While many of us are getting rid of clothes we no longer wear or items we always say we are going to use again and then never actually do and it ends up piled in the corner taking up space... Have you ever thought about doing the same thing with your kitchen? I think it's safe to assume that many of us have some items sitting in our fridge and pantry that have expired and are no longer any good. That bottle of salad dressing that got pushed to the back and smells a little funny now? Or maybe that half opened box of cookies that you forgot about... Wait, who am I kidding? No one will let the cookies go bad (at least not in my house!). Even canned goods that you haven't used, that aren't expired, can be donated to a food drive/food bank if you don't think you are going to use them.
Keeping your kitchen organized is key to living a healthy lifestyle. If you have a hard time finding things or the inside of your fridge and pantry looks like a balancing act, then maybe it's time to reevaluate the situation. Having an organized kitchen is essential so you can easily access what you need, and so you don't spend 10 minutes debating if those left-overs are still good!
Food has expiration dates for a reason, so if it's expired, throw it out! Just about everything has an expiration date... even spices. If you notice your spice cabinet is a pretty full, it might not be a bad idea to clean that out too! HINT: If the spice has become hardened or is clumping together... it's no longer good! Too many tupperware containers making a cabinet cluttered? Get rid of some! Cleaning out your kitchen allows room better organization and healthier choices!
How to organize your kitchen to help you make healthier choices:
1. Only buy what you NEED: Buying in bulk can be a real money saver... sometimes. If you are buying bulk in perishable items, you're probably throwing a lot more away than you realize. Only buy produce and other perishable items for a week at a time so they don't spoil.
2. Place things where you can see them: Place those every day ,go-to items at EYE LEVEL. Place healthier choices in front of the not-so-healthy choices (if you can't see it, you are less likely to eat it!) Or even if you buy a new product that you've been wanting to try, make sure it's in plain sight... If not, more than likely, you will forget it's there.
3. Don't overfill you kitchen: As I mentioned, buying in bulk can save you money sometimes, but buying in bulk can also clutter your kitchen. Buying in smaller quantities will prevent you from overfilling your kitchen and allow you to better utilize your space. This will also allow you to see exactly what you have, so you don't go out to buy more when you just couldn't see it.
4. Label everything: It may seem a little over-the-top, but labeling what an item is (if not in it's original container), and when you opened it, will not only save you time, but money as well. I know I've spent too much time standing in front of the fridge asking myself if something was still good. I recommend doing that mostly for items that you don't replenish on a regular basis... like if you are making a recipe and it calls for a 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and you have to buy a whole big container for such a small amount... more than likely it will spoil before you can use the rest of it, so it's good to label it so you don't use it a couple weeks later thinking that it's still good. It's wise to label left-overs too! Just stick a piece of tape with the date it was cooked on the container! HINT: You shouldn't eat leftovers if it's more than 7 days old!
5. Don't neglect your freezer: While I've mostly been talking about your pantry and refrigerator, don't forget about your freezer! Frozen foods can last much longer than foods that are just in the fridge or pantry, but they still go bad, so make you to label when you bought something/packaged something that will be stored in your freezer.
One of my favorite overnight oat recipes! So easy and taste delicious!
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup chopped apples
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Chia seeds
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Directions: Put all ingredients in a mason jar (or container of choice) and let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
So simple and just takes a few minutes to prepare! Makes my mornings easier and I know I'm getting a nutrient packed breakfast that will keep my full!
So anyone who knows me, knows that I preach supplements are exactly what they mean… SUPPLEMENTAL!
Supplements are designed to supplement your nutrition if you have a hard time getting in calories, or if you have a vitamin/mineral deficiency… whatever your situation may be. Supplements should NOT be your main source of nutrition. So just because you take a multivitamin or drink a protein shake, doesn’t make you “healthy.” Most of your nutrition should come from your food. However, there are certain situations where people do need supplements, although you should still be eating a well-balanced diet along with it.
Maybe if you workout a lot and need a good post-workout snack/meal that is easy on your stomach, or maybe if you’re trying lose a little weight and you’re trying to reduce your carb intake and increase your protein intake, a protein shake may be a good option for you (it’s still important to watch out for added sugars here though!). Whatever your supplemental nutrition needs may be, GNC provides a wide variety of products to help meet those needs!
So I am excited to announce that I am teaming up with the GNC located on Magazine Street! If you are in need of some supplements or some-post workout protein, head to the Magazine St. location to receive your discount when you mention “Taylor’d Nutrition!”
GNC is stocked with tons of great products to fit your health and nutrition needs including a wide variety of proteins, nutrition bars, cleanses, and even essential oils!
I am also going to be starting an open forum for anyone who has questions!
So what’s the deal?
Buy One, Get One half off on GNC Wheybolic Protein, Multivitamins (120 count or higher), NDS, VitaPacks, and Probiotics
20% off NDS and other items (See store for details)
2901 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA 70115
Manager: Tyler Nobile
Food gives us energy and it's what makes us able to perform everyday tasks from walking, breathing, cooking, and even moving your mouse on your computer right now... so literally everything. Without food, we are nothing. And that old saying, I'm sure we all heard a million times as a kid, "you are what you eat" is true. Your body is made up of whatever energy you put into it. So if you eat a lot of processed foods that are high in saturated fat and added sugar... guess what? That's what you are replenishing your body stores with... If you eat lots of lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables, then you are fueling those stores and providing your body with good, wholesome foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. All of which are vital for good health and nutrition!
Too many people think it' too challenging to reach all of the daily requirements our bodies need, but it's really not. However, it does take a little planning and discipline... And that means more than just remembering to take supplements. While supplements aren't bad... they are exactly what they mean... SUPPLEMENTAL! Meaning this is not where ALL of your micronutrients should be coming from. So, no, you aren't "healthy" just because you take supplements and think it makes up for eating junk foods. Many of them are synthetically made, so you aren't giving your body all the benefits it would be getting if you consumed those nutrients through your food. Also, all the money you spend on supplements is literally "wasted." When you take a supplement, your body does NOT absorb it all, so whatever isn't used is excreted, which a lot of times is half or less than half of the amount that's in the supplement.
Keep in mind... that is all being said for a person is does not have any conditions and is just being lazy about not eating properly. If you have a medical condition and your body does not absorb certain nutrients properly or does not produce certain nutrients, then supplements may be necessary, along with proper nutrition!
So if you find yourself kidna lazy, or you just don't know what foods you should be eating to help get all these wonderful nutrients in... here are my top 5 choices of foods that are going to provide a good balance on a daily basis. Keep in mind, it's important to have lots of variety in your diet, but you can't go wrong with these foods:
1. Blueberries - packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Great protector against heart disease and cancer! So many ways to eat them too... plain, in yogurt, on pancakes, in cereal, in salads... Not to mention it's a superfood!
2. Yogurt - Greek yogurt preferably. It's packed with protein and lots of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that are good for your digestive tract. Also, a great source of calcium!
3. Oats - They can be used in so many ways and they are a great source of whole grains and fiber! They make for a great breakfast and you can even add those blueberries to them!
4. Broccoli - I know, I know... Everyone's favorite! Broccoli offers so many vitamins and minerals and has lots of cancer fighting properties... These come from sulfur compounds, which is what causes it to smell while cooking.
5. Nuts - Nuts like almonds and walnuts provide lots of protein and healthy fats. They make for a great snack that will help keep you full and give you lots of energy!
Living in New Orleans during Lent really isn't much of a sacrifice with the boiled crawfish and fried shrimp... We are kinda spoiled down here. And for some of us, it's a detox from the not-so-healthy choices made during Mardi Gras. Many people give up certain foods and bad habits, but what happens when it's over? Many typically go right back to those things that may not be so healthy. I'm doing several things during Lent and while I did not give up any particular foods, part of what I'm doing is eliminating as many processed foods out of my diet as possible. And this is not just something I'm not doing this for just 40 days... It's a lifestyle change. I don't eat many processed things to begin with, but I want to eliminate them completely.
Another part of what I'm doing is not making any excuses. If you want something bad enough, you will work hard for it. If I feel too tired in the morning to pack my lunch or if I really feel like skipping the gym and going straight home after work... where is that going to get me? Nowhere...
Now the difficult part about making a lifestyle change like eliminating all processed foods, isn't not eating them or getting up a few minutes earlier to prepare them for the day... It is holding onto it even after those 40 days are up. For those people that are giving up things like sweets, alcohol... and the real brave ones...COFFEE! Obviously that's not something that's going to last forever, but maybe it will help you think twice about how often you do indulge.
I'm using these 40 days, not only as a time of sacrifice, reflection, and prayer, but as a way I want to continue to live even when these 40 days are over. I am constantly trying to improve the way I live and the healthy choices I make, so when I start something new, I go into it with the mindset that it's not just something temporary. This is just the start to an even healthier life!
And to help me stay on top of my goals and keep track of everything... I am using my fitbook! Don't forget to check out the link with all the awesome products!
What's a fitbook? For starters, it's my new favorite product! Fitbooks were created by Angela Mader to help promote living a healthy lifestyle and to help you achieve your goals. For me, I never really kept a food journal for an extended period of time before I started using my fitbook (about 3 weeks ago) because I always watch what I eat and get plenty of exercise. I've kept one from time-to-time during some some more intense training periods where I needed to monitor my caloric intake a little more closely. But now, I have a fitbook and it's hard to see myself not continuing to use it. It's amazing!
A fitbook helps you set goals and achieve them over a 12 week period. You start by setting your goals for the end of the 12 weeks, but you also set a new goal for each week. You actually set 3 goals... nutrition, workout, and "other." This week my nutrition goal is to not eat too much king cake (which is seemingly difficult with one always sitting in the kitchen), my workout goal is to increase my reps, and my "other" goal is to complete my DICAS application. The best part? You also set a reward for yourself each week (ONLY if you achieve your goals and stick to your plan), and preferably not a food reward!
Does it actually work? Yes! It forces you to plan ahead. I sit down at the beginning of each week and plan my workouts and meals, then you record each day separately. You record all your measurements at the beginning and end of the 12 weeks, and "weigh-in" each week. While I'm not necessarily looking to lose weight, it's a GREAT tool for people who are! It's great for everyone really... those looking to maintain weight, build muscle, or even just meal plan. Also, at the end of each week, you record how well you did... the good, positive points, and the areas where you struggled and maybe need a little improvement. It helps you stay on track and makes you feel guilty if you don't... all because you have to write it down... You are 69% more likely to stick to your goals if you WRITE them down. And people who tend to write down what they eat are likely to eat about 500 calories less a day compared to someone who doesn't - said by Angela herself!
I had an opportunity to listen to Angela speak at a meeting for work and she was so inspiring! She has developed a great product that I will continue to use and recommend! She has other great products (and an app!) that are available on her website... or even if you want to learn more, I recommend checking it out! And I love her fitlosophy - "live life fit."
Multigrain flat bead
1 Tbsp sundried tomatoes
2 Tbsp cherry cranberry pecan mix
2 Tbsp Delightful Palate’s Stone Fruit Nectar
Salt and pepper to taste
The original recipe called for using pre-cooked/pre-seasoned chicken… I decided to cook my own. I cooked down chicken tenderloins and seasoned them myself so I knew exactly what was in it. This is where you can be creative and experiment with whatever seasonings you like!
I couldn’t find a cherry cranberry pecan mix at the store… so I made my own! I bought exactly those ingredients and tossed them in a bowl! I also prefer my tomatoes to be in smaller pieces, so I diced those and threw them in there too!
Next, I just spread the Stone Fruit Nectar and added all the fixin’s!
This wrap is great for taking to work, on-the-go, or out to the parade route... Much healthier option than Popeye’s chicken! I love how easy and nutritious it is. Another alternative if trying to watch carbs… use a low-carb, whole wheat tortilla or make it a lettuce wrap!
Looking for some new recipes? Delightful Palate is the place to go! If you've never heard of it, check out their website at delightdulpalate.net. I was asked to try some of their recipes this month and evaluate the nutritional value for each one. The recipes I've tried were healthy, delicious, and super easy to make! I've only made 2 recipes so far, but be on the lookout for more!
Hummus and Chopped Grape Tomatoes Relish Layer Dip with Delightful Palate’s Balsamic Garlic Honey
This recipe was SO easy and delicious! It’s great to take as a filling and nutrient-packed snack. Great to take on-the-go too! It’s also a great to bring for parties or watching the Super Bowl… Much better than snacking on fried foods and chips!
I paired it with quinoa chips, rather than pita chips, which increased the protein content (9g per serving) I also wanted a low-carb option so I topped cucumber slices with the dip! Great for a refreshing summertime snack!
2 cups of your favorite flavor Hummus
1 pint of grape tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh basil or flat leaf parsley
2 green onions, chopped
Salt and pepper
¼ to ½ cup of Delightful Palate’s Balsamic Garlic Honey
In a medium bowl, place the chopped tomatoes, herbs, green onions, salt and pepper. Drizzle with Delightful Palate’s Balsamic Garlic honey and toss to coat.
On a small platter spread a layer of hummus to cover the bottom to cover the bottom of the platter. Spread tomato relish on the top and serve with pita chips.
Date Night Chicken with Delightful Palate's House Blend Seasoning
I loved this recipe! It was so easy to make and so many health benefits all packed into one dish! It’s loaded wth fiber and complex carbs, not to mention all vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the veggies! And great source of lean protein from the chicken!
Also, I did not have the House Blend Seasoning, so I substituted with some lemon pepper seasoning.
This recipe is great for busy weeknights! The most time consuming part was just cutting the vegetables!
12 ounces sweet potatoes unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
8 shallots, peeled and halved
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces, thick ends halved lengthwise
1 cup Delightful Palate’s Balsamic Garlic Honey vinaigrette
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
3½ pounds bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, and thighs)
2 teaspoons Delightful Palate's House Blend seasoning
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
Place potatoes, Brussels sprouts, shallots, carrots, ½ cup of Delightful Palate’s Balsamic Garlic Honey vinaigrette, garlic, and, 1 teaspoon Delightful Palate's House Blend seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt in 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Press out the air and seal; toss to coat.
Place chicken, ½ cup Delightful Palate’s Balsamic Garlic Honey vinaigrette, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon Delightful Palate's House blend 1 teaspoon salt, in separate 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Press out the air and seal; toss to coat.
Refrigerate chicken and vegetable mixture zipper-lock bags for at least one hour or overnight, up to 24 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees. Spread vegetables in a single layer in rimmed baking sheet, discarding any excess liquid.
Place chicken skin side up on top of vegetables, bake chicken for about 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking.
Transfer the chicken to serving platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Return vegetables to oven and continue to bake until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Toss vegetables with any accumulated chicken juices and transfer to platter with chicken.
Reading is one of my favorite things to do... Whether it's for my own personal enjoyment, something educational, or new articles on my favorite blogs. I love how it makes me think and question things, and how it drives me to continuously want to read and learn more. I keep a "book list" which has all the books I want to read on it... a lot of which are health/nutrition-based with a few that are just for fun!
Most of us have probably seen the commercial with the message that not everything you read on the internet is true... Well believe it or not, not everything you read on the internet is true! Especially when it comes to health and nutrition advice. People make all sorts of claims about these trends and crazy fad diets that they swear work... and I can promise you that they don't. I've done so much research on different diets and can tell you why a specific one does/doesn't work. Anyone can read a book or an article about a diet they want to try/are interested in, try it for a while, start telling people about it and promoting it, and call themselves a "nutritionist." However, they CANNOT call themselves an RD (registered dietitian) or RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist). The difference between a "nutritionist" and RDs/RDNs - they go through extensive education and training established by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND)... This includes a B.S. in Dietetics from an accredited program, an internship program (similar to a residency to become a doctor), and a registration exam. RDNs are nutrition experts and practice is based on evidence-based research... meaning we actually know what we are talking about! I do not claim myself to be an RDN (YET!) because I am still in the process of applying for my internship... which will be done in February!
Why am I saying all this?! I recently had a patient at work tell me that she read an article that said BMI is the absolute best tool to use during weight loss. I don't know where she read this article or where it came from, but I completely disagree. I think BMI is an okay-ish screening tool... certainly not great for keeping track of progress during weight loss! It doesn't take into consideration the persons age or gender, and it also doesn't separate fat mass from lean muscle mass. In my opinion, the most accurate way of keeping track of progress is using a body composition scale/machine. Many gyms and fitness/health stores have them (I know GNC has them). It's something you have to pay for, but not something you have to check everyday... Maybe check it once a month or once every couple of months.
I also have seen blogs and people claiming to be nutritionist posting things that are not necessarily wrong, but they can't necessarily explain why something is the way it is or why certain foods are beneficial, but guess what? RDNs can! And yes, I read all about those crazy diets and health trends that pop up on my Facebook Newsfeed because I frequently get asked if I heard about this or that... and I have to be able to give an answer and an opinion. And if I haven't heard of it, I go home and do some research, but the key is knowing where to look and what sources to trust.
My whole point is to stress that it's important to know what you are reading and where it came from; make sure its credible and evidence-based. If you are looking for nutrition advice, speak to an RD, reference eatright.org (The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), and some government websites have great information as well!
And don't forget that just because it was on the internet, doesn't mean it's true!
Now that it's the end of the year, everyone is thinking of what their "New Year's Resolution" will be... This is easier said than done. Gyms will become crowded (for a couple months) and people will be posting lots of pictures of their food on Instagram. No matter how much you tell yourself you are going to stick to your resolution this year... How honest are you being with yourself? You know yourself better than anyone and you can do anything you want and anything you put your mind to, but if you are not truly ready to make those changes, it's probably not going to last very long. But good news! I have some tips on how to make those changes and prepare you to ring in the New Year!
1. Think big, start small
Whatever your goal may be, set several small goals to get you there along the way. If your goal is to lose 40 pounds this year... I hate to say it, but that's not going to happen in a month or two, so set a goal of when you want to lose the first 5 pounds, 10 pounds, and so on... Or maybe your goal is to drink more water and less soda. Just waking up one day and committing yourself to not drinking anymore soda is going to be quite challenging. Try replacing one soda with water at a time! If you take on too much at one time, you are more likely to get discouraged because it's hard to change too many things at once.
2. Write it down
Writing down your goals will help you 1) not to forget them and 2) can help give you a little motivation whenever you find yourself struggling to stay on track! Obviously weight loss is a very popular choice for a New Year's Resolution, but your goals can be anything. Try to think about your life as a whole... do a better job at saving money, limit checking social media to certain times a day, not using your phone when on a date or at the dinner table. It can be literally anything.
3. Talk about it
If you tell someone what your goals are, you are more likely to stick to them. If someone asks "How's it going?" and you have to give an answer you don't necessarily want to give, you may get a little discouraged. Talk about it, find a partner, and commit yourself to your goals. You will encounter difficult times along the way, but having some extra motivation is what will keep you on track!
4. Don't beat yourself up
A New Year's Resolution is something that you are supposed to work on ALL YEAR, not January through March. If you stop for a coffee on the way to work when you set your goal to make your own coffee in the morning, it's not going to kill you if it happens a few times or if you want to treat yourself. It's a New YEAR'S Resolution, not a New Week's Resolution!
With Christmas parties, family gatherings, and Christmas shopping, it can be a challenge to stay on track and keep up with a healthy lifestyle. Everyone gets so busy this time of year that we tend to put our health goals on pause. Healthy should always be a priority, and should never be put on hold! During this Christmas season, keep your goals in mind and continuously work towards them (even if you have to set some smaller ones along the way)! I am trying something new to help me keep my goals in mind... I am keeping a wellness journal, which I will more continue even after the holidays have passed. I ordered mine from Erin Condren and I love it! It's small and compact, so it's easy to take on-the-go, and it's so colorful so it's easy to keep it organized (and it fits perfectly in my life planner!). I prefer to physically write everything down, so that's why I chose this option, but there are great apps to use too! You could even use a plain notebook... whatever works best for you! I'm not necessarily counting calories with this... I am more so just keeping track of the foods I eat and making sure I am getting all my exercise in too! I am going to enjoy all the foods I want this Christmas season (as everyone should!), but in moderation!
The holiday season is a very joyous time and we should all be celebrating! But so many people get concerned about gaining weight because there are so many parties, people bringing treats to the office, and family get-togethers. We all have our favorite treats that we just can't resist! In order to prevent weight gain and still enjoy your holiday favorites, here are 5 tips to help you enjoy the season without feeling guilty!
1. Don't arrive hungry
If you are going to a holiday party and you know the food will be irresistible, eat a healthy snack before you go! This will allow you to still enjoy the food, but in smaller portions!
2. Portion control
No matter how delicious those Santa-shaped cookies look, no one needs to eat 6 of them. If there is a wide spread of food, don't shy from trying something because you're worried about gaining weight, but don't load your plate down to where it is overflowing either. It takes 3500 calories to gain a pound. So one spoonful of each dish is what I would recommend. It allows you to try everything, but not over-do it!
3. Limit alcohol
Alcohol has a lot of calories and they can sneak up on your very quickly, so limiting how often and how much you drink is important! Drinking a glass of water between beverages is recommended too!
4. Bring a healthy dish
If you are asked to provide a dish or just feel that you want to contribute something, choose a food that isn't so heavy like a big salad (still watch the dressing and what you put in it!) instead of a casserole that's loaded with heavy cream and cheese. Veggie and fruit trays are great to bring for snacking instead of a calorie packed dip with crackers. Other people will appreciate the healthier option too!
5. Don't over eat
When you start feeling full, stop eating. Don't continue to eat until you put yourself in a food coma! Your body clearly doesn't need that extra food!
6. Don't take leftovers home
By not having that food sitting in your fridge, you won't be tempted to eat it! The same can be said for buying foods that you will be tempted to eat and keeping them in an easy to reach place!
This past Sunday, my boyfriend and I made "healthy-ish brownies." He's loves sweets and would eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if he could, but for my benefit (and his own), he tries to find healthier versions. The brownies came out really good and I would highly recommend them! And they were super easy to make! However, keep in mind that just because they are "healthy" doesn't mean you can eat more... it defeats the purpose!
1 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups (2 cans) black or kidney beans (canned or cooked) - we used black beans
2/3 cup maple syrup (or agave or honey) - we used honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Grease 9x9 baking pan with coconut oil or non-stick spray.
Blend the oats until they form a flour consistency; add in baking soda and salt.
Rinse and dry black beans very well to eliminate excess water.
Add beans, honey, honey, melted coconut oil, and cocoa powder into a large bowl or food processor. Blend until all ingredients are creamy and smooth. (We added a few chocolate chips in too!)
Pour into pan and spread evenly. Top with chocolate chips.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Veronica Lawler. I'm a twenty-three year old New Orleanian making my way through life and taking in all the beauty it has to offer. I am a senior at the University of New Orleans working towards my degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Health Studies. My life revolves around my two passions, singing and health and nutrition. Singing has been my favorite thing to do ever since I was a little girl, and I just love exercising and eating healthy food. I could end this blog post by saying that my healthy lifestyle came easily to me, that I lost weight the healthy way, became a well-known Dietitian and lived happily ever after....but I'd be lying. I dreamed of that for a long time, but the actual experience of my dreams were somewhat different.
My battles were handed to me at a very young age, which in turn led to even bigger problems in my future. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder when I was in first grade. It wasn't anything drastic at the time, but as I got older, your typical OCD ritual of turning the lights off three times escalated into bigger obsessions. For me, this obsession was my weight. The summer before entering my sophomore year of high school I became terribly depressed and my mind was overcome with negative thoughts and, call me crazy, but voices in my head. "You're not good enough. You're not pretty enough. You're not worthy of life." Hours of prayer, therapy sessions, tearful and sleepless nights. I couldn't silence them no matter what I did and I no longer felt I had control over anything in my life. However, there was one thing these "voices" couldn't control, and that was what I ate. That's where my problem started. I allowed myself to succumb to the pressures of being perfect, and my life took a turn for the worst.
Eating no more than 500-600 calories a day combined with over excessive exercise, my weight as well as my overall health plummeted. I dropped to a weight of 96 pounds, was beginning to lose my hair, completely lost my menstrual cycle, and became severely anemic. I started self-induced vomiting and also abused laxatives. I was a victim of my inner demons and was soon diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. I wanted help, I was just terrified on how to ask for it or if I was even willing to try. It wasn't until my high school counselor, (Mrs. Amanda Pellegrin, who I am still so unbelievably thankful for to this day and owe my life to,) made it known to me that she knew I had a problem and was willing to help me. She was the first person who made me feel worthy of recovery and, for the first time in a few months, worthy of life. I wanted nothing more than to make her proud, and in the end, I started to become proud of myself.
Recovery has brought me so many gifts. For one, it showed me the beauty of life. For years, I was so blind to see it letting my disorder get in the way. But in freeing myself from its chains, I now see life in a whole new perspective I didn't think was possible. Another gift it brought me was my choice of study. I want nothing more than to spread my knowledge of health and wellness with others in hoping that I can help them improve their bodies by fueling them with the proper nutrients. I could go on for days talking about the many gifts and benefits recovery has brought me, but I want to take this time to talk about one in particular I'm so unbelievably thankful for, which is the person behind this blog, Taylor Melancon. Taylor was my roommate when we studied Dietetics together at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In such a short amount of time, she turned from roommate, to best friend, to one of my biggest inspirations. She's such a hardworking, smart, and driven individual who is so passionate about health and the benefits of nutrition. She really motivated me to work hard in school and to keep pushing through recovery. She is easily one of the best friends I have ever had and I know she will make an absolute incredible Dietitian.
I hope no one sees this as my sob story, because I see it as my story of never ending success. Recovery isn't over and it never will be. I go through this battle from the second I wake up to the very moment my head hits the pillow. Although it's not exactly what I would've wished for, this was the hand I was dealt and I'm learning to accept it. I am surrounded by God as well as the most amazing support system and now it's my turn to give back, which is why I'm so passionate about health and nutrition. My main goal in life is to help someone overcome an eating disorder, or any mental disorder at that, just as I am continuously learning to do so. If I can inspire just one person out there to get the help they need and the motivation to work towards bettering themselves both physically and mentally, then I have far surpassed the expectations I've made for myself.
Each day given to me is a reminder that God isn't finished with me yet and that I am still alive for a reason. I am not my past, and I am not my disorder.
It's been a constant battle with my skin... acne, eczema, dry skin, oily skin... you name it. I've tried so many different products just trying to find what works best for me. I've finally found the right balance. It's not perfect, but it's under control. Our skin is a crucial organ and needs lots of attention; definitely not something to neglect!
The foods we eat affect our skin health. Several nutrients are required for healthy skin. Not saying that there are miracle foods to clear up skin conditions, but we can improve our skin health by making healthier choices. Avoiding high fat and sugary foods being a top contender!
So here is a list of foods that help maintain healthy skin:
1. Green Tea - It's loaded with antioxidants!
2. Yogurt - Packed with Vitamin A (works with Vitamin C and collagen for skin elasticity)
3. Fish - Great source for Omega-3's (helps with inflammation and immunity)
4. Dark Chocolate - Yep! It's packed with antioxidants! But keep moderation in mind!
5. Berries - Again, lots of antioxidants and phytochemicals that are vital for our bodies!
6. Whole grains - Grains contain B vitamins (folate, nicain, magnesium, and zinc). These vitamins have several roles in the body, and play a big part in our skin's immunity.
7. Kiwi, papaya, guava, and citrus fruits - Great sources of Vitamin C... which helps build collagen and maintain skin's elasticity!
8. Water - Staying hydrated is crucial for our skin and it's functions!
Besides eating a healthy diet and drinking lots of water to keep my skin healthy, I use Rodan and Fields Unblemish line and it works great! It's the only product I've used that keep my acne under control! Highly recommended!