What Does a Dietitian Have In Their Fridge?

I’ve shared the contents of my freezer and some favorite grocery items from Trader Joe’s and Costco, but today’s goodies are from the fridge. The place I stand in front of looking for answers.

Most days, we keep the fridge pretty organized. I really hate when I buy something and don’t use it because it gets shoved to the back. To keep this from happening, I like to wash and prep my produce as soon as I buy it and store everything in clear, glass containers. I have two sets of glass containers I use all.the.time from Pyrex and another from Bormioli Rocco Frigoverre. I found the Frigoverre set at the Crate & Barrel outlet store a few years back, and the Pyrex from Target. Glass containers are awesome to use instead of plastic because there are no weird, chemicals leaching into the food, and they last forever. Plus, they’re just prettier.

Let’s take a peek at what we have for food this week.

Starting from the top, you’ll notice some washed romaine lettuce in a container. I’ve got some Ezekiel bread because it’s my all-time favorite. Jason enjoys Sprout’s honey whole wheat. I typically buy Siggi’s brand yogurts, but I’m all about that sale life, and these tasty Fage 2% were cheap and taste good. If you’re looking for a new brand of Greek yogurt, Green Mountain Creamery is one of our recent faves. On the next level, we’ve got lots of spinach for smoothies and salad, fresh cut celery, my favorite Everything flavor hummus from Sprouts (tastes like an Everything bagel, without the bagel), artichoke and lemon pesto (SO GOOD), and some eggs. We bought eggs from Costco a couple weeks ago in a big, plastic container, and now we’re down to one. It looks so lonely!

The cheese drawer is one of my favorite spots in the fridge. That’s where truth and understanding exist. I have worked to reduce the amount of dairy I eat because it has caused my skin nothing but grief in the form of cystic acne. I do love cheese, though, so now I stick to the best I can find, in small portions, and not every day. #foodbalance. We’ve got Muenster, Cheddar, Provolone, and Parmesan in the drawer for safe keeping.

The bottom shelf is where I keep all the meat products and any liquids and/or containers too big to fit elsewhere. I’m picky about non-dairy milk, but I do love Sprout’s Organic Almond Milk because it tastes fantastic, has very little sugar per serving, and has no carrageenan. I used applesauce in place of oil in a zucchini muffin recipe last week, so that’s hanging out. Ketchup. Always. On the right-hand side, there are chicken thighs which will be transformed with the aforementioned artichoke lemon pesto.

The two drawers at the bottom are for more produce and fresh fruit. We’ve got an awesome kale and brussels sprout salad mix leftover from a BBQ this past weekend, baby carrots, sliced red peppers, and a red onion. For fruit, we have some clementines, apples, and red grapes.

The side door is for condiments and other random goodies. Peanut butter, almond butter, and grape jelly are top shelf as they should be. I don’t have a whole lot of salad dressings, but my favorites are the Makoto Ginger dressing, Sprout’s Raspberry Vinaigrette, and Bolthouse Farms Creamy Balsamic. Other sauces include mayonnaise, mustards, Trader Joe’s Soyaki, BBQ sauce, maple syrup, and lots of pickles and kalamata olives. The Hershey’s syrup reminds me of my childhood and is often drizzled on ice cream when we decide to buy it. Last but not least, a fridge wouldn’t be a fridge without a bag of Hemp seed and Chia Seed, oh, and baking soda.

As you can see, I typically keep things basic but have a lot of fun flavoring options to help transform even the most basic of dishes. I often hear from clients and friends that cooking can be hard, but we usually rotate the same dishes every week. That’s all it takes. Find dishes that work and keep on making them. I save complicated dishes with lots of ingredients and steps for when I have some extra time. I’m off to go find an afternoon snack and perhaps the meaning of life over in the fridge!

What are some of your refrigerator staples?

How often do you go grocery shopping?

Why Wonder Woman?

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As my longtime desktop companion, Wonder Woman is my chick. To me, she’s not just an Amazonian Princess/superhero/badass, but a symbol of strength, positivity, truth and a reminder to stay focused. And yes, I’m beyond excited about her big-screen debut in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman and her very own movie in a couple years. #wonderwomanwatch

I’ve been a superhero and comic book buff since I was little. The early 90s were a good time for animated shows, and I’d race home from school, grab some fruit snacks and a Cosmic Brownie, and watch back-to-back X-Men and Batman. At the same time, my older brother collected the Spiderman, X-Men, and Punisher comics and as older brothers often do, forbid me from touching, reading, and breathing on them. Obviously, I never listened and would sneak into his room while he was gone to read through every issue. As an awkward, shy, and emotional kid, X-Men was my favorite as I felt a certain fondness for the term “mutant.” If Professor X showed up at my doorstep to whisk me away to his school, I would’ve joined in a heartbeat. Most of all, I loved seeing women superheroes. Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, Jean Grey; they were all awesome, but I wanted more. Eventually, my brother figured out I was reading his comics (most likely from the peanut butter and jelly stains on the pages) and took me along to the comic/arcade nearby to get something for myself. That’s where I found my first Wonder Woman comic.

Comics were sexed up a lot back in the 90s. Let me rephrase that. Comics have been sexed up since the beginning of time! Despite this, I never looked at the comics for what their bodies looked like, but more for what they were fighting for. Wonder Woman has certainly fallen into interesting phases and scenarios, but she still kept it real. I think people often get hung up on the bloated, over the top personas of superheroes and their ridiculous costumes, but it’s Wonder Woman’s message, not her body, that still rings true to me today. The invisible plane helps, though. I think one of the reasons she has stood the test of time is that she represents the complexities of being a woman. She wears many hats, from daughter to Hippolyta, (sometimes) diplomat to Themyscira, (sometimes) lover to Steve Trevor, but most of all she’s just Wonder Woman. She belongs to herself before anyone else, and that to me is the definition of grace and courageousness. She’s not an unreachable form of perfection, but someone who aspires to do good, often battles, yet reaches her goals.

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So that’s why I look to her as not just a pop culture symbol, but a good friend to keep around. I shoved aside the comic books for a while when I was trying to make friends in school, but I never totally forgot about her. There’s that strange time of life when you desperately want to fit in and being “obsessed” about something wasn’t really considered “cool.” As I mentioned in my previous post, I got to a point in life where I felt incredibly alone as I battled my eating disorder. After going through a series of events that landed me in further treatment, I found myself talking about finding strength and confidence with my therapist.

“What does confidence look like to you?”

Those memories of sitting on my bedroom floor reading comics flooded back, and I remember blurting out, “Wonder Woman.” From then on, she became my inner sidekick. A symbol of good days to come and things to achieve. A symbol that reminded me to not suffer in silence, but to choose strength. I’m more confident now, not simply because I like Wonder Woman, but because I used the same mindset to achieve some impossible feats. Now, I ask my clients the same question when we work together. This is often a difficult question to answer, and it’s ok to not know what to say, at first. It’s more about the act of thinking about and creating an even larger circle of confidence to lead you to a better, balanced self.

If you had to choose, what would strength and confidence look like for you? Do you have a certain person, character, or symbol you look to?

A Matter of Un-Training

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Mozzarella cheese sticks. Crispy, crunchy shells filled with gooey, stringy goodness. Two to three times a week, I’d swing by my local Sonic on the way home from school because their mozzarella sticks were tried and true. Every time was the same. One order of mozzarella sticks (sometimes two) and a large Coke, please. I’d sit in the parking lot, hurriedly dipping the salty sticks into the little tub of lukewarm marinara sauce. Before I knew it, they were gone. All that was left was greasy fingertips and a tightness in my chest and stomach. It could’ve also been the super size Snickers I ate an hour before. The sun would start to set around that time and back-light the tall, Saguaros surrounding the parking lot. That was my signal to clean up. With a start, I’d grab any evidence of my escapade along with any other wrappers and throw them in the nearest garbage bin. I didn’t want my nightly rendezvous to make it out in the open. My stomach was now in knots and the frenzied passion of eating a mozzarella stick was replaced with hot bile rising in my throat. I had felt this pain before. Tomorrow would be different. Tomorrow held promise. I quickly turned my car back on and headed in the direction of home.

You see, I was never actually hungry for food those nights in my car. I was lonely. Sad. Depressed. Angry. Confused. Most of all, I was hungry for a confidante and felt that food was the best kind of friend. I had moved to Arizona a few months prior for my senior year of high school and was still trying to sort through my feelings. I didn’t want to make friends and frankly, no one wanted a friend either. In the course of just 6 months, I put on 30 pounds. Every month after that, I tacked on an additional 5 pounds until I was at my highest weight of 265 in December of 2007. My weight was always a problem, though, ever since childhood. Often during my initial consult I have with clients, I’m transported back to the time I sat in my pediatrician’s office and was told that losing weight was “simple” and that all I needed to do was “eat one slice of bread instead of two” on my sandwiches and things would be “fine.” After years of experimentation and training myself these past 9 years, I know it’s not that easy. If all it took was eating topless turkey sandwiches, we’d all be at the perfect weight.

One of the keys I’ve found after losing 75 pounds, keeping it off and going through my training as a Registered Dietitian is that understanding your triggers and the feelings surrounding food is one of the biggest keys to sustainable weight loss. It’s a total mental game. There was a reason that my heart raced and my pulse quickened the moment I drove by that Sonic. Mozzarella sticks obviously made my heart sing, but I had trained myself to feel that way. It took a matter of un-training myself to move further along with my goals for better health. So what did I do? I took a few different routes home to avoid a drive-by. I planned out my day of eats. I packed a substantial and balanced snack to munch on instead. I listened to audiobooks that made me forget a Sonic even existed. Most of all, I figured out I needed to get out of my own head. I sang out loud, yelled some of my favorite four-letter words, called a friend, and told myself that I was worth more than a lifetime supply of those damn mozzarella sticks. It took about a year to successfully un-train myself and drive past without making a U-turn. I actually ate those same sticks a couple years back on a road trip with my husband because it was the only restaurant for miles, and I figured, what the hell. The days of chest pains and mozzarella hot flashes were gone too. Much to my surprise, the sticks were cold. The cheese tasted like plastic, and the marinara sauce was still lukewarm. In the trash, they went and onward we drove in the direction of our next adventure.

Have you ever had to “un-train” yourself from a not-so-good for you habit? What was it? How’d you do it?