Quick Summer Salad Idea: Greens, Seafood and Avocado

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Garden greens, sardines, guacamole and sriracha sauce– delicious!

With this hot summer weather I suspect you are craving more cold meals and maybe (hopefully!) more salads as well!  Yes, salads sure CAN be the meal.  And a very satisfying meal at that.  The secret:  You just have to  add the right toppings.  This means making sure you have a source of protein and fat with your veggies.

I know what some of you are thinking because I hear it all the time… why in the world would I want to purposely include FAT in my meal?!  There is still a lot of outdated and downright wrong information circulating about fats and they get an undeserved nasty reputation.  The truth is:  healthy sources of fats don’t make you fat and no, they don’t clog your arteries.  Fats contribute to making a meal satisfying and help to keep you full longer.  They support hormone balance and help stabilize blood sugar levels so you tend to crave and eat less.  They also contain essential fatty acids that are crucial for a healthy body and brain.

AND… fats taste good!  I ♥ fats!

But you have to choose healthy fats.  Fats are easily damaged when exposed to heat, light and oxygen– all of which happens in the processing of most oils, including those found in bottled salad dressings.  Coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil are more stable fats but try to stick to whole-food fats as much as possible for maximum nutritional value.  One of my favorite healthy fats is the avocado.  Sliced fresh or in the form of guacamole, it’s a perfect fat for salads and it can sub as a replacement for oil-based dressings.

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Adventures in Chicken Livers and Squid

Do you eat the same foods over and over, day in and day out?  Try something new!

Incorporating new foods into your diet once in a while can be a good habit for your health.  If each food has it’s own unique set of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, doesn’t it make sense to eat a wide range of things so that all of your nutritional bases are covered?  I think so.

Just to be clear, by new foods I am not referring to roaming the grocery store aisles in search of new flavors of boxed cereals, canned soup or potato chips!  I’m talking about new fruits, vegetables, tubers, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, meats, seafoods and even things like green teas, fermented foods, spices or dark chocolate.

While I see my diet as containing a rather broad array of foods, something that I have been meaning to try is organ meats.  For one thing, the nutrient density of organ meats is phenomenal.  And for another, I’m into the idea of eating “nose to tail” as they call it in the real-foods eating circles.  People used to eat like this, and in many parts of the world still do.  Why do we waste perfectly good animal parts?  In our culture we tend to stick to the muscle meats and avoid the offal (ironically pronounced “awful”– a term for organ meats– derived from the words “fall” and “off” in reference to the innards that fall off when an animal is butchered.)

So, last week at Pat’s Pastured while we were purchasing their delicious bacon and a dozen duck eggs, we decided to finally get some chicken livers.  I did a little recipe research online and settled on one called Crispy Spiced Chicken Livers from Everyday Maven.

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Rhode Island’s June and July Produce

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Fresh from my garden!

We got some, the squirrel got some.

 

 

 

As summer merrily rolls along, the excuses to not eat more fresh fruits and vegetables quickly lose their validity.  No more complaining of the produce tasting so awful in the winter.  (Which, by the way, I have to respectfully disagree).  But I will agree, fresh IS best.  Just take a peek around you because it’s hard to miss the local produce showing up everywhere.

Local farms all over Rhode Island have more and more available as their crops ripen.  According to the Rhode Island Harvest Calendar from Farm Fresh RI, June is the month for arugula, asparagus, basil, beets, bok choi, broccoli, cabbage, cherries, cilantro, collards, dill, endive, escarole, fennel, kale, leeks, lettuce, microgreens, mint, mushroom, oregano, peas, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, rosemary, scallions, spinach, sprouts, swiss chard, watercress, watermelon and zucchini in Rhode Island.

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New Nutrition Office in North Kingstown

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Are you ready to make some changes to become a healthier you?

My new office just opened in The Meadows office park in North Kingstown and I couldn’t be more excited!  I am here to help you succeed with your nutrition goals by providing professional guidance, support and accountability.

Change isn’t easy and you don’t have to handle it alone.

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I am what I call a “real-foods” dietitian.  My philosophy is to strive for balance and not perfection.   I promote a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods with which to nourish your body.  I promise that I will not put you on a diet. :)   Instead, how about replacing highly processed foods with real foods?  Don’t you love the concept of eating food that you will enjoy and that will make you feel amazing?  Trying to eat the lowest amount of calories, carbohydrates or fat isn’t the answer. 

 

Dieting isn’t what nutrition counseling is all about.   What we will be working together on is improving the quality of your diet through healthy habit changes and altering the way you see food.  (Hint:  Food is not the enemy!)

So, what can you expect?

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Snickerdoodles

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Did you know that recipe testing is an official part of my job description?  I have to try new things to keep up a fresh supply of ideas for you at our visits!  My recent favorite happens to be a cookie– did you also know that desserts are my favorite type of recipe to test?

 

 

 

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Nothing for dinner

…Or is there?

When you’ve put off grocery shopping, your meats are frozen solid because you forgot to plan ahead and you’re down to what feels like nothing to eat, I’m here to tell you that you can just about always put something decent together.  Most of us probably have enough food between the freezer, fridge and pantry to keep us alive for several months.

You just need to get a little creative and this is a skill I love to encourage people to acquire.

Think outside the box.  I actually find it a fun challenge to see what I can scrounge up sometimes! While I definitely recommend being in the habit of planning meals ahead of time, there are most certainly going to be those days when that’s not going to happen.

Here is what I came up with last night when I thought…. “there is nothing in this house to eat for dinner.”

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“But I Love to Go Out For Ice Cream in Summer….”

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It’s Memorial Day weekend and that means… well it really means that we need to remember all those who died while serving our country.  We have a lot to be grateful for!  But it also happens to be the un-official start to summer.  Woo-hoo!  Which means the official start to ice cream season.  Uh-oh.

“But I love to go out for ice cream in summer….”

I’ve been hearing this one since the beginning of May.  :)  I cannot give you an answer to how many times you can have it either.   That’s up to you.  You think you want it because it is delicious but you also believe that it’s a “bad” thing to do.  So you wind up in a conundrum.  Relax.  Don’t feel torn about eating ice cream if that’s what you really want to do.  Stop beating yourself up and feeling as if you should not have done it once you’ve eaten it.  Enough with the regrets and the guilt!!  Either eat it and love it OR… skip it.  It may not feel like it, but you have a choice.  Buy how do you skip it when your brain keeps telling you that you want it?

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Fun at the Library: A New Book and An Inspiring Talk

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Food and laughing.  Two of my very favorite things in life.  If you share similar interests I have a book you need to read.  I had never heard of Jim Gaffigan but he’s my new favorite comedian.  Imagine Jerry Seinfeld going on about nothing but the intricacies of food and eating.  This book is totally hilarious and leaves you wondering how someone thinks up this great stuff.

With all the seriousness and stress so often involved with eating right, this book is a breath of fresh air that WILL cause you to laugh out loud.  We all need to lighten up a little and laugh more, don’t you think?

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Bacon and Broccoli Egg Bake

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Happy May!

Egg bakes or fritattas are easy, tasty, filling and healthy!  Everything you’re looking for in a breakfast, right?  Too many people are relying on boxed cereals, bagels, toasts, muffins, or even– gasp– donuts for their morning meal.  If there is one change you can make to your diet to feel immediate results, it’s to shift from a high refined carbohydrate breakfast to one richer in protein and fat for your essential amino acids and fatty acids.   If you aren’t feeling as energetic or sharp after too many sugars and processed grains at breakfast, it might be worth it to experiment with a little change like this.

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Start Your Gardens

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This is going to be the year!  I am determined to grow more of my own vegetables.  Every year we give growing plants a good try and we get a few things.  But to be perfectly honest, we wind up with mostly a garden full of rotting diseased tomatoes and bug-infested collard greens.   The problem is that I haven’t made the time or effort to properly care for my plants.  That is going to change and I am off to a good start so far…

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