New Year, Healthy Me 2021
Wow, it has been one full year since I started this blog! It goes without saying that 2020 has been one for the books in a not-so-enjoyable way. I never imagined the curveballs that would be thrown at all of us when I wrote my first blog entry last titled “New Year, Healthy Me.” Regardless of the past year’s events, I am grateful to still be blogging and want to use this post to write the 2021 version to focus on how we can all sustain a healthy diet through the new year.
I’m sure many of you tried a new diet last January with hopes of changing your eating habits and possibly reaching a long-desired weight goal. Maybe you stayed on track longer than you originally expected, breezing through January and February like it was no big deal. But then…March hit. The spread of Covid-19 shook the world and changed everyone’s daily routine drastically. Diets were likely not at the forefront of your mind, and your eating habits may have taken a turn from what you so carefully planned for yourself at the start of the year.
So here we are at the end of December, looking around the corner to 2021. Many people see this as an opportunity to start fresh, especially when it comes to their food routine. I suggest you take a non-traditional route and don’t plan a rigid diet that will make you feel like you failed after a few weeks. Instead, begin your own journey with intuitive eating and mindfulness. Here are a few benefits of choosing intuitive eating because we can all agree DIETING STINKS!
-Eradicate the stress of keeping track of exactly what and when to eat.
-Enjoy spontaneity when it comes to eating out with friends, family, or coworkers.
-Boost your self image because your worth is no longer found in what and how much you eat.
-Learn to trust your body around food, which in turn will help you focus on enjoying other areas of your life.
This year, in my own life I want to focus on creating a balance between intuitive eating and healthy nutrition. Through blogging, I hope to teach others how to listen to their bodies and reject diet culture while learning to love nutritious food that fuels our everyday tasks. My next post will further explain intuitive eating and how it works. Thank you for sticking with me in 2020, and I hope you will continue reading into 2021!
Squash the Winter Blues!
Hello! Long time no blog. This past semester has been a busy one as I have been taking classes full time and preparing to apply for the coordinated program in dietetics at the University of Missouri. My months have been filled with studying, working, and building my experiences to ensure I am a good fit for the program. After a lot of time and effort, my application is finally ready and will be in the mail first thing Monday! I have enjoyed my nutrition classes immensely and am looking forward to my future academic career. Although it’s been a busy season, I’ve had some time to enjoy the experimental side of nutrition in addition to learning the science behind it. Recently, I have been trying out different seasonal vegetables to make creations that are both delicious and cost-effective. One of these is a chipotle squash chili that is originally vegetarian. I add in ground beef because my family runs a small cattle operation and making chili without meat is foreign to me! Squash have many health benefits, and just one serving includes necessary dietary fiber and over a full day’s worth of Vitamin A! It’s a great dish for winter, and the squash combines nicely with the other ingredients to add in a unique twist to a classic chili. The recipe below is courtesy of Chef Kenny Williams, a metabolic research chef at the University of Missouri. I have also included his roasted squash medley recipe. I have found that butternut squash is the most common winter squash to find, but if your local supermarket carries other varieties feel free to try them and see what you think!
Roasted Squash Medley
You will need:
· 2 T maple syrup
· 2 t minced garlic
· 2 T olive oil
· Salt and pepper to taste
· Butternut squash and any other squash you like (butternut is the easiest!)
1. Cut off both ends of squash and peel entirely. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and cut into small bite-sized cubes.
2. Toss squash with maple syrup, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Roast on baking sheet in oven at 400 for about 20 minutes until tender.
Squash Chipotle Chili
NOTE: This recipe does not originally include meat, but I usually brown 2 lbs of ground beef (or use shredded chicken) and add it during the 3rd step.
1. Start by preparing your roasted squash medley (recipe above). While it is roasting, in a large soup pot sauté the following until onions are translucent:
· 2 bell peppers chopped
· 1 medium red onion chopped
· 2 t minced garlic
· 2 T olive oil
2. Turn heat down to medium-low and add:
· 1 T chili powder
· ¼ t chipotle powder (you can leave this out if desired)
· 2 t smoked paprika
· 2 t ground cumin
· ¼ t ground cinnamon
· 1 t oregano
3. Stir constantly until fragrant, then add:
· 2 14 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
· 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes including the liquid
· 1 small can tomato paste (use as desired, I would put in bits at a time)
· 1-2 Cups vegetable broth (use as desired to develop a thicker or more liquid consistency)
· 2 lb ground beef or shredded chicken if desired
4. Stir to combine and cover for 15-30 mins, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in roasted squash medley (about 2-3 cups or as desired) and cook until heated. Serve with garnishes such as avocado, tortilla chips, Fritos, or cornbread.