Archive for October, 2009

Settle the score with your tummy

ailmentUpsetStomachPoor me. I have an upset tummy. And let me tell you, feeling bloated at 9:30 am is NOT a great feeling. How did I get this way? I ate too close before going to bed.  This past week I’ve been eating a light dinner (soup and yogurt) around 7pm, going to bed around 11, and then eating breakfast again at 7am. I wake up with an empty, flat belly, hungry for breakfast (lemon water first, though!)

Last night I came home late from a school party and just wanted to EAT (aka binge). Let’s see, what did I have at 10:30 at night: 2 eggs with hummus, peanut butter, switched over to almond butter, then back to peanut butter (organic, freshly made, mind you), prunes (not such a good idea) and then 2 bowls of cereal. With 2% milk. I have NO idea where that came from, as I haven’t had cereal in about a year. Granted, I was staying at my parents house and they have like NO food in their house, hence the above binge list.

So that’s what I ate literally right before bed. So I woke up this morning feeling just…disgusting. I did have breakfast, because it’s important to start your day off properly nourished. But I still feel gross.

My answer? Ginger.  I have a steaming hot cup of Lemon Ginger tea  that is spicy and delicious. For more than 2000 years in China, ginger has been used to treat an upset stomach. People use it to help ease motion sickness, nausea, and ease arthritis. If you don’t like the spiciness of ginger, try a few pieces of crystallized ginger candies (not too much, they’re usually coated with sugar!)

 If ginger is really not your thing, try peppermint. It has long been used to soothe an upset stomach or ease digestion. Peppermint calms the stomach muscles and improves the flow of bile (which the body uses to digest fats). As a result, food passes through your body more quickly. And if you’ve got bloating and gas, peppermint will ease that, too.  I love to have peppermint tea after a meal (I also find that it’s invigorating!) I usually keep peppermint pills in my desk when times get rough.

 But, like anything, listen to your body. If ginger or peppermint exacerbate the issue, please don’t continue taking it. But I truly recommend trying one of these natural remedies before reaching for the pepto-bismol or gas-x!

 Here’s an easy recipe to make your own ginger tea. It’s also a good choice if you’ve got a cold, or feeling sick, or just need to feel warm:

Ginger Tea Recipe

  • water, 4 cups
  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • optional: honey and lemon slice

Peel the ginger root and slice it into thin slices. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it is boiling, add the ginger. Cover it and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain the tea. Add honey and lemon to taste.

Note: Keep in mind that if you are making ginger tea as a home remedy during cold and flu season, sweeteners are not recommended.

October 30, 2009 at 1:59 pm 5 comments

Thanks for Understanding

TGIF everyone!

I would like to apologize for the lack of postings here the past 2 weeks on C&C. Truth be told, I’m utterly exhausted. And since this is MY blog, I’m going to vent for a minute. I have ridiculous amounts of school work (2 projects due next Thursday.) I’m working full time. I’m stress eating so even my fat pants don’t fit. Because I’m so stressed out, I’m having difficulty digesting anything these days, so I’m super bloated, uncomfortable, and truth be told, you don’t want to be around me. Oh, and I woke up to heartburn for the first time in my life this morning.

So, friends, it can happen. As much as you are educated about nutrition, and fundamentally understand how to take care of yourself, sometimes life intervenes and you just can’t. I know I should be eating less, and not heading to the fridge when I don’t want to do my work. I know I should eat slower, savor my food instead of scarfing it down, but that’s just not reality for me right now. I should be meditating, journaling, taking baths, sleeping more, and giving myself downtime. But again, just not happening.

I have, however, stayed off sweets and maintained my exercise routine, which is really the only thing that’s kept me sane. Oh, and lots of wine. That can help.  But after waking up with heartburn this morning, I said to myself, This has GOT to end. I may be totally stressed out, super busy, and freaking out ever so slightly, but that’s no excuse continue to abuse myself. I said to someone I feel like a stranger inhabiting my body, and truthfully, it really doesn’t feel good when even your fat pants don’t fit.

So, now, what’s a girl to do? Get back to the basics. Food journal. Lots of water, vegetables. Stop eating past 8pm. In fact, since most of my eating happens at night, this is the most important guideline to follow.  I’m going to go back to my modified detox diet: lots of liquids, simple foods, which I feel will ease my digestional discomfort.

I hope you can forgive me for being so MIA, and please know that I’m still here, and would never abandon my C&C! Posts may be spotty next week as all my energy will be put into these projects, but after next Thursday, I’ll be much better, I promise.

And because I don’t have the brain cells to write a witty, coherent post, read this from one of my favorite blogs, Fooducate, about smaller Coca-Cola cans. What are your thoughts?

October 23, 2009 at 1:21 pm 4 comments

Get your sleep on for more sexy-time

Happy Friday, friends!

I can’t tell you HOW thrilled I am that this week is over. I had a HUGE anatomy exam last night, and I had been studying for that sucker for over a week. Every day, for over a week. That’s all I did (besides go to work, go to the gym, and eat).  So something had to suffer at the expense of my studying, and above all else, that something was sleep (precious sleep!)

I’m one of those people who needs at least 8 hours of sleep each night. I’ve never even pulled an all-nighter in college because I of the mess I’d be in the next day.  Unfortunately, since I’ve started Graduate school (for Clinical Nutrition), I have not been getting those much needed 8 hours. I’ve been going to bed later than ever (11-11:30 pm, sometimes midnight!) and I’m up at around 6am each morning. Day after day, it’s really taken it’s toll. I’m slower, I feel stupider (see what I mean?), and I’m just so dang tired all the time. Oh, yeah, and I noticed my balance is off and I’ve been bumping into a LOT of walls, I kid you not!

Luckily, my exam was last night and I went to bed at 9:57 pm and woke up at 6:30am. Now that’s more like it! I feel like ME again!

I’m sure that most of us don’t get enough sleep as we’d like. We do have responsibilities, like getting up for work or going to the gym or taking care of our children.  I know we’re not alone, because I see so many people passed out on the subway both in the morning and at night. Sadly, I was one of those people this week (I told Matt that I felt like the homeless people who use subway seats as their bed).

Anyway, now that I’ve caught up on sleep and feel a little bit more like me and less like a homeless person, I can truly say: GET SLEEP! Any way you can! If you’re not getting enough, and you are always exhausted, you need make a commitment to yourself to squeeze in some Z’s. Naps on the weekend. Getting to bed a little earlier. That’s why God created DVRs and IPhones–so we can watch our TV elsewhere! I can honestly say from experience that you’re probably no good to anyone, most of all yourself, if you’re exhausted all the time.

More importantly, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, new research suggests that getting a good night’s sleep improves relationship satisfaction and outlook the next day. Listen, if more sleep = more lovin’, well, heck, sign me up.

I urge you to take care of yourself! With the flu running rampant, you need your immune system in tip top shape. And besides a healthy diet and exercise, SLEEP is the best medicine you can give your body.

I’m looking forward to LOTS of napping this weekend…and maybe a little lovin’ (‘ello ‘ello)

October 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

Pesticide-Free, Please

Yeah, that can't be good for us.

Yeah, that can't be good for us.

We all know that when we choose to buy organic, we are saying “NO” to pesticides and yucky chemicals that are sprayed on conventional produce. By definition, food that is “certified organic” must be: free from all genetically modified organisms, produced without artificial pesticides and fertilizers, and derived from an animal reared without the routine use of antibiotics, growth promoters or other derived drugs. However, the majority of our population (and even me at times) doesn’t buy organic. This could mean trouble, and here’s why:

According to the European Pesticide Residues Committee (Yes, one exists, in case you were wondering!), apples, peas, and grapes are sometimes covered in pesticides (crop spray) above the maximum levels allowed under EU law. Over 4000 samples of food and drink were tested. Further, levels of pesticides varied, with imported fruit and vegetables having the highest levels. Luckily, all the vegetables and fruits supplied to schools contained pesticides within allowed levels, though all apples and bananas had pesticides on them (and sometimes more than one kind). 

 I think the important thing to remember here about pesticide contamination of your food is that levels deemed “safe” by the government (in the EU or in the US) does NOT mean it’s safe, especially when children are concerned, since they hold on to pesticide residues longer in their body than adults. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about food, food safety, and the food industry, is to NOT trust my government!

 According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 90% of fungicides, 60% herbicides, and 30% of insecticides are known to cause cancer in certain amounts, and it’s very possible that you will be exposed to unsafe levels of pesticides in your food over a lifetime. And by the way, lab studies have shown that pesticides can lead to health issues such as infertility, birth defects, learning disorders, and aggressive behavior.

Factory farmed animals are also FULL of pesticides, and these toxins accumulate in their flesh over the course of their life. So, when you eat factory farmed meat, you’re….you, guessed it….eating those pesticides  (I also think you’re eating meat with very bad energy attached to it, as a factory farmed animal lives a horrific life, and that is reflected throughout their body, which then you consume).

As I’ve mentioned on an earlier post, there is a Dirty Dozen list showing which are the most highly contaminated: Peaches, Cherries, Apples, Kale, Bell Peppers, Celery, Lettuce, Grapes (imported), Nectarine, Carrot, Pear, Strawberries.  The way I shop is that anything I eat in entirety (meaning the skin and the flesh of fruits, vegetables), I buy organic. Produce like avocado, banana, onions, I buy conventional if organic is unavailable, since I’m not consuming the skin.

 This post isn’t to scare you, but for me, it was a reminder to really pay attention to what I’m buying. And listen, eating vegetables is better than eating no vegetables at all, so if you can’t do organic, then by all means buy conventional products.

However, I strongly suggest you buy organic, grass-fed meats (and milk, etc)…to me, that’s one thing that I won’t compromise on.

So, this fall, when you’re buying up all your apples and pears….make sure they’re organic…or even better, from your farmers market. Most small farms don’t spray their crops, so you’ll be getting a double whammy: local AND pesticide free!

October 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

Fall Into Pancakes

Check out my post from Naked Apartments:

Photo courtesy of Ralph and Jenny on Flickr Photo courtesy of Ralph and Jenny on Flickr 

Ah, Fall…my favorite season of all! Nothing beats a crisp, cool, sunny day. And the fashion? Love! But my favorite part of Fall are those quiet, weekend mornings when I  stay in bed just a little bit longer (No bright summer sun beckoning me to come outside!) to My husband and I love whipping up a hearty breakfast on these mornings, and it’s become a ritual for us. One of our favorite, and easiest, things to make are pancakes. The recipe below will guarantee nutritious, heart-healthy, fiber-filled, and delicous pancakes to enjoy.  

Keep in mind they’re not going to be the super fluffy ones you get at your local diner, but they also don’t have the butter, refined carbohydrates, and calories that usually accompany pancakes.  Store the batter for a few days and enjoy them throughout the week for a quick breakfast. Experiment with your favorite toppings like nuts and berries and you’re good to go. Just take it easy on the maple syrup!

Just for the record, I have some batter in my fridge right now. Matt added some canned pumpkin and it is DIVINE!

Oatmeal Pancakes or Waffles (From Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-20 minutes

Yields: 2 servings


2 cups rolled oats

2 cups water

1 banana

2 Tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp oil


  1. 1. Please all ingredients, except oil, in blender and blend out until smooth
  2. 2. Let stand few minutes until batter thickens
  3. 3. If batter is too thick to pour easily, add some water
  4. 4. Heat oil in frying pan or skillet
  5. 5. Pour batter, by ¼- ½ cup, into pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side

For waffles: pour into a heated waffle iron and cook for 10 minutes

October 13, 2009 at 3:58 pm 1 comment

Enjoying the WEAK-end

calendarI’m going to enlighten you on my eating patterns, and I want you to tell me if this sounds familiar to you:

Monday – Friday, I have a very balanced diet. I eat every few hours. I prepare vegetables and meals at home so I’m well stocked with nutritious food for the week.  I diligently keep a food journal and write down everything I eat, and I go to the gym often.  Then Friday night hits and it all goes downhill. I’m not on any kind of schedule, I neglect my food journal, and I end up snacking, a lot, in front of the refrigerator. I eat foods I normally would not during the week. I sit on the sofa, bulging belly, and curse myself for eating too much—again.  And then I vow that I’ll get back on track on Monday.

Does this sound like you, or someone you know? Hmm, yeah, thought so.

I was detailing the above scenario to my mother last night. On a side note, I’ll admit, I’ve been really frustrated lately. I’ve been studying my ass off for school,  holding down a full time day job, trying to maximize time with Matt, and oh, yeah, friends too(who have been so understanding), and taking care of myself (gym, etc). It’s a very difficult and delicate balancing act that I’m trying to work on here. And when I get stressed, or when I procrastinate, I eat. A lot. An often. Oh, and just for the record, my clothes are getting too tight.

 So, I was telling my mom that on the weekends lately it seems that all bets are off for me and my diet. Actually, let me back up first. If  I’m going to be really straight up with you, I called my mom crying, sobbing that I was out of control with my eating (I think I even used that nasty 3-letter “F” word), my pants don’t fit, and that I was miserable (In my world, this is known as a major pity-party—lucky you didn’t get an invitation!)  Anyway, I’ve been super stressed from the week and these feelings manifest themselves through my relationship with food. You’re stressed? Have another serving of food. Tired? Oh, poor baby, some more peanut butter will help. Don’t want to start studying that next chapter? Nothing says procrastination like crackers and hummus. Please, I experienced ALL of those just this past weekend. I’m an expert in making excuses why I should eat.

And my wise mother (who is a super-talented acupuncturist and holistic healer and deals with this all the time), told me: “Amanda, that’s why they call it the weak-end…W-E-A-K.”  Oh my goodness, is my mom the smartest or what? It makes so much sense, and so clever! Monday-Friday, we’re “good” with our diet.  We count our calories and don’t eat dessert. But come Saturday and Sunday we throw that out the window (I’m right there with you.)

So what can I/we do to turn our WEAK-ends back into plain ol’ WEEK-ends? My mom asked me for the techniques I use to keep me disciplined during the week. Keeping a food journal and drinking boat-loads of water are the top two. “Well,” she said, “You just have to get more diligent about writing everything down. You know your weaknesses. You need to make it a priority.” So simple, so wise, so true. Love you, Mom.

So, after a weekend of eating a lot (and a stuffed belly one too many times), I’m vowing that this coming weekend will NOT be a WEAK-end (And it’s Monday, so I have 5 days to mentally prepare myself). No! It will be an empowering WEEK-end! It will definitely be a challenge, since I’ll be home all weekend studying, so I really have to be hyper-aware of how I am using food during stressful times. It also comes down to choices. I have a CHOICE as to how I respond to my stressors. At the moment when I walk to the refrigerator when I’m not hungry, I have the CHOICE to stop myself and really ask: “Is this what you want?” I have no right to claim I’m a victim in this story, since it’s always been me making these choices.

Do you experience weak-ends? What kind of techniques do you use to keep you on track? Please share!!

October 12, 2009 at 3:22 pm 4 comments

Yummy Baked Apples

2614_baked_applesIf you know me, you know I ADORE Fall. Not the dreary, windy Fall that’s happening outside my window now, but the brisk, crisp, sun-is-shining, leaves are turning Autumn. I could live in perpetual Fall and be one very happy girl indeed.  I also enjoy the seasonal food that goes with this time of year: squashes, apples, pears (but I do miss my summer berries, peaches and nectarines), pumpkin, cranberries. Something about those healthy, hearty foods say “cuddle with me.” As soon as I get my Snuggie, I’m good to go (I should be getting mine in the mail soon!)

In the spirit of my favorite season, I’m posting a baked apple recipe that I’m going to be trying out this weekend. Baked apples remind of being a child during this time of year, and I loved how my kitchen filled up with the smell of cinnamon.  I think you should try this recipe out too and we’ll compare notes.

Unfortunately, making this recipe is going to be the highlite of my weekend since I’ll be hitting the books HARD…Oh, and I’ll be testing a pumpkin scone recipe for my Food Production Mgmt class. The recipe calls for MAJOR amounts of sugar, and I realized that this is the first time I’ll have that “crack” in my apartment. You can bet that it’s going in the garbage, and that my neighbors will love me when I pawn off my sugar-laden baked goods on them.

Oh, and one more thing involving baking–I just ordered these muffin mixes, created by another Holistic Health Counselor. They look ah-maz-ing…I ordered the apple and cacao flavored, and since they were covered by Daily Candy today, I’m sure they’ll be running out of stock soon!

Baked Apples Stuffed with Cranberries and Almonds  (From Whole Foods)

Serves 2

Serve these tender apples with a sweet-tart filling alongside roasted turkey or pork, a delicious pairing with the apples’ hint of cardamom–though you could substitute cinnamon. They make a great stuffing alternative for those who don’t eat wheat or gluten. They’re also tasty for breakfast, snack or dessert–perhaps with whipped cream.


2 Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 dates, pitted and chopped
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons roasted almonds, roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut 1/2 inch off the top of the apples and reserve tops. Use a paring knife or spoon to hollow out the apples, leaving about a 1/2-inch-thick wall and base. Set aside. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cranberries, honey, cardamom, dates and orange juice and zest and cook until cranberries begin to collapse and liquid thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in almonds.

Spoon cranberry mixture into apples then replace the apple tops. Put into a small baking dish filled with 1/4 inch water, cover with foil and bake until tender, 15 to 30 minutes (depending on apples). Uncover, carefully pour off the water and continue baking until very tender and golden, 10 to 15 minutes more.


Per serving (about 9oz/264g-wt.): 320 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 15mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 64g total carbohydrate (9g dietary fiber, 50g sugar), 3g protein

October 9, 2009 at 6:41 pm 4 comments

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