Monday, March 30, 2015

Progress Not Perfection

Let’s talk about hair!
I recently chopped a whopping nine inches off my usual do. I had been growing it out, thinking that I’d be doing cool stuff with it, but in reality I feel very limited with my skills in the hair department. I recently got married, so having long hair was nice when someone else was in charge of the results, but that’s about it.  My good intentions ended up in a ratty bun or ponytail most of the time.
With my dramatically shorter hair cut, folks have have been asking if it is “so much easier to manage.” For me, no! I have been learning what makes a good quality hair dryer and how to hold it, what products are used when and why, and what in the heck to do with my bangs.
While it seems that most folks learned how to manage their hair in their teen years, I’m a bit behind the curve. I wish I had had an older sister to show me the ropes, or that I had cared more when I was younger!
This experience of trying something new and struggling a bit has been a great reminder for me to know what it is like for my clients working hard to make changes to their eating and exercise habits. What seems second nature to me can be very overwhelming to my clients. I often use the analogy of learning some other skill or sport with learning to eat well for my clients: “pretend you’re learning to play the piano or learning to ballroom dance. You are learning a bit at a time and building from there.”
The good news is that perfection is never the goal. Health and wellness is about what you do most of the time, not one meal or dessert. It is common for folks to strive for perfection when making wellness goals, but that really isn’t sustainable or realistic. Even though I am a Registered Dietitian, I indulge in cookies and pizza sometimes, just not all the time. I work with my clients to balance the treats in life with their health goals.
As I am learning how to better manage my hair, I remind myself that most days are not perfect. It will probably never look the same as when the talented hair dresser styled it, but I’m getting better (and faster) each time I try. Progress, not perfection!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St Patricks's Day Green Smootie

I had a fun time visiting my local Anytime Fitness Gym yesterday. I already workout there, but yesterday I was representing my own private practice and getting the word out about my nutrition counseling services.

In honor of the holiday, I made green smoothies!

This is a great smoothie to use as a snack or to recover and rehydrate from an intense workout. This is low in protein, so if you're interested in using this for a meal replacement, I'd add some plain Greek yogurt or silken tofu. 

Pineapple + Pear Green Smoothie
  • 1 small banana (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 pear, cored (canned or fresh)
  • 1 cup pineapple (canned, frozen or fresh)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup 100% orange juice
  • a handful of ice-cubes
  1. Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
I followed this recipe by fellow dietitian blogger Anne, of fANNEtastic Foods.


March 16, 2015

To Mary Beth Whalen, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and the Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation:

As long-time members and proud supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), we are dismayed, shocked, and saddened by the blog post in last weeks New York Times.  The piece reports on the KER Foundations Nutrition seal a seal that the Academy states was not an endorsement of the product, but is an indicator of the brands that support Kids Eat Right.

As dedicated Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists and food and nutrition experts, we are protesting the Academy’s position to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles, as well as the possibility to allow any future implied endorsement of any product by AND for the following reasons:

Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace

We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesnt change this fact. Rather, ANDs actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with membersvalues.

Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers 

We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academys own Ethics Policy[1], which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.

Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealtheSeal

We ask that the Academy make available to its members, the media and the public the following:

  We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft productincluding the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Boards vote on this issue.

  We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.

    We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.

Academy members deserve strong leaders who will protect the integrity of the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential. This latest action is an embarrassing misstep that must be corrected swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the RD/RDN brand and to the Academy.


Holly A Larson, MS, RD

Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed at

[1] American Dietetic Association/Commission on Dietetic Registration Cod of Ethics for the Profession of Dietetics and Process for the Consideration of Ethics Issues. J Acad Nutr Diet 2009;109(8):1461-1467.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Roasted Vegetable Strata

I love roasting a big batch of veggies and then having them available for a quick side dish, to top with a fried egg or to use in a throw-it-all-together recipe like this one.

I love Cabot Cheddar Cheese. It is the best.

Bring two good things together in your favorite cast iron skillet and you've got an informal match made in heaven!

Did you know that cooking in cast iron skillets increases the iron content of your diet?

Roasted Vegetable Strata
  • 4 cups roasted veggies - I used sweet potato, onion and broccoli
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I love Cabot brand cheese!)
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  1. Place your large cast iron skillet in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, butter a 9x13 baking dish, but don't preheat.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together your veggies, milk, cheese and eggs in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Once the oven and pan are preheated, pull the hot pan out of the oven and melt butter inside. Turn the pan or use a silicone brush to evenly butter the bottom and sides. 
  4. Pour egg mixture into prepared pan and place back into the oven. Bake until golden brown and puffy and until a knife inserted into the center comes out pretty clean. Start with 30 minutes and go from there; exact time will depend on the size of your skillet. The large the skillet the faster the cooking time.
  5. Scoop our serving with a spoon or cut into wedges or squares. It will be delicious either way.
Note: the husband didn't realize that I hadn't taken a picture of this dish yet...our apologies for the, er, interesting portions removed from the pan :)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

West African Groundhog (Groundnut!) Stew

This recipe is a favorite! I first discovered this recipe when I was nannying for my cousin's son during grad school. She has enjoyed this dish  at a friend's house and took the recipe home from her. I usually cooked dinner for them. One day she asked me to make this recipe. I thought the ingredients sounded so strange that I said to myself "sounds like a PB&J night for me!

Boy oh boy was I wrong!

The savory peanut sauce and the tender cubes of sweet potato are simply wonderful over fluffy couscous. This is a great dish that everyone can enjoy, vegetarians and meat eaters, alike.

My sister loves this dish too. Once she accidentally called it "groundhog stew" and for us, the name stuck.

West African Groundnut Stew
  • 1 tablespoon  canola, peanut or olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced or finely shredded
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes, chopped with juice
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 9 ounce bag fresh spinach
  1.  Warm vegetable oil in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, ginger and jalapeno and saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add water, tomatoes and their juice, sweet potato, parsley and spices. Simmer 20-25 minutes or until sweet potato is soft.
  3. Add spinach and peanut butter, heat though. Covering your skillet helps the spinach to wilt faster.
  4. Serve over whole grain couscous or rice. Yum :)
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