Another Budget Friendly Meal

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

imagesWith the start of the new year, the season of deciding to make healthier food choices is upon us yet again.  The most common New Year’s resolution is to eat better and exercise more.  The problem with this resolution is that most people become overwhelmed, feel lost and quickly fall back into their past habits.  One of the biggest issues that we face when we decide to make any sort of a diet or exercise change is where to begin.  Planning is the key, as is shopping wisely.  When we first decide to cook more than we have in the past, the first trip to the grocery store might cause a slight nervous breakdown when we reach the register.   This shock is what causes people to have the erroneous belief that cooking for ourselves is more expensive than eating out.  This could not be farther from the truth.  I had made a post similar to this in the past and one of my resolutions this year is to post more to show people that cooking is not only healthier for us, but it is also amazingly cheap.

I understand the pressure of time when it comes to cooking.  Over the past year I have been in grad school to get my second Masters in nutrition so my time is also very limited.  The way I deal with this limited time is I cook in advance on a day when I will be around the house and have a bit of time.  We ALL have time if we think about it.  Just forgo one night of TV and you’ll be amazed at what you can get done.  I mean, the Duck Dynasty people aren’t really THAT interesting, are they???  Before I go shopping, I make a plan of a number of meals that I will cook and then freeze, so when I come home from class and have to hit the books right away, I have a healthy meal ready for me. The only preparation is heating it up.

One of the meals I’m planning on making this weekend is Beef Stew.  In contrast to the Chicken Piccata post that I wrote a while back, this dish does take a bit more time to prepare only because it stews for about 2 hours.  The active time of preparation is limited, however.  It will take maybe about 30 minutes of your time then the rest of the time you’re free to do what you wish while it cooks.  Just walk over and check it every once in a while to make sure that it isn’t boiling.  Let’s take a gander at how affordable this delicious meal is…

Recipe: (modified from 1,000 Low Fat Recipes by Terry Blonder Goldson)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 pound lean beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch pieces

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

3 cups sliced onions

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup red wine

3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 large carrots, cut into 1 inch rounds

2 large potatoes (about 1 pound) cut into 2 inch pieces (I use red potatoes and keep the skin on to keep the nutrition)

2 cups reduced sodium beef broth

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

1 bay leaf

One 10 oz package frozen peas, thawed (I use fresh when I can)

One 10 oz package frozen cut green beans, thawed (I use fresh)

1) Heat the oil in a large, nonstick pot.  Dust the cubes of beef with the flour and brown them on all sides.  Removed the beef to a plate.  Add the onions and garlic to the pot.  Stir and scrape up bits of flour.  Cook until the onions begin to turn golden.  Keep covered between stirrings to capture the vegetables’ moisture, but if that is not enough to keep them from sticking, add a little bit of the wine.  Once the onions are golden, stir in any remaining flour.

2) Put the beef back in the pot along with the celery, carrots and potatoes.  Pour in the wine and broth.  Stir in the salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Pour in water to come just to the top of the vegetables.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.  Remove the lid and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes.

3) Stir in the peas and green beans and cook for 15 min longer.  Remove the bay leaf.

So here’s the cost breakdown.  I won’t be including items like spices and flour due to the fact that most people already have these items in their kitchen and also the cost per recipe is minimal.  Here is what we have…

1 pound beef = $4.45

Onion = ~ $1.00

Garlic – 2 cloves = ~$0.10 (1 head cost $0.50. There are about 10 cloves in 1 head.  $0.50/10 = $0.05 per clove)

Wine – 1/4 cup = $0.24 (One cheap bottle cost $3.99.  There are roughly 4 cups in one bottle.  $3.99/4 cups = $0.99 per cup.  We only need 1/4 cup so $0.99/4 = $0.24 per 1/4 cup)

Celery – 3 ribs = $0.54 (One bunch of celery cost $1.79.  There are roughly 10 ribs in one bunch.  $1.79/10 = $0.18 per rib)

Carrots – 3 large carrots = $0.60 (One bag of organic carrots cost $1.99.  There are roughly 10 carrots in a bag.  $1.99/10 = $0.20 per carrot)

Potatoes – 1 pound of potatoes cost $1.50

Peas – 1 package of peas cost $1.20

Green beans – 1 package of fresh green beans (not frozen) cost $3.80 (If you use frozen, it will be cheaper)

After we add all that up we see that the total cost for this entire dish is $13.43.  The dish serves 5 meals though so take $13.43 and divide by 5 and you get $2.77 per meal.  I will add some rice and Brussels sprouts as side dishes which will add, roughly, another $3 to the meal.

So, look at what we have here.  We have beef stew, rice and some vegetables all for about $5.77 a meal.  Again, show me this meal on a value menu!

Budget friendly meals

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

It seems that my post from a few weeks ago, touching on the debate of whether it is cheaper to eat low quality fast food or high quality fresh and healthy food that you prepare yourself, has caught a lot of attention.  I’m happy to see that so many people responded so positively to this across all mediums where I spread the word.  To follow up on that thought, I was looking again at my favorite magazine, “Eating Well”, and look at what was on the front page today! 

It is an article with a list of a number of healthy meals that you can make for $3 a serving.  How can you beat that?!  Some of these recipes look quite yummy and you can be sure that I will be trying a number of them.  Big Mac?  What’s a Big Mac?

Enjoy!

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/3_diet_dinners

Eating healthy while on a budget

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Lately, I have been bombarded by people trying to convince me that it is cheaper to eat one of the many fast food budget meals or frozen entrees than to buy groceries and cook for yourself.  Whether it is from my students, clients or friends, I keep hearing the same story indicating that I just simply don’t understand when it comes to cost of food in regard to eating healthy.  Well, considering I am a self-employed, small business owner in one of the worst economic states since the Great Depression, I actually understand more than most would ever know.

Being a nutritionist, in order for me to consume fast food, I would have to be presented with the choice between a McDonald’s hamburger or gnawing off my own arm.  Even then I would still pause and take time to consider my options.  We all know that fast food is horrible for us. We spend millions of dollars a year in research to prove that point, while we really already know that it is junk “food” and should not be a staple in our diet.  Even though we all are smart enough to know this, even in the absence of costly research, we are wowed by the “cheap” and fast meal.

Having been forced into the same conversation over and over again, and having to defend my stand on how cooking is cheaper, I decided to calculate exactly how cheap one meal would be.  I also chose a quick meal in order to prove that not only can cooking for yourself be cheaper, it can also be fairly quick.  One of the biggest problems I face when trying to counsel  people on how to eat healthier, is to get them to cook.  Most people think it will take hours upon hours to cook a healthy meal.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  So, here is what I came up with in order to prove my point.  Last night I made Chicken Piccata.  This was a staple dish in my NY Italian household.  It actually still is to this day.  My Dad makes this often when I go home for a visit.  The name sounds fancy and when you get it in a restaurant, most people think that they have to be a chef in order to whip this dish up.  Well, get ready to all become award winning chefs!

1 pound of chicken breasts (if you want to be fancy, you can cut them scaloppine style.  If not, pound them thin or use chicken tenders)

1 lemon (decent size or 2 small lemons)

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup water or chicken broth

Flour for dredging

3 tablespoons olive oil (or butter if you want to be a little less healthy)

Salt and pepper to taste

After cutting or pounding the chicken, dredge in flour and shake off excess.  In a large frying pan that has a lid, heat olive oil.  Place chicken in pan and saute for a few min each side depending on the thickness. Roughly about 2-3 min (less if meat is thin)  Do this in batches if needed. Remove chicken and place on a platter. Add wine and let simmer for 15-30 sec until alcohol burns off.  Add water (or chicken broth) and chicken back to the pan.  Add parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Cover and reduce to a low simmer.  Cook about 10 min or until chicken is cooked through. Be sure not to cook all of the liquid away otherwise the dish will dry out.  Keeping it at a low simmer should prevent that from happening.  Check it often to be sure.  It will also allow you to spoon it onto the chicken or rice when you serve.

To complete my meal last night, I made wild rice and steamed carrots. Now, let’s see how much this healthy meal cost us. First I will provide the list of ingredients at their full price from the grocery store.  I will leave off things like olive oil, salt, pepper and flour since those are typically given as being in the home.

Chicken, 2.5 lb bag Frozen chicken tenders from Trader Joes – $7.00

Lemons, 6 per bag – $3.00

Parsley, 1 bunch – $1.50

Wild rice, 1 bag – $5.00

Organic Carrots, 1 bag – $2.00

White Wine, Charles Shaw – $2.00

So what that looks like is it just cost $20 to make a meal right?  Wrong.  Let’s break this down shall we?

Chicken – 1 pound – $2.80 (the bag is 2.5 pounds and cost $7.00.  $7/2.5 = $2.80/pound)

Lemon – 1 lemon – $0.50 (there are about 6 lemons in the bag and cost $3.00.  $3/6 = $0.50/lemon)

Parsley – 2 tablespoons – $0.30 (this one is a rough estimate. The bunch cost $1.50 and really it depends on the size of the bunch to figure out how much you can get out of it.  $1.5/10 = $0.15/tablespoon) ** see my other blog post on how to keep parsley fresh in the fridge.

White wine – 1/4 cup – $0.12 (The bottle was $2 and there are roughly 4 cups in the bottle.  $2/16 = $0.12/quarter cup)

Total cost for Chicken Piccata = $3.72

Now let’s add the side dishes

Wild rice – 1 cup – $2.00 (the bag cost $5 and there are about 2.5 cups in the bag.  $5/2.5 = $2.00/cup)

Carrots – 6 carrots – $1.50 (the bag cost $2.00 and there were about 8 carrots in the bag. $2/8 = $0.25 a carrot. 0.25 x 6 = $1.50)

Total cost for rice and carrots = $3.50

TOTAL COST FOR ENTIRE DISH = $7.22

Well, $7.22 is a little bit more than a value meal at Burger King or McDonald’s right? But wait! There’s more!  What I just calculated was for the ENTIRE recipe.  So, for that entire recipe, it cost $7.22.  This serves 4!  So take $7.22/4 = $1.80

I just provided you with a healthy meal option that cost you $1.80 per meal.  You have room to add another vegetable, unsweetened iced tea and even some fresh fruit for desert.  I guarantee you still will not go over the $5 mark if you choose wisely.  Now, show me that option on a McDonald’s menu!

Do you have Candida (Yeast) Overgrowth?

Tags

, , , , ,

This topic hits home for me in a HUGE way and is one of the main reasons why I left the music industry behind and developed a new career in nutrition.  As I have touched on, in my post that explained my story and who I am, I have had stomach issues for my entire life.  They hit their peak in my early 30′s and no matter how many doctors I saw, no one was able to come up with a reason or answer that I was comfortable with.  Basically, they all told me I had IBS and I would just have to deal with the discomfort for the rest of my life.  End of story.  That was not good enough for me.  I decided to take matters into my own hands and did endless research to see if I could come up with an answer that didn’t end with “this is how it is going to be for the rest of my life”.  I had narrowed down the fact that my most severe stomach issues began once I started taking birth control pills.  Once I had stopped taking them, while the pain wasn’t as intense, the discomfort was still there.  I lost weight (not desirable weight) and I would only be able to eat a few mouthfuls of food before I began to feel bloated and full.  I was always tired and also started breaking out in intense hive attacks for absolutely no reason at all.  Those were the main symptoms that I was concerned with.  Finally, and thankfully, I came across information on candida overgrowth and was able to battle it on my own.  I did a candida cleansing diet, which I will get to in a minute, and also took a fantastic supplement to help as well.  I felt amazing!  I couldn’t believe that finally I had energy and could eat an entire meal without feeling pain!  Let’s talk about what candida is before we go further.

Many of us have heard the word candida in reference to vaginal yeast infections.  While it is true that vaginal yeast infections are caused by candida overgrowth, one thing that we are never told is that there is also yeast (candida) in our intestines as well.  Candida Albicans, as it is correctly called, is a yeast that is a part of our intestinal flora.  While we do not know the specific reason why we need candida in our system, it has shown to be normal and harmless in small amounts.  Our “good” bacteria keeps candida, and other harmful bacteria, at bay.  The problem arises when candida is allowed to grow out of control.  Not only does candida overgrowth weaken our intestinal walls, which provides the ability for it to enter our bloodstream and effect other areas of our body, it also produces toxic bi-products that, in the end, can cause free radical damage to our tissues.  This opens the door for countless symptoms, conditions and illnesses.  The bottom line is it becomes a systemic issue that is very difficult to battle if left undiagnosed for too long.

Due to the fact that candida is in our intestines, this is just as much of a male issue as a female issue.  Sadly, many doctors either are not educated in candida overgrowth or they simply do not believe that it is a problem.  Therefore, many people go undiagnosed, or are misdiagnosed, and are left to take unnecessary medications to fix a problem that doesn’t exist.  In addition to dietary causes, there are a range of other causes as well such as the use of antibiotics, birth control pills, gastric bypass surgery and even stress.  So, what are some of the symptoms of candida?  As I said, it can effect pretty much all areas of the body and each person will have a variety of symptoms.  This is the main reason why it is so difficult to diagnose.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to: Depression, Low Libido, Panic Attacks, Fatigue, Acid reflux, Bloating/Gas, Diarrhea and/or Constipation, Stomach cramps/pain, Mucus in stool, Itchy anus, Acne, Hives, Dry Skin, Itching, Nail fungus, Thrush, Swollen lips, Halitosis, Persistent cough, Sore throat, Sinus congestion, Chronic post nasal drip, Undesired weight loss, Inability to lose weight, Frequent vaginal yeast infections, Headaches, Heart palpitations, Chronic body pains, Muscle stiffness

Here is a link to an easy questionnaire to see if you possibly have yeast overgrowth.

Now the question is, what do you do to get candida levels back under control?  For me, I did a dietary cleanse in addition to taking a herbal supplement.  The supplement I used is called Yeast Away by Peak Health Care Products.

I would recommend that you do the 30 day treatment if you do use this supplement.  There are others out there as well, so feel free to research and find what works best for you.  I just found this one to be amazing.  As for diet, there are a number of extreme cleanse diets out there that claim to be necessary in order to clean out your intestinal tract.  Let me be clear on this, that is NOT necessary.  Cleaning out your colon in an aggressive way will actually do more harm than good.  While yes, you would be clearing out harmful bacteria and yeast, you are also ridding your body of the good bacteria that we need in order to keep things in balance.  Our body is an amazing machine and will correct and heal itself if we give it the opportunity to do so.  So, please do not starve yourself of food or do any sort of colon flush.  You are only doing your body a disservice if you do.  Instead, there are a variety of diets out there that you can do to reduce the yeast in your body.  The main dietary culprits that promote yeast overgrowth are yeast filled foods (breads, cakes, pastries), sugar and any food that breaks down into sugar (alcohol, starchy foods).  The “cleanse” I came up with for myself basically cut out any foods that would promote yeast growth.  In some cases, you do not have to cut these foods out forever, you just need to know how to balance them with foods that promote a healthy intestinal tract.  Each person is different, however, so you need to find what works for you.

Here is a general list of foods to avoid while you cleanse:

  • all sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • alcohol
  • gluten
  • most fruits
  • certain veggies (potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, yams, beets, peas, all squash except zucchini)
  • certain meats (all pork, cured, processed, smoked)
  • dairy (milk, cheese)
  • nuts (due to the high mold content: pistachios, cashews, peanuts)
  • beans (soy, soy products)
  • condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, soy sauce, salad dressing)
  • vinegar (except apple cider vinegar)
  • margarine

I know, you must be thinking “But what is left to eat?!”  It isn’t easy, and to be honest, some of you might not have to cut ALL of this out.  Listen to your body and see what works and what doesn’t.  For me, I don’t need to cut out fruit but I do need to cut out all bread products, sugar, certain beans and alcohol while doing this cleanse.  It is best to start with cutting all of the avoidance foods out in the beginning and then slowly add things back one at a time to see what your body can and can’t handle.

With that said, here is a list of foods to eat while you cleanse:

  • veggies (any and all that aren’t on the avoidance list)
  • live yogurt cultures (PLAIN Greek yogurt, kefir, probiotics)
  • meat (organic or non-antibiotic treated is best considering antibiotics destroy the healthy flora in our intestines)
  • fish
  • nuts and seeds (any and all that are not on the avoidance list)
  • non gluten containing whole grains (quinoa, wild rice, oat bran, millet)

The best way to approach this, considering this might be a drastic diet change for many people, is to sit down and list out all the foods that you like and are able to eat.  If you do not have the means to talk with a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian, then really research recipe ideas so that you can come up with a menu on your own.  This is not something that you should wake up and just do one day.  You need to sit with it and figure out a plan first.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that you MUST cut out all processed and fast foods.  You are going to have to cook your meals.  Processed and fast foods have an insane amount of yeast, sugars, molds etc., which is why most of us are suffering from this condition.  I came across the site below that is pretty thorough and even has some recipe ideas as well as information on other probiotic options.  I used this site a lot as a reference while coming up with this blog post.  While I love most of this site, I can not stress enough that you should NOT do an aggressive cleanse.  Skip straight to their stage two and take it from there.

The Candida Diet

Lastly, you should be forewarned that you may experience some undesirable effects in the first days of the cleanse.  This is what is referred to as “die off”.  Basically, your body will be starving the yeast and it will be struggling to survive.  The first time I experienced die off, it was intense.  I had unbelievable cravings for sugar and alcohol, I had a headache and felt exhausted.  It is uncomfortable, but you MUST push through.  You can do it.  The prize at the other end is amazing.  Trust me.

NYC ban on super sized sodas

I had posted this article on my personal Facebook page and it surprisingly stirred up quite the debate.  I have to admit I was astonished by how many people were against this.  While I understand their view on government interference, and while I agree that government should have an extremely limited role in my personal choices, I have to say, I agree with Mayor Bloomberg on this one.  While I may not agree with many of his political views, he has been a champion for health and has made many unpopular decisions where his only goal was to force the citizens of his city to make better food choices for the sake of their health and the health of their children.  Many people will argue that people have the right to make such choices, and again, while I agree to some degree, where I stray from that belief is when it comes to an addiction situation.

Food, especially sugary foods, are addictive.  In some situations there may be a biochemical addiction, where in other situations, there may be an emotional/mental addiction.  The fact of the matter is, most of our country is addicted to food.  66% of our adults are overweight/obese.  66%!!  That is astounding. How can we expect them to make proper food choices when we are constantly shoving their addiction in their faces and telling them to eat less when in the same breath we are telling them to eat more?!  If you put an unlimited supply of crack in front of a crack addict, how do you expect that person to choose to not indulge?  We are setting our fellow Americans up for failure.

While I will agree that I do also believe in mind over matter and that our adults, if their will is strong enough, can overcome their addiction/habits, the sad thing is, our children do not have the same ability.  I am a child of the 70′s/80′s and we did not have the issues that we have today.  We also did not have as many fast food chains, convenience foods or super sized meals.  Once the 90′s came around, all of that began to change.  We have a whole generation of children who have been raised to believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with drinking 32oz of soda in one sitting while eating a box of cookies or a bag of Doritos.  WE taught them these habits and we should be ashamed of ourselves.  Our children are slowly dying right in front of our eyes and yet people would rather condemn the government for getting involved in ways that will only help them.  This lack of compassion for the well being of our fellow humans truly does cause me to become heartbroken.  If we don’t come together and say enough is enough, and vow to protect our children, then we have nothing as a society.  In the past decade, we have seen more and more children with diabetes, heart disease, poor bone health, etc.  These are diseases we don’t typically see until well into adulthood and now they are being found in children as young as 10 and under.  It is a travesty.

As I said over and over on my personal Facebook page, while it may not be a popular view, I will defend this issue until the day I die.  I entered into this career in order to try and help change the ways of our dying country and I will refuse to enable anyone.  We must take a stand.  We must fight for the right to live and if others have lost the way, then we, who still have the goals in sight, must help them to get back on the path.  Our government has failed us by allowing harmful substances into our food supply and for the few government officials who stand up and have the courage to speak out against the the masses, I applaud them.

So Mayor Bloomberg, I again commend you on your efforts to attempt to better the health of your city and I hope you continue to put forth the effort for the sake of our fellow Americans.

http://centralny.ynn.com/content/top_stories/586310/nyc-mayor-looks-to-ban-high-sugar-drinks/

How do I keep that darn parsley fresh?!

Tags

, , , ,

I’m sure you all have bought parsley for a recipe, only needed a little bit, yet had to buy a whole bunch only to watch it wilt and go bad with in a day or two.  I find that to be quite frustrating.  I usually have a parsley plant in my little herb garden, but in the winter months, or in times when my plant needs to grow a bit, I need to find an alternative.  This tip is something that I got from my Grandmother.  As soon as you bring a bunch of parsley home from the store or farmers market, take a damp paper towel, lightly wrap the parsley in it, put it in a plastic storage bag (don’t seal it) and then place in your fridge.  Be sure to keep the storage bag open so the plant can breathe a little.  This also works well for any leafy veggie (lettuce, kale, collards, etc.)  This picture is of parsley that I bought a week ago.  It is still super healthy and has not wilted one bit! Thanks Grandma!

Gorp! A fun snack for you and the kids

Tags

, , , , , ,

Eating Well is one of my favorite magazines.  I am sure I will be quoting and pulling recipes from it quite a bit.  I recommend that you all check it out.  Trust me, it’s fantastic!

The other day I was checking out their site for some new ideas for healthy snacks that I could suggest for my clients.  When I came across their recipe for Gorp I thought to myself “How could I have forgotten about Gorp?!”.  My mother made Gorp for my brother and me all the time as kids and I thought she was a genius for doing so.  We loved it!  Plus, the name is pretty fun to say in an exclamatory way.  GORP!

Anyway, here is the recipe I found on Eating Well.  Really, you can use any nuts and fruit that you wish.  Use good quality dark chocolate chips for the best health benefits and for those who are vegan, use carob!

I hope your kids enjoy it as much as I did (do).

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/gorp.html

Welcome to our blog!

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hello!  How nice to meet all of you and thank you for visiting our blog.  I want to take the time to introduce myself and explain what my main mission is in starting this blog.   I hope you enjoy my story!

My name is Carrie Adase, M.S., C.N. (Master’s of Science, Clinical Nutritionist). I am the owner/Nutritionist for An Angel’s Touch Mobile Spa located in Los Angeles, however, nutrition is my second career.  Let me take you back in time a bit to fully explain my story.

I grew up in a little town called Middle Island, NY, which is on Long Island, and was raised by two of the most supportive parents one could ever hope for.  From a very early age, I always knew that I was going to be in the music industry when I grew up due to the fact that music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  I began playing the piano at age 5 then moved on to the flute at age 7.  I also began vocal training and joined a community musical theatre group around the age of 13.  I was always playing music and reading the jacket of my albums and was fascinated with the process of creating music.  Starting at about 10 years old, I started saying that I was going to work for David Geffen.  What 10 year old even knew who David Geffen was?  I’m sure my parents hoped it was a phase, but as time went on and I showed no signs of letting up on my dream, even after their divorce in my teen years, they still came together and supported me 100%.  In 9th grade, when my brother was a senior and looking into colleges, I took his Barron’s Book of Colleges and started flipping through it.  I came across Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and my decision was made.  I was going to Berklee to study Music Production and Engineering (basically, I was going to work with rock stars in recording studios).  I graduated from Berklee in 1997, in a time where the industry was beginning to be turned on it’s head.  Little did I know what the future was going to hold. Welcome to the world, digital media.

After graduation, I floated around the country working in various recording studios in Boston and NY and teaching audio engineering at Full Sail University in Florida.  All of it was an amazing experience, but after a while, I decided it was time to try my luck in LA.  Once I arrived in LA, I quickly realized that engineering, as I knew it, was a dying art form and I needed to find an alternate path within the music world.  I tried artist booking, managing, tour promotion and then finally settled in the music licensing world.  Throughout all this time, while I never was a big fast food/junk food eater, I never really paid close attention to my health, or what I was eating, and didn’t realize what damage I was causing my body.

For most of my life, I have suffered from terrible stomach issues.  As a kid, my doctor told my mother they were “functional stomach aches”.  While he did believe that my stomach aches were real, he didn’t believe that there was a specific cause.  I came to realize that was the old school way of saying “Irritable Bowel Syndrome”.  While my stomach issues are a whole other story, which I will get into in future posts, the bottom line is no matter how many doctors I saw, they couldn’t tell me what was wrong.  The final straw for me was when they finally put me on medication for IBS in 2007.  I began taking them and after about two weeks, I woke up one morning hysterically crying for no reason what so ever.  My boyfriend at the time kept asking me what was wrong.  I told him I didn’t know.  The more he asked, the more upset and scared I became because I truly didn’t know why I was crying.  I was crying so hard you would have thought that my entire family had been murdered.  All I felt was this strong, overwhelming sense of despair and I had no idea why.  We finally called my doctor and he told me to stop my medications ASAP.  Apparently, they had trace amounts of antidepressants in them due to the fact that most research has shown the strong possibility that IBS is really a stress condition and not rooted in the stomach at all.  I was taking birth control at the time and the interaction between the IBS meds and the birth control apparently caused a severe depressive episode.  I honestly have never been so terrified in my life.  Had I not been an emotionally healthy person, I can’t say what could have possibly happened in that time.

At that point I had had it.  I decided that I needed to find an answer for myself since my doctors were unable to do so.  I started to learn more about IBS, which I do agree that I have, and began to understand how external forces wreak havoc internally for some people.  While, on the surface, the company I was working for at the time in music licensing was run by very nice people who treated us well (the polar opposite from the abuse I experienced in the studio world), in the end, I wasn’t doing something that I was passionate about and the pay wasn’t putting me on a path where I could be 100% financially secure.  The stress, while usually subconscious, was slowly eating away at me.  Literally.  So, it was time for a change.  I made the tough decision that instead of just studying nutrition for personal knowledge, I should get out of the career that was contributing to my health problems and find one that not only found answers for me, but would also allow me to help others in similar situations.  I finally settled on the Human Nutrition program at the University of Bridgeport in CT.

Upon graduating from the University of Bridgeport with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition, I officially began my own practice where I counsel clients, not only on ways to improve their dietary habits, but to also teach them a balanced way of living to promote overall health and wellness.  I take my profession very seriously and am very passionate in helping people reach their goals.  The world is flooded with confusing and conflicting nutritional advice and I love to help people sort through it all and find the truth that works for each individual.  I believe that each person is unique and that there is not one universal truth for everyone.  The challenge of working with a client, and helping them find what works for them, is what I find most rewarding.  While I do not subscribe to one universal eating plan, I do tend to keep my roots in a whole food way of eating and have designed my nutrition program around that basis.  I teach my clients the benefit of cutting out processed foods, fast foods and sugar filled drinks.  Supplements are used on a case by case basis and are not something I feel are a universal need.  I believe in obtaining nutrients from foods as much as possible and show my clients cooking styles that will allow foods to remain nutrient dense.  For supplements that I do suggest, I go for organic, whole food and/or all natural products.  Our bodies do not absorb synthetic supplements as readily, so I choose products that are more bioavailable.  I also remind my clients that dietary changes are only part of the process to becoming balanced.  I promote regular exercise which, in addition to cardio and muscle training, includes meditative modalities such as yoga, to release stress.  I also promote meditation and explain that sometimes, no matter how much we diet or exercise, if our body is in a constant state of stress, it might prove difficult in obtaining weight goals.

Considering proper nutrition is only part of maintaining your health, I decided to expand from my practice and start An Angel’s Touch Mobile Spa as a way for my clients to be able to choose from a variety of services to put them on the path of healthy living.  I have never owned a company, nor did I ever think that I would.  I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends and family.  Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today and I will be eternally grateful.  The purpose behind starting this blog is to share some of my thoughts and approaches when it comes to health and nutrition.  I am constantly horrified by what I hear and read and feel saddened that so many people are either kept in the dark when it comes to the foods they choose or they are grossly mislead by incomplete science.  I will examine diets and why most of them are pointless.  I will also supply recipes, diet and health tips and some thoughtful commentary regarding our food supply and things you should be thinking about when feeding your family, especially your children.

So that is my story.  I hope you stick with us and enjoy our posts.  I look forward to making many new friends, sharing stories and having some amazing discussions.

Stay well,

Carrie

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.