Browsing Tag



Eating Repetitively

May 12, 2014

Today I’m going to get a little bit personal. I guess talking about miscarriage and body image is very personal, but I find talking about what I eat to be every bit as personal. I don’t know why but I always feel so vulnerable talking about what I eat with other people. Anyone else feel the same way? Food is just so incredibly personal sometimes.

If you know me in real life chances are you also know that I tend to be pretty repetitive in the way I eat throughout the week. I know, I know. Variety and color on your plate is the key to eating well, but I’ve always found that eating the same foods day-in and day-out with just a little bit of variety helps keep my on track. Sound boring? Hear me out.

When I began to log my foods on My Fitness Pal for The May Challenge, I noticed a trend. The days I feel my best, most balanced and well-rounded my eating goes a little something like this:

1/2 cup oat bran made with water, cinnamon and stevia
1-2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter
Coffee with a splash of whole milk
Vitamins + water

Cup of decaf coffee
48 oz water

1/2 cup oat bran made with water, cinnamon and stevia
1 serving of fruit (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or a banana)
1-2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 teaspoon chia seeds

Some type of afternoon snack, usually plain whole milk yogurt with some walnuts and flax or a serving of fruit with walnuts, etc.
24 oz water

Veggies, veggies, veggies! I may eat a whole head of roasted broccoli with hummus and whole wheat toast or a large bowl of zucchini pasta with black beans and marinara, or a sweet potato with hummus and kale. Sometimes I’ll have a really large salad with lots of veggies. Volume is key for me at night, since I’m hungry after my workout. Most nights I would estimate I get 4 to 5 servings of veggies at dinner.

I may have a piece of dark chocolate or a tiny bite of something sweet with decaf coffee, plus more water!

For some people I guess this type of repetition probably sounds incredibly dull, but I find that when I stick to more of a routine I’m satisfied without eating too much. Of course I don’t eat like this every day, but when I’m looking to re-calibrate and feel good, I always go back to this little routine. I think because I am around food every day, it’s easier for me to not think about the food I’m actually eating.

Do you have a routine in the way you eat or a fall-back eating style? Or are you all about variety? I’m always curious about what works best for people when it comes to healthy eating.



From Vegetarian to Paleo?

January 5, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 8.52.34 AMPhoto via Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse 

Friends, it’s time I got honest with you about a secret I’ve been keeping for the last month or so. As the title of this post suggests, the way I’ve been eating and how my diet and evolved has changed quite a bit over the last month. After eating vegetarian for over 3 years, I’ve been dabbling in the world of paleo-style eating, meaning my new diet is heavy on the veggies (no change there), meat (big change there!), fruit and nuts.

I hesitate to say that I’ve really been eating truly “paleo” since that’s not entirely accurate. It’s probably the reason I’ve always hated labels when it comes to eating styles, because I think what works for each individual person rarely fits into a very neatly defined category or diet structure. If you are one of those people, count yourself lucky that you don’t need to explain your eating style and can very neatly tie it up into a single phrase or term.

As a bit of background, ever since my miscarriage I’ve been reading a lot about nutrition and what we put into our bodies. In no way am I saying that I think the way I was eating caused my miscarriage, but I felt a pull to re-evaluate what I eat and why I eat it. In the wake of my miscarriage, I had a serious almost primal desire to eat eggs, eggs eggs! And chicken! And I even found myself craving a sandwich with turkey deli meat. Strange coming from someone who hates eggs, has never craved chicken in my 3+ years of being vegetarian and really never loved deli meat even when I wasn’t veg.

Since I’ve always focused on eating a balanced, well-rounded vegetarian diet with seafood mixed in now and again, the cravings really took me by surprise. But, as my mom once said, if you’re craving something it must mean that your body is telling you something, that something is lacking in one way or another. (Side note: I don’t think that saying applies to, say, chocolate cake, ice cream or brownies.) My mom is so wise like that. She has always been a huge supporter of “listening to your body.”

So, I set off on my new “experiment” if you will with a few general guidelines:
1. Give paleo-style eating a try and use it as a rough guideline going forward. However, breakfast was my one non-negotiable. Since I am pretty attached to my morning bowl of oat bran with nut butter (either peanut butter or almond butter) I wasn’t going to part ways with that aspect of eating any time soon. However, since starting this new way of eating, I have found that eating eggs with a slice of bacon tastes way better with a cup of black coffee than oatmeal, oat bran or anything sweet ever could. Who knew?
2. Focus as much as possible on quality meats, organic and free-range poultry and sustainably caught fish. I love canned tuna but have been shelling out the extra $$ for pole-caught tuna with a low mercury content. I was never a steak eater, so I don’t see myself eating a bunch of red meat anytime soon, but that’s not to say that I won’t ever eat red meat, just in moderation.
3. Avoid eating grains, breads, pastas, legumes and all sweets/baked goods as much as possible. I’ve been making exceptions here and there to this rule. I’m still eating hummus and peanut butter because of the ease and convenience, but mostly I’ve been getting my carbs from foods like sweet potatoes, the occasional banana and squash. I’m not going to lie, right now I’m dreaming about a crusty whole grain roll with butter the way I used to dream about chocolate cake.
4. Eat plenty of healthy fats. I’ve been eating a lot of healthy fats in the form of almonds, walnuts, avocados and olive oil. These have really helped me feel super satisfied at mealtimes and when having a snack.

So far, I’ve been feeling really great! I’m amazed at how full I feel after meals and I find I’m staying full longer than in the past. I’m not sure where this will take me, but I’ll keep you posted along the way.

Has anyone else made a big shift in eating styles? I would love to hear your thoughts or experiences! 


Reflections on an (almost) 21 day cleanse (The Quantum Wellness Cleanse)

May 3, 2013




{Totally unrelated photo of Nutmeg, but it looks like she is “reflecting” on something, doesn’t it?}

Well, friends, Joe and I have come to the end of our cleanse a few days earlier than expected. I have been sharing my thoughts and observations about the process on Espresso and Cream Eats, but I thought that this post might have broader appeal beyond just sharing my daily eats. So I’m re-posting this post from E&C Eats over here. I would love to hear your thoughts and have a great discussion on cleanses, health and balance, so feel free to share your thoughts below!

Yesterday, Joe and I decided to end our cleanse three days before the 21 day mark. We hadn’t planned on ending our cleanse early, but I figured I should share with you what led us to our decision to quit our clenase.

When I first became vegetarian, my mom cautioned me to make sure I was eating a balanced diet that was full of all the necessary nutrients I needed to thrive. She told me that if I ever started to crave meat, it was probably a sign I wasn’t getting something in my diet. During the 3 years that I was a vegetarian (I now eat a little fish, as most of you know) I never once craved meat in the “I’ve got to have it” sort of way. Sure, there were times when I thought I would like a chicken tender, but that was more about the crunchy breading on the outside, not the chicken itself. I always felt satisfied and nourished.

However, I had a completely different experience on this cleanse. And yesterday, while at the grocery store buying oats bananas for breakfast, I had a craving for Greek yogurt that was almost primal. I wanted the Greek yogurt. I needed to have it. It was such a strange sensation for me, since I rarely ever crave something that way (other than chocolate.)  

The first week I felt incredibly lethargic throughout the day. I thought that might have something to do with “detoxing” or cutting out caffeine. I powered through hoping I would feel cleansed and renewed with glowing skin in week two. During week two I did feel a little better, I slept really well, but as I mentioned, I was really tired at the end of the day. Joe and I were both ready to sleep at 9 each night! And yes, we usually go to be early, but we’re not usually ones to fall asleep on the couch at 8:45.

Additionally, I had high hopes that my skin would be radiating and glowing, free of blemishes (from the elimination of dairy) by the end of the cleanse. However, I didn’t notice any difference between my skin before the cleanse and my skin at day 18.

But the thing that really got me was the fact that my stomach issues were no better on the cleanse, in fact, I think they were the worst they have ever been. Strange, right? I occasionally suffer from a gassy stomach, painful bloating and just general discomfort (sorry for the TMI). I was hoping that elminating gluten and dairy might have positive results and be the solution to my issues. However, my stomach had never been more unhappy on the cleanse. I was constantly gassy, my stomach was always upset, and, despite eating a large amount of whole grains, beans, lentils and fruits/veggies, I was struggling with regularity.

I wanted to be able to report at the end of the cleanse that I felt like a new person, that I was refreshed and renewed and had a new outlook on life and the way we eat. But neither of us really feel any different, other than the fact that we feel lacking in foods that fuel us and make us feel our best.

Pre-cleanse I was a really clean eater. Other than my nightly dark chocolate, I didn’t have a lot of out of control eating habits and felt like I was doing a balanced job of eating for my body and lifestyle. Consequently, I didn’t lose any weight on the cleanse. Joe doesn’t eat bad, but he’s not quite as clean of an eater. He lost 3 to 4 pounds over the 18 days, which I think had more to do with the fact that he was snacking less often and eating healthier when we dined out.

So, that’s that! Sorry for the long post. But for those of you who followed along, I figured you would be interested in a full recap of our experiences. I had always said that I didn’t think cleansing was for me, but now I’m sure of it. I think it’s good to take a step back now and again and re-calibrate when it comes to things like overeating and eating too much sugar and/or processed food. If I were to do a cleanse of any sort in the future, I would think about structuring it by cutting out sugar and processed food and try to eat a smoothie every day in place of one of my meals. But I don’t think doing a long-term cleanse is something I’ll try again.

Have you done a cleanse? I would love to hear your experiences and observations!


Eating Optimally for My Body

March 24, 2013


For the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer and contemplation regarding the foods I choose to eat and the foods that I choose not to eat. And in the last week, I’ve decided to fully shed the “vegetarian” label and shift my diet to incorporate seafood. Technically, I guess my new label would be “pescatarian” though I’ve never been a huge fan of food labels since they seem to be less about what is best for the individual and more about fitting yourself into a narrow box.

Perhaps it sounds silly to say I’ve spent a lot of time in prayer regarding my diet, but the food we put in our bodies makes a big impact on the way we live our lives, so it seemed appropriate to bring this to God just like I would anything else. As most of you already know, I’ve been a vegetarian for three years this month. Just writing that, I can’t believe that it’s been three whole years since I dramatically changed my lifestyle. I started eating vegetarian out of curiosity, but found that the lifestyle suited me so well that I didn’t want to return to my previous way of eating. My meals became heavily focused on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and non-meat sources of protein, like hummus, beans and lentils, veggie burgers, Greek yogurt and my beloved nut butters.

I felt fantastic and enjoyed pushing myself to think about meals in a different way. Instead of planning what meat I was going to eat and deciding on vegetables and whole grains later, I started thinking about my meals in a different light. My job as a food editor prevented me from eating 100% vegetarian; every now and again I would take a bite of a meat-based dish at a taste panel because developing meat-based recipes was part of the job description. Additionally, I would take a bite here and there of something I made for Joe that contained meat because I was curious about the flavor profile. For me, being vegetarian was never about not eating animals because of ethical reasons, it was about eating as healthfully as I could and doing what felt right for my body. For the past three years, being vegetarian has felt very right.

However, over the past few weeks I felt a strong prompting to more closely examine the way I was eating and how my body was responding. I would absolutely not say that I felt bad, but I would say that I wasn’t feeling 100% optimal. Something started to feel lacking in a way that I can’t fully describe. I’m sure some people will jump to the conclusion that I wasn’t doing vegetarianism “right” – that I wasn’t eating varied, balanced meals with plenty of protein. I can promise you that is not true. I tracked protein consumption and food combinations religiously, closely examining what I consumed each day to make sure that my diet was well-rounded and complete.

But despite those efforts, there were a few troubling things that I can’t pretend don’t exist. My period hasn’t been consistent in over a year and my skin (which is often seen as a window to your health) has been unhappy. And then there are the issues that I’ve had with my hair over the past seven or eight months. Nothing major but enough to make me do a double take and think a little bit more about my diet. Will eating fish and seafood change this? I have no idea but I guess I’ll find out.

I prayed, I read more articles on vegetarianism (and articles from those who used to be veg) than I ever did in the past, I tried to imagine eating different types of seafood. It sounded just fine to me. I tried to imagine eating chicken, beef or pork. The thought made me want to gag. The hardest thing for me to get over was, by far, the idea that the way I described myself would have to change. For three years I’ve been a vegetarian and identified myself as such. It’s guided my conversations, my blog, and who I am as a person. Diets are deeply personal and become a part of who we are as people in the process. But for me, my body and my health, it seems more important to identify with the food that makes me feel balanced.

So where does that leave me today? I’m hoping to incorporate fish or seafood into our meals at least three times a week in some way, shape or form. Other than that, I don’t think much will change. I am still planning on eating the way I have been the rest of the time, so day-to-day I don’t think my meals will look all that different. No matter how my eating style changes and evolves throughout my life, the vegetarian style of eating (thinking about veggies, whole grains and non-meat proteins first) is something I think all of us can reap a lot from health-wise.

I would love to open this up for discussion and hear from any of you who have had experiences with different eating styles, vegetarianism, or eating vegetarian for a time and then shifting your eating style to something else that suited your body better. Since diet can be deeply personal, I’m hoping that we can keep the dialogue respectful and kind, while also sharing differing points of view. I am so excited to read what you guys have to say!