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Food and Nutrition

Food Diary: A Week With Dietitian Danielle

Danielle Cortez, RD | Nutrition Specialist
/ January 14, 2022
Food Diary: A Week With Dietitian Danielle

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. 

Monday January 3

January. A time to consider resolutions, and, as any of my patients will hear me say every year, time to harness the power of the new year. I don’t necessarily recommend a new diet in January, or a new exercise routine, or just have December be a free-for-all because we’ll clean it up in January, because we know that most resolutions are broken by February. I do think there are a lot of encouraging things that a new year brings—new energy, the end of a challenging holiday eating season, or perhaps just a new perspective. 

I thought about whether I wanted to have a resolution this year. Or a Dry January perhaps. I like to challenge myself from time to time, which usually means avoiding this or that. However, having a baby in 2021 has been and continues to be the mother of all challenges (lol). Hormones, breastfeeding, lack of time or energy or exercise as much as my pre-baby levels continue to throw me for a loop. Eating too little, eating too much, relying on sugar for energy or refined carbs for a quick snack are all obstacles to feeling my best. Anyone who has gone through this experience knows that for at least the first year of parenthood, your body and your schedule are not your own. I am determined to feel more like myself in 2022, and that starts with meal planning, returning to my old staples, and giving myself a little grace.

Breakfast was an old favorite: greek yogurt, frozen berries, Puffins cereal (it was supposed to be Morning Oat Crunch but the boxes look the same), and peanut butter and an early morning Sweet and Spicy herbal tea. Dr. B was in town so we met at a coffee shop, and since it’s in the 60’s in San Diego today, I got a large decaf iced americano with almond milk and a small bit of half and half. I’ve been drinking decaf since I was 24, when I found out that I was intolerant to caffeinated coffee (you don’t need details here), and was then confirmed by our genetic testing a few years ago that I am a very slow metabolizer of caffeine. 

When I got back home, I had a leftover tofu stir fry my husband made, with a little spicy mayo, farro cooked in vegetable broth, and added TJ’s chicken sausage. I may have had a few bites of leftover homemade pizza from NYE as well. Our current challenge is making sure we have enough food for our daughter Skye, who is now eating solid foods. She mostly eats what we eat, just in forms that are safe for her. We made turkey chili on Sunday night to last us a few days, and she’ll have some for dinner with us tonight. I’ve taken to having a small dessert each night as a way to indulge my sugar craving without denying myself and then going overboard. Usually it’s a few dark chocolate chips with pb and a little whipped cream. I’m currently doing a 6 week strength program on the Peloton App. One of the first things to go was the strength I had built as I got closer to giving birth and in the time after, so having a challenging program is part of giving back to myself this year. I did a 30 min session at 4:30pm.

Tuesday January 4

Same breakfast as yesterday. I usually swap out with oatmeal but I truly hate frozen berries on oatmeal and we’re out of fresh. Another sweet and spicy tea. 

For lunch I had leftover chili topped with parmesan cheese and Trader Joe’s Zhoug sauce plus a ghirardelli sea salt caramel chocolate square from a bag a former patient who lives near me dropped off. 

I gave my daughter dinner at 4, and I was ready for a snack. I had a Mission Carb Balance tortilla dipped into Bitchin’ Sauce, an almond based dip. My husband made dinner a little later, which was his go-to: another tofu stir fry using coconut aminos, miso, cauliflower rice, and chicken sausage added for extra protein. I’m not doing Dry January, but I have been waking up groggy so I declined the glass of wine I was offered. Dessert was a Trader Joe’s almond butter cup with some whipped cream on top. 

Wednesday January 5

Breakfast was a grab-and-go situation as this morning was chaotic. Cottage cheese, apple with peanut butter with decaf coffee. Lunch was a salad with chicken sausage, farro, and sauerkraut. Dressing was zhoug sauce and the cilantro dressing at TJs. It’s actually a lower calorie fresh dressing without oil that we like at our house, especially since I didn’t have any fats for my salad on hand. I also had a half of a low carb tortilla with Bitchin’ sauce. I got hungry around 4pm and had some crackers with butter (desperate times). 

Dinner was a real toughie. We now live in the suburbs so the closest restaurants become expensive quickly for takeout without the enjoyment of being waited on. I had to convince my husband not to pick up Wendy’s and we abandoned a $50 Thai order halfway through. I ended up using the leftover cauliflower rice stir fry, mixed with broccoli, onion, farro, 3 cut up Dr Praeger’s burgers and topped with homemade teriyaki sauce my brother had made when he visited, combined all together in our dutch oven. It came out really well with no extra $$ or trip to fast food. If you had asked me 2 years ago when I lived in the heart of SF that I would be debating a drive through at Wendy’s on a Wednesday night, I would’ve thought you were clearly mistaken. I had a glass of the red wine I had declined last night, because 6 hours of meetings today. Dessert was the end of a tub of Thrifty Cookies and Cream on a wafer cone. Apparently there is some delicious Rite Aid ice cream in existence. 

Thursday January 6

Today is the day I spend with my daughter, and fit in work when I can. We both had breakfast around 7am, and as I mostly focused on her, I had what she had, which was multigrain waffles from TJ’s, a little full fat greek yogurt, frozen berries thawed, and pb. I’m still a little nervous when she eats so I eat when I can while I’m watching her. We then took our morning walk with Moto. She took a nap at 9am, and I was a little hungry so I had a veggie crepe from the batch my nanny made Skye. Around lunchtime we had to run errands since we were super low on food, and I had dreams of getting a takeout salad from a nearby restaurant, but it would probably take too long and she seemed ready for lunch. Then maybe a smoothie since it was a warm day, no, line is too long. OK a sandwich? I’d regret it. Wendy’s??? I mustn’t. I ended up with a few pieces of rotisserie chicken while I fed her. On Thursdays it’s hard to find time for myself. Once she went back down for a nap around 3pm, I made myself a wrap on a low carb tortilla with zhoug sauce, chicken, lettuce, tbsp of greek yogurt, and more hot sauce from a local company. I’m glad I held out for something quick and healthy. My mom then surprised me with a box of bagels shipped from the best bagel place in New York, where I’m from, which was a special treat. So for dinner, we had everything bagels with vegetable cream cheese, lox, tomato, red onion and capers. Not the healthiest, but glad to enjoy it after a long day. I also had a glass of red wine. Dessert was a mini almond butter cup. 

Friday January 7

Friday was gearing up to be a busy day as it’s my main clinical day plus I was teaching a class. I woke up super early thanks to the dog, baby, and a heaping amount of anxiety and was able to fit in work, pumping, baby time, and a hike with the dog before 8, so I had time to make breakfast and even coffee!! See what you can get done if you get up at 4am??!! Breakfast was the yogurt thing again, it’s easy and brainless for me. Decaf with a little half and half, followed directly by tea bc it was cold in the house this morning. I had a string cheese around 11am when hunger hit—still needing that midday snack while I burn the extra calories. 

Lunch was  quick salad of rotisserie chicken, avocado, sauerkraut, a tiny bit of oil and balsamic glaze since I ran out of vinegar. I wish I had thrown in some grains or beans but as it’s Friday, nothing was prepared or available. I had a black cherry seltzer with it. 

Today was a long day. I asked my husband to make me his version of an old fashioned, with lemon, ginger and honey. I ultimately only had half since it took me so long to drink it. Together we made seabass with lemon garlic and basil and broccoli Asian style. We attempted to defrost what we thought were homemade udon noodles my brother had made, only to sadly find out it was frozen latke batter so no grains for us tonight.

Saturday January 8

I made my way to a workout class called Body Boost, held at a park in the next town over. I bought a class pack for Stroller Strides, which is a workout designed to bring moms together and work out with their kids, since it’s so hard to find time to work out if you’re always watching your child. I’ve met a lot of moms that way, and it’s a harder workout than you expect. This class was without kids but put on by the Stroller Strides people, and I met a friend there. Since I’m still breastfeeding, I drank a Nuun electrolyte drink and had low carb tortillas with pb and j prior to the workout so I don’t get nauseous, which can happen. When I got back I made an omelet with onion and basil with hot sauce. I also had a sesame bagel with cream cheese. Two bagels in one week! Luckily we froze them so I can space out my bagels henceforth. 

Lunch wasn’t worth writing about, since we spent time trying to get the baby down who was fighting her nap, and doing yard work. Our dog also decided to take ownership of a rotisserie chicken we had sitting on the counter, so that was out. We went out to dinner to celebrate our 6 year anniversary of meeting. We went to a wine bar we’re members of for a tasting, and then to a restaurant on the water called Coasterra. Since the pandemic, it feels like restaurant dining isn’t as reliably delicious as it used to be and coupled with rising prices, so we essentially spent $120 on mostly just tortilla chips. Disappointing. 

Sunday January 9

Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal after our early morning family run to TJ’s. It’s fun to now put Skye in the cart and shop for what we can all eat. Lunch was a tortilla with melted string cheese and salsa in it, which reminded me of what I would eat during my first trimester just to combat nausea. I was pretty cranky on our way to Home Depot, and so was Skye, so we stopped at Starbucks and she and I shared egg white bites, avocado spread, and a string cheese (number 3 for me today). I think some parents can relate? For dinner we made the pantry staples lentil soup from the blog. It was so good! I added some crushed red pepper, lemon, and feta on it and it was an instant family staple and will help us with the stressful dinner hour for a few nights.

Thank you for spending time with me this week and for my first diary post parenthood, which has been such a humbling experience. I definitely have more empathy for my patients with children as I now really understand how hard it is to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority and hope to be more empathetic to this plight. 

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