Technicalities: Food is Fuel

“Food is fuel.”

Technically, this is correct.

Food, at it’s bare minimum, is what allows us as human beings to function.

That doesn’t mean “food is fuel” is the be all end all.

Because food is fuel… but it is not only fuel.

Food functions beyond giving us energy for our daily activities and happenings.

It goes beyond the nutrients it provides for our bodies to do their magical and miraculous things.

It is more than carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

It goes further than providing for our basic needs.

Food is so much more.

Food gives way to experiencing the world, cultures, and lifestyles.

Food is a language we all speak, a common ground.

Food substitutes a time machine, allowing us to revisit the past in just a bite.

Food brings us together and creates community in the making, eating, and enjoying of it.

Food gives us something to look forward to. To reflect on. To bond over.

Food allows a creative outlet in the ability to experiment.

Food is healing because whether it is a cookie or a salad eating is self-care.

Food creates comfort in it’s familiarity, it’s warmth, it’s pleasantries.

Food is life-sustaining it, giving way to experience it, memories revolving around it, traditions upheld with it.

Food is a way to show our love, care, concern, and compassion whether homemade, store bought or takeout.

Food may be fuel… but it’s importance and abilities go far beyond that.

Food is fuel, but it is not only fuel.

How does food go beyond fuel for you? I’d love to hear what it means to you below!

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Holiday Chatter

‘Tis the season of gathering around the table.

Maybe it’s the table in your own home, your parents, your in-laws, your friends, a company holiday party, or even at a restaurant... Maybe holidays suck and you choose to celebrate alone at your coffee table. And that’s okay too. No matter where the table, it’s more likely than not that you will be around it for celebration sometime soon. And for many of us, there is going to be some stress that comes with that.

Stress and baggage has a tendency to travel with the holiday season. First and foremost, make sure you are practicing your best self care (more on that coming soon). Then take it one day at a time.

Here are some things to consider and maybe share with those you are spending time with this holiday season and feel could benefit from knowing:

Mind your own plate (And ask that others do as well)

Your plate is your business… and it’s acceptable to ask everyone around you to mind their own plate too. This is easily reversed-don’t compare your plate to that of anyone around you. Your plate is specifically crafted for you. Your wants, your taste, your needs. The what and why and how much is on a plate is the plate owners business alone.

Also, avoid being the food police and don’t accept others policing your food. It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to eat a salad… or dessert… or grandma’s famous yams. It’s also okay if you go back for seconds of absolutely anything and/or everything if that is what they want.

What someone decides to eat and drink any day of the year should should not be up for public debate (if at all)… let’s try to put an emphasis on that during the holiday season.

Things not to talk about around the table (or ever)

  1. Diets and Restriction: Whether you’re following the newest fad, were put on it by a medical provider, or just shooting for a “lifestyle change” don’t talk about your diet, food rules, or any restrictions that you may be implementing, considering or practicing in the future. With 1 in 4 dieters going on to develop an eating disorder the risk of harm is too high to ignore.

    What to talk about instead?: What tv, movies or music you’ve been into lately

  2. Weight and Body Talk: Even when said as a ‘compliment’, talking about others (or your own) weight and body changes or shape can be incredibly damaging. It reinforces that there are ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ bodies… and that is not true. Bodies are meant to be diverse and that is ok. Body image is hard enough in our society without the comments, even well intentioned, from family and friends.

    What to say instead?: “Hello! How have you been? It is so great to see you!”

  3. Post Meal Shaming: Guilt and shame are common following a meal. It’s not wrong to feel that way-but that probably means you personally need to do work with your relationship with body and food and that’s okay! Just choose to not talk about any poor feelings following a meal or shame anyone else for what/how much/when they choose to eat.

    What to say instead: ‘That meal was absolutely delicious. It was so great to share with you all.”

  4. Exercise Routines: No one needs to earn, burn, ‘prepare for’, or ‘work off’ any food, let alone a holiday dinner. Everyone needs to eat, multiple times a day, every day a year, regardless of movement. Period. If you moved today in a way that felt great to you, CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so happy you’ve found movement that works for you. If you moved today and your motivation was elsewhere, that’s okay too! Either way others don’t need to hear about or feel guilt or shame related to your exercise routine.

    What to talk about instead?: Your favorite thing to do during the holidays.

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Preparing yourself for the holiday celebration

Plan for as much as you can. Think through your holiday plans. Run through uncomfortable scenarios. Know your boundaries and your limits. Stick to them. It’s okay to say no to events you rather not go to that will only leave you feeling drained. Share any boundaries you need to with family and friends to help have the best time possible.

Do not skip breakfast or any meals or normal snacks before the event.

The day before and after make sure you have time set aside for self care (the day of too if you can manage!). If you know these events are hard for you, make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Maybe you plan for a nap between events, ten minutes of meditation, a walk by yourself after dinner, an hour in the middle of the day to just read… whatever you know works for you, if possible to incorporate it, do so!

Pack snacks if you think you may need them. If you are unsure that any food will be there for you to enjoy (whether it’s because of personal preference, allergy, or another medical necessity) it’s okay to pack your own food.

If you want to enjoy something or a family member is insisting on you trying it and you just can’t eat it in the moment, ask for some to go.

Not sure how things are going to go? Do what is best for you, have an escape plan, and if you need to leave early, then leave early. There is nothing wrong with that.

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As much as possible, enjoy the food. Embrace the company. Focus on the experience.

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When Mindful Eating Turns Into a Diet

Too much of anything can be a bad thing… Including mindful eating.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in Mindful Eating and I believe that it can work beautifully and compliment Intuitive Eating… But what happens when we take mindfulness and mindful eating to an extreme?

What happens when you have to be mindful about your food all of the time?

When we are so mindful that food and eating are the only focus of the meal?

When we know the exact amount of every food we’ve eaten from cups to tablespoons to the exact count of tortilla chips?

What happens when we take mindful eating and turn it into a form of restriction?

IT’S NO LONGER MINDFUL.

We go from saying we’re being mindful to actually being a slave to the rules and restrictions of yet another diet that we mask with mindfulness… and rules and restrictions are not mindful eating.


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Mindful eating is flexible.

You do not have to be mindful when eating 100% of the time.

You can take into consideration the situations when maybe it would be better for our sanity, our self care, our experience to allow for a bit of mindlessness.

Mindful eating takes into account not only what food you are eating or not eating and how it tastes, how our body responds, how it makes us feel (emotionally and physically), but also the experience and the people around you.

Like with all things there are shades of gray.

There is nuance.

I wholeheartedly believe that eating a meal at the table with good conversation and loved ones is one of the greatest regular occasions we can have… but I also know that is not everyone’s experience.

Maybe mindful eating is really hard.

Maybe mindless eating is truly difficult.

Either way I encourage you to lean into the discomfort as you can, because both are part of the human experience. And neither is wrong in it’s own right.

Yes, mindlessly eating at every meal can be problematic, but making mindful eating a rigid experience is too.

So if practicing mindful eating-figure out what works for you.

Maybe breakfast and dinner are distraction free but lunch we tend to work through. Or after a long day we like to watch our favorite show and have a bowl of popcorn.

Find your balance-whatever that means to you.


Amanda is an anti-diet dietitian and nutrition therapist practicing in Bloomington, IN and virtually. If you are looking to work with a dietitian, she is currently accepting new clients. Check out her services or reach out to set up your FREE discovery call today. She would love the opportunity to work with you!


What's new in your grocery cart?

I've tried (at least) five new things! I've noticed that when trying new things I gravitate mostly towards snack items. I tend to do a lot of home cooking and when we don't, tend to eat out. Not that we don't have easy products we love to turn to on busy nights, but those are tried and true and rarely new... maybe I need to branch out?

Anyway, here's what I thought about five more food products and whether I would buy them again:

1. La Terra Fina Dip & Spread

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I'm a fan of Dips and Spreads. Don't get me wrong veggies are great and all, but they are so much better raw when they're transporting something that compliments them. Also, so many people struggle to eat their veggies, I love being able to suggest ways to change it up.

I bought these when I went over to look at the hummus and they happened to be on sale. So I debated the flavors and swiped these two delicious looking ones up. To be honest I was a bit disappointed by the Spinach Parmesan one, but loved the Green Chile and Cheese-It reminded me of jalepeño poppers! I will definitely be purchasing that flavor again

I checked out their site and love how many flavor options they have!

I'm not a fan of the "real quality food" because that literally means nothing but makes it suggest it's "superior" to other foods.

Other dips I want to try: Pineapple Habanero and their Vanilla Bean Cheesecake Dip!

2. Love Crunch Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Granola

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I've tried love crunch granola in the past but this flavor was new to me and it did not disappoint!

I've been loving on yogurt lately and wanted to be able to add something with a crunch for a variety of texture. So to the granola section I went and noticed this alongside the tried and true flavors that I knew I loved... but I'm always up for more PB in my diet!

I love how rich and impactful all their flavors are and this one did not disappoint. 

I'm not a fan of the non-gmo project verified because I'm pretty certain there is no GMO equivalent of anything in the ingredient list.

I've officially all four granola flavors, they're all good but the Coconut dark chocolate is my absolute favorite!

3. Icelandic Provisions Coconut Skyr

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As I've said, my yogurt game has increased lately. While technically this is skyr and not yogurt, it's stored in the same section so.....

I generally buy a tub of plain greek yogurt, but also like to have a few single serving packages to grab on the run that are quick and easy and don't require any extra prep. Typically it's whatever is on sale so enter the trying of this product!

Coconut flavor is one of my favorites so I always gravitate towards it-this one did not disappoint on the flavor, had a thick and creamy texture and I will definitely buy again!

I love the texture. Some yogurts are too thin but as I said above this one was nice and thick! Apparently this is a trait of skyr so maybe I need to buy it more often!

I'm not a fan of the fact that I've been mispronouncing it incorrectly and no one has corrected me! (pronounced /skeer/)

Other products I want to try: Peach Cloudberry

4. Pepperoncini Flavor Kettle Brand Chips

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As I've said, my yogurt game has increased lately. While technically this is skyr and not yogurt, it's stored in the same section so.....

I generally buy a tub of plain greek yogurt, but also like to have a few single serving packages to grab on the run that are quick and easy and don't require any extra prep. Typically it's whatever is on sale so enter the trying of this product!

Coconut flavor is one of my favorites so I always gravitate towards it-this one did not disappoint on the flavor, had a thick and creamy texture and I will definitely buy again!

I love the texture. Some yogurts are too thin but as I said above this one was nice and thick! Apparently this is a trait of skyr so maybe I need to buy it more often!

I'm not a fan of the fact that I've been mispronouncing it incorrectly and no one has corrected me! (pronounced /skeer/)

Other products I want to try: Peach Cloudberry 

4. Oreos Special Flavors

We are an Oreo family. So every time we see a new flavor we generally grab it. When these two flavors came out we were extra excited.

Both of these flavors were super good! The pistachio was my personal favorite-it has a nutty flavor that is so amazing! The other tastes straight up like PB pie. If you see either I highly recommend grabbing them

Coconut flavor is one of my favorites so I always gravitate towards it-this one did not disappoint on the flavor, had a thick and creamy texture and I will definitely buy again!

I love that they taste like childhood.

I hate that these amazing flavors are only available for a  limited time

Other products I want to try: Apparently they have a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake flavor coming out later this summer and I am so excited to try it!

Are there any new products you've tried lately? Did you enjoy them? Let me know below!

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Just One Bite...

My grandparents (aka the greatest couple of all time) are my food role models. Not to say they haven't had their own unique relationships with food. But they always encouraged me to try new foods, and I 100% owe my diverse food palate to them and my innate need to please (because my siblings did not oblige to their encouragement, but they turned out to be much pickier eaters than me, so people pleasing for the win!)

In line with what they enabled me, I still love to try new foods (and have even had the opportunity to return the favor by introducing them to some new cuisines like Thai, Indian and Peruvian)! Since trying new things is something I'm passionate about (and to encourage myself to continue to try new things since I can't take my grandparents everywhere with me...) here are my opinions on a few things I've tried lately.

I will always disclose if  a post is ever sponsored. This is not one of those times-but I  promise to only share my honest thoughts and opinions here and elsewhere, paid or otherwise. 

1. Bubly

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I love sparkling water. I mostly drink water so it's fun to switch it up a bit. I know it's not everyone's fancy, but I really do enjoy it.  Bubly was no exception. I just kind of stumbled upon this brand when in target planning to pick up their brand of sparkling water and it so happened to be on sale.

I was super excited about the apple flavor and it did not disappoint-it reminded me of sour apple candies which in my opinion is childhood in a can. The mango flavor was just okay. It didn't blow me away and is far from my favorite, but I didn't hate it. 

I love their quirky logo that incorporates a smile. Also, Neil Patrick Harris is on their main page and that never hurt anything.

I haven't found anything about this brand or product that I dislike yet. (I haven't dug too hard though)

Other Bubly's I wanna give a try: Cherry and Strawberry

2. Perfect Bar

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I kept seeing perfect bars pop up in instagram stories and my news feed so I figured it was about time to give them a try. So I picked up a few flavors: The coconut peanut butter, the peanut butter chocolate, and the blueberry cashew.

The first bar I tried was the Coconut Peanut Butter and I loved it. It reminded me of a really good PB no bake cookie and filled me up for an afternoon snack. I had high hopes for the PB chocolate and Blueberry cashew after such a wonderful experience but unfortunately, they just were not as good. I'd eat those flavors in a pinch but probably wouldn't buy them again.

I love that this protein bar doesn't use whey-I cannot tolerate the mouthfeel and whey often leaves me feeling terrible so that was a definite plus.

I hate the name and the "reasons" they deem it perfect. 

Bars I want to give a try: Almond Coconut, Maple Almond and Chocolate Walnut Brownie

3. Dr. Praegers Veggie Burger

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I had seen Dr. Praeger's before and heard nothing but good things but was often scared off by the price-low and behold Kroger had them on sale one day so I grabbed a couple of flavors to give them a whirl.

These are by far my favorite frozen veggie burgers I've ever had! My meat loving husband also didn't hate them so I call it a win.

I love the variety of flavors that this brand has! We tried the Kale burger and this one so far and both have been great. Also, the food pun on the box is a welcomed added bonus.

I'm not in love with their tagline "Purely sensible"... which is a common theme for me not liking products I guess.

I want to try the Bibbimap (have in my freezer) and the Mushroom Risotto Veggie Burgers, as well as their root veggie hash browns.

4. Buddha Bowl Foods Popcorn

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This popcorn was an impulse buy the day before I left for Chicago. I was at Lucky's looking for some snacks for the trip and saw this flavor-since I love sweet/spicy combos so this looked amazing.

While I ended up not opening it on the trip, I did dig into them shortly after and in fact am snacking on them right now. The flavor is subtle but very good.

I love the perfect balance between the jalapeño and honey-it's spicy and sweet, but not overly so in either direction.

I hate the companies tagline "Lesser Evil." I didn't notice it until I got home this one had by far the worst one and really focused on demonizing food...  The product was great but I could really do without this.

5. The Jackfruit Company

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Jackfruit is one of the foods on my food bucket list. When I saw this on sale I figured it was a great (and easy) way to try it out! Since the husband had zero interest I made it on an evening he wasn't home for dinner.

To be honest-I didn't like the sauce/seasoning on this. The texture of the jackfruit really did remind me of shredded meat but I just struggled getting past the flavor. I finished it for dinner but would not probably buy this flavor again.

I like that this company makes incorporating jackfruit easier because honestly, who's going to buy a whole jackfruit?

Again, I don't like the tagline because "the healthy main dish" suggests that this dish promises health. No food alone can do that.

 

Have you tried any of these foods? Are there any other food (or other) products you've tried lately and loved (or thought you would but ended up not?) I'd love to hear from you below!

 

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