Friday Favorites & My Workout Playlist

Hooray for the weekend! December has proven to be the busiest month for my business so far. The end of the year is upon us and everyone has a deadline! On the personal front, I’ve been sick for the half the month and finally feel like I’m coming around. How was your week? Any plans this weekend? We’ll be doing some baking and getting some presents wrapped for family. It’s a cloudy, chilly day in Phoenix, but oh-so-perfect for getting into the holiday spirit!

Let’s dive into some of my favorites this week.

FOOD: The other night we had tilapia, but I was also in the mood for macaroni and cheese! Often I’ll doctor a box of mac and cheese from Annie’s Organics, but I didn’t have any on hand. Enter super quick and super yummy Stovetop Mac and Cheese from Cooking Light. This is honestly one of the best recipes, takes no time at all, and it’s a lighter version of one of my favorite foods. Halfway through boiling the macaroni, I like to throw in half a bag of frozen broccoli or whatever else I have on hand. The veggies are cooked to perfection, and it’s a perfect one-pot recipe.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

FLOURISH: Over the past month I’ve been (miraculously, crazily?) featured in a couple different places talkin’ nutrition. Check out ‘7 Healthy Coffee Hacks for A Guilt-Free Morning‘ over on SimpleMost and ‘7 Phrases on Food Labels You Should Look Out For, Because Packaging Can be Misleading’ over on Bustle. Apparently the number seven is THE number for when you wanna throw a bunch of tips together. Noted.

FITNESS: I’m in full-on half marathon training right now. This was the first week of running, and I finally remember why it’s been so long since I ran my first. Everything is sore. I’m feeling hungrier. I beg my husband to rub my feet every night. Ok, so that’s totally worth it, but it’s also been great getting back into running again. In case you missed it over on my Facebook page, I’m training for the Phoenix Half Marathon on February 27th. TBH one of the reasons I signed up for the race was because it’s downhill the whole way. Heyoooo!


FUN: On the half marathon training note, I have the worst time running without music. Like, I will wait an hour for my iPod to charge because I can’t bear to hurdle myself forward in a straight line with my thoughts in silence. Maybe someday, just not now. I mean, there’s so much decent Justin Bieber to listen to! In case you need some new tunes to add to a playlist or just want some good music with a beat, check out my current workout playlist below. I’m warning you ahead of time that my tastes are all over the place, but it gets the job done!


What are some of your favorites this week?

Do you have to listen to music when you workout?


Boost Your Immunity With Food This Holiday Season

Let’s be real, when you’re sick, the last thing you probably feel like doing is digging into a giant bowl of vegetables. I’m here to point you in the right direction so you’ve got some food “tools” in your toolkit to fight off any sickness during the holiday season. I just so happen to be battling a wicked cold as I type this! Yes, magical unicorn dietitians get sick too.

Everything we eat and drink passes through the gut along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  This GI tract is comprised of a complex environment of bacteria, both good and bad, that is necessary for digestion.  Recent research shows there is a close involvement of those bacteria and various aspects of health from behavior, stress response, to our immune system. Seriously, gut bacteria is like the Amazon for researchers right now. So much to discover!


watermelon cough drops from CVS are legit

To help those gut bacteria thrive and stave off sickness, focus on incorporating a bunch of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your existing diet.  Enjoy those cocktail weenies (in moderation), but perhaps chase it with a salad or a yogurt for breakfast the next day.

Yogurt – 6 ounces a day

Probiotics, or “live active cultures,” found in yogurt are healthy bacteria that help the gut.  A recent study found that a daily 7-ounce dose of yogurt was just as effective in boosting immunity as popping a pill.  Choose a low-sugar or plain variety and look for a label that says, “Live and Active Cultures.”

Mushrooms – 1/4 oz. to 1 oz. a day

These famous fungi have been used for centuries in various medicinal remedies. Mushrooms help to increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infection. Choose shitake, maitake, and reishi varieties for the biggest dose of immunity. Dice and add to pasta sauce, sprinkle over a salad, or sauté with olive oil and add to your morning omelet.

Oats – ½ cup a day

These grains contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which contain antimicrobial properties.  In addition to boosting immunity, oats can also speed wound healing and help antibiotics work better.

Sweet Potatoes – ½ cup serving

Rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, sweet potatoes help to protect your skin, which is the body’s first line of defense against sickness.  When beta-carotene is absorbed, the body turns it into Vitamin A whose major role acts as part of the production of connective tissue, a component of skin.

Speed Up Recovery

When you’re hit with a cold, the body produces inflammatory responses like increased mucus production and swollen glands.  In addition to foods that help prevent sickness, there are many that help dial down inflammation and ease symptoms.

Chicken Soup

Research shows that chicken soup calms congestion, thanks to cysteine, an amino acid found in chicken.  The hot broth also helps prevent dehydration and soothes a sore throat.


These tasty, breakfast staples are rich in zinc, an immune booster that zaps cold symptoms.  Zinc taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of a cold. No time to cook? Check out my simple method for hardboiling a bunch of eggs at one time.

Decaf Green or Black Tea

Both green and black teas are rich in antioxidants like L-theanine but are also rich in cancer-fighting polyphenols including flavonoids and tannins.  Hot drinks also ease sneezing, sore throats, chills, and tiredness.

In addition to eating immune boosting foods, make sure to also follow good sanitary practices, get adequate rest (at least 7-8 hours a night), and get outside to catch some Vitamin D in the form of sunshine as much as possible.

xo Erinn