New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, but it seems as though, the older I get, the more I like them. I think that, for me, they’re not just about the new year; they’re also about my next year, as my birthday is shortly after the 1st of the year. And now that I’ll be entering my thirties, it’s time to make some goals :)


So without censoring myself, here are my “New Year’s Resolutions”…

1.) Commit to yoga and meditation

I’m starting a yoga course 1 week from today, so I’ll sort of be forced to make yoga a priority. But I need to also make it a priority in my heart and soul, not just in time. I will be practicing 3-4 times per week for 90-120 minutes each session. Other days, I will be committing to practicing 20-30 on my own. Additionally, I also commit to meditating for 10 minutes each day. Meditation can mean so many different things, so I have a wide window of choices—sitting in stillness and silence, mantras and positive focus, listening to calming music with the focus on only 1 though, watching the sun rise or set, starring at the stars and Universe, etc.

2.) Prioritize and stick to boundaries

I tend to work way too many hours, and no matter how many times I tell myself that I am not overworking, I do. I need to work towards setting boundaries so that I can meet my own personal goals. I need to commit to working out in the mornings, otherwise, I get stuck at work and give up my own health goals.

3.) Chew less gum

Yes, this is a bad habit of mine. Truthfully, it’s more than a habit; it’s an addiction. I’m a super anxious person, so chewing on something helps me to “stay busy” even when I’m not doing anything. I also tend to suck in a lot of air when I’m not chewing gum—the opposite of what most people would think. So, without something in my mouth, I get more bloated and full of air. I need to find ways to work on this addiction.

4.) Cook and bake more

I need to do more of what I love—what makes me feel happiest in my skin. And for me, that’s cooking and baking. I’ve always loved being in the kitchen, ever since I was a tiny tot. I started really helping out around the age of 4; I grew up in the kitchen, mixing, concocting, creating, baking.

5.) Make friendships

This is hard one. In 2014, I move 1200 miles away from most of my friends and family. I’ve moved before—but this time, it feels even harder to make friends. I haven’t made a single friend in the 9 months that I’ve been living here. I’m not sure how to accomplish this goal, but I suppose I just need to be more open, more spontaneous, less fearful of what others are thinking of me.

6.) BLOG more!

I’ve struggled with this one for various reasons—not prioritizing at work, simply not making the time, being so rundown that I can’t focus long enough to contemplate a post. I also place heavy, high expectations on myself. If it isn’t perfect, why bother? And I do that with this blog, too. So then I end up going long stretches without a post because I feel like it just won’t be good enough. I need to write freely without the personal expectations. Let it flow and let it be.

7.) Speaking of which, I need to write more in general.

8.) Body acceptance

Of course I struggle, just like everyone else. But I need to let myself eat healthy, let my weight go where it will, and let go of the self-judgment, fear, anxiety.

9.) Stop comparing self to others

For some reason, I think I do this more now than I did even a year ago. Moving to Florida has somehow made me feel even more self-conscience. Maybe it’s my job, my loneliness, my lack of personal support/friends, the gym I go to. Whatever it is, I need to STOP. Some ideas for how to stop include: more positive thinking, having mantras, recognizing and redirecting thought patterns.

10.) LOVE MORE :) Myself, others, and the world around us!

So there’s my honest list. What are yours?

Whole Food Eating: Post One

I am going to begin what will be a series post on why I believe in “whole food” eating. I will explain my opinion in regards to various topics, including but perhaps not limited to disease prevention and management, mood balance, psychological health, and mental wellness, digestive care and bowel habits, and body image. This will be an opinionated series that is meant to help others move towards whole food eating for health and wellness purposes. Living in America can be tough when it comes to making balanced choices, but it is not as hard as we think it is. I counsel individuals on a daily basis regarding how they can begin to make changes in their own dietary habits to move towards a more balanced way of eating.  If you are currently regularly consuming fast food and processed food-like products, I would not expect you to eat a completely whole food-based diet right off the bat.  But rather, this series of posts, and this blog in general, is meant to make you and everyone take a look at their eating habits, their mental health in regards to their food relationship, and learn to make some changes that would better themselves and their well-being.  And lets face it, there is truth in supply and demand—so if more of us demand availability of whole foods, we might just see the supply. So here goes…



Let me begin by stating: I’m not a fan of the “clean eating” trend that has swept across our country, globe, Internet, and blogosphere. That being said, I am obviously a fan of whole food eating. Please refer to blog title. Is there a difference, you ask, between “clean” eating and “whole food” eating? Well, by George, yes, I answer! Personally, I equate “clean” eating with “good” eating. If your food is not clean, then it must be dirty in some way—or bad, wrong. I disagree with labeling food as good or bad, so that’s why I tend to disagree with the clean trend/fad. I believe that it can make one think a little too hard about their food choices—is this product clean, clean enough, too many ingredients, too few, too many carbs, too little protein, too much sugar? I think that when we place a heavy emphasis on a weighted word, such as “clean,” we inadvertently place a moral connotation to the word, the food, and more importantly and dangerously—ourselves. Now, I also don’t want you to think that I believe we need to eat “whole” food 100% of the time, so don’t get me wrong there, either. But, I do think that we should strive for more of a whole food based diet. This is for maaaaaaany reasons. So, let me get started on my ‘splanin!

In this first post, I would like to speak to the mental health aspect of whole food eating. I think that we rely far too heavily on food labels. When nutrition labeleverything we eat has a label, how can we resist reading it, especially when we are told that we ought to be reading and scrutinizing the label of every product on the grocery store shelves? And yes, some people do need to pay attention to food labels, if they are buying food that has a label. However, if we choose foods that don’t even have a label to begin with, then perhaps we are altogether better off. For example, if you buy canned beans, you should read the label to ensure that you are purchasing a lower sodium or no-salt added product. On the other hand, if you purchase dried beans and you cook them yourself, there is no need for a label at all. In fact, most people who regularly look at food labels are often looking at (and obsessing over) calories, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar. And that, my lovely readers, is just not necessary.

“Oh now wait,” you proclaim! “What about those who are overweight or obese or who have high blood pressure and need to watch sodium intake or whatever else?!” Well, truthfully, if you eat a whole food diet and you understand serving sizes and portions, you don’t need to read labels—you don’t need to count every calorie or gram of fat. For those of you who obsess over each calorie and gram of fat, I very much think you could benefit from letting go of that obsession, as well. I certainly don’t mean that in a harsh way; on the contrary, I feel for your struggle and I relate in many ways.

reading labelsMany of us scrutinize labels–which product has more calories, fat, sugar, sodium?  If you’re comparing two products, sometimes it’s hard to not scrutinize the labels, and we’re taught that this is what we ought to be doing!  The government has placed a great emphasis on label reading, and they have recently made nutrition labels larger and bolder.  They have been successful in moving label-reading into the restaurant world, as well.  Now, not only are we label-reading in the grocery store aisles, but when we’re looking at menu labels while trying to enjoy an evening or lunch out with friends/family.  We have placed such an emphasis on labels that we have forgotten that labels are VERY new in the world of nutrition and eating.  It wasn’t until 1990 that the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was passed.  This act required that all packaged foods have nutrition labels.  It also stated that all health claims must be consistent with terms defined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, such as “low fat” or “low sodium.”  And in 1991, the act further explained that the labels must list the “most important” nutrients in an easy-to-follow format.  And here is when we really began scrutinizing food labels.  Truthfully, the move toward more food labeling began in 1980, when the USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) published the 1980 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  These guidelines emphasized various “healthy” behaviors, such as maintaining an “ideal” weight.  Also, these guidelines stated that we ought to avoid too much dietary fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sugar, and sodium.

According to, the incidence of bulimia in women aged 10-39 tripled between the years 1988 and 1993.  According to, in 1970 the average age a girl started dieting was 14; however, by 1990 the average age dropped to 8.  Hmm, that seems odd now, doesn’t it?  During the years that we began emphasizing “healthy” eating habits and label reading, we saw spikes in dieting behaviors and eating disorders.  So maybe label-reading isn’t the healthiest practice, after all.

A whole food diet will absolutely still contain some food labels, but it will contain many less. Eating carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables, fruits, fresh dairy, and products purchased in bulk (rice, quinoa, barley, millet, polenta, rolled oats, buckwheat groats, etc.) allows you eliminate MANY labels from your home cabinets. Purchasing animal proteins from local butcher shops, fish markets, and eggs from neighbors with hens or local farms eliminates more labels. And eating more plant-based proteins also eliminates labels, such as beans, legumes, and hemp seeds. Consuming fats in their natural form eliminates yet more labels—nuts, seeds, flax, chia all from the bulk bins, and olives from the olive bar, fresh nut butters, avocado, and fresh whole milk cheese and yogurt from local farms.

By getting the labels out of our homes, we establish a healthier relationship with food and its nutrients. The human body needs macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) to survive, along with many vitamins and minerals. When we spend so much time evaluating whether a food has X number of calories or X grams of fat or sugar, we are completely forgetting about what is in the food that we truly need. For example, what do we know about peanut butter right away without even referring to a label? That per 2 tablespoons, there’s roughly 190-200 calories and probably 15-16 grams of fat. If you’re a young female, I can almost guarantee that you knew that answer right away. But what nutrients are in the peanut butter that your body craves and needs to live to its fullest potential while fighting off early aging and disease? How about vitamin E, niacin, choline, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, and omega-6 fatty acids.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

THIS is what whole food eating does. It helps us to nourish our bodies and minds while working towards letting go of unnecessary obsessions over grams and calories. When we feed our bodies right, we are not deprived or over-indulged. Your body can give you more information than any food label ever could. Living without the label is a great step toward intuitive eating and the mind-body connection. Whole food eating forces us to eat natural foods while letting go of obsessions over counting what’s in the food, such as carbs, fat, and sugar. I urge everyone to get rid of as many labels as you can. If there a no-label option, choose it. Try it out and see how it effects you and your mind-body connection.

Date and Nut Balls

I firmly believe in the necessity of ending most meals with a little sweet, tasty treat.  Often, I simply eat a glob of nut butter because well, why not?  Other times, I get a square of 72-85% dark chocolate and top it with a glob of nut butter.  Why?  Well, why not?  And then, sometimes I end my meal with some other homemade goody—a little cookie or brownie, perhaps.  But then sometimes I want something sweet, but I also want to make sure I’m eating something healthy and beneficial for my body.  And that’s why these Date and Nut Balls are the perfect endnote to any balanced (or unbalanced) meal!

They are suuuuuper-duper easy to make.  However, if you don’t have a food processor of some sort, you may not be quite equipped to whip these up.  Basically, all the ingredients get tossed into the food processor, you wiz it up, you form your balls. Voila!



¾ cup pitted dates (I used whole dates, pitted)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1/16 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup nuts (any kind you like—almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts)

1 tablespoon nut butter (I used sunflower seed butter)

1 tablespoon dehydrated peanut butter (I only use Betty Lou’s Just Great Powdered Peanut Butter)



• Put the dates into a food processor, blend until they are mostly broken up.

• Add the rest of the ingredients to the processor bowl, blend until everything forms a good dough.  It might look a little dry, but that’s okay.

• Remove the blade from the processor and set aside – you don’t want to cut yourself! (Trust me on this one…)

• Form the mixture into balls by simply taking a few teaspoons full and pressing the mixture into balls.  The warmth of your hands will help the balls to form.

• These balls stay fresh for a long time!  Just keep them in an airtight container and they’re shelf-stable for a while.  I’ve kept them for up to a month and they’ve been just great.



10 Balls ~ 99 calories, 5g fat, 21mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 2.5g fiber, 9g sugar, 3g protein.

12 Balls ~ 83 calories, 4.5g fat, 18mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 7.5g sugar, 2g protein.

14 Balls ~ 71 calories, 3.5g fat, 15mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 1.5g fiber, 6g sugar, 2g protein.

Date & Nut Balls with Shredded Coconut

Date & Nut Balls with Shredded Coconut

I often enjoy one after lunch :)

I often enjoy one after lunch :)

A New Introduction

I’ve been away from the blogging community for quite some time. As you may know from previous posts, I moved and began a new job, which has taken me some getting used to. Additionally, I’m currently taking an online class. Truthfully, one online class really isn’t that big of a deal, but my life has been changing in so many ways, I feel like I’m going in 100 different directions.

So, let’s start off on a new page, with a new beginning, and let’s get to know each other again. I’m Kate. I’m a New Englander who has found herself residing in the horridly humid depths of Orlando, Florida; and might I add, not by my own choice, but by my husband’s choice whom I happen to adore. His career is in hospitality/hotel management. Obviously that industry is booming here in the tourist capital of the U.S. of A. So alas, here we are.

I’m a registered dietitian currently working in an acute clinical hospital. I have a varied background, including long-term care, food service, school nutrition, retail dietetics, and a splash of sports nutrition. I LOVE cooking, which has been the case since I was about 4 years old. My family assumed my career would be devoted to food because it’s been my passion my entire life. Food and I haven’t always been the best of friends, but I’ve grown tremendously over the years and continue to learn about myself on this journey through life.

I am a firm believer in eating balanced, whole food—not “clean” eating, per se, but real food eating. Avoiding most foods that are processed and pre-made, but also allowing yourself to be free to enjoy a treat here and there. I believe in eating food that nourishes the soul, the spirit, the body, and the mind. I believe in fun fitness, as I like to call it. For years, I spent hours upon hours slaving in the gym. And for most of the time, I hated it! I’ve finally begun to learn that being healthy and fit isn’t about doing something you have to do; it can truly be about doing the things that you love to do. I’ve learned that I love biking, hiking, pilates, yoga, rollerblading, kettlebell workouts…and I’m learning more each day!

I also believe in positive body image. The internet (and every social media site) is flooded with posts and pictures of “perfect” bodies that are tiny, tight, and toned. Even in the days when I was eating very “clean” and hitting the gym for a good 2 hours a day, I didn’t tone up that much. I really felt down on myself about it. But honestly, my body isn’t genetically inclined to have a 6-pack and raging biceps. And frankly, do I want to devote my one, short life to attaining muscle definition over balanced health and happiness? Nope, not me. We all have very different bodies. You’re going to find people who will try to tell you that if you eat “this meal plan” and you follow “these workouts,” you’ll have a 6-pack in 4-8 weeks. I’m not one of those people.

I want to help people attain healthy living within their own life. Healthy living doesn’t look the same for everybody, and every body doesn’t look the same at its healthiest state. Healthy living isn’t just about eating right and exercising. It’s also about accepting your body, who you are, learning to balance, letting go of what isn’t needed, sleeping soundly, getting ahold of your anxiety, laughing and loving etc. Most importantly, healthy living is about living! And if you’re devoted to achieving the perfect anything, you’re probably not living life to its fullest. Take it from someone who knows a thing or two about striving for unattainable perfection… it is indeed, unattainable.

So here’s my little welcome back post, as well as a new get-to-know-me post. I have quite a few post ideas, so you’ll be seeing more of me :)

Product Review

Every dietitian can relate to how I feel when I get asked the infamous question: What do you eat? Sometimes we (dietitians) even decide to not mention our career just so we won’t be asked about food, nutrition, and/or what we happen to eat. There’s a lot of judgment placed on your meals and snacks when people know what you do for a living…

That being said, here’s where I will address some of my favorite products. And truth be told, I usually don’t mind answering food questions. I take it as meaning that you’re interested in learning about healthy eating and nutritious food—and that always makes me a happy camper :)



sunshine burgerBeing gluten free and primarily vegetarian can be difficult at times, especially when it comes to buying veggie burgers. Almost all the common brands that you find in your grocery store contain wheat gluten as a binder.   And frankly, most of them just aren’t a product I’m comfortable consuming. GMO soy, anyone? None for me, thanks. Sunshine Burgers, however, are an awesomely delicious option that you can feel good about consuming.

– They are non-GMO certified and USDA organic.

– They’re 100% vegan!

– They contain NO: wheat, gluten, soy, corn, oats, dairy, tree nuts, or peanuts! Holy moley, I’m one happy RD!

– So what are they made of?? Whole grains (brown rice and quinoa), beans (black, chick peas, adzuki), raw sunflower seeds, split peas, Tahini, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and spices.

– They come in a variety of flavors, such as garden herb, falafel, hemp & sage breakfast, and our household favorite, black bean South West.



joes oatsHere’s another great vegan, gluten free, organic veggie burger option! You can find these in patty form in the freezer aisle. Or, you can purchase little bags of the mixture. To make them, you simply boil a cup of water, mix it in, and form patties. Voila – dinner is made. However, they are only found in Florida. If you’re located outside of that area, no worries, you can purchase the bag mixes online. And the great thing about the bag mixes is that you can make anything! ~ stuffing, “meat”balls, ground crumbles, chili, oatloaf, nuggets, stuffed peppers, sausage, etc.

– The ingredients primarily include oats, quinoa, dehydrated veggies, organic spices, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds. They, too, come in a wide variety of flavors.



cornthinIn the mood for a cracker or something light and crunchy for a yummy snack? Here’s the perfect item. This is just like a rice cake, but it’s made of non-GMO organic corn. They are quite delicious and can be topped with almost anything—hummus, peanut butter, mashed beans and cheese, guacamole, chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad…

– Real Foods is an Australian company founded in 1980.

– They are GMO-free and organic ~ labeled organic in 3 countries: Australia (ACO), Japan (JAS), and USA (USDA).

– They are gluten free and most of the varieties are free from any known allergens.

– And to boot, the company is committed to preserving the environment.


arrowhead millsYou’ve probably heard of (and even had) some of the Arrowhead Mills products, such as cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix, or cake mix. They have a wide variety of products now available, including lots of gluten free options.

– They are non-GMO certified and most of their products are USDA organic.

– 90% of their products’ ingredients are from North America, and many of them are from within 100 miles of their own headquarters in Texas.

– They use whole grains, such as amaranth, millet, barley, blue corn, bran, and buckwheat.

– They are committed to the environment. They source locally (as much as possible), they do not use pesticides or herbicides, they package in 100% recyclable boxes, and they only use water-based ink that does not contain any heavy metals.


DREAMING COW CREAMERYdreaming cow creamery

If you’re a vegan, then this one isn’t for you. But for everyone else who is obsessed with yogurt (because it’s super trendy these days), here’s one of my favorite brands. Why is this one of my favs? Here’s why…

– They only have happy cows :) They are unconfined, 100% grass-fed 365 days a year. The cows live and graze in Southern Georgia.

– No antibiotics or hormones ever.

– Because the yogurt is made from 100% grass-fed dairy, the omega-3 content is much higher! Hence, you don’t want any fat free yogurt here. As Dreaming Cow Creamery asks, would you want to eat fat free salmon? Of course not! And the yummy cream top is delightful.

– They come in various flavors, such as honey pear, vanilla agave, maple sugar, blueberry cardamom, dark cherry chai, and plain.

– They don’t contain any refined sugar; they’re sweetened with agave, maple syrup, fruit juices, and honey.


MAPLE HILL CREAMERYmaple hill creamery

Another great yogurt company for those of you up north. Again, they use dairy from only grass fed cows and they’re also certified USDA organic. They do use sugar to sweeten their yogurt, but it is organic. They offer some great flavors, too, such as maple, lemon, vanilla, wild blueberry, orange cream, and plain (recommended). Oh, and one of their mottos is from a pretty cow herself, who states “you are what I eat.” Hence, grass-fed dairy is the way to go.


On a side note, are you wondering why grass-fed cows make milk with higher omega-3 fatty acid content? Omega-3s are actually found in dark leafy greens, such as algae, which is why salmon has a high amount of omega-3s. Omega-3s are found in the chloroplasts of the green grass that the cows consume. When cows are 100% grass fed, their own cells become rich in this essential fatty acid. So when we eat 100% grass fed beef or consume the milk from 100% grass fed cows, we get the benefit of that wonderful omega-3 content.


We all need some chocolate every day, right? I know I do! (For real.) This is one of my favorites. Green and Black’s is a great company that believes in ethical sourcing and fair-trade products. They are certified USDA organic. You can even find them in almost any grocery store these days—and sometimes for a great sale price! They also come in lots of yummy varieties, though I do urge you to choose dark chocolate, optimally at least 70% cocoa. I actually like the 85% plain dark chocolate bar, but I understand if that’s not a flavor you can handle, as it can taste a little bitter to some palates. I also love their Maya Gold (but that one is only made with 60% cocoa), which is a flavor profile of orange, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Yum!


So there you have it folks, a small compilation of some of my favorite foods and companies. If you haven’t tried any of these yet, I think you should go out and try at least one of them. If you have questions about a particular food item, company, or are wondering about my opinion on something you love—feel free to leave a comment or send me a message.

And as always, happy, healthy noms!