National Nutrition Month: Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle

March is such a great month, not only because Spring is starting to emerge, and there is a glimpse of hope that the snow is going to melt once and for all, but also March is National Nutrition Month (although in my mind, every month is National Nutrition Month). Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics promotes, informs, and emphasizes nutrition. Each year they have a different theme, this year’s NNM theme is “Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle.” Last year, their theme was “The Taste of Eating Right” and I actually blogged about that when I was first getting my blog started. Check that post out here: !
So what does “Bite Into A Healthy Lifestyle” mean to me? I definitely can relate to this theme, especially since going vegan last Spring. I’ve wanted to talk about the difference I’ve found between “dieting” and “living” for quite a while, so the fact that this is the theme for this year’s National Nutrition Month worked out perfectly!
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My Thoughts: Low-Calorie Diets

In high school, when I first began to discover my passion for health and nutrition, I held onto the “calories in, calories out” motto that we hear from lots of health professionals. When someone is trying to lose weight, everyone tells them to monitor calories, reduce calories, count calories, it’s all about calories, calories, calories. It becomes something that can easily be obsessed over, and cause people to lose sight of true nutrition. This is exactly what happened to me when I started to become interested in nutrition and healthy eating in general. I used to count my calories like many people do, using an app on my phone. I didn’t really think much about nutrients, vitamins, or even macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). All I cared about was the calories I consumed each day. This can become really dangerous if you’re trying to eat a well-balanced diet, or even a healthier diet in general. Many people (including my former self) think that eating fewer calories, regardless of the type of food is the way to weight loss, weight maintenance and a general healthier body. Eating fewer calories may cause initial weight loss, but definitely not a good long term approach to weight loss/maintenance. If calories are the main priority, actual nutrition can be forgotten about and “healthy eating” can just turn into calorie restriction.

When you restrict calories, specifically below 1200 calories/day, your body goes into starvation mode. If your body goes into starvation mode, it can hold onto everything you eat and lead to weight gain. Also, this type of “dieting” can really mess up your metabolism. Any diet that is less than 1600 calories is just a bad idea in my opinion. Calorie restriction can lead to binge eating (consuming a lot of food at one time) and just an unhappy mood. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that and it’s not fun at all. I see so many “diets” that promote eating less than 1500 calories per day, and it makes me so sad to see people try them and ultimately fail because of the calorie/nutrient deprivation. These types of “diets” cause the yo-yo effect that many people experience when trying to get healthy and eat better.

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Hummus is a food that I typically buy pre-made. In my mind it’s a lot cheaper, and quicker to just buy it already made. But recently, I’ve tried to steer away from pre-made/convenience foods and put more effort and love into the food that I am eating. By doing this, I came up with this yummy hummus recipe that is actually much cheaper than pre-made and takes less than 20 minutes to whip up. Also, by making your own you can control what you put in your hummus. Most store bought hummus has preservatives and is high in oil.

The red peppers can definitely be left out, and the flavor can be changed to whatever you’d like. Add more garlic if you would like a more garlic heavy hummus, add cilantro and lime for a Mexican inspired hummus, or different spices to create whatever kind of hummus your hummus loving heart desires!

Most hummus recipes call for tahini which is similar to peanut butter but made with sesame seeds. This ingredient is pretty expensive, so I have found that just using raw sunflower seeds tends to take on the tahini flavor.

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Massaged Kale Salad

With kale being in season, I thought I would share with you all my simple, and easy kale salad recipe. This salad is great because it lasts in the refrigerator for almost an entire week, and is a great to pack for lunch or even a snack. It’s very easy to make, with simple/inexpensive ingredients.

Massaging the kale allows all the nutrients to get released, and also takes a lot of the bitterness out of the green. I love massaging my hearty greens, like kale, because it gives it a great texture and flavor. The quinoa in this salad can be taken out, but I highly suggest using either quinoa or rice to help make this dish a full meal and more filling. Also, either rice or quinoa will add protein and some complex carbohydrates to the salad. 

Kale and Quinoa Salad
7-8 servings

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10 Foods to ADD to Your Grocery List in 2015

With the new year finally here, lots of people are beginning diets and making decisions to remove things from their diets. Taking foods away can be beneficial to your health, but it can also be disappointing and feel a lot more like a loss/failure if those foods make it back onto your plate. Removing things can feel negative and overwhelming. So instead, try adding things to your diet/life and slowly you will find that you don’t crave the “bad” foods as much! I love the concept of adding foods, rather than removing because adding is much more positive and you’ll be getting those nutrients from the good foods you add regardless of the other foods you’re eating. So here are 10 foods I think you should add to your grocery list and incorporate into your menus in the new year.

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