Happy anniversary, Love

The pathNature breathes. She inspires spring. Expires summer. Inspires fall. Expires winter. Even within a season, pulsations move within the earth as nutrients are taken up, moisture drives itself into leaves and roots, rain sweeps in to cool, wind tosses leaves to receive sun, energy quivers within the entirety of the living, current life ebbs away then rejoins when it’s time.

Joseph Rain said, “Every event in nature has a unique harmony and rhythm.” Being in the Adirondacks lets me see this clearly. Pulsation dances before my eyes in the stream outside our temporary home, the flickering of fire in the outdoor pit, the breathtaking colors of autumn reminiscent of the sweetness in transition knowing that which is to come is cold and ice and white and bundling up.

This beautiful place holds the worship of eleven years with my love. Pulsation is ever present within that celebration – year to year the depth of love grows, the trust deepens, conversation is sweeter, touches more tender, and life unfolds and expands and holds us.

Slowing down is essential so we capture it all. Riding a trajectory of what we’re ‘supposed’ to do leaves no time for reflection, inner pause, connection, creativity, and just the simplest act of being curious. Slow down. Breathe. Be a copy cat of all that nature reflects to us. Love one another even more intentionally. There’ll be more to come in the most unique and harmonious rhythms.

Myths that mire

Perdue Perfect PortionsPerdue® Perfect Portions® infuriate me. You should see the steam coming out of my ears. First they broadcast on their package front “No Hormones or Steroids Added.” So how’s this – taken directly from the USDA: Hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.” Oh yes, I see that little symbol on the front of the package now! Sneaky Pete.

Another reason I’m pissed. Look at the weight of this chicken. 1.5 lbs. Count the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. 5. Divide. Each portion weighs in at 4.8 oz. Perfect? The DASH diet recommends 6 ounces or less of lean meats, poultry and fish per day for a 2,000 calorie intake and usually suggests a 3 oz portion at lunch and dinner. The perfect portions are almost at an entire days’ worth of this food category. Yikes!

Oscar Mayer is super excited about their Natural Slow Roasted Turkey Breast and boast in their ad that “Some things are full of hormones, we’re not!” Well  now, re-read the above – hormones are not allowed in raising poultry, aka turkey, period per federal regulations. Did they think we didn’t know turkey is poultry??

Fifty 50 Peanut ButterFifty 50 brand low glycemic peanut butter (without added sugar, appropriate for low glycemic diet). Hmph. Well, I give them credit for giving half their profit to fund diabetes research and adding no sugar, yet hydrogenated vegetable oil (rapeseed, cottonseed, soybean) is the 2nd ingredient. Aren’t hydrogenated fats bad for us? Also at issue for dietitians are foods that target a particular population. Who even knows what a low glycemic index diet is? Not picking on this brand alone …

Another caveat. Reduced fat peanut butter adds, wait for it, sugar! And Skippy’s 25% reduced fat peanut butter is not peanut butter at all. Federal regulations mandate there be a certain amount of nuts in the jar to be peanut butter. If not enough nuts, it’s known as peanut butter spread or peanut spread. Peanuts contains polyunsaturated fats (and no, there is never cholesterol in plant foods except palm and coconut oils), known to be healthier than saturated fat so there’s not too much to worry about unless you eat the entire jar!

Watch for other sugar names in nut butters like corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and molasses (just because the label touts ‘organic,’ remember, sugar is still sugar), and look for added fat, usually palm oil, which is a vegetable-based saturated fat source or those fats listed above. Watch, too, for fillers like soy protein, and unnecessary vitamins like folic acid, zinc, and magnesium.

Natural is another label word that entices consumers to purchase without a guilty conscience but what does it really mean – besides pissing me off again? According to the USDA, natural is “a product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”). Well, I prefer my products to be close-t0-the-source in the first place – leave off Natural, it’s confusing.

Last, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) just busted Simply’s juice drinks that brad “all natural, simple ingredients, honestly simple.” Yep. Sugar is simple. So is water. That’s 90% of their beverage. 10% is juice and natural (there we go again) flavors. Also blasted Jimmy Dean’s Rise and Shine On breakfast sandwich’s real ingredients – glad to know the mostly white flour, tapioca starch, carrageenan, and caramel color, among other ingredients, are REAL. Special K cereals are more white flour than whole grain and filled with 2 teaspoons sugar per serving despite their not-so-special ads.

There you have it. Just a few examples of misleading the public, enticing spending money on false pretenses. Send me more! Scour your grocer’s shelves and send more erroneous label statements.

Southwest customers of size

extra_seat_whos_flyingIt’s refreshing to know that Southwest honors their customers of size with a complimentary second seat. Encouraging customers to purchase two seats as they plan their vacation takes away the stress of finding out once boarded. The second seat price will be refunded at the end of the trip. Pre-boarding is encouraged so customers may select the two seats of their choice. And, seat belt extenders are offered with delight – all for our comfort!

Let’s raise a glass for Southwest being on the “right” side!


Beat the Summer Heat in the Kitchen

untitled-shoot_20140706-21Summer! A glorious time of fresh air, beaches, hikes through nature, and…sweltering heat and humidity? Often, the heat index in summer can discourage us from eating well because we just don’t want to cook! Here are some tips for beating the summer heat.

  1. Eat food in the raw!

If you don’t cook your food, you won’t have to suffer in a hot kitchen. Eat raw vegetables and fruits whenever you can so you’re still getting nutritious, whole foods without cooking. It’s the perfect way to take advantage of the delicious product that’s available during this time of year. Savor the flavor of mouth-popping blueberries, juicy peaches and plums, and decadent cherries. Munch on crispy carrots and fresh cucumbers mixed with dark leafy greens. Breakfast berries add color, chicken or tofu in a green salad for lunch ups the protein, and balsamic and olive oil drizzled on sliced tomatoes, red onion and cucumber as a dinner side dish ups the fancy ante. Keep foods fresh, crunchy, and chilled for the ultimate refreshment in the summer heat. Tip: For those spinach and other lettuce leaves and carrots that wilted and wimped out, toss in a large bowl, cover with cold water and let set for a few hours. They’ll plump back out!

  1. Cook in the great outdoors

There’s no reason why you need to be stuck in the kitchen. Take the food prep outside to the grill! To make a summertime burrito, grill some tofu or chicken, and bell peppers and onions wrapped in aluminum foil on the grill as well. You will end up with delicious fajita veggies to add to a whole-wheat wrap. Spoon fresh chilled salsa and avocado on top. Roll up and you have an easy hot weather meal!

  1. Pack a sandwich

Cold sandwiches in hot weather equal sheer pleasure. Use unprocessed sandwich meat, tuna, canned salmon, tofu, tempeh, or a veggie burger. Top with fresh greens, tomatoes, and your favorite condiments then bring your delicious creation to the beach or on a hike. Use an ice pack, and bring easy snacks like a small bag of nuts and a banana or peach.


  1. Smooth moves!

A smoothie can be a delicious all-in-one meal no-cook meal! Place a couple of handfuls of spinach or romaine into the bottom of a blender, add 12 ounces of filtered water, almond milk or low-fat milk, and throw in whatever fruits you have – fresh or frozen like frozen berries, frozen mangoes, and frozen cherries. Add chia seeds or almonds for extra healthy fats and protein. Drink up!

  1. Stay hydrated

In the sweltering summer months, remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Keep an insulated water bottle by your side to sip on throughout the day. Eat water-filled foods such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Brew unsweetened herbal iced tea. Make sure that you’re upping your fluid intake if you’re outside in the heat for an extended period of time or if you’re being particularly active.

Contributed by Louisa Paine, brand new and smart dietitian!


Good Measures