Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cabot Creamery Cookbook Giveaway

Cabot cheese is delicious.

This is not a statement of opinion.  It is a fact.  My love of Cabot cheese and the brand is well documented.  I've had the honor of being able to run with Cabot in Vermont and visit with the farmers.  I love this brand, the quality of their products, their commitment to their farmers, and their love of health and fitness.
I want you to love Cabot too, so today I'm giving you the opportunity to win the new Cabot Creamery Cookbook and a Cabot gift box.  Cabot's new cookbook has 150 delicious recipes and stories from their dairy farmers.
I was originally drawn to Cabot, because of it's simple ingredients.  It's also great for those with food allergies or intolerances as it's gluten free and yes - lactose free!  Cabot also has some great flavors that can make your dishes taste even better.  My favorite is the Alpine Cheddar in the Legacy Collection, because it's a creamy cheddar that goes perfectly with Italian dishes.  I know, sounds illogical, but it works.  Try it!
Cabot also has other non-cheese products like Greek yogurt, butter, dips and something my pregnant self has been loving - Cheddar Powder.  Shake it on some popcorn and your life will change.

To enter to win the Cabot giveaway use the rafflecopter widget below.  If it doesn't work for you then email me and I will manually enter you.  Entries close on Sunday, April 19 at midnight.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can also enter to win Cabot's new cookbook AND a year's supply of cheese through April 15 at Cabot's Facebook.  Hurry and enter!

Note: I was NOT compensated to write this post, but Cabot does send me delicious cheese from time to time.

What is your favorite recipe to make with cheese?
What's your fave cheese?

Love and no lactose,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

Pregnancy creeps toward the final quarter as #BabyB passes the 31 week mark.
We have roughly 2 months to go until her due date and she is finally starting to make her presence known by a noticeably bigger bump.  Here's the 411 on what's going on with our second 3rd trimester update. Major changes since our 27 week update include much more trouble sleeping, big improvements to the nursery, and the return of general exhaustion.
Team Grandma
Weight Gained:  If you look at our Easter picture above you can definitely see that Baby Girl is coming out (I also don't recommend stripes and standing sideways as the most flattering photo advice)!  I don't have a doctor's appointment until next week, but I think I'm right about the 22/23 pound mark.  I'm happy to report that current weight seems to be going to the baby and not my butt as it was early on.

Workouts:  They are still happening with pretty good energy, but the frequency has decreased.  It hasn't been really pregnancy related, but I had some major changes at work and there are just more things in a day that have to get done....and then I get sleepy.
Each week I'm still focused on always getting in 2 strength training sessions and at least 1 stepclimber/elliptical visit.  My goal would be 2 strength sessions, 2 cardio, and yoga.  Last week I walked a 5k 2 days in a row and felt pretty #BeastMode about that.

Pregnancy Clothes: I haven't bought anything new since the last update and my maxi skirts and larger Target tanks are still working.  I think I'll need one more pair of yoga capris, but that's about it.  I did have a fun time trying to put on sneakers one afternoon this week for a walk and it was quite a shock to notice how swollen my feet were!
Symptoms:  The newest contender is Braxton-Hicks contractions.  #BabyB is pretty tight in there and can tighten my stomach when she pushes her butt out to the left like she likes to do, however that's noticeably different from the contractions.  They were pretty frequent the day before my shower, but if I focus on resting and drinking water they improve.  I'm also having random bouts with restless legs and trouble sleeping.  It seems that if I'm woken up as soon as I fall asleep by either the cat or the husband then I can't go back to sleep without getting up and stretching.  The pregnancy pillow helps, but sometimes it makes it harder for me to maneuver into a better position.  Why oh why can't I just sleep on my back! This week general exhaustion is back.  If I have to I push through it, but if I'm working from home and can take a nap I do.  I feel guilty, but I know my body must need the rest.

Food Aversions: Hmmmmm nothing is really coming to mind.  I think I've been pretty good about sticking to my "normal" diet with extra calories and snacks thrown in.

Food Cravings: #DrinkAllTheOJ For some reason I have been craving orange juice like nobody's business.  I've always been a fan, but I can't get enough now.  I've also been extra thirsty and found that coconut water is particularly refreshing.  Otherwise my cravings are minimal and I've just been enjoying a few "treats" when they're offered since my diet will be much stricter after the baby.

I also found this article about how much junk food eating in late pregnancy can contribute to junk food addiction, so I'm definitely conscious of limiting the unnecessary junk unless it's a legit craving.

Movement: Oh hey #BabyB...that's my rib.  Yeah, if you could not try to do a pull-up on it that would be great!  I thought I would be saved from the "baby in the ribs" pains since my torso is so long, but she's using all available space. She particularly likes it under my right ribs and at night she feels like she's trying to roll out some dough on the sides of my abdomen.  Hiccups are happening too and usually around 10pm at night.

Stretch marks:  Nothing new and while my belly button is flat it has not popped "out".  Hold on belly can do it!

Miss anything:  Restful sleep and wine. There's a Caymus wine dinner at Ruth's Chris next month and I am a little sad that I can't go.  I mean..I "can" go..but who wants to watch other people drink wine?  Not this girl...not after 8 months of sobriety anyway.

New Baby Items:  EVERYTHING!  Her nursery is "almost" all ready and we have most of our must have items checked off thanks to our shower and a big Amazon purchase.  We're waiting on curtains and an Etsy decal to finalize the pink/gray/yellow motif.
Last night I put together her BOB SE Revolution which will be not only our jogging stroller, but our everyday stroller too.
It has an infant seat converter that holds her car seat until she's big enough for the stroller on it's own.  I also liked this is designed to be great jogging stroller and holds a little one up to 70 pounds, which is larger than many other strollers.  I'm all about economics.  The last major things I "need" to buy is an infant monitor and a high chair.  Let me know if you have recommendations on a monitor.  I'm torn between one with wifi and an app where Kyle can see her at work or just a traditional one that works great in the home.
Getting Ready: As I mentioned I had my shower in late March and it was AMAZING!  A full post is coming soon.
I was also able to model and chat nutrition at the Prego Expo and had such a fun time with all the mommies-to-be.
Getting ready wise I am still reading "What To Expect" and I've added "The Happiest Baby on the Block" into the mix.  We met the pediatrician this week and I have "register at the hospital" on my to-do list.  I also need to wash all her clothes, sheets, towels, etc and load the car seat into the car.  And pack a bag....we'll get there.
Getting Excited For: Time to go faster.  I think I'm to that point where it feels like we're close, but we're really still months away.  Obviously I don't want her to come early, but from all other angles we are ready for the arrival.  Even with the every 2 week appointments and lots of movement I still have moments of anxiety and uncertainty.  I just want to meet her and know that everything is okay!  Kyle's sister is set to have her baby in the next week and a half and I think that will only make me more antsy to meet our little one.
Finally I want to give a huge CONGRATS to Meghann from Meals and Miles on her announcement of her rainbow baby coming in October.  xoxo!

Any advice on a baby monitor or stroller?
When did you start feeling antsy to meet your baby?
Any other advice?

Love and 9 weeks,
Kyle & Carissa

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sparkle to Cure Rett

This weekend we took our Sparkle to the streets of Orlando to help Fight Rett Syndrome with Team Sparkle.  What did you do?
It has been a LONG time since I've done a blog "weekend recap", but we had a pretty eventful weekend, so I wanted to share.  There was soccer, sparkle, and sugar.  Not too shabby.

Orlando recently got it's very own MLS soccer team, the Orlando City Lions.  They packed the stadium with 60,000+ for their opening game and Kyle and I are both soccer fans, so we decided check out their second home game this past Friday.  I don't know about you, but I LOVE watching soccer.  It's so exciting and while American Football will always be my favorite spectator sport, soccer is a close second.  For this game the lower bowl was full and there was plenty of excitement to go around.
We were seated in the middle of the lower bowl and everyone around us was pretty calm.  Excited fans, but nothing crazy.  The craziness was in the ends of the stadium.  The Orlando Rukus is a super crazy group of fans and they literally chanted, sang, and cheered the entire 90 minute game.  It was awesome...and yet it was also awesome that #BabyB and I were seated away from the purple, noisy chaos.
The game itself was intense as Orlando dominated the entire game and had SO many shots on goal. The DC United Keeper was phenomenal though and the score was 0-0 at the 90th minute.  And that's when DC scored on a set piece.  Womp womp. Talk about a sad way to lose a game.  Even though it ended terribly, Kyle and I are still excited to head back and see more games..although we may be waiting until after #BabyB arrives.
Saturday morning was another big event and it was finally time for our Virtual Sparkle 5k at Evolution Fitness Orlando.  The Sparkle 5k was organized by the awesome ladies at Sparkle Athletic as a way to support their #Ragnar4Rett journey and raise money for Girl Power 2 Cure to fight Rett Syndrome.  Since it had always be my goal to complete 1 race pregnant, I thought this was a perfect way to accomplish that goal and support an amazing cause.
Even though the event was virtual we had runners meet us at our gym to take on the challenge together.  We were also so honored to have Ally and her mom Debbie join us for the event.  Ally has Rett syndrome and Team Sparkle will be running Mile 61 of their Ragnar journey in honor of her this coming weekend.
Overall the Sparkle 5k virtual races raised more than $20k and Team Evo contributed over $850 to the cause.  Thank you again to those who came out to run, walk, volunteer, or donate.
I'm happy to report that I met my goal of the sub-45 "walking" 5k.  I did have to jog the final .25 miles to make my goal, but it was SO fun to be out running and pacing myself again.  I'm looking forward to training and running again once I'm given the all clear later this summer.
Saturday evening was a low key one at the house.  Kyle and I finished some more nursery decorating and watched the Final 4 games with a side of Greek salad and pizza.

Sunday it was time to celebrate Easter with the family.  Kyle and I traditionally host Easter Brunch at our house.  
We had a delicious brunch with breakfast casserole, honey baked turkey, ham, deviled eggs, sausage biscuits, Cabot cheese, fruit, and fresh veggies.
The holiday wasn't complete, however without the very popular "money egg hunt" for the adults.  Several years ago we tried to figure out how to get the adults excited about egg hunting and that was it...use money!  Next year we'll have more little ones here, but they won't be hunting yet so the tradition will continue.
Sunday night we relaxed, ate Easter leftover repurposed as a salad for dinner, and watched The Imitation Game.  I thought it was fascinating and sad at the same time.

How was your weekend?
Did you run or eat? Both?

Love and Sparkle for the Cure,
Carissa & Kyle

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fool Your Fave Foods

I’m going to shut down my blog and move to France to become a chocolate taster.


Did anyone tried to play a practical joke on you today?  I am not a great prankster and I totally hate getting played, so we’ll see how my day turns out.  I’m also a bit of a sucker, but maybe the world will take pity on the pregnant lady.

This April Fool’s Day, I’m going to show you some easy ways to fool some of your favorite recipes into being a wee bit better for you.  Yup,  it’s not fall, but I’ve got pumpkin fever.  “PumpkinCan” fool recipes and power-up the nutrition and flavor in family favorite dishes.

We know that LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin is a superfood rich in vitamin A, a good source of the antioxidant beta-carotene and a good source of fiber.  Plus a half-cup serving of LIBBY’S® Pumpkin is only 50 calories. But that’s not the trick - LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin can fool many recipes, making them more delicious while cutting fat and cholesterol per serving.

So how does it work? #Pumpkin-Can fool many of your favorite recipes because its creamy texture and taste make it the perfect ingredient to substitute in place of butter, eggs, or oil.

Here are 4 family favorites all given a nutrition boost with pumpkin.
Pumpkin PB & J: Combine equal parts LIBBY’S Pumpkin with peanut butter and cut the fat nearly in half in your pumpkin pb & j.
Pasta Sauce:  Add 1 part LIBBY’S Pumpkin to 3 parts pasta sauce and what you’ll do here is reduce the sodium per serving.  Sounds weird, but you don’t taste the pumpkin AT ALL and it’s boosts the texture of the sauce too.
Mac & Cheese: Everybody loves mac and cheese and wouldn’t you love to cut the fat by more than 75%? When you replace butter or margarine with LIBBY’S Pumpkin that’s exactly what you can do.
Brownies:  For a sweet treat substitute half the butter in your brownie recipe with LIBBY’S Pumpkin. You’ll have a moist, cake-like brownie with half the saturated fat.

Thanks to Libby’s for partnering with me for a Daily Buzz segment this week.  I was not compensated to write this blog post.

What’s your best April Fools food trick?

Love and beta carotene all day long,
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Dietary Recommendations

Earlier this year new dietary recommendations were submitted to the US Department of Health in preparation for the new "2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans". 

Some of the recommendations shouldn't surprise anyone: eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less red meat.  But other recommendations are finally catching up to the science that RD's have been preaching for some time, including that idea that "egg yolks are OK!"

Last week I visited BayNews9 in Tampa to chat about the new recommendations. Click here to view.
Besides the news that egg yolks won't directly raise your blood cholesterol, other newsworthy recommendations included being more sustainable, avoiding red and processed meat, and a higher upper limit for caffeine.  If you're interested in more info here's some of the Q & A from the station.
According to the panel, the global production of food accounts for 80% of deforestation and 70% of fresh water use. The government has to focus on sustainable diets if it wants to ensure an adequate food supply will be available for future generations, it said. What is eating to promote sustainability?
-       Most foods you find in the grocery store are made in an unsustainable food system, meaning that as time goes on our current methods of food production and transportation won’t last with an increasing population and limited resources.
-       Eating sustainability is making choices that have a lower impact on the environment, for example local foods that haven’t had to travel across the country or buying produce at a local farmer’s market.  It’s also about whole foods that are grown in a way that doesn’t harm the environment or the workers who produce them.  Think back to how people ate hundreds of years ago and that was a more sustainable system.
-       This also goes back to a plant based diet as 18% of global emissions come from livestock, so by eating a more local plant based diet we’re boosting sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint.
-       Another great way to boost your sustainability is to try to grow produce and herbs yourself.
-       This is not saying that everyone needs to be a vegetarian, but a conscious reduction in red meat consumption would benefit overall health and the environment.  Think about the difference of eating beans transported from Asia vs eating local Florida beef.
-       Buy fair trade – making sure farmers are properly compensated for their work and harvest

Current dietary guidelines suggest Americans limit their cholesterol to 300 milligrams a day. That’s less than what’s found in a couple of eggs. This time around, the advisory panel said it’s ditching that recommendation because it can’t find evidence of an “appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol in the blood. The American Heart Association has also said that limiting dietary cholesterol will not lower the artery-clogging LDL (bad) cholesterol. Does this surprise you and should people not worry at all about their cholesterol intake, or should they still be conscious of how much they are putting into their bodies?
-       No this doesn’t surprise me at all and this is something that I and many other dietitians out there have been saying for some years.  When we’re talking about dietary cholesterol, biologically our bodies simply don’t absorb say that cholesterol in an egg yolk and deposit them in the arteries.
-       Plus specifically with eggs so many of the wonderful, beneficial nutrients from the egg are in the yolk like fat-soluble vitamin and essential fatty acids.
-       If you’re someone concerned about cholesterol then I think it’s better to look to reduce your saturated fats like butter, bacon, and the fatty, processed meats we talked about before.
-       Also if you’re concerned about your LDL cholesterol try adding in foods that can lower it naturally and boost your fiber intake and look for plant stanols in your cooking oils.

What did the panel recommend for coffee and alcohol?
-       Coffee and alcohol both have some benefits in moderation.
-       The panel is saying that up to 400mg of caffeine a day is ok in adults.
-       It’s important to note that’s equivalent to about 3-5 cups of coffee, which is not a giant cup but an 8oz cup.
-       Some research supports that coffee could reduce your risk to Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

What about beef and the difference between lean beef?
-       Some critics have said these recommendations vilify beef and while that’s not the intention it can appear that way.
-       When talking about sustainability, beef is a large animal and production of beef products can lead to a very large carbon footprint.
-       Also depending on what type of beef you eat, you could be consuming something that isn’t ideal for your health. I would stress portion size if you do consume beef, looking for a portion the size of your palm and I’d also focus on grass fed beef products and eat locally when you can
-       Specifically lean beef should be less than 10 grams of fat per 3 oz serving with no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat
o   For a 2,000 calorie diet you should aim to have less than 16 grams of saturated fat daily
o   Leanest cuts are beef eye of round, top round, sirloin steak, flank steak.

What are the recommendations and differences between farm raised seafood and wild seafood?These are the recommendations for changes to the 2015 dietary guidelines
-       You know I think this could be one of the most confusing to consumers and controversial parts of these recommendations.  When we’re talking about farm raised vs wild seafood there are lots of components that can go into this discussion that are both environmental and health related.
-       Strictly speaking to these recommendations, they are saying that certain varieties of farm raised seafood such as: bass, cod, salmon, and trout are OK because of their increased amounts of omega 3’s.
-       So when we look at the overall health issue we see that the benefits of eating farm raised fish, even if there is some mercury and some environmental effects, is far more beneficial than NOT eating them.
-       Also the environmental effect of say farm raised fish vs conventional meat like beef, the meat is still the much larger environmental offender.

-       The goal would be to eat both farm raised AND wild seafood to get those heart healthy benefits.
What new recommendation is interesting to you?
What food trend are you seeing in your area?

Love and running my RD mouth,
Carissa & Kyle