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What I Ate Wednesday #71: Vacation Day

Happy Wednesday! I’m on vacation this week—more like stay-cation. The idea of traveling during my allotted vacation week just seemed too exhausting and expensive, so I’ve been enjoying taking these lovely August days at my own pace here in NYC.

It’s also time for another What I Ate Wednesday. As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting the weekly link party. To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit Peas & Crayons.

After working a busy Saturday at the hospital, I was so excited to start my week off. Sunday involved sleeping in (if you count 11-8 sleeping in…) and then brunch, beer and a whole bunch of walking.

Leek & Egg @ Sparrow in Astoria

Monday I had a lot to do (writing projects, cooking projects, life projects…), but I enjoyed begin able to take it at my own speed. I also had time for a pilates class. I love when I can do that because I learn things I can incorporate into solo workouts when I’m not able to get to a group class.

It was also nice not to have to rely on hospital cafeteria food and lab-coat snacks to get me through the day. I don’t know if it was the heat or not being on my feet as much, but I definitely wasn’t as hungry during the day. No complaints, though—I enjoyed some good stuff, and I was happy not to deal with the inevitable low-blood-sugar shakes & headaches.

Breakfast: rolled oats w/ flax, a white peach, blackberries, and sunflower seed butter 
Lunch: a big salad; smoked salmon and avocado on an Ezekiel English muffin 

Snack: a berry & greens smoothie w/ cocoa powder (sounds gross, tasted great)

Dinner: Homemade soup (one of the day’s projects), toast w/ hummus 

Snack: Plain yogurt w/ cocoa powder, cut-up frozen lazy-person brownie, berries

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How did you spend your last vacation? 

What I Ate Wednesday #68: Trying new things

And here we are again: the midway point of yet another packed week. No complaints, though—I’ll totally take it over this time last year, if we’re going to play that game.

Still, Wednesday came really fast this week—and so did What I Ate Wednesday. As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting the link party. To see more WIAW from other bloggers, visit Peas & Crayons.

I don’t know what it is, but after being in a months-long food rut, I’ve finally been trying a lot of new things recently. About damn time. I’d almost forgotten how much I like playing around with different ingredients sometimes. I was worried I was going to revert back to my college-days habit of keeping pots and pans in my oven because I never, ever used it  .

On Monday, for example, I tried using non-fat ricotta in my oatmeal (part-skim would have been even better, but Trader Joe’s only had fat-free) and later used sardines with tahini & sautéed veggies for a sandwich. 

Finding a boneless, skinless variety helped me get over my fear of eating little fish-bones. I’m so glad I finally gave it a shot—freaking delicious. Nutritious too. I think this is one of my new favorite ways to get my omega-3s.

Here’s what else was on the menu for Monday…

Breakfast: Overnight oats with ricotta and berries added in the morning, topped with PB2 sauce. 

Lunch: Nothing in the cafeteria looked good, so I went with a salad and an orange 

Snack: Green smoothie 

Dinner: Sardines, garlicky sauteed mushrooms & kale, tahini, and lemon juice on toasted bread; arugula salad with roasted figs & goat cheese 

Snack: Yogurt w/ cereal (unpictured)

What new things have you tried recently? Food and otherwise…

Ingredient of the Week: Chia Seeds

Welcome to Ingredient of the Week #2. Today’s post is all about chia seeds.

While the first thing you may think of when you hear “chia seeds” is chia pets, the seeds of the chia plant are actually a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fiber and calcium. Unlike flax seeds, they do not have to be ground in order for the body to absorb the nutrients.

One of my favorite things about chia seeds is that they can absorb around ten times their weight in water and form a gel that can be used in drinks, baked goods or in concoctions like overnight oats. They also make a great vegan egg substitute. For every egg called for in a recipe, whisk 1 tbsp chia seeds with 3-4 tablespoons of water until gel forms. I do this all the time since Chris hates eggs.

Chia seeds make for fluffy, voluminous bowls of oats, like this carrot-cake concoction

These mini chocolate cakes have chia seeds instead of eggs in them!

If you’re not into eating little gel balls, totally cool—you can throw dry chia seeds on top of salads, grain dishes, and pretty much anything else you think would benefit from a little crunch.

For more ideas for fun with chia seeds (sarcastic gameshow announcer voice implied), visit my Recipes page.

Product Review: Nature’s Pride Hearty Wheat with Flax

As a dietitian-in-training, I’m always encouraging people to consume whole grains over refined as often as possible. For those just getting started (and for those who’ve been on the wagon since birth), whole wheat bread is one of the easiest swaps to make. It seems like practically every week, there’s a new variety hitting the shelves.

Trader Joe’s Soft Whole Wheat bread has long been a favorite of mine, but when the folks at Foodbuzz sent me a loaf of Nature’s Pride’s new Hearty Wheat with Flax recently, I was curious to try it.

Though the  list of ingredients is a bit longer than I prefer, everything was pronounceable and recognizable.  I was intrigued by the fact that it is baked in olive oil—I can’t say I detected any difference in taste, but it didn’t hurt at all.  The nutrition stats weren’t bad either.

Each slice contains:

  • 100 calories
  • 1.5 grams fat
  • 130 mg sodium
  • 17 grams carbohydrate
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 4 grams sugar
  • 5 grams protein
  • 6% of your daily iron needs

Read More »

Anti-Inflamatory Diet Gains Followers

When I mentioned that I bought salmon to make for dinner last night, it definitely had something to do with its high omega-3 content and the hope that foods known for their anti-inflammatory properties might bring some allergy relief.

Obviously,  one piece of fish (which was delicious, by the way) isn’t going to cure my symptoms, but anti-inflammatory diets have long been recommended for the prevention and treatment of cancer, heart disease, acne, depression, arthritis and Chron’s disease as well as to promote anti-aging and weight loss. Being that allergies are basically an overreaction of the immune system, it made sense that it might help.

An anti-inflammatory diet combines principles of typical Mediterranean and Asian diets, including such foods as berries, dark leafy greens and colorful vegetables as well as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, flax, and soybeans. Olives, olive oil, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and and sesame seeds are also on the list, as are green tea, red wine, and dark chocolate. Seasonings like garlic, onion, ginger, rosemary, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric are also recommended.

Some foods on the no-fly list are high-fat meats, non-organic dairy, sugar, white flour, trans fats, corn syrup, and junk foods, which are believed to cause inflammation. No surprise there.

One thing I like about this style of eating is that it’s really simple to incorporate aspects of it into your daily life. It can be simple as adding a little tumeric to your omelet or tossing some berries and ground flax meal on top of oatmeal. You can serve up some salmon with dark leafy greens and baked sweet potatoes for dinner and use olive oil instead of butter in  a lot of dishes. It’s not a fussy, expensive diet you have to buy special products for. It’s more of an easy-to-acheieve lifestyle balance, which I much prefer to an “eat these cookies and lose weight” kind of plan.

Obviously, following an anti-inlammatory diet isn’t a guarantee you’ll enjoy a disease-free life, but when combined with exercise, ample sleep, and abstinence from smoking and other harmful practices, I believe it can give you a good shot.

As for my allergies, I’m feeling a lot better today, though it probably has to do with a lower pollen count than a magic piece of salmon. Still, I think eating for health is important, and I never need to be told to enjoy a glass of red wine.

You can read more about the increasing popularity of this diet and view recipes here.

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