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1-2-3 Skin Care

The holidays are here, and despite it being the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays are inevitably filled with plenty of stress, special treats, and pictures.

Which, for some people, myself included, the stress and special treats wreak havoc on skin, and make those holiday pictures a nightmare.

Aside from trying to make healthy choices, my go to skin regimen is super simple. Coconut oil. That’s it!

Before bed, I use a dry wash cloth to rub coconut oil on my face. It’s important not to use your hands, as your face will become too oily. I sleep with my face lightly coated in oil, then wake up in the morning and give my face a good wash.

I was skeptical at first, like how can adding more oil to my skin make it better. But by giving your skin nutrient rich coconut oil, it will produce less of its own oils. It clears up my blemishes over night too!

Just remember, for all of you wondering what’s the deal with consuming coconut oil… it is a saturated fat. Researchers believe our body may process it differently than typical unhealthy saturated fats (butter, red meat), but at this point in time there is no conclusive evidence that confirms if this is true or not. My recommendations? Stick to skin care for now, and continue to limit the amount of saturated fat you consume, especially if weight loss is your end goal.

Are you a coconut oil lover or hater? Let me know what you use coconut oil for in the comments below!

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Butternut Squash Soup

It’s a rainy Saturday and after completing a few errands this morning I am happily hunkered down inside for the remainder of the day. Aside from catching up on sleep and doing some more cleaning, I also made some warm, delicious butternut squash soup to enjoy on this dreary day.


Best part? 5 ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need.

  • 3 cups butternut squash, precut from the grocery store
  • 1/2 yellow onion (about 1/3 cup diced)
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 3 TBS milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss squash and onions in olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place vegetables onto a cookie sheet, and roast for 40-45 minutes. The longer you roast your vegetables the more flavor they will have. Toss occassionally to help evenly brown the squash.
  2. In a blender, combine cooked squash, onions, chicken stock and milk. Blend until creamy.
  3. Transfer to a sauce pot and heat as needed on the stove top. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Top with sour cream (ingredient #6!!) if desired.
  4. Enjoy!

This is a great dish to serve for the upcoming holidays too. Did you know you can keep it warm in a crock-pot if you’ll be having guests over throughout the day?


Stay Healthy! Enjoy!

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Hello Fresh! A Meal Delivery Service

So big surprise, I finally broke down and gave Hello Fresh! a try this week. We had a coupon for $35 off our order, meaning we paid $25 for three (3) meals shipped to our door step. Not only was that a great deal, I was also hopeful that Hello Fresh! would introduce some new recipes into our rotation. Keep on reading for my recap of our experience.


First off, their website was difficult to navigate and order from. I ultimately had to call their customer service line to order my meals over the phone. This was a huge disappointment for me, as part of the draw of Hello Fresh! is convenience, and their website does not represent ease. (-)

Now, our package was scheduled for a Monday delivery. At about Monday at 3pm, I received an email that my package would be delay and now arrive on Tuesday. I was pretty upset. My boyfriend and I planned our meals and grocery list thinking we would be eating Hello Fresh! on Monday night, which was clearly not going to happen. (-) When I called the customer service line, no one could tell me where or why my package was delayed. (Totally picturing my food rotting in the back of a mail truck!) They also could not offer me any compensation until after 8pm on Monday. (-)

Finally, our package arrived Tuesday at 6pm (!!), meaning we couldn’t prepare it for Tuesday dinner either. However, much to my surprise, the food was still cold and fresh. (+) 


The three meals we would be preparing this week were:

Meal #1) Shrimp: Portion was sufficient; flavor was bland; directions were clear and meal was prepared in less than 20 minutes.


Meal #2) Thai Bowl: Portions were insufficient; flavor was great; directions were clear and meal was prepared in less than 30 minutes.


Meal #3) Figgy Pork: Portions were sufficient; flavor was great; directions were clear but the meal took much more time to prepare than indicated (more than 30 minutes)


So, as you can gather, each meal has its pros and cons. So the final verdict? Would I buy Hello Fresh! again?

Hello Fresh! was super fun and it was enjoyable to cook something new with my boyfriend—it definitely felt like a special treat because it was something out of the ordinary. The late package really upset me, in the end I felt like the company made right of the situation, but it was difficult to get clarification and assurance from the company. The meals are reasonably price, and I like that you have the flexibility to skip weeks and choose your meals. I don’t think we’ll be buying Hello Fresh! every week, but it’s a nice treat every once in awhile.

Do you have more questions about my experience? Leave me a comment below!

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Reduce Your Sweet Tooth

Everyone knows that as a nation our consumption of sugar is out of control. It’s not a secret that diets high in sugar are linked to a variety of negative health effects. Not to mention, no one is immune from the dangers of sugar and it’s sadly effect kids, adults, and our elderly population alike.

I came across an article today that said the best way to cut your ‘sweet tooth’ is by doing so gradually. I thought the article suggested a great idea which is to gradually reduce ‘sweets’ but replace them with fruit so your body is still tasting the sweet, but the fruit provides your body with much more vitamins and minerals. According to this article, using artificial sweeteners doesn’t reduce your sweet tooth by any means. And the final thing I found interesting was that exercise, aside from being healthy, also helps to reduce sugar cravings. So when you work out, it’s a double win for your health!

Check out the full article here. What are your tips for reducing sugar in your diet? 

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Don’t Be a “Waster”

I read on twitter this morning that American’s throw away 19% of vegetables and 14% of fruits we buy at the grocery store– talk about wasted money!

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics had something to say about that. Check out this inforgraphic below for a breakdown on how to store your produce. Are there any that you disagree with or were a surprise? I was surprised that tomatoes are best stored on the counter, I always keep mine chilled, but now I have something new to try this week.

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Let me know if you tried any of these suggestions and if you found them helpful? Also, has anyone tried this app?

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My Trip To The Nature Center

Last weekend my boyfriend and I ventured to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton, Florida. We love exploring different nature centers and walking trails so this was right up our alley. 

It’s a suggested admission donation of $5 per person. Once inside you have access to a Nature trail hike, a butterfly garden, and the sea turtle rehabilitation center. 


What I loved MOST about the sea turtle rehabilitation center was the description that was provided about each animal. They included information about where they found the sea turtle, what its current health status is, and how they are treating and healing the creature.


Look at this cute little guy with his cast.


What I thought was so interesting was that 70% of turtles develope these tumors on their body, than can effect their ability to survive depending on where they form and if they form internally or externally. But in my opinion 70% is a very high percentage! 

However, what I found even more interesting was that the information board said that if you want to help prevent these tumors from developing the best thing you can do is buy more organic products and less products using harsh chemicals. This was a major wake up call for me– if these chemicals are causing tumors in 70% of sea turtles, and these are the same products we are using on our skin, to clean our house, to wash our clothes, then is it any wonder why chronic disease is on the rise?!? 



Maybe organic is out of reach for many of us– it’s expensive, I know. But we can all make small changes to a more natural life style and we need to be aware of the effect that excess chemicals have our our planet, our environment, and our own health! Be healthy, be happy! 

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Kale, and Chard, and Cauliflower, oh my!

Last week I started my final dietetic internship rotation for Community Nutrition- and that means I officially have 6 weeks left until graduation!!!! For these next 6 weeks, I will be spending my time at Nourse Farm in Westborough, Massachusetts.

During my orientation, I got a tour of Nourse Farm and was surprised to learn that even in New England there is still fresh produce growing this time of year. Pictured below is some beautiful Kale, Swiss Chard, and Cauliflower.

You might be wondering what a dietetics student is doing on a farm. Well, I will be working with the Registered Dietitian on the farm to do some community outreach. Through the farm’s CSA (or community supported agriculture), we will be providing some cooking demonstrations and recipe tastings to get people eating more vegetables. The farm is also working to put out it’s own cookbook! The Registered Dietitian also provides some nutrition education to the local schools which I will have the opportunity to assist with. The thing I am most excited about for this rotation is the ability to use the Farm to Table mentality to help connect people with real food!

I am thrilled to be able to end my dietetic internship at such an awesome place and highly encourage anyone in the area to consider visiting their farm store or consider the U-pick season and CSA next summer!

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Take time for yourself, you need it!

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Life is stressful, end of story. As a college student I barely have a moment to breath and that’s the truth. But whether your a mom or dad or a big time CEO or wherever you are in life, we all have our daily challenges. Everyone’s challenges are different and there’s no need to compare who is more stressed. The one thing we can all relate to is we need to take some time to ourselves. Going back to my earlier point however, when we are living busy, stressful lives it can be hard to justify taking even just 5 minutes for meditation.

That’s why I really liked this idea of shower meditation. Everyone has to shower so once you get into the habit of doing this it you don’t really have an excuse to stop. I like to shower at night, so for me meditation before bed is a great way to get me to relax and have a peaceful nights sleep. If you shower in the morning, morning meditation can still be a great thing to get your day started and help you set your purpose and focus for the day.

Give it a try and let me know if you like it! Have a healthy and happy weekend my friends!

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, my friends! Can you believe today is October 31st meaning only 2 more months left in 2016!? Starting today, and for the remainder of the year, it’s really easy to over-do it on food. So really focus on moderation. As a dietitian, I am never going to tell you NOT to eat something, but I will tell you that you can’t eat EVERYTHING.

Instead of having to give up any foods (ie Halloween candy) I just make sure to include plenty of good things for me in the day too. Whenever I get the opportunity to sneak some fruits or vegetables into my diet I certainly do. This week, in honor of Halloween, see if you can sneak a little extra orange into your diet. Try including oranges, orange bell peppers, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash into your meals and snacks this week. Pictured below is a very festive snack using clementines– definitely something to keep in mind if you have kids. Enjoy!

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#foodday2016

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Happy Food Day, my food loving friends! Every October 24th, a new theme is selected for food day that encourages people to get thinkin’ about their food. This year we are focusing on taking steps towards a greener diet.

Interested in knowing how well you know food? Take this fun quiz to find out! I took it and even learned quite a few things about the food and environment connection.

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Now that you’re thinking about food, and how well you know food, I want you thinking about one thing you can do this week that is healthier for you, our environment, or both! Here are just a few ideas to get started:

  • Drink more water instead of soda; bonus points if it’s in a reusable water bottle
  • Try out one meatless meal this week and make sure to increase your veggies in that meal
  • Visit a local farmer’s market and see what’s available in your area
  • Start a compost to decrease food waste in your home, or simply meal plan better to produce less waste
  • When at the grocery store, try to purchase items with minimal packaging (Think fruits and veggies, most of the time the skin of the fruit or veggies provides it’s own natural packaging!)

Have a healthy and happy week!