Free songs

What to throw in your beach bag

So let me start by saying that I am terrible at going to the beach. Here are a few reasons why:

1.) I am one of those scaredy cats who does not like to go in the water above my ankles. I don’t care how devilishly handsome or persuasive or clever you think are—this is not ever going to change. I do not respond well to being picked up and dangled.

2.) I am ghost-white and just don’t give a f*** about cultivating a tan.  Getting suspicious moles cut out of my body sucks way more than being pale.

3.) I always seem to bring the wrong reading material. I get ambitious and bring, say, a copy of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics instead of a novel. Note to self: the beach is not a place to catch up on your to-do list.

Doing it right back it 2010

Doing it right back it 2010

That said, I do like the beach. I just don’t like dealing with other people’s Jess at the Beach expectations. One thing I’m good at, though, is snacks.

If you’ve got a cooler in tow, go nuts and throw in all the water, sandwiches, salads, and whatever the edible f*** you want. For those of you tossing your stuff in a canvas bag and catching the LIRR out to Long Beach or wherever, here are some heat-proof things to pack:

  • Dry-roasted edamame, nuts and/or seeds. Add a tbsp of dried fruit and call it trail mix.
  • Fruit—bananas and oranges, (anything with a peel) travel especially well.
  • Turkey jerky (or vegetarian versions like Primal Strips)
  • Bars that do not involve chocolate. Look for low-sugar varieties with a short ingredients list that have at least 4 grams of fiber and protein. Larabars and KIND bars tend to be pretty safe. You can even make your own at home in a food processor using nuts and dried fruit.
  • High-fiber crackers.

Before you go, scope out nearby grocery stores or restaurants to see if there are real-food lunch and/or dinner options available—or how many miles you have to walk to get a lobster. Not that I’ve ever walked a great distance for lobster before or anything…

lobster 2013 We all make rookie mistakes.

Do you like the beach? What are some of your favorite beach eats? 

Thinking Out Loud

Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!

My brain is basically iced coffee and puppies, but I promise there are a few other things kicking around in there!

The Luck Dragon is teething, so the days I work from home look a lot like this selfie-fail, which cracked me up the other day:

selfie fail with eli

But right, other things! Here are some random bits for today:

1.) First off, did you guys see Raechel’s awesome yoga playlist post on Monday? Love her taste in music.

2.) I love Food 52, and I love figs. This post is all the things.

3.) This post on ways to add veggies to breakfast.egg white scramble

4.) My submission to this laugh-out-loud Tumblr just got posted this week. Sorry I’m not sorry. I tried not to write about it much when I was going through it back in late 2011, but if at all possible, avoid living with an ex after you break up. Just so  many kinds of awkward.

5.) Leonard Cohen on creativity, hard work, and why you should never quit before you know what it is you’re quitting.

6.) Jenny Lewis has a new album!

7.) I will never master the art of omelet-making, and I guess that’s just gonna have to be ok. When I made this leftovers-with-egg-whites creation for breakfast the other morning, it totally fell apart when I was transferring it from the pan. Tasted great, though! brussels omelet fail

What’s on your mind today? What music are you loving lately? Any omelet secrets? 



What I Ate Wednesday #172: Staycation Sunday

Happy Wednesday! This week I have a much more presentable  What I Ate Wednesday spread than last week’s.

Things with the pup are awesome—little dude is a constant source of  amazement and amusement. I love that he’s made his crate into his den. When he needs a break from playing, he likes to lay in there and gnaw on it. Eli chewing on his crate


Anyway, I was lucky enough to have another weekend where I was not working at the hospital. Saturday was a really mellow day where I went to a great yoga class and enjoyed some tasty foods that were not all salad or messes in bowls. I even made something on the stove! Nothing like a chickpea flour pancake for dinner with tons of veggies and avocado. WIAW 172

On Sunday, my mom came into the city to spend the day with me. The weather was gorgeous, which made us both feel like we were on vacation. Our first stop was Balkanika in Hells Kitchen. I’d bought a Living Social Deal some months earlier. The deal came with two goblets of wine:

goblet of wine

WIAW Jul 20 14…four mezze (we ordered brussels sprouts, cauliflower, grilled mushrooms, and babbaganoush), two entrees (Greek salad and a beef & onion bourek for us), and two desserts. We can out of steam for dessert but were treated to coffee instead.

After stopping at my apartment to take the Luck Dragon out, we grabbed some fro-yo at Pinkberry (my seasonal craving has officially been satisfied) before going to see Chef. It was the perfect movie for a summer afternoon. But wow, so much food porn, complete with porn-y music. My mouth was watering the whole time.

After the movie, we wandered to the Vanguard, a wine bar near the theater, where we made a light dinner of some wine and small plates. If you go, I highly recommend the kale salad, olives, and mushroom tartine.

Neither of us really wanted the day to end—it was so nice to just relax and enjoy the city. I felt like I’d just been on a trip, when really, I’d been hanging out in my backyard. Love that.

How did you spend your weekend? What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently? 

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.


Rebel Grrl Yoga Playlist

Hi guys! Today I have a special post from one of my have bloggers, Raechel, of Rebel Grrl Living.



Hello Keeping It Real Food readers! I am so honored to be guest blogging for Jess. Keeping It Real Food was one of the first blog’s I started following “on the reg.” I loved Jess’s attitude towards food: health-focused, but not obsessive, and without any comments about feeling “guilty” for indulging in chocolate or wine. Instead, Jess’s posts seemed to reflect an approach to life that valued celebration over “discipline”….And, of course, I loved her sassy writing style, and our mutual love of red lipstick!

Jess and I also share in common a love of music and making playlists for our yoga practices. I had been making my own personal yoga playlists for a while, but then I became a yoga teacher and stepped up my game considerably!

When Jess and I were brainstorming what I should do for this post, we decided pretty fast that a yoga playlist post would be in order. Below see two playlists I’ve been working with recently, followed by a basic Vinyasa Flow sequence that I would teach to the music.

Asana Electric: Sexy Flow

This playlist is full of a bunch of electronic-influenced music that I’ve been really digging lately. All of it feels really sexy. You will probably want to go to the club and dirty dance after this. Don’t blame me, blame the hot beats.Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 4.49.54 PM

FolkHeart: Opener Flow

This playlist is more indie rock/folk music inspired. Think dreamy lyrics, and songs that will make you want to sit on a back porch, feel all the feelings, and maybe have a (post-yoga) beer while you’re at it.Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 4.50.36 PM

Below is a basic power vinyasa sequence. Please note that I wrote this for people who have some basic knowledge of the postures and how to transition and breathe safely between them. If you are a new yogi, don’t try to do this based on my limited direction. I included some links, but I strongly recommend trying to work with a certified teacher. A great way to do this is to go to some beginner classes at a studio, many of which offer free weeks for new students!




Start in child’s pose for and begin to engage your ujjayi pranayama breath. Breathe here for at least two minutes. After about two minutes, slowly move to a table top position. Move through some cat and cow poses. Do whatever feels good to warm up your body. Move to adho mukha svanasana (downward-facing dog) and continue to stretch your body until you feel sufficiently warm.

Surya Namaskar A (Sun Salutation A):

Move through at least three Sun Salutations. Optional variations: mini-back bends; side stretch.

Surya Namaskar B (Sun Salutation B):

Move through three Sun B’s on each side. Here’s a very basic one. (I would also recommend including some Warrior II’s somewhere during your Sun B.) Hold as long as it feels comfortable. Let it feel juicy, let your muscles burn a bit. You can flow through the second sets of Sun B a bit faster, and maybe add on small variations (ex. knee to nose, then knee to nose + knee to right elbow, then knee to nose + knee to right elbow +knee to left elbow).

Anjaneyasana & Parsvokonasana (Crescent lunge series):

Move through crescent lunge, then add on crescent lunge with side twist. Hold here. Twist and rinse it out. Flow through your vinyasa, then repeat on the left side. Move into chair pose and then move through chair pose with side twist. Hold! Twist and rinse it out. Fold forward and stretch in padangusthasana. Move back in to chair pose, then repeat on the left side.

Vasisthasana (Side plank series):

Hold your variation of side plank on each side. Option to take runner’s lunge in between sides.

Balancing series:

Start with a balancing posture of your choice: crow, headstand, handstand, (even down dog!) are all great choices. Rest as needed. Vinyasa through to stand.

Move through standing balancing:

-hold garudasana (eagle pose) for about one minute on each side.

-hold natarajasana (dancer pose) for about one minute on each side.

-hold vrkasana (tree pose) for about one minute on each side.

Flow through vinyasa.

Virabhadrasana I & Trikonasana (Warrior I/Triangle Series):

Move through your Vinyasa then into Warrior I and hold. From Warrior I move into Warrior II then Triangle Pose. Hold your variation of triangle. Repeat on the left side.

Flow through vinyasa.

Spine strengthening:

Move to high plank then lay flat on your belly. Move through one set each of bhujangasana (cobra), salabhasana (locust pose), and dhanurasana (bow pose). Hold as long as your body tells you. After you’ve complete each posture, come to stand on your knees and move into ustrasna (camel pose). Hold for as long as is comfortable (but remember that it’s okay to sit with some discomfort…I promise it’s going to go away almost as soon as you come out of it).

Rest then move into table top. When you’re ready, move into down dog.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (King pigeon):

Move into the best posture of all time (or at least it’s *my* favorite posture!). It’s such a juicy stretch. I like folding forward in this posture, like so. Stay on each side for half of the song, then switch legs and finish the song on the second side. (Note: If you have any knee pain, move into a variation on your back.)

When you’re ready, move back into down dog. Work out whatever needs to be worked out here.


Move through to lie down on the mat. Move through seth bandha sarvangasana (bridge) or urdhva dhanurasana (wheel). Hold as long or short as is comfortable. Do up to three sets.

Surrender series:

Stretch and cool down. My favorites include baddha konasana, side twists, cow-face pose, and forward folds, but do whatever feels good.


Lay face up on your mat, arms out, palms up, breathing returned to normal. Quiet your body and mind. When you are ready to move out of savasana, seal your practice with a bow forward, and….




Thanks, Raechel!

What kind of music do you like to listen to for yoga? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things: Lobster Ravioli and the Luck Dragon

Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Small Collection, a new series I started to help me focus on the things that bring me joy.

luck dragon 1.) This probably makes me weird, but I’ve taken to calling Eli The Luck Dragon when posting about him on social media. That whole sentence is weird, actually. I can’t help it, though—Sometimes he just reminds me of Falkor from The NeverEnding Story.

2.) Speaking of Eli, dude finally caught his tail the other day. After taking a few minutes to get acquainted, he rolled all over the floor with it. It must be so weird to be a dog.

3.) Chocolate raspberry oatmeal. So. Freaking. Good. The other day after 7 am hot yoga, I made this recipe but used raspberries instead of blueberries and added cocoa powder before cooking. I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture.

4.) One great thing about having a puppy vs having a child: When I put him in the crate for 20 minutes so I can take a shower and get dressed for work, I never have to worry about him growing up to write a tell-all memoir about what a horrible, selfish woman I am. That said, did anyone read Oh the Glory of It All when it came out a few years ago during the self-destructive memoir craze?

lobster ravioli5.) I’m finally starting to feel capable of creating meals that are not just bowls of random vegetables and protein topped with hummus. This Trader Joe’s lobster ravioli seems way too good to be just $2.99 a container. I kind of don’t even want to know why because I’m afraid it will turn out to be some mob operation or something equally shady. I enjoyed mine with some wilted arugual and roasted asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli. I had no idea what to do for sauce, so I just tossed it all in some garlic-infused olive oil. So many things I love on one plate!

6.) Good Spread. Love this idea.

7.) My 6-month review at the hospital was even more positive than I could have dared hope for. I even managed not to downplay what I’ve worked hard for or otherwise discount what I should be proud of. I am wildly uncomfortable with compliments, so this is a big deal for me. I did take advantage of the chance to say, “Well, thank you for the opportunity to do all these interesting things and have these professional experiences.” I never cease to be amazed at the twists and turns and how they continue to lead me back to the center of why I do what I do.

8.) This last one is not so much an overtly joyous thing so much as it is an important reminder that knowing when to let go of something it important. There are always going to be cranky people who will go out of their way to make you feel like crap and pick at your emotional scabs. You can’t change them. What you can change, however, is how much you let it get to you. What helped me get through an uncomfortable encounter this past week was reminding myself that it must suck to be that person and feel so annoyed by things all the time. Then I went and got a massage.

9.) A beautiful yoga class at Zenyasa on Saturday morning. I may or may not have fallen into a deep trance during savasana.

What’s brought you joy this week? 

Fit-Bottomed Summer Recipes

Hey guys! This morning I have another great post from the wonderful Jenn of Fit Bottomed Girls—enjoy! 

5 Recipes to Make This Summer

By Jennipher Walters, co-founder of

Happy Summer! And is there any other season that encourages healthy, fresh and clean eating like summer? We think not. So fire up the grill, bust out the fresh produce and get to trying these five summer recipes that make the most of the season!

1. Beer and Bratburger. Can’t decide between having a brat or a burger? Have BOTH with this recipe!


Get the recipe here.

2. Homemade Lemonade. Skip the premade powdered stuff and make your own lemonade from scratch! Flavorful and natural it’s delicious and perfect to wash down that Bratburger. (Plus, a little birdie tell us, it’s also good spiked with a little vodka or rum!)


Get the recipe here.

3. Strawberry Pavlova. When it’s summer, you don’t want a dessert that’s heavy and rich. You want something light and airy! And this strawberry pavlova recipe is all of that, plus it makes the most of those in-season juicy strawberries. Perfection!


Get the recipe here.

4. Grilled Watermelon. Ever thrown fruit on the grill? It may sound a little strange, but it’s amazing! A little savory, a little smoky and oh-so sweet, you’ll love it.

A stack of watermelon slices isolated on white

Get the recipe here.

5. Kale Salad With Orange Tahini Dressing. Don’t forget the kale salad! Yes, kale is in everything these days, but this kale salad is bright and pairs wonderfully with warm weather and sunshine!


Get the recipe here.

What are a few of your favorite summer recipes?


Thinking Out Loud: More Dog-Talk

Welcome to another Running with Spoons Thinking Out Loud link party where stream-of-consciousness is the name of the game! Thanks to Amanda for hosting!

So, I’m still trying to get into a good blogging rhythm with the little dude here.Eli passed out

When he’s not passed out cold he is full of beans. Our first week together has been lots of fun. Meals have been a little thrown-together, though. Lots of salads and egg-white scrambles/bowls of veggies with eggs, hummus, and tahini with toast on the side. IMG_6591

A lot of people have commented on how “brave” it is for me to get a puppy by myself, but honestly, I feel like it helps me be more flexible and laid-back about it since I don’t have to try to coordinate schedules or opinions with a partner or family. No fights about who has to get up and walk him or clean up any messes. No one to volley blame back and forth with if something doesn’t go perfectly.

It also helps that Eli is a really mellow, happy little guy. It only took him a couple days to start sleeping through the night—I’ve been playing these guided meditation CDs my mom sent me in college when I had insomnia, and it seems to help. Haha I think I’m up more than he is!

As I mentioned Sunday, I have a bunch of fun guest posts coming your way as I get into a blogging groove with this dog-lady thing. Hope you enjoy!

What’s on your mind this Thursday? 

What I Ate Wednesday # 171: First crazy dog lady days

So wow, you guys. I totally understand now how people just lose it over their pets. When I decided that I was going to get a puppy, I knew I was going to love him, but it’s like there’s this whole other room in my heart that had been walled off until now. It’s ridiculous how quickly they become, like, the center of your world—especially as you get to know their little mannerisms and they start to figure you out.

Eli morningTurns out being a dietitian in a hospital is great prep for becoming a pet owner, since both involve intense monitoring of po intake and bowl function. The first few days were actually much smoother than I would have dared hope for, but since I’m pretty calm and Eli is pretty calm, it’s been good, if a wee bit exhausting. But seriously, it’s not fair that puppies are so cute. Even when they’re frolicking in their own s*** it’s kind of adorable and you can’t really get mad. Unless that’s Saturday’s full moon workings its “magic” on me.

So this week’s What I Ate Wednesday is all about what I ate in those first few days of Crazy Dog Lady/ Puppy Mom Life…

Thank god it’s summer and I can just throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl and call it salad. I use the term loose, but basically it usually consists of greens, roasted or fresh veggies, protein (lately I’m loving pulled chicken from the slow cooker and/or hard-boiled eggs), and some kind of healthy fat like olive oil or avocado. I almost always add a lot of vinegar because I love the sourness. I usually take my carbohydrates on the side as toast or fruit, but sometimes I like to add roasted chickpeas instead.

Because the universe has a sense of humor, the weekend Eli arrived also happened to be packed full of other happenings that had been planned for quite some time. I’m still kind of amazed that it all worked out.

Saturday: WIAW 171

  • Breakfast: lentils, steamed kale, and roasted veggies with egg whites and goat cheese
  • Lunch: giant salad with greens, chicken, hardboiled egg, bacon (I love the Trader Joe’s uncured variety as a treat) heirloom tomato, avocado, and roasted pepper
  • Snack: Kefir with some high-fiber cereal to get me through until dinner at the wedding that night
  • Dinner: (unpictured) salad, followed by grilled bronzino
  • Dessert: wedding cake with raspberry sorbet

Sunday was a blur. I know I had these oats for breakfast, and lunch was another salad like Saturday’s. My main focus of the day was giving the little dude a bath. Eli in the bath

It was quite the exciting experience.Eli passed out

Sunday afternoon my mom came in, and we had a light dinner at Le Pain Quotidien before she came out with me to an event I was doing. We both ordered the tuna nicoise salad—perfect! I had a glass of sparkling chenin blanc with mine. LPQ nicoise

Having the pup around definitely makes mealtimes a little more chaotic (hence the need for things like salads and egg-white scrambles), but eventually we’ll find a good rhythm. He’s just so awesome, it’s all worth it.

To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.

Do you have any pets? Any tips for mealtime? 

Music Monday with Risa Binder

Welcome to another Music Monday! Every installment, I’ll be bringing you a different artist talking about how they stay healthy on the road. This series is part of a larger project I am working on in conjunction with the nonprofit, WhyHunger, which works to fight hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment. If you have the time, take a look at their site, and please feel free to share this with your social networks, especially with your music-loving friends!

Country pop singer Risa Binder has learned a few tricks along the way to help her stay healthy and energized for performances.

risa7_photo_gal__photo_1149095588She says, “You have to be really particular. When I’m home, I’m meticulous. It’s a bit more out of my control on the road.”

When possible, she sticks to places she knows offer healthy options. “My guitar player jokingly calls our tour the ‘Panera Tour’ because we go there a lot.  I love Panera, though, because it’s a place where you can get salads and protein. “

Hotels can be challenging, especially when it comes to navigating the continental breakfast that’s often included, but she relies on go-to foods like oatmeal and a hard-boiled eggs to get her day started off well. “The kid in me wants to make that waffle,” she adds, “but I never do.“

“We don’t go to fast food restaurants,” says Binder, “but rest stops are challenging. Some of my band mates may grab burger or whatever, but there’s always a side store that has sunflower seeds or trail mix.” She’s learned to look at what’s available and figure out a way to put it together. “As much as I love hashbrowns,” she says, “with the career I chose, a side salad is going to take the place of that.”

However, the hardest places to find healthy foods, Binder says, are the airport and gas stations. “If we’re stopping to get a quick snack, what I really want is a Snickers ice cream bar,” but she’s found that things like KIND bars and prepackaged olives in olive oil help satisfy cravings for sweet and salty foods.

“I’m a sweets girl,” she divulges, “and I love to reward myself, especially after a show or interview I was scared or nervous about. Lucky for me, mini desserts are a trend right now, so [afterwards] I’ll find one of those. It tells my brain, ‘Okay! I had my little reward!’ Other people want to end the night with a drink, I like to end the night with a hot fudge brownie sundae. It’s a portion control thing, but that’s my little indulgence, what I crave. “

She also brings mini cupcakes (Baked by Melissa is a favorite brand) to every show.  “It’s a great way to meet fans!” Binder says. “My two favorite things to do are write music and eat dessert,” so it’s a great combination.

risa7_photo_gal__photo_14922985_mdWhen she’s staying in one place for a few days or hunkering down to record, she loves stocking up on healthy items at Trader Joe’s. “Their orange flavored bubble water tastes just like soda to me.” She adds, “A good way to save money is to get a readymade something and heat it up in the microwave. Trader Joe’s is also great with the healthier snacks—I love the Snap Pea Crisps.”

“I don’t [go to the gym] on the road—I’m trying to find that balance. That’s why eating well is so important. If you set yourself up for the day with healthy snacks you’re good.”

“When you’re traveling with boys—which I always do—you just have to learn to find something wherever you are. For example, if we go to Waffle House, I’ll look at the menu and find something I can do. They have eggs, they have tomatoes…I also do eggs and avocadoes. I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I’ve said, ‘No, we can’t eat here.’”

“It’s always changing, always evolving,” she says. “The more I’m on the road, I do want to enjoy things. If I’m too strict, I miss out. We’re a pop country band, so we do a lot of shows in places that have amazing food—my band calls that part ‘brisket tours.’ For me, it comes down to portion control.”

“In the end,” Binder says, “pictures don’t lie. “I can look at myself and be, like, ‘Okay. Here’s the challenge for the next few months.’ At the same time, it’s important to be nice to yourself. It’s an experiment and it’s so personal—everyone has different ideas and goals.”

She adds, “It really is about the journey, and while I can be hard on myself, you have to give yourself a break once in a while. It’s individual and it’s fun.”

Added bonus: Click to download Risa’s new single, “Gotta Have You.” 

If you or anyone you know would like to be featured on Music Monday, get at me! KeepingItRealFood(at)gmail(dot)com

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday! Welcome to another Small Collection, a new series I started to help me focus on the things that bring me joy.

This week I have one very small thing that’s brought me more joy than I could have imagined in just a short few days:

So I promised on  Thursday that I would stop teasing you with puppy hints. I just didn’t want to jinx things before the little guy was actually in my arms. Well, the wait is over. On Friday morning, my dad and I went to pick him up.Eli first car ride

Yes, I totally cried my eyes out when I held him for the first time. #crazydogladyoriginstory

His name is Eli. He’s an Aries and the sweetest little fireball I’ve ever met. He’s a bichon frise, about 12 weeks old. I was blown away by how happy and mellow he was right off the bat.Eli kitchen

He already likes hanging out in the kitchen with me : )

…and following me around the apartment, and climbing on me when I sit on the floor, and hopping around when he’s excited about something…There’s plenty we both have to learn about each other and—ahem—details to work out (housebreaking, cough cough), but I’m so happy he’s here and thrilled to share the news with you all.

Even though I’m clearly going to have my hands a little more full than usual, I have some awesome guest posts scatted throughout the next weeks to keep you entertained—to to provide you with tasty recipes for your summer cookouts!

Do you have any pets? 

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