**Disclaimer: Please be aware that this post contains content that some readers may find triggering. This is not intended to be dietary advice. Anything written here is not necessarily appropriate for the Enara program you are on or consistent with your particular goals.
I am excited to share my diary with you this week! In this week’s post I strive to provide context around my food decisions. The way I eat has evolved over the years. For some background: I have dealt with psoriasis, a pesky, inflammatory skin condition since high school, and was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (another inflammatory, autoimmune condition) in 2010. I became a registered dietitian after making my own drastic diet and lifestyle changes. I was fascinated by the impact that my diet (and other lifestyle factors) had on the severe symptoms I was experiencing. I had no idea that the foods I was eating were so directly impacting my health.
I fully understand how difficult it can be to make changes, and that is why I am passionate about sharing my experience and helping others find a style of eating that works for them. This is what works for me. Everyone has their own unique needs and challenges. If there is anything I’ve learned it’s that there is no one right way to be. I try to structure my diet around colorful, nutrient dense, minimally processed, whole foods. But as you’ll see, I’m not always perfect… And that’s ok. 🙂
SATURDAY: camping trip
This weekend I went camping with my partner in Humboldt county. We visited Jedediah Smith State Park, which boasts some of the most gorgeous redwood groves I’ve ever seen. When camping, on road trips, or traveling in general I try my best to get as much fiber as possible to stay regular, and to plan healthy meals because inevitably there will be some snacky/fun foods in the mix. When traveling or camping I just try to eat at regular meal times, avoid mindless snacking, and sneak the veggies in where I can.
Breakfast was a Bob’s Red Mill maple oatmeal cup with a packet of Justin’s almond butter and black coffee. We were eager to hit the trail, and wanted a quick but filling breakfast to fuel our hike. Lunch was at the mid way point during our 6 mile hike through a redwood grove. We packed turkey wraps. Mine was oven roasted turkey with a slice of Tillamook cheddar, smear of guac, sprinkle of lettuce, drizzle of Primal Kitchen caesar dressing, wrapped in a gluten free tortilla (which was falling apart). Just as a note, I avoid gluten because it triggers my immune system and leads to my UC and skin flares. A gluten free label does not necessarily mean ‘healthy’. Gluten free products are often highly processed and made with other types of starches. Not everyone needs to avoid it. OK- now that that’s out of the way. For dessert I had a few Smart Sweets Peach O’s. I enjoyed the wrap immensely given I was in a beautiful setting and I don’t typically eat wraps. It was a nice treat. After the hike we enjoyed a White Claw under the redwood canopy.
We then found an amazing river spot where we swam and relaxed in the sun. I had a serving of Buncha Crunch (yes the candy they have at the movie theater), and ½ white claw that I didn’t finish. Our camping dinner was Amy’s lentil soup with sausage and asparagus. Topped with a little cheese and a slice of gf bread. We used to try to make these extravagant meals while camping, but have come to realize that after a long day of hiking and getting to our campsite late, we just prefer what is quick and easy. We keep coming back to this meal because it’s satisfying and delicious. Brown the sausage and asparagus, pour in the soup, heat and serve. Boom! Dessert was a Tate’s Bakehouse cookie.
SUNDAY: camping trip
We had a limited amount of water left, so instead of oatmeal I had a low sugar chobani yogurt with an almond butter packet. Had to save the water for the coffee… priorities. After a beautiful hike through a fern grove, surrounded by a wall of ferns on either side of us (amazing), we made our wraps (same ingredients as lunch yesterday). We enjoyed these on the beach with a spiked seltzer and some organic cheese puffs we found at Grocery Outlet. After this lunch it was time to head back towards the Bay. After two hours of driving, I was starting to get hungry but did not leave out any food from the cooler. The cheese puffs were mistakenly within arms reach, so I had a few handfuls to tide me over until dinner… poor planning there. Also had 2 squares of Tcho dark chocolate. Dinner was at a camping park that had a pub. We were looking forward to a hot meal that we didn’t have to prepare ourselves. Not much on the menu here I can eat since I’m gluten free, and many options were fried. I chose my typical go-to in these situations, a bunless burger. It came with a side of fries which I mindfully indulged in. Finished the day out with a Golden State dry cider- my drink of choice. Delicious, crisp, and low in sugar.
Woke up Monday morning, packed up our camp, heated some water for our coffee and oatmeal cups, and hit the road, heading back to the Bay Area. Craving a salad and some bowel regularity (sorry if TMI) after a weekend of camping. Stopped at Blue Barn and got a delicious salad with lots of high fiber toppings and some steak for a healthy dose of iron. I got home just in time to start my afternoon of calls. The salads are huge, so I only ate half and nibbled on the rest as a snack later on before dinner (along with 2 squares of dark chocolate). Dinner tonight was a new recipe, blackened salmon, black beans with green chiles, salad, and roasted broc. LOVED the blackening seasoning on this, especially with the bean and green chile combo. It took about 10 minutes to throw together. Will definitely be making it again. Had some raspberries with a couple tbsp of french vanilla ice cream to cap off the day.
Ready to get back to my routine. I typically wake up around 7 am. I am not a morning person, so I love a slow morning. I usually give myself an hour to have coffee and do one of my several morning rituals (either 10 minute meditation, journaling, short walk, or reading). I start work at 8. I typically don’t start to feel hungry until 9:30-10:30 am, and I wait to eat breakfast until then. Breaky today is oatmeal with 1 tbsp flax, blueberries, couple of walnuts sprinkled on top with 2 applegate sausages. Lunch is about 3 hours later, I have leftover salmon, broc, and beans from last night. Although there is only 2 oz of salmon left, so this does not keep me full for very long. At 3:40 I am quite hungry again, I have 2 frozen papusas that I popped in the oven. Not many other good snack options available in the house since I have not been grocery shopping yet this week. I notice that because my lunch was deficient in protein and healthy fats, I was not satiated for as long as I would have been with a more balanced and complete lunch. Typically I try to get enough food at meal times so that I do not need to snack.
I had a friend over for dinner. Naturally, I wanted to impress her with yummy flavors, but also didn’t want to spend much time cooking. I went with something I could just throw together quickly without a recipe… I pan fried some chicken that I seasoned and dredged in almond flour. Made a home made tomato sauce with olive oil, sliced tomatoes, garlic, shallot, and zucchini. I put the sauce over some heated lentils (from a can! So easy), topped with parmesan cheese (always). Threw some mixed greens on the side (I always keep a box of pre-washed mixed greens to simply throw on the side of anything I’m having. I used Bragg’s vinaigrette for the dressing tonight). Had 2 glasses of wine with the meal, and an apricot for dessert.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays I work at the San Francisco VA Hospital. Hospitals typically don’t have great food, and this one is no different. Therefore, I pack my breakfast and lunch every week. I’ve pretty much got this down to a science. I typically pack yogurt with berries and low sugar granola (I use Nana Joes Paleo blend) or oatmeal with berries in a mason jar. I eat breakfast in the clinic once I’m feeling hungry (usually between 10-10:30). Lunch is usually leftovers thrown over some greens. I have my leftovers from last night. The key here is to have some good glass tupperware, since that can go straight in the microwave to be heated. After work I do a pilates video at home, run to the grocery store (a short walk away). Tonight is turkey taco bowls. I have some variation of tacos every week (usually in salad or bowl form). Today was turkey taco meat with sauteed veggies, lettuce, Amy’s canned, refried black beans, and cheese. Delicious and very satisfying. No dessert tonight. Thursday morning I uncharacteristically did a 20 min pilates video before work. I knew I was going to dinner with my mom after, and was not sure I’d have time to exercise later. Breakfast in clinic was oatmeal with berries and almond butter, two Applegate breakfast sausages, and black coffee. Lunch is leftover chicken and tomato sauce with some greens. The portion of lunch was on the smaller side today so I found myself in the gift shop for a 3:30 pm snack. I opted for a piece of cheese and a bite sized York peppermint patty. After work I had dinner with my mom at one of our favorite Italian restaurants in Mill Valley. We always share when we go out, that way we can try several things and avoid eating too large of portions. We had a to-die for peach and burrata salad and split bolognese on gluten free pasta with a side of garlic broccolini.