Archive for ‘Life’

December 26, 2012

What a great Christmas…

Feeling grateful for all that is in my life! Merry Christmas!

20121225-184216.jpg

Advertisements
Tags:
December 28, 2011

Gnashing Refined’s Seasonal Favorites

This Holiday season has flown by…. with baking, shopping, cleaning, and doing some holiday pampering…oy vey! But there are a few things that made this Holiday season most enjoyable. Each season brings a new set of favorites. Here are this season’s…..

  • Corn Pasta is quickly turning into my favorite pasta. It’s absolutely DELICIOUS (which is what’s most important), AND it’s GLUTEN FREE. I’ve eaten my fair share of brown rice pasta, and although it’s edible, it doesn’t always satisfy my pasta craving. I think corn pasta is going to be a popular food in the new year. This is a great pasta to whip up with some marinara and veggies, or oil and garlic with spinach. You can find corn pasta at Trader Joes.

  • Green Tea Latte’s are a great way to treat yourself to a delicious drink without having coffee. There is nothing more warming, or relaxing, than a warm green tea latte. Order yours with soy milk for a non-dairy treat! But beware, some places use melon syrups that add extra sweetness…. you can always order your drink with one (or no) pumps of syrup.

  • Amanda Skrip’s Creamy Black Bean Recipe is a great way to add some hearty, delicious beans to your diet. This recipe results in some seriously flavorful beans, that are mildly addicting. I plan on constantly having some in the fridge all winter long. (Check out Amanda’s blog, it has so much more deliciousness to offer.)

 

  • Mistos’ are an awesome way to flavor food with oil and vinegar without overdoing it. Releasing the perfect amount of oil for cooking, I use my olive oil Misto daily. Mistos’ are also great for cookouts and camping. Additionally, these make a great affordable gift for the fellow cook.

 

  • An order from Door-to-Door Organics makes my life sooo much easier, and  much more nutritious. If you have a hard time finding quality produce at your local grocery store, or if you’d like to begin to enjoy a wide variety of fruit and veggies, door-to-door is the way to go. During summer I love going to the farmer’s market, but often miss that freshness throughout winter. With weekly and bi-weekly subscription options, and a variety of size options, each week has a new menu of organic goodies to offer. If you don’t like something on the weekly menu, no worries, you can sub-out items for other fresh produce.

 

 

I hope you all continue to have a joyous, and relaxing holiday season. Happy New Year!!

August 12, 2011

Investing in your health

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about what it means to invest in your health, and invest in yourself. When I talk with people, one of the first things that comes up about eating balanced and healthy is that its expensive, and I get that, especially in this economy, but I often wonder if there are things we can adjust in our budgets to make eating health more financially feasible. In many other countries, people spend a large percentage of their money on buying food. Food in this country is produced and sold pretty cheaply, but we are quickly learning that the majority of food sold in the U.S. comes at much greater cost. If we spent less money on “things” like clothes, electronics, gadgets, entertainment and eating out, I think many would be able to fit shopping weekly at whole foods, or other better food stores, into our budgets. Recently I’ve been adjusting my own shopping habits and have been able to afford buying more organic produce and meat, and let me tell you, it is SO worth it. (The taste difference alone is worth it!) Some of the items that I try to always  buy organic are, eggs, milk, yogurt, chicken, fish, vegetables and fruits. Organic and local can be expensive, but think about how much you pay for prescriptions (in 08′ Americans spent 234  billion on pharmaceutical drugs), or how much you would pay to ensure your life is safe, because eating healthy is protecting your body.

Below is the link to an interesting video I just watched of John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods) speaking about the state of nutrition in this country. It’s pretty eye opening and also carries some very unfortunate news. The thing about health in this country is it is one problem that CAN BE CHANGED, and relatively quickly if we strive to live this lifestyle, support and educate one another. The human body is an amazing machine that can be transformed very fast when given the fuel it needs to run efficiently.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, discussing food in America

So watch, listen, discuss, and self-reflect! Our bodies will always be with us, so treat your body right!

Gnash On!

-Michelle

June 17, 2011

Thoughts, Updates, and more!

Hello Friends,

I know it has been quiet some time since I have updated, and I apologize. Like many, corporate world life has taken me in and eaten my energy to work on my goals. I have been working at an immigration law firm the past few weeks, and have decided to leave the firm to live my life. I have decided  to begin graduate school next winter and pursue a degree in Nutrition or Public Health. I know that giving up my stable job in this economy is a risk, but it is one I am willing to take to pursue happiness and fulfillment. I am working on some long term plans, getting my seeds in order to bloom. I have been teetering on the idea of graduate school, and have decided to commit after reading “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan.

Pollan’s book discusses the transition from our ancestors diets to the so-called Western diet. He focuses on where food regulation has brought us, and the faults of marketing certain things to be “nutritious” (i.e. omega-6s, antioxidants, high fiber, low-fat, etc.), missing the importance of balance and getting  those nutrients from the source. In a sense, Pollan talks a lot about how our diets have been replaced by processed foods that have to be fortified with extra nutrients, which can be harmful to our bodies. Pollan emphasizes the importance of questioning what is food and defending those things that people have been surviving on for thousands of years. I know when I look at a can of Cheese-Wiz, a frozen dinner, or even a granola bar, I myself often question if this is food. It seems that the Western diet is completely missing something (which I have be thinking about for quiet some time), a connection to the earth, to nature, and to culture. The food that has become most accessible and standard in the U.S. is also the food that is simply A LOT of empty calories. What I mean by that is its not nutritious, nourishing, digestible, or absorbable (all of which is essential to how our bodies run). “In Defense of Food” was able to bring together so many ideas, thoughts, and frustrations I have had with the Western diet for years. This book brought to light the importance of knowing your food, and feeling that connection with the earth. When you think about it, it’s pretty amazing that our earth nourishes our bodies. Towards the end of his book Pollan discusses a few rules he tries to live by, and I think they are some pretty important rules.

Eat food, Mostly Plants, Not too much!

  • Eat Food: as in, don’t eat anything your great grandma wouldn’t recognize, avoid products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, you cant pronounce, have more than five ingredients or that include High-Fructose Corn Syrup. He also suggest to avoid foods that make health claims and to shop the peripheries of the supermarket and avoid the middle, (or stay out of the supermarket all together).
  • Mostly Plants: Eat plants, mostly leaves. Leaves are full of so much fiber, Omega-3s, water and nutrients. Eat well grown food from healthy soils, because the food is going to be directly impacted by what’s in its soil. Eat wild foods when possible. And lastly, eat more like the French, Italians, Japanese, Indians or the Greeks (basically people who eat to the rules of any traditional food culture are generally not consuming the same creepy stuff that our food does).
  • Not too much: Lastly, Pollan talks about portion and eating habits. He discusses the importance of eating with others, sharing a meal, eating at a table (not a desk!), and slowing down the meal. Enjoying every bite and enjoying the company your with. There is nothing better than knowing that YOU are powering yourself to exist.
This book was everything I needed and re-iterated the importance of my long-term goals, my health, and how to take back the power of feeding our bodies. So, get in your kitchen and start empowering your body!
Gnash On,
Michelle
May 11, 2011

A Daily Gnash for ya! (Peanut Butter snacks)

Hey Gnashers,

I’ve been a little busy prepping my home for summer, so I apologize for the lack of posts. Keeping me energized through all these home improvements: healthy snacks. Snacking is the best! What’s even better, is snacking healthy. To get me out of the mid-afternoon slump, I usually boost my energy with a nice nourishing snack. Lately, I’ve really been into peanut butter. Peanut butter is great to have as part of your daily snack, as it provides protein which makes you feel full, and gives you energy. My favorite way to have peanut butter is with fresh fruit and veggies. Today I picked an apple and banana with a dab of organic PB. I don’t but organic everything, but some things were just meant to be made simple, and Peanut Butter is one of them. Organic peanut butter has great flavor and not all those nasty, strange additives. Some people complain about the texture of organic peanut butter but I guarantee you that your local store sells a smooth organic PB that doesn’t separate. If PB is not your thing, a great alternative is almond butter. It’s easy to incorporate healthy foods into your life and snacks are a great place to start.

YUMMMM!!!!

Happy Snacking!!! 

-Michelle

May 2, 2011

Curry Turkey Burgers stuffed with Feta and Spinach (and some potatoes on the side)

Hello Gnashers,

So I know it’s been a couple of days since I’ve updated. I’ve been drafting some ideas and been doing a lot of reading for some future posts. But have no fear, I’ve got something great for you today. Curry Burgers stuffed with feta and spinach served with some baked small potatoes. Some days I just reach for some randoms in the kitchen and this was one of those days. Food is so interactive, I love it! This recipe turned out amazing and I can’t wait to try these on the grill!

For the Burgers: 

Combine and Mix Ingredients

1lb or so Ground Turkey

1 Tbsp. Parsley (fresh is always better but work with what you got!)

1/2 Tbsp. Worchestershire Sauce

1/2 Tbsp. Curry Powder

Kosher salt and pepper to your liking.

2/3 c. Feta Cheese (the feta that is in brine, not pre crumbled, it has so much more flavor)

1 c. Spinach, roughly chopped

Sprinkle of dill

Mix Feta and Spinach together for easier stuffing!

Mix Feta and Spinach together for easier stuffing!

In your meat bowl, mix together the turkey, curry powder, worchestershire. parsley. salt and pepper.

In another small bowl combine feta, chopped spinach and dill. Just a light mixing of these makes stuffing the burgers so much easier .

Take the mixed meat and form patties. I form about half of the burger in my hand, thumb a little hole, and stuff the feta mixture in there. Once that’s stuffed I grab a little more meat mixture and seal that stuffing up. (Remember  the spinach will cook down).

It’s best to pre-stuff the burgers and stick them in the fridge for atleast 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. This time in the fridge allows for the meat to absorb the curry flavor.

Place formed patties in the fridge for 30 minutes!

I cooked my burgers in a stainless steal pan to allow for some browning. These would also be great on the grill of course! And if need be the broiler setting on your oven will work too. I flipped these about every 5 minutes for 20 minutes or so. For a faster cook time and to keep the moisture I suggest you cover them when cooking in a pan.

For the Potatoes: 

Potatoes in Baking dish.

One bag of mixed small potatoes (including red, purple, and gold)

1/2 Yellow onion, sliced into rings

1/2 lemon’s worth of juice

1 tbsp. Olive Oil

Dill, Parsley, Salt, and Pepper to taste.

Put ingredients in baking pan, toss together and bake in oven at 360 for 45-60 minutes. (time varies based on oven and size of potatoes)

The Final Product with some mixed greens on the side.

The final product makes for a great spring/summer meal and would even be great for lunch.  Add a little tossed salad to your plate and you’ve got a great balanced meal.

Happy Gnashing!

-Michelle

April 26, 2011

A quick delish lunch!

Here’s a quick, healthy, balanced lunch idea for you.

Tuna couscous:

You’ll need
1 5oz. can tuna in water
1 cup cooked whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup cucumber (English work the best)
Large handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 cup fresh spinach chopped
2 tbsp. feta
Drizzle of vinegar dressing
Salt and pepper

Mix and enjoy! Couscous takes about 10 minutes to make total and can easily be cooked ahead. Hope this can make your lunch feel fulling and energizing.

Happy gnashing!
– Michelle

20110426-040407.jpg

April 21, 2011

Journey to the bikini

So here we go, we’re going to talk about losing weight. Ugh, I know. Our society is extremely obsessed with weight, diet and bikini’s. I know I’m not alone when I say I think about weight loss almost hourly. It’s insane.

I have basically been overweight/chubby my entire life, and continue to struggle with it. From when I was a child till about age 20 I was pretty overweight, probably obese. I grew up on large portions and not much activity as a child. I’ve always been a big eater. When I was a child, as young as a toddler, I used to sit in the fridge and eat pickles. Food has always been a close friend, a life partner if you will. I had thought about losing weight for years, and would kind of try, but was never really ready for it.

In January 2008 I decided I was done. Done with being fat. Done with feeling guilty about my weight. Done with weight getting in the way of my life. I was young and I just wanted to experience a different life, one where I would have confidence and feel good. By June I had lost about 50lbs from my highest weight of 260lbs. Over that summer and fall I continued on Weight Watchers, with my lowest weight being about 60lbs lighter then my largest.

Losing that much weight is one hell of a transition to go through, and gaining some back fills me with ungodly amounts of Catholic guilt. So here I am, still substantially lighter and more fit then I once was but I’m not where I need to be yet. The past year has been a daily struggle to lose weight, knowing what I need to do, but being tempted by my life long friend, food. I have slowly been coming down from my holiday chunk, working out regularly, and trying to understand my eating patterns. I’m making daily goals, and weekly goals for myself, to help stay on track. For me, I have to stay accountable and picture how great it would feel to wear a bikini. My weight watchers leader always reminds us that this isn’t just about losing weight but about changing our lives and being empowered by our health. It’s a journey, and maybe I won’t make it into that bikini for a few summers, but if I hold myself accountable I can be in that bikini by mid-summer.

Me at my heaviest. (not the best picture)

Me at close to my lightest.

So, for those of you out there that know my experiences, stick to it, and know that taking it day-by-day is the way to stay on track. Losing weight may be one of the most challenging life experiences many of us will face, but the journey continues to be worth it. So cheers to your health.

-Michelle