RXforWellnessDC

How to Fight Sugar Cravings

One of the most common hurdles of the holiday season is how to control sugar cravings.  While this hits home the hardest with my diabetic patients, it by all means applies to every single one of us.

Most health advice sets an unattainable goal, which often leads to an “all-or-nothing mentality”. This can be devastating to someone making the gradual changes to a healthy lifestyle. Let’s be realistic and talk about what really works.

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How to Fight Sugar Cravings

Ok. Let me be nerdy for a second….if you don’t like the nerdy, skip to the next paragraph Open-mouthed smile

Sugary treats is often treated as one of the most satisfying foods, on a physical and emotional level.  Sugar lifts energy levels and alters moods quickly.  This isn’t just in your head, well, actually it is…but that’s besides the point. It alters brain chemistry, by increasing your levels of serotonin and endorphins.  Sugar elevates serotonin.  This happens because sugar is consumed, insulin is released, and it binds with amino acids.  Together, they go to the muscles and leave tryptophan, which causes it to travel to the brain and help produce serotonin. Hence, sugar makes you feel “good”.

So what do we do about it?

Here are 5 of the biggest challenges when it comes to battling sugar- and how to stop it for good.

1) Sugar is Sugar, No Matter the Form

Sugar is a sneaky devil. We make great decisions by cutting out cakes, cookies, sodas, and obvious sugar-laden habits.  What we don’t realize is that sugar is hiding behind every corner.  With an American diet that relies so heavily on processed foods, anything you find in the middle of that grocery aisle is a sugar bomb.  EAT REAL FOOD.  I always tell my clients, shop the perimeter of the stores and be very selective at picking out anything from those center grocery aisles.  Even the growing fads of natural sugars (aka. agave, turbinado sugar, even honey), are causing people to neglect the fact that these are still just sugar.  Now, I’m not saying avoid honey.  I’m saying be aware that they are not a free pass and should still be used with great moderation.  They raise blood sugar just as much as the pure white stuff.  With a diet primarily based in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains; your sugar problems will fix themselves. Don’t be fooled by branding!

2) Calorie Consumption

This is a huge problem for my clients who are dieting or insisting on calorie counting.  You limit yourself earlier in the day in order to have more calories at night.  The 3pm itch hits and you find yourself staring down a cupcake and rationalizing that its “ok” because you have so many calories still left over. 

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Breakfast and lunch, whether your counting calories or not, should always include a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.  By limiting yourself early, your setting up for failure later.

Examples of quick meal fixes to incorporate these things include adding an egg, nuts, or protein to your oatmeal or cereal, along with some fresh fruit for some major fiber.  This keeps you fuller, longer.  For lunch, consider adding a protein like diced chicken or canned beans, and a healthy carb like quinoa or brown rice to go with your veggies.  Not only will this make those veggies way more appealing, but it will help control cravings later in the day.  Keep the healthy fat too!  Adding some avocado, a little olive oil, or some seeds always helps with staying power.

3) Fasting and Floundering

We’ve all been there, no time for breakfast, just coffee and out the door.  Or work is slammed, you never even stop to take a break.  If you wait until your starving to eat, your going to eat the wrong things and WAY too much of them.  By eating small amounts throughout the day, you fight off the craving before it even starts.  I’m not nice when I get hungry, and I fixate on food until I get it.  If you put a scale to it, with 1 being full/not hungry at all to 10 being belligerent and hungry (haha yeah it happens), I always aim to eat at about a 6 or 7.  I never, ever let myself lose control of something as simple as hunger because you can’t fight it.  This allows me to make better decisions and avoid the pleasure/guilt cycle.

4) Sleep sabotage

Sleep is so important.  We all know losing sleep can lead to serious weight gain  and increased calorie intake (remember that nasty little hormone, cortisol).  When we sleep, our body repairs.  This helps our body control appetite and keep our metabolism moving while we are awake.  When you don’t have enough sleep, your body overreacts and tells you to eat more sweet stuff to feel better and wake up.  Get plenty of sleep, ‘nuff said.

5) Swap the Habit

Remember how I said we love sugar because it releases serotonin and endorphins? Yeah, well so does physical activity.  Train your mind that you can substitute your sugar craving for activity.  Want a snickers? Call a friend and head out shopping or to the gym.  Can’t stop thinking about the donuts sitting on the counter at work? Take a 15 minute, brisk walk.  Come back and be surprised when the donut really doesn’t matter (mostly because somebody else already ate itThumbs up).

How do you fight sugar cravings?

What are your favorite holiday treats?

Superfoods: The Next Generation

Superfoods: The Next Generation

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately at the pharmacy about getting the most bang for your buck when purchasing nutrient dense food.  Superfoods by definition are foods that have multiple, over the top nutritional benefits.  We all know about salmon, almonds, eggs, and spinach; but many of their lesser known counterparts can add a real boost to your meal options.  Here are few options to check out the next time your headed to the grocery store!

Acai

Acai (pronounced ah-SIGH-ee, in case you had NO clue like me) is a small, purple berry that is making waves as a weight-loss aid and anti- aging product.  The berry has very high levels of anthocyanins, which help heart disease and cancer by fighting free radicals in the body.  Oddly enough, it is also a source of oleic acid, which is the same heart-healthy fat found in olive oil. Acai is popping up all over the grocery store in the forms of frozen berries, dried berries, powders, and juices. Avoid the juices (packed with added sugar) but a few options are:

-Added to a smoothie with other berries, greek yogurt, and some hidden veggies. Add a little honey for sweetness.

-In a bowl with bananas, homemade granola, and fresh strawberries/blueberries.

-In a baked dish, like this recipe for acai truffles

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Maca Powder

Maca is a root vegetable that is grown in the Andes Mountains. It’s picked, dried, and then processed into powder. Maca has been used to boost energy, endurance, and libido (yes please Winking smile). It’s known as an adaptogen, which means it can undo fatigue and helps with regeneration and repair. It has a rich, nutty flavor and lends itself best to:

-incorporating into baked goods, like this mexican chocolate maca bark (what a great holiday treat!)

-mixed into a post workout protein shake or smoothie

-homemade energy bars for during those long runs when you need a little boost!

 

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Goji Berries

Goji berries are super easy to find in just about every major supermarket. They have tons of vitamin C and are great for vision, poor circulation, and to boost the immune system.  Look for them in the dried food bins.

-Sprinkle them over oatmeal or yogurt

-Make a homemade trail mix with almonds and shredded coconut

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Kefir

Kefir is similar to yogurt, but is made from fermented milk.  It is a huge source of probiotics, which are excellent for immune health and good digestive health.  It can be found in the refrigerated dairy aisle (usually with the yogurt) or you could try making it yourself!

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Cacao

Cacao, like its cousin chocolate, contains flavonoids, which are known to help lower blood pressure and increase circulation to the brain and heart.  It has less than 15 calories/tablespoon, has no fat, but tastes very, very much like chocolate(!). Make sure and choose the raw/non-alkalized versions to get max nutritional power.  Mix into a smoothie or try these amazing brownie batter balls.

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Hemp Seeds

FYI, not psychoactive ingredients here.  These seeds are super high in protein and contain all the essential amino acids needed for growth and repair.  They also contain the right balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.  They have a very neutral taste, so you can add them to just about anything; like soups, salads, or rice dishes. This pesto sauce sounds really fun!

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Kale

Kale has taken a back seat to spinach for many years now, but it is making a HUGE comeback.  Kale is actually a member of the cabbage family (a cruciferous vegetable aka see Sheldon’s theory from BBT Smile). Kale is packed with vitamins, is super high in fiber, and is incredibly nutrient dense while being very low in calories.  It makes a great salad, but it is also amazing sauted with some garlic, crushed red pepper, and balsamic vinegar over the top.  Blend it in with a smoothie and you will never even know it is there.  Try this recipe for a great green smoothie. It’s my personal favorite

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Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is actually  deactivated yeast and has no leavening agent left.  It’s a great source of protein, fiber, and B12 (which is really hard to find outside of beef).  It has a super cheesy flavor, so sprinkle it on top of anything to get back that cheese taste without all the fat and calories.  This can also be found in the bulk dry bins, easy to try just a little to get you started. Try it as popcorn topping for your kids, sprinkle it on top of a baked potato, or on top of a pasta dish.  Try a lasagna recipe and replace the top layer of cheese with this, you will see the calories drop!

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This article was long winded, but hopefully it gives you some great ideas for incorporating a few new foods into your diet.  Spontaneity fends off cravings and helps keep everyone on track! 

Do you have any favorite superfood recipes? What are your favorite brands?

How Do You?…Pack a Healthy Lunch in Less Than 10 minutes

I work incredibly long shifts, most that cover at least 2 meal times, not to mention snacks,etc.  One of the biggest reasons people fall prey to bad choices and fast food is because they fear the time it takes to put a packed lunch together. They just don’t have time to pack lunch for work or school.  I mastered the art of packing a variety of lunches since college,grad school, etc. because eating healthy (and cheap!) has always been high on my priority list.  All you need is an extra five to ten minutes to open your fridge and throw together an awesome, healthy, and cheap meal!

Some people choose to plan there meals out very specifically for the week; whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  While it sounds like a great idea, it is not sustainable for me.  Things come up, a friend wants to go out to eat, or I’m just not “in the mood” to eat.  This leads to me wasting a good portion of the fresh groceries I buy during the week.  Because of this, I find it much easier to have some regular ingredients always on hand, high quality snacks,  and utilize leftovers/odds and ends to put together a quick lunch.  One of my favorite go-to lunches is what I call a “garbage salad”. Here is the breakdown…

I start with a good size storage container, bigger than you think you need (trust me Smile).  I throw in a variety of mixed greens, whatever you like.  I love mixed greens and arugula.

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Optionally, I add some sort of grain.  This is not very often.  If I have extra rice, quinoa, barley, etc.  I will throw in ~1/4 cup or so, just so it’s not going to waste.  Careful if your watching your blood sugar, but makes sure it’s a high fiber, 100 percent whole grain, high protein option always. 

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Next up, load up on veggies.  Precut rocks.  Buy them before hand or take some time while your prepping dinner one night to cut up a little extra.  My favorites are matchstick carrots. mini cucumbers, red and green peppers, red onion, and snap peas.  Feel free to mix it up and use up whatever is hanging out in the fridge.  I’m a huge fan of fatSmile so this is a great time for me to use up avocado.  I love to add 1/4 to 1/2 of avocado to the salad for some healthy creaminess.  Careful with your portion sizes!

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No garbage salad is complete without some protein.  Never ever skip this step, no matter how small.  This is what stabilizes your blood sugar and keeps you from binging on horrible food later! Whatever leftover meat/eggs/etc. you have in your fridge just throw it on top.  If your starting from scratch, I love canned beans. Cheap and easy, doesn’t get any better than that.  I love black, chick peas, cannellini, and black eyed peas.  They hold up really well in salads of all types. Just dump 1/4-1/2 a can on top of that salad and go. Save the rest for tomorrowSmile

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Now comes for the fun part.  Top it with some dressing and get creative!  Salsa and mustard, on their own or in combo with a little salad dressing, is a great low calorie way to add flavor to your garbage salad.  In addition, cut your salad dressing use in half by cutting it with rice vinegar.  This thins the dressing and gives great acidity to any dressing, creamy or oil based.  Big calorie slasher!  If you want. add some cheese, just go easyWinking smile I love feta…never gets old.

 

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To go with your garbage salad, throw a piece of fruit in the bag for a little sweetness.  Don’t forget a few snacks! I like plain greek yogurt (no added sugar) with berries and a sprinkle of granola or cinnamon, a low carb protein bar (recipe to come!), and some roasted almonds.  Mix it up! Just make sure they are good quality, clean foods.  So many snacks, even if low sugar or “healthy” are packed with preservatives and junk fillers.  Keep it simple, your body and pocket book will appreciate it! 

And a serving of roasted almonds!

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All packed and ready to go!

Salads aren’t the only way to go.  Stay tuned in the future for quick recipes that can be prepped ahead of time and ready to go in no time.

What’s your secret for a quick and healthy packed lunch?

Speaking of, I need to head to work.  Better get my own lunch readySmile

Check out my boards on Pinterest for more packed lunch ideas!

Big Changes + How to Get Back in a Routine

So, you guys have probably noticed that I have been MIA for several weeks now.  I apologize to those of you who had recently started to follow my postings and the inner workings of my services.  My life has undergone some MAJOR changes in the last few weeks that has required me to take a step back from blogging and the business to get my affairs in order.  I recently separated from my husband and moved to the Fredericksburg, VA area (closer to the day jobWinking smile). While I won’t go into too many details, I can honestly say that the last few weeks have been filled with excitement, relief, and a fair amount of stress.  As of today, I feel like I can finally restore some sort of routine to my every day life and start to embrace my new lifestyle. 

It is still unclear to me what these changes will mean for the business.  For the most part, very few changes will need to be made.  I am still within an hour of the DC area and can continue to work with clients in the DC metro region.  I am also now able to branch out in to the Richmond Metro area, as well as, a large amount of central and southern Virginia.  I look forward to this expanded network of practices and potential clients.  Rest assured, I will now be able to throw myself back into blogging/clients 100 percent and continue to provided high quality content on health and wellness, as well as, lots of critical information about diabetes education and management.  I am also considering moving forward with a health coach certification to compliment my pharmacy background and diabetes educator certifications.

In honor of all these “big changes”, I thought I would spend some time discussing one of the biggest challenges I have faced the last few weeks.  Getting back to a routing and STICKING to it has been a huge obstacle to overcome.  There is no need to get overwhelmed when big changes throw your daily life off track.  If anything, it is a perfect time to start fresh and plan for a renewed sense of productivity.  It’s important to set up a system for meeting specific, realistic goals (aka SMART goals).  A solid schedule does more than just increase productivity, it keeps us from losing our mind and freaking out over the massive to do list staring us down.  Just knowing you have a schedule in place for the day, week, or  month can make you feel calm more in control of whatever duties need to be taken care of.   These five tips should help make the establishment of a new routine much easier.

Seize the day

Make a daily calendar with everyday events and tasks.  Include errands, work tasks, and even exercise .  Having an up-to-date list every day will help to reevaluate your priorities regularly and stay motivated to stay on top of your obligations.  A daily schedule helps keep us on track, if it is already set into the schedule, we are more likely to take care of our least favorite jobs.  Do the same thing with a weekly schedule so you are taking care of the same obligations on the same day every week.

Organize your space

Organize your space with folders, new calendars, etc. This will help make all new habits streamlined and efficient from the very beginning.  Less time will be spent trying to find an item or just getting started on a project if everything is neat and organized.

 

Hit the reset button.

 

Sometimes the hardest part of getting back into a routine is just getting out of bed. For those used to sleeping in, try gradually waking up earlier. Every day try going to bed and waking up about 15 minutes earlier until you are comfortable with the appropriate time.  Spend plenty of time outside in the sunshine to help regulate sleep cycles.

 

Take it slow.

 

Ease back into a routine. Do not overschedule or double book yourself that first week.  Look for quick, encouraging wins to keep you motivated by completing small, important tasks first. These will help you tackle the more involved, less interesting tasks with greater success.

 

Write it down.

No electronic device can truly take the place of the mind/body connection that happens when you write down due dates and ideas.  Having steps to follow and deadlines will help the task(s) get done on time and without stress.

Hopefully, these steps will help you restore some sort of order to your chaos and get you back into an efficient and meaningful routine. How do you ease back into a routine?

4th of July: Holiday Meal Planning

With the 4th of July holiday just right around the corner (and by corner, I mean tomorrow!Winking smile), it can be a tough time to balance a healthy diet with all the opportunities for over indulgence. The American Diabetes Association has come out with a few quick tips for staying on track over the holidays.  The tips were so simple and straight forward, I just had to share them with you guys!  Use these tips to enjoy your holiday without regretting bad health choices.

1) Focus on Friends and Family

The holidays are an awesome time to get together with those that you love. Do not focus so much on the food and drink, but shift your attention to catching up, playing games, and enjoying the great summer weather

2) Everything in Moderation

Eat what you want, but do it slowly and with moderation. These opportunities only come around once a year, so enjoy the food but don’t over do it! Control your portions, don’t skip meals in preparation for the celebration, and load your plate up with vegetables before heading straight for the carb loaded main courses.

3) Take Advantage of the Potluck

Use holidays as an opportunity to bring a dish that you enjoy, but that also fits into you meal plan. You will have an option for something enjoyable, while still allowing you to enjoy in moderation.  Check the nutrition and serving size during preparation of your dish.

4) Careful with the Alcohol

Remember that alcohol not only has high amount of sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. but also causes low blood sugar pretty rapidly.  Never drink on an empty, and limit yourself to 1 drink for women or 2 drinks for men.  Avoid high calorie mixers and stick to lighter alcohol options as well. 

5) Keep Moving

The holidays are the perfect excuse for most people to abandon physical activity.  We get busy and heading to the gym is the last thing on our minds.  Make a commitment to make the holidays an active time.  Play games, sign up for a holiday-related run or walk, and just find ways to keep moving!

6) Deal with Overindulgence Quick

If you ate or drank more than you had planned, don’t dwell on it.  Get back on track, stay away from the table, and spend time having fun with your family and friends!  Spend the few days after focused on getting back on track!

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OBX Recap: 5 Ways to Have a More Active Vacation

Staying with your active lifestyle might be a challenge while on vacation.  Whether you’re a gym rat, a Class Pass nerd like me, or just enjoy walking to all your errands, staying active is an excellent way  to keep a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips for maintaining fitness while on vacation:

1.)    Eliminate the car: Renting a car gives you an excuse to not walk to wherever your activity may be. Walk from your hotel to all the different amenities located around you. In addition, think of all the hassle removed by not worrying about parking or GPS.  Most cities and popular tourist locations have bikeshare programs that are also super convenient for traveling around a new area.  Biking or walking the few blocks to your destination can add a lot of value to your vacation experience.

2.)    Enjoy a sport:  Whether you are looking to play eighteen holes, have  pickup basketball game, or heading to the local batting cages; there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your favorite sports with your friends and family while on vacation.  Are you traveling on business? If so, suggest a business meeting over one of these activities. This gives you an opportunity for fun as well as some great exercise.

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3.)    Head to the water: The beach or the lake is always a popular destination for vacation, so take advantage of it. Plan a whole day of playing in the water, games on the beach, or general exploring.

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4.)    Cycle in style: Rent a bicycle for a day. This gives you the power and peace of mind to do all the sightseeing you want to do without being stuck in all the traffic you would have been if you would have driven or been on a bus.  In addition, bike shares are incredibly cost efficient, as opposed to cabs or other ground transportation.

5.)    Enjoy the great outdoors: Hiking is one of the best exercises you can do for yourself.  Its great for cardiovascular health, but also involves quite a bit of strength and muscle training. Hiking at most locations is free and requires little to know preparation.  Feeling brave? Try rock climbing or bouldering!

OBX Recap: Vacation and Healthy Eating

I ate wayyyyyyy too much food while on vacation.  I will admit, I did not give one thought to how many calories, how many grams of sugar, or how many carbohydrates was on any plate or in a drink.  I do have the advantage that the food that looks the most appealing to me is not the most sugar-laden or greasy item on the menu.  I love fresh seafood, steak, and big salads with a million different toppings. I also really enjoy beer.  It’s my weakness.  We enjoyed Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant in Nags Head and Tortuga’s Lie in Kill Devil Hills, two of my all time favorites places anywhere, not just the OBX.  We also explored our local seafood market, tried lots of new dishes from the comfort of our own kitchen, and really enjoyed all the local fair.

This shrimp boil recipe from epicurious is now my #1 go-to for the perfect vacation meal.  I only regret that I didn’t take more pictures!

If your goal while traveling is to try and make good choices, here are a few tricks for deciphering a restaurant menu and preserving a little bit of health while enjoying all those little indulgences!

1) Do. not. diet.

My number one rule, always, is do not diet.  You can literally eat anything you want, moderation is key.  That key lime pie or deep fried appetizer will taste so much better if you simply eat a few bites and move on to something more filling.  There is no need to clear the whole plate, just because it’s “vacation”. 

2) Vegetables. Vegetables. Vegetables.

No matter what entrée you choose, supplement every meal with a heaping serving of veggie power.  And no, I don’t mean french fries and onion rings.  Adding a side salad or mixed vegetables really gives a meal staying power. Watch how the veggies are cooked! What’s the point of a veggie if it’s deep fried or drowning in butter.  Look for words like steamed, lightly roasted, or without a lot of added ingredients.  Make sure your salads are packed with veggies and lay off the bacon bits, croutons, and other high calorie toppings.  Stick to vinegar/oil based dressings, and stay away from the creamy stuff!

3) Explore the Kitchen.

One of the best ways to cut calories and stay healthy on vacation is to cook from your vacation home.  Especially if you are traveling to the beach, really take advantage of all that fresh seafood! Cooking at home allows you to control exactly what ingredients are used, how much/what kind of fat is used and portion sizes.  It’s also a great experience cooking as a group and enjoying each others company, without a huge bill!

4) Liquid Calories

I am a hypocrite.  I already admitted my love for beer.  Liquid calories, alcoholic or not, really add up quick.  Avoid high sugar, fruit juice based drinks and stick to calorie free mixers with light amounts of alcohol.  Drink lots and lots of water, avoid lots of soda and sugary lemonades/fruit drinks.  Drinking tons of water during the day will allow you to take advantage of a few extra drinks at night Winking smile

 

Vacation does not have to be a 10 pound gain, calorie bomb adventure.  Make a few wise choices, do not deprive yourself, and use moderation.  With these tips you can enjoy every last minute of your trip! Wondering how you can take your family or friends on a vacation meant for active lifestyles? I have some great ideas coming up in the next few days!

How To Deal With Burnout + A Quick Workout

How To Deal With Burnout + A Quick Workout

I woke up this morning without motivation to even move my big toe.  Today is Day 6 of 7 (12+ hour ) days working consecutively at the pharmacy.  In addition, I have one solitary day off between now and the start of my vacation to OBX (which is still over a week awayBaring teeth smile). Needless to say, I am officially burned out, and I have a looonnngg way to go.  Dealing with burnout is something that I have not yet mastered:  but since finishing my doctorate program, joining the working world full time, and starting my own business, I am slowly learning my way around.  I get many questions from my coworkers asking “how in the world do you have so many irons in the fire at once?”. Honestly, the key is to find something you are really, really passionate about, and then it doesn’t feel like work until you are really, really tired Open-mouthed smileA couple of practices are essential for me to keep moving forward:

Eating balanced, well portioned meals– I know when I get tired and grumpy, all I want is a carb loaded, sugar fest.  Pizza, hamburgers, even those little pinwheel tortilla sandwiches are my weakness.  I feel like I “deserve” these treats for working so hard.  No, I don’t. At least not in full force.  As soon as I indulge, my blood sugar spikes, then plummets, and I am left feeling worse than before.  Continuing to eat well and regularly, with lots of vegetables and high fiber fruits, is the key to maintaining endurance during the day.

Catching my Zzzzz’s– Sticking to a regular bedtime/wake up time is critical for me to make sure I am well rested, focused at work, and able to complete all my tasks for that day at 100%.  5-HTP is my go to for a good night’s sleep during weeks like this (more on 5-HTP later).

Avoid alcohol– As hard as it is to avoid a night cap after a long day, I can tell a significant difference in my sleep and my general digestive health and endurance the next day.  I avoid it until the beloved day-off arrivesHot smile.  My replacement for that glass of wine? Natural Calm (more on this later as well).

Stay on the fitness train– Getting up to workout or scheduling a class on ClassPass is the last thing I feel like doing before or after 12+ hours on my feet.  But once I’m done, I feel renewed, refreshed and ready to go again. A perfect example, this morning.  I did not want to get out of bed, but I knew that I would feel so great and rejuvenated after getting my sweat on.  You don’t have to spend an hour at the gym or accomplish a 10 mile run to get these effects.  This morning, it was a simple, no fuss 20 minute treadmill workout.

This workout can be adjusted to all fitness levels and is my absolute go-to when I don’t have the energy for a hard workout. Try scaling down the speed and just walking. Try it on the bike, elliptical, pool, or even outside. The key is to just make it your own! Trust me, your body and mind will be so grateful. Now I am ready to take on another long day!

Summer Slump+Chef Knife Fun!

Summer Slump+Chef Knife Fun!

While summer came in with roar here in DC, it has suddenly came to a screeching halt.  I’m talking, real life 60 degrees, heater on in the car, screeching….halt. A positive to the sudden weather change- running in the mist! Reminds me of walking underneath the water misters at the theme parks! I know it won’t be long before muggy, 90 degree days will be back, so I will take advantage while I can.  Yesterday, I was able to get in a solid 4 miles before the rain became too heavy (I left the waterproof camera at home….silly me).  The design of this website and blog has left me sitting in front of a screen for way too long and I am still in need of some good sunshine and outdoor funSmile  In the mean time, thank you for your patience while the blog takes shape.  I am not a techie by any stretch of the imagination, and I am learning everything as I go!

Some indoor time this week has given me quite a bit of time to play in the kitchenSmile I have come to realize that success in the kitchen is almost always contingent upon your best instruments and quality ingredients.  I am not a gourmet chef. I never plan to be. My number one goal is to create simple, healthy, whole food dishes that can be enjoyed by everyone, including those with special diet restrictions or just plain picky eaters Smile with tongue out I never exclude anything from my recipes/diet, I believe everything in moderation, made from whole ingredients (aka not or barely processed) never hurt anybody. 

Another critical part of success in the kitchen is having one or two instruments that make cooking and prep work a breeze.  Which is why I have to tell you about my newest acquisition in the kitchen!   

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This Global NI knife has become my number one weapon come dinner time.  It has literally cut my prep time in half! I used to dread spending the first 10-15 minutes of dinner time prepping vegetables, all because I did not have a good knife.  When used properly, this bad boy is like an extension of my own hand.  The weight of the handle is extra light and glides easily through all ingredients. I even deboned a chicken with it! When starting the journey of making healthy meals at home, making an investment in an item that saves so much time and sanity really pays off. What item can you absolutely not live without in the kitchen?

I have some super great recipes to share with your guys coming up in the next few days, including a delicious dessert that will help keep your blood sugar in check and nip those cravings for something sweet!