating I never touched the stuff. I have always adored spinach though, which is also in the power packed green leafy family. Anyways, getting back to superfoods, I have listed 5 below that I am going to start incorporating more of in my diet, and I hope you do too!

1. Kale: This is a green leafy that provides loads of antioxidants and calcium. Prior to eating kale remember to remove the stem to avoid a yucky bitter taste. Kale goes great in smoothies, mixed in salads, or wilted on top of a sweet potato. If you are not a huge fan of Kale, try another leafy green such as spinach, broccoli, or collards, as all leafy greens have tremendous health benefits.

2. Blueberries: No description needed for this fruit I'm sure. I always hated blueberries when I was growing up. Plus I swore they gave me diarrhea. It's funny how as we get older our taste changes, and I'm so glad mine did, because I'd be missing out on all the wonderful things blueberries have to offer! Another food packed with antioxidants to help protect us against inflammation and chronic diseases, this fruit goes great on oatmeal, in yogurt, or throw in a container for a take-a-long quick healthy snack.

3. Tomatoes: If you don't like tomatoes, then start! Just kidding. I think the gooey center may be what gets some people. If that's the case for you, maybe try scooping out the center, and just eating the outer parts on a sandwich or in a salad. For me, the firmer the better when it comes to tomatoes; it' such a turn off when they get all mushy! Tomatoes are packed with a phytochemical called lycopene, which has been shown to have anti-cancer effects, especially prostate cancer.

4. Avocados: I recently made a promise to myself to eat more avocados. I love them, but just never think to eat them as silly as that sounds. Avocados are amazing source of healthy fat and fiber, while giving you zero saturated fat or cholesterol. Avocados are especially protective against heart disease, and go great with just about anything!

5. Flaxseed: These little slippery seeds are so great because you can sneak them into so much. I love to add them to my smoothies or protein shake, or over top of my oatmeal (with my blueberries of course). Flaxseed also can be used as an egg replacer when baking for an animal product free option. These little seeds are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids that protect against inflammation and heart disease. Choose ground flax or flax meal because we are unable to digest the whole seed.

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