Seek Adventure

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Badlands National Park, South Dakota (2015)

One important part of well-rounded wellness is the sense of adventure.  Many people have different ideas of adventure…for example…

My husband’s idea of adventure is going to Carolina Adventure World for a weekend with his buddies to ride dirt bikes 24/7 for 2 days straight. He gets the thrill of excitement and it makes him happy.

For me, my idea of adventure is being out in the wilderness surrounded by trees, pine cones, and a nice breeze. I spent a lot of summers going on outdoor excursions as a child, and I still enjoy them to this day.

 

 

I want you to think about your favorite adventure spot…imagine what you would be doing there right now…

And I will tell you mine…

When I think of adventure and true bliss, I think of the time my parents and I visited Mount Rainier in Washington state in September 2015. The first day we arrived, I was not too impressed…it was rainy and gloomy, we had no cell reception, and I missed my boyfriend…

 

The next day, I woke up to a cold breeze and ready to see what this place was all about.

As I hiked up the mountain, I was surrounded by a mystical land that looked like it came straight out of a fairy tale book. To make the experience even more magical, it began snowing…it felt like Christmas in September! Soon, the enchanted forest became covered in the fluffy snow making our hike unbelievably beautiful.

 

Though on our hike we did not get to see the panoramic views due to the clouds, snow, and wind, we still had an amazing adventure–and one that I consider my favorite.

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Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with stress? As humans, we tend to stress about all sorts of things–relationships, school, work, health…but stress can shed years off your life. My mom used to tell me to “go to my happy place” when I am feeling down or overwhelmed…it is a tactic I have implemented in my life that I truly believe improves my well-being.

Mount Rainier is an adventure that I experienced and is now my “happy place” that I visit often. I encourage you to think of your happy place and visit it when it seems like things just aren’t going your way…it happens. We can stay organized and make plans for things, but sometimes things just don’t pan out the way you want them to. When this happens, go to your happy place.  Counting your blessings can help with stress and depression too.

Seek adventure in your life so you can re-visit them when times get tough.

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

Pumpkin, Anyone?

pumpkin

Who is excited this fall season? I know I am! When I was younger, I never got excited about fall…however, the older I get, the more I absolutely LOVE autumn—leaves falling, temperatures cooling, holiday baking…

…and of course: Pumpkin.

I know what you are thinking…pumpkin is so basic. Yeah, basically delicious! And guess what? Not only is pumpkin delicious, but it also comes with fun historical facts and healing nutrition.

Pumpkins are a part of the Cucurbitaceae family along with gourds and squash. Wait, aren’t they all virtually the same thing? Well, they do belong to the same family but have different characteristics.
For one, gourds are ornamental–meaning used for decoration. I remember making bird houses out of gourds in my childhood…we never ate them!
Squash is an edible Cucurbitaceae crop that includes summer, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti varieties. These are great when roasted and pureed, and typically you can find different squash varieties year round.
There are over 45 different varieties of pumpkin that are typically harvested in the fall and can be both ornamental and edible–that is what makes them so unique! We use this fruit to enjoy in fall dishes as well as creative decorations. Did you know that back in the day, the Irish used turnips and potatoes to carve jack-o-lanterns? Weird, right? It was not until Irish immigrants moved to America that they discovered pumpkins were better for carving.

Now onto the nutrition! How do pumpkins benefit our health?

To begin with, pumpkins are 90% water, meaning they are low in calories and high in fiber. In one cup of plain and cooked pureed pumpkin, there are 50 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrate—3 grams from fiber, 2 grams from naturally occurring sugar, and 7 grams of complex carbohydrates.

Micro-nutrients? Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene which is the precursor to Vitamin A that helps us maintain healthy vision, teeth, and skin. One cup of pumpkin provides 87% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin A.

In addition to beta-carotene, pumpkin contains vitamin K (for gut health), copper (helps body form collagen and absorb iron), vitamin C (immunity boost), magnesium (bone health and calcium absorption), iron (healthy blood), and potassium (protects muscle mass and preserves bone density).

Whew! That was a mouth full of how pumpkin can benefit our wellbeing this fall. It isn’t just about being trendy, but pumpkin has true healing benefits to our bodies, so let’s incorporate it into our diets this season!

Bonus: Did you know that pumpkin can be used as an oil replacement in baking? Though this ingredient is usually the “star” of a baked good, it also serves as a 1:1 ratio to substitute oil. This means that if a recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, you would use 1 cup of pumpkin puree as a replacement. To substitute pumpkin puree for butter, multiply butter by ¾ and that will be the amount of pumpkin to use. Cool, huh?
Below is my Pumpkin-Nut Bread recipe that is refined-sugar free, wheat free, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face! A few pointers: I love “stuff” in my quick breads—nuts and dried fruits. Since I do not use much sugar, it also sweetens up the bread. If you are not a fan, you can veto those goodies. Enjoy!

Pumpkin-Nut Bread

bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 15-oz can Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts (I like using walnuts or pecans)
  •      1/4 cuppitted dates, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Baking Spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a blender, pulse 2 cups of oatmeal until a smooth, flour-like texture.
  3. In a mixing bowl, smash 1 banana until smooth. Add pumpkin puree to banana, mix well. Mix in eggs one at a time. Stir in honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Mix in half of the ground oatmeal and stir. Once incorporated with the wet ingredients, add the other half of ground oatmeal. Stir in salt, baking soda, nuts of choice, dates, and raisins.
  5. Grab greased bread tin and fill up about ¾ the way up, allowing to rise some while baking. Bake bread for 35-45 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

References:
  1. Verywell Fit. (2018). How (and Why) to Include More Pumpkin in Your Diet. [onling]. Available at: https://www.verwellfit.com/pumpkin-nutrition-facts-calories-carbs-and-health-benefits-4165492 [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
  2.  Nutritious Life. 2018. What’s the Difference Between Gourds, Squash, and Pumpkins?. [online] Available at: https://nutritiouslife.com/eat-empowered/whats-difference-gourds-squash-pumpkin/ [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
  3.  Good Housekeeping. (2018). 16 Pumpkin Facts That’ll Make You Say “Oh My Gourd”. [online] Available at: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a22544/facts-about-pumpkins [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].

Pickin’ Up Pawpaws

Put ’em in your pocket…

Texture like a ripe avocado, mouthfeel of a banana, and taste of mixed tropic fruit, this “hillbilly mango” is native to 26 states in North America ranging from northern Florida all the way up to Ontario, Canada and go as far west as Nebraska.

Also called the “poor man’s banana”, this indigenous fruit provided nutrient dense food for wild animals, Native Americans, and even European explorers and settlers back in the day. Pawpaws are still cropped in the US today and enjoyed in many rural areas. They bloom in the spring and then harvested in late August through mid October, making pawpaws a seasonal fall crop.

Several years ago, my father planted some pawpaw trees on his farm in Western North Carolina, and this year they are producing gobs of fruit. The first time I tried a pawpaw, I did not really know what to think…the texture was like a very ripe avocado but flavor was like an earthy banana with a faint taste of mango and blueberry…weird combo, right? It is by no means a favorite fruit of mine (doesn’t even make my top 10), but it is still fascinating to learn about fruits our ancestors cultivated and ate for proper nutrition.

That brings me to the nutrient facts of a pawpaw! Pawpaws are fruit, so they are full of similar nutrients like a banana, however they are higher in protein and fat content.  One pawpaw has 80 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, 18.8 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.6 grams of dietary fiber.

Pawpaws contain 1.2 grams of complete protein…that’s right! Pawpaws contain all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Pawpaws are one of the few plants that contain all essential amino acids. Other complete protein plants include soy and quinoa…that is what makes this fruit so unique and interesting!

Now, of course you can eat this fleshy plant raw off the tree, but there are numerous other ways to utilize this fruit! The fruit is ripe when it becomes soft on the tree and can be eaten right away or stored in a refrigerator up to one week. It is a little difficult to process as it contains many big, black seeds, but I found that peeling the fruit with a knife and pressing it through a strainer works well. At that point, you can use the flesh in baked goods or freeze it for a later use. Because the fruit is naturally fatty and creamy, it would make a great base for a smoothie or custard.

When my dad gave me pawpaws last week, I had to get in the kitchen and experiment!  I ended up making “Pawpaw-Nut Muffins” with the recipe below. Try it out and let me know how ya like ’em!


Pawpaw-Nut Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup smashed pawpaw fruit (1 large pawpaw)
  • 3/4 cup of nuts (I used English walnuts)
  • baking spray

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, add water, dates, and cranberries and bring to boil. Stir in applesauce and honey and allow to boil for 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a blender, pulse together the oats, AP flour, eggs, baking soda, and nuts–roughly. Then pour into a mixing bowl and combine together well, making a dough-like texture.
  3. Mix in the cooled applesauce mixture and pawpaws to dough. Put in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Spray muffin tins and fill with batter 3/4 of the way up, allowing room to rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

What do you think? Are you curious to try a pawpaw now? Check your local farmer’s market to see if they’ve got any in stock and let me know how you like them!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

References: 
Cooking with Pawpaws. Axonopus affinis. hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ksu-pawpaw/cooking/html. Accessed September 9, 2018.

 

M.O.V.E.

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Do you set fitness goals for the week and then feel really good about yourself when you complete them? Or feel even better when you exceed your goals? I think that is pretty typical for most people, and rightfully so because it helps you feel accomplished.

On the flipside, have you ever set those weekly fitness goals and then did not meet them? How did that make you feel?

I used to really beat myself up if I didn’t make my ‘fitness goal’ for the week…I am an active individual, but for some reason my brain tells me that I am not “fit” enough if I do not complete that goal. But you know what? It does not matter…

It doesn’t matter if you meet your specific goal of the week as long as you are finding joyful movement to make your body feel good and listening to your body. What do I mean by that? You are active  and are doing types of exercises you enjoy. If you make yourself run because you think it will make you more fit, then you are doing it for the wrong reason…you should do something you love so you are more likely to continue exercising in the future.

Also, you should feel good after a workout. Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t push yourself and sweat…we all need a little nudge to build strength. However, if you don’t feel happy and positive after a workout or you are in pain, you are not getting the most mental benefits out of your workout.

Below is a chart found on the American Heart Association website that outlines how much movement we should be getting at different intensities per day and week. This week, I challenge you to pick an intensity or combination of recommendations and make that your goal . Then, if you meet or exceed that goal, you know you have met the requirements for healthy cardiovascular health.

Figure found on the American Heart Association website found at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-Infographic_UCM_450754_SubHomePage.jsp

Keep in mind that these are the recommendations for good cardiovascular health.  It is recommended that you work on strength training at least 2 days a week. Building muscle won’t make you bulky (unless that is your goal), but it will help with posture, metabolic rate, and activities of daily living–just to name a few benefits.

Regardless if you like running, swimming, dancing, or biking, do what you love and what you can be consistent with. For me, I LOVE running but have been struggling motivating myself to do that as of late…instead, I have been doing livestream Dance2Fit classes with Jessica Bass (interested? check out this link and try the free 7 day trial).

It is a fun way for me to get my heart rate up, burn calories, and MOVE. It also breaks up my normal workout routine, which is nice.

What type of workout will you try this week to break up your usual routine? Let me know!

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,
Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD,LDN