Patriotic Pigments: Eat your red, white & blue!

 

Looking down at my breakfast this morning, luscious berries in a cushion of oatmeal, I was suddenly overcome with patriotism. Well, at least I was struck by the patriotic resemblance to our nation’s red, white and blue banner as Fourth of July nears.

And so, I became inspired to talk about the colors in our food! Continue reading “Patriotic Pigments: Eat your red, white & blue!”

A personal look back at the year that was 2012

As I tentatively begin to step into the pristine landscape of 2013 and leave my footsteps behind me, it seems inevitable that I would look back at the past 12 months and contemplate the year that was 2012.

What a whirlwind year it was, after pulling myself out of a personal year-long hell in 2011. I’m healthy. I’m happy. And even my blogs have gotten better over a year’s time. I’ve started a Facebook page. I’ve even begun my education at a second school. I’ve tried strange things, such as cactus pads in my salad, and making raw foods. I even made kale chips in my new dehydrator. I have vastly improved my personal yoga practice. The other day, I found myself actually giving sound nutrition suggestions to people “coming down with something.” It surprised me that I had it in me!

Thanksgiving got strange at our house. It was a "Wok"-y holiday, and cooked lots of stuff I'd never heard of before.
Me cooking this year, something I did a LOT of in 2012. One thing I love about nutrition, is applying it in the kitchen. Thanksgiving got strange at our house. It was a “Wok”-y holiday, and I cooked lots of stuff I’d never heard of before. And it was all healthy and good for you.

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It’s amazing what a year can do for you.

For instance, this year has been a year of learning new things. As a health and nutrition nut, here is a list of personal buzz words I’ve welcomed into my vocabulary in 2012:

– Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
– Organic
– Processed foods
– Omegas (3s, and 6s)
– Farmer’s market
– Fad Diets
– Paleo
– Plant-based diets (Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian)
– “Eat the rainbow!”
– GMOs
– Pesticides/herbicides
– Documentaries
– Allopathic/Holistic
– Supplements
– (Essential) Nutrients
– Legumes
– Diet-related illnesses (Diabetes, cancer, hypertension/high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease)
– Obesity epidemic
– Lactose intolerance
– Deficiencies/Toxicity (vitamins, minerals, water)
– Empty calories
– Nutrient dense foods
– Sustainability
– Grow gardens, not lawns
– Heirloom seeds
– Free radicals/antioxidants
– “Let food be thy medicine”
– Hippocrates, the father of medicine
– Functional foods
– Protein, lipids, and carbs
– Soy
– Macro/micro nutrients
– Artificial sweeteners
– Folate
– BMI
– ATP
– HDL/LDL
– Phytochemicals
– RDA
– TCA Cycle
– Contaminants

I am pretty sure there are hundreds more, too. But these are just those off of the top of my head. Any of them sound familiar to you?

It’s amazing to me that I’ve discovered that much over just 12 months. And 2013 looks just as promising. Recently, I closed my eyes and jumped into nominating myself as a student delegate for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Student Advisory Council. Now, let me clarify: I have NEVER been on a committee in my entire life. I haven’t felt passionate about anything in my 30 years of life to want to join a committee related to it. But this year, I gave it a whirl. I am getting tired of all the books and online tests, and no real-world application or interacting with others who share my passions. Besides these blogs (which I’ve fallen behind on writing of late), I don’t feel like I am reaching enough people to make an impact with all of this amazing knowledge I continue to acquire. I can’t WAIT to start making a difference.

For now, though, I await the long, arduous process in store for me before I know whether I am chosen to serve on the council starting in June. Phew! Wish me luck, guys.

A friend of mine told me that 2013 was “going to be my year.” We’ll see what happens. The journey of 2013 so far looks pretty tame. I will be finishing my holistic nutrition program in June. I’ll peck through a few more required courses for my traditional dietician technician program, and maybe start making cards and practice some holistic nutrition counseling by the end of the year. I even kicked around the idea of starting a really basic online magazine. This time next year, though, I think I will start yoga instructor training. I want to get my that Western herbalism program under my belt, but – ah, one thing at a time.

So this year, I want to take a tai chi class. I want to travel. I want to cook and try foods I’ve never heard of before. I want to blog about topics that intrigue me, with touching prose. I want to take beautiful pictures. I want to dig out my three-year-old raised beds out of my garage, and finally start my little garden. I want to meditate. I’d love to learn how to crochet. I’d like to finish at least one cross stitch project. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy this year’s journey.

Viva la 2013!!!

Cha-cha-cha-Chia Seeds

(Photo by Lindsey Gemme) A typical morning delight in my abode… with chia seeds.

So – it’s now been over a week since I’ve incorporated these tiny, nutty-flavored seeds into my daily diet. While lauded as one of the world’s best “super foods” (cape not included), I cannot say that I have personally noticed any particular improvement nor any discomfort in having included them into my daily culinary routine.

They are supposedly the best for helping one lose weight, as they keep you full for longer (just throw a teaspoon of chia seeds in water, and watch them bloat up in no time. That’s what keeps your tummy busy for a while).

And so, according to mychiaseeds.com, weight loss is the number one benefit from these little things.

Number 2, is that they help to balance blood sugar.

Number 3, a good dosing of fiber that helps keep you regular! (much more important than we give it credit for 😉 )

Number 4, full of high levels of anti-oxidants (best known for helping to stave off wrinkles and premature aging), and a great serving of vital omega-3 fat oil.

Number 5, they give you an energy boost that helps keep you going throughout your day.

Number 6, they are a complete protein…no need to look any further for foods with various amino acids that make up much-needed proteins in our bodies, chia seeds have all of them.

Comparisons of chia seeds to everyday foods

While I have not felt any miraculous effects from the seeds’ abundance of nutritional boost they contain, I can’t say I don’t like them. In fact, I took right away to the texture and nutty taste they have.

They probably have 101 applications, from throwing them in muffins when baking, to making them into a gel for smoothies. There is even an entire website dedicated to chia seed recipes. A usual daily helping is 1 tablespoon, either all at once or split up over the day.

Personally, I have them on salads, and my morning breakfast, which is usually Greek yogurt, and bananas/strawberries.

The only thing that doesn’t thrill me extremely well is that I only dare eat chia seeds in my yogurt in the comfort and privacy of my own home. For some reason, they tend to like to stick to the crevices between my teeth, and immediately start to bloat and gel there. Eat breakfast and then run to the bathroom in order to pluck these little stickers from my teeth has become a regular routine for me these days.

But aside from that, looking at the chart to the left from http://bestchiaseeds.wegrc.com/, I will probably continue to use them regularly, just on principle. They are very good for you, and probably could save you a bit of money buying some of these other greens and foods on a regular basis.