Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pasture-raised Turkey

I hope you had a delicious and family- or friend-filled Thanksgiving! This year, our turkey was the most delicious I had ever eaten, and I am confident it is because the turkey was raised exactly as it should be - free-range, on a pasture, and organically. It was delivered on our doorstep a few days before Thanksgiving from Rockhouse Cattle Company, and we all agreed that it was top notch.

See, when animals eat what they're meant to eat (as in only grass for cows), their muscle and fat makeup is much different. Grass-fed beef is much higher in conjugated linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore, these ranching practices are much more humane, as the animals are not penned into small spaces.

We cooked this baby seasoned with sea salt, rubbed with organic butter, and stuffed with carrots and celery. Instead of cooking it in a plastic bag (ick!), we left it uncovered and basted regularly until it had an internal temperature of 185 and was golden brown on the outside - per instructions from my mother-in-law Chris.

Of course, I completely forgot to take photos of the turkey before we carved it, but here are a few shots post-knife.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thankful for What Keeps Me Healthy

"Make it a habit to tell people thank you.
To express your appreciation,
sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.
Truly appreciate those around you,
and you'll soon find many others around you.
Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it."
- Ralph Marston

In honor of Thanksgiving (4 days! 4 days!), I have decided to share what I am thankful for that helps keep me healthy. Hopefully this Thanksgiving week allows you time to reflect on all the blessings in your life.

1. Beautiful, organic, tasty food - and delicious "play" food as well. I am so lucky to have access to fresh, locally grown produce, organic and grass-fed meats, whole grains, and raw, organic dairy. I am also grateful for the beef and brie half sandwich I enjoyed at Bison Witches last night. Eating healthfully is a balance, and while it's so important to fill our plates with vibrant colors and real ingredients, it's also important to indulge in food that's just good for the soul.

As you approach the biggest eating holiday of the year, remember that Thanksgiving is an opportunity to be with family and friends and to share good food (and drink!), not a day to be anxious about calories or fat grams. That kind of extreme thinking will cause you to eat until you're stuffed and uncomfortable. Instead, how about this approach: fill your plate with your favorite foods, making sure to get plenty of variety, and eat until your body tells you it is time to stop. You can always enjoy more turkey, stuffing, or pie on Friday.

If you want to learn more about how to get off the crazy diet roller coaster, check out Intuitive Eating or Nourishing Connections - or contact me through my website.

I'm also so grateful to have a stocked pantry and food in my tummy every day. For so many people, getting enough food is a daily struggle. Whenever I feel discouraged or stressed, I remember that I always have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and good food on the table.

2. Local farmers and ranchers. I adore farmers' markets. I am so grateful that I live in a state where they are open year-round, and I love getting to know the growers of my food. This year is especially wonderful because Rockhouse Cattle Company, from whom I buy my organic grass-fed beef at the North Scottsdale Farmers Market, decided to raise free range, organically grown turkeys for Thanksgiving. These turkeys are not raised with any antibiotics or other drugs, and they're not given any commercial feed. The best part? Rockhouse is delivering the turkey to my door this week!

3. Karve. I have been doing seminars for Karve Studio in Scottsdale and k Pilates in Mesa for 2 1/2 years now, and I work out at the Scottsdale studio at least 4-5 times per week. It's one workout that never gets easy, and it's actually fun to do! I look forward to every class. The instructors are wonderful, the music is motivating, and I feel lucky to have become friends with so many of the wonderful women there. It's like no workout you have ever done, and I promise if you check it out you will love it too! It has definitely changed my body, but more importantly, I'm stronger and more athletic than ever. The owner, Kendra Jordan, has created something truly special. I'm extremely excited for the North Scottsdale location to open in 2012!

(Photo courtesy of Karve Studio's Facebook page)

4. Massage Envy. Anyone who knows me knows that I try to do a bit too much in not quite enough time. I have been like this my whole life, and while I have been blessed with a lot of wonderful experiences and successes, it has also made me pretty high strung and not very good at relaxing. That's why I get a massage every month at Massage Envy. Since I have been a member for so long I only pay 39 bucks - 39 bucks!! - for a great massage from my man Pedro. He's really good at pinpointing pressure points and sore muscles that need some help (see #3, above), and I always feel incredibly relaxed when I leave. It's hard for me to sit still for a whole hour, but this monthly practice is helping me get better at learning how to relax. Woosah.

5. Great kitchen gadgets. Cooking is much easier when you have the right tools. I tell all of my clients that if they buy anything for their kitchen, they might want to consider a few really good knives, a crockpot, stainless steel pots and pans, and a toaster oven. Today's toaster ovens allow for multiple functions (bake, toast, warm, "pizza," etc.), and I love how I can make a quick dinner for 2 without heating up my whole kitchen.

6. Whole Living Magazine. I love Whole Living, a Martha Stewart publication stuffed with great recipes, workout ideas, and tips for balancing work, family, friends, and the stresses that come with them. I look forward to leafing through each beautiful page every month, and I have learned some great ideas that work well for myself and my clients. Check it out - they usually have great subscription deals this time of year.

7. My "children" and our daily walks. Greg and I are 100% obsessed with our mutts, Wanda and Waldo. These "angels" fell into our lives in April of 2008 and have brought joy, laughter, and companionship for almost 4 years. They are half Golden Retriever, half Australian shepherd mixes from the same litter, and I take them on 50-60 minute walks. Every. Day. Well, technically we joke that they are "W-O-Ks" (Wanda and Waldo speak). I rarely get away with missing a walk, because Mr. Man and Wanda Cow are on top of me as early as 4:45 AM, reminding me of my responsibility.

Waldo on the left, Wanda on the right

This daily routine is great, however, because it forces me to get out into the fresh air and enjoy our (often dark) neighborhood we work so hard to live in. We have met many a pooch and owner on our route, and we're always rosy-cheeked (or panting) when we return.

8. Like-minded dietitians and my clients. Food and nutrition can be very polarizing, and those of us who are open-minded to a more holistic approach are often the minority within the traditional "registered dietitian" realm. That's why I'm so grateful for strong, creative, and passionate RDs like Maya Nahra, Alisha Chasey, and Kathleen Bundy. Thank you for encouraging me to think outside the box.

I am grateful for the men and women who trust me to help them with their nutrition needs. Eating isn't just about food; it can be very complicated can be influenced by feelings of self-worth, family dynamics, and life stress. My clients share some of their most raw emotions with me, and I am grateful that they allow me to help them grow and change before my eyes.

9. Acupuncture. I have a few very important men in my life, and one of them is named Joshuah. Dr. Joshuah Kim is my acupuncturist and one of the most talented, kind, and compassionate practitioners I have ever met. His practice, Holy Hill Acupuncture in South Scottsdale, treats patients with a variety of maladies, but a lot of people see him because he helps them maintain good health. Joshuah takes my health very seriously and feels responsible when I don't feel well (a traditional Korean medical mindset that is much different than ours). He was trained as a physician in Korea and has helped many of my family, friends, clients, and coworkers. With his help, I have gone from being in constant pain to feeling great, and I will probably see him until he decides to stop practicing...or until he gets sick of me!

This is Joshuah. Yup, he's amazing.

10. Friends and family, of course! I value health so much because it allows me to enjoy my time spent with family and friends and to be there for them when I am needed. Plus, we are healthier when we foster meaningful friendships. I have been blessed with some really special people in my life, and I try to tell them - and show them - how much I love them as often as I can. Thank you for making my life and work meaningful.

Our wedding - February 21, 2009

FBR Open Brunch - February 2011

28th Birthday Taco Night - May 2011

The McNamees - April 2011

The Hammers/Sims/McNamees at my sister's wedding - July 2011

My little family :)

May you give thanks for that which keeps you healthy and happy this week.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beer-battered Fish Tacos

I'm always on the lookout for healthy taco recipes, and I have to say this one from really hits the spot. As always, I adapted it to suit my nutrition and ingredient preferences. The batter fell off the fish a little more than I would have liked, but I just scraped it up and piled it in the taco - same taste, right? I loved that I was able to use up some thawed tilapia that had been on sale at Whole Foods and was waiting in the freezer for a few weeks.

Note - I did not make the salsa; instead, I put together a simple taco sauce using organic sour cream and safflower mayo, adapted from this recipe on I used pre-made salsa to top the tacos as well.

This recipe was a big hit in our house. Serve these babies piled high with shredded cabbage and enjoy with a side of black "refried" beans for a simple, healthy comfort food!


1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cup safflower mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. ground garlic
Cholula, to taste
Sea salt, to taste

3 T. whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/3 cup beer (I only had Bud Light - surprise, surprise)
12 ounces tilapia fillet, cut crosswise into 1-inch wide strips
2 tsp. organic pasture butter
4 whole wheat tortillas, warmed
Jarred or fresh salsa
Shredded cabbage


Combine all ingredients for sauce and season with Cholula to taste. Cover and refrigerate. This sauce can be made 1-2 days in advance.

Combine flour, cumin, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl.

Whisk in beer to create a batter. (Can you tell I get really excited whenever I get to cook with beer - or wine, for that matter?)

Coat tilapia pieces in batter. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Letting excess batter drip back into the bowl, add the fish to the pan; cook until crispy and golden, 2-3 minutes per side.

Serve the fish in a tortilla topped with salsa, shredded cabbage, and the taco sauce.

(We also enjoyed it with Trader Joe's vegetable flaxseed chips and homemade guacamole!)