This Valentine’s Day, Don’t Forget to Love Yourself!

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Chocolate is probably the best part about Valentine’s Day. I picked up some yummy nonpareils from Bomboy’s Home Made Candy in Havre de Grace! I love supporting local businesses and treating myself to chocolate almost daily is one way that I love myself. Remember to enjoy some heart healthy flavonols in dark chocolate today.

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I saw this on the mirror at Johnny Rad’s last week when I was there for happy hour and it was such a great reminder. I had some dark times in college when I felt like a slave as the mirror pretty much determined my mood and happiness each day.

There is so much pressure today through the media to be thin. I feel like all of us, men and women have had some sort of unhealthy thoughts surrounding food or our bodies and it’s important to fight against them. Remember that beauty starts on the inside and radiates out!

For more positivity about inner beauty, check out my friend Carin’s blog post here

I’ll close today with one of my all time favorite quotes.

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

-Dr. Seuss

24 Things to Do Instead of Getting Married Before You’re 24, a response

A lovely response!

justaylored

I recently read this article titled, “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23”. Normally, I don’t read these as they are usually written in an in-your-face-I-can-do-what-I-want tone. For whatever reason, I read this article, perhaps because I am 24 and not married and I was curious as to why 23 was the magic number. Unfortunately, the article is pretty much the same, lame advice for twenty-somethings, written by twenty-somethings whose sum total of advice is “17. Eat a Jar of Nutella is one sitting.” I didn’t think much about it until I saw at least 3 people repost it on Facebook.

I don’t know about you, but if the highlight of my life (outside of marriage???) before I’m 23 is to eat a jar of Nutella or “22. Be selfish” then I think marriage to anyone sounds pretty good.

My goal for life as a single…

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10 Signs He is just Not Into You

Here is a reblog for those of you trying to navigate the dating game in Charm City!

Vincent Egoro

2573762303_365ac020f8I read a book recently titled; He is just not that into you: the no – excuse truths to understanding guys. Witten by Greg behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. I found it a great read and quite revealing.

Here are 10 signs to knowing if a guy is not into you adapted from the book:

1- He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Not Asking You Out: Because If he likes he will ask you out. “Let me remind you: Men find it very satisfying to get what they want. (Particularly after a difficult day of running the world.) If we want you, we will find you. If you don’t think you gave him enough time to notice you, take the time it took you to notice him and divide it by half.”

2- He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Not Calling You: Men know how to…

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Indian Vegetable Curry

Check out the blog that inspired my latest post!

Kinsey Cooks

As someone who cooks and reads for pleasure, it’s not uncommon for a book to inspire a meal or recipe. Anything written by Jumpa Lahiri is no exception. I recently finished her collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, and and enjoyed it just as much, if not more, than The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies. Her writing is formulaic to a certain degree; her works often involve Bengali immigrants in the Cambridge area adjusting to life in America while dealing with loss or heartache. The stories are predictable, but the characterization and attention to detail is what draws me in every time. What I find incredible is her focus on food—what role it plays in the family dynamic as well as the long hours the women spend preparing and serving the food. The food shows a subtle transition to a Western lifestyle, a theme seen in all of…

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Hungry for change

hunger conference

I had the opportunity to attend the annual fighting hunger in Maryland Conference last Wednesday. It was something I went to last year as an intern, and decided to go this year to get my networking on, start getting some continuing education credits, and just get a reminder of things that inspire and motivate me. The beginning of the day was super depressing honestly. Everyone could not stop talking about the government shutdown, whether it was the speakers, or just chatter amongst the attendees.

I have to say though, things started to look up when there was a panel that included a few “witnesses to hunger.” I don’t know why, but I cry every time I see something like this. It must mean I have chosen the right profession. Their stories will haunt you and motivate you at the same time. You hear stories of living conditions that you thought only existed in third world countries.

That’s what this issue is all about. The faces and the stories. I get so angry when people try to say that people abuse this system. I know it is a broken system and I am sure it happens, but not to the extent that people say it does. Some reasearch shows that the food stamp program only has a 1% rate of fraud and 3% rate of error. I feel that the media.. cough cough fox news (which is not based on facts and is not even considered news in my book) blows things out of proportion such as the surfer dude in California using food stamps for a lobster dinner.

Federal programs need to be strengthened to get people out of the place where they are. It was designed to be a temporary type of system, but the system does not give people enough to get by even when they are working full-time or multiple jobs, so they become reliant on it in a way and stuck where they are.

Just a side note, I signed up to take the Food Stamp Challenge from OCtober 21-27 and I will have to eat with just $30/week. I will be blogging through my experience so come back for that. I think it will give me real perspective and increase my compassion towards people who have this as their reality every day.

Sign up here:

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5118/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=68621

The food stamp program’s first administrator, Milo Perkins said this in 1939: “We got a picture of a gorge, with farm surpluses on one cliff and under-nourished city folks with outstretched hands on the other. We set out to find a practical way to build a bridge across that chasm.” The program ended when the conditions that brought the program into being , unused food surpluses and rampant unemployment, no longer existed. Imagine that?! This is a bipartisan issue. Access to healthy food is a basic human right and I’m pretty sure it is on the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs so we will never move forward as individuals or as a society without it.

25% of kids in Baltimore city live in food deserts. That seems to be a trendy term these days but according to the Baltimore Food Policy Intiative is defined as: An area where the distance to a supermarket is more than ¼ mile, the median household income is at or below 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, over 40% of households have no vehicle available, and the average Healthy Food Availability Index score for supermarkets, convenience and corner stores is low (measured using the Nutrition Environment Measurement Survey).

I also thought it would be helpful to differentiate between food security, food insecurity, and hunger.

According to the official USDA definition, food security is defined as access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.  Food security includes the ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods and an assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.  Food insecurity is limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.  Hunger is the uneasy or painful sensation caused by a lack of food.

Our kids are overfed, yet undernourished. Childhood obesity statistics are on the rise, so people don’t think we have a problem with hunger at all!  Every healthy society in the world has a low rate of income disparity. With more income disparity, there is a loss of opportunity. These issues are more than just food. There is a lot of expertise and collaboration needed beyond my scope of practice as a dietitian. The future of our country is at stake. People don’t realize how much nutrition affects kids’ ability to learn and focus in school. They are the future of this country and societies have problems when their citizens are not educated. I know some people like to think that churches and charities can pick up the slack and that it’s not the government’s job. But it would take every single church, mosque, synagogue etc, donating $50,000/year for ten years to cover the snap benefits.

And while I’m on my soapbox, just a note about Obamacare, which if some of you don’t know is the same thing as the Affordable Care Act.

Now, I’m no economist, but one of the speakers used a great analogy. You cannot just go into a supermarket and get food, so that makes it a market sort of model that runs itself. But because you can go into a hospital and receive care, it shows that it is not a market and requires some sort of government intervention. The entire system we have for insurance operating like a market is ridiculous. I heard a story the other day that a woman was pregnant and had to switch insurance when she got a new job. The new insurance would not cover her because her pregnancy counted as a “pre-existing condition.” That makes me sick. Haha pun intended.

Again, I’m sure Obamacare is not perfect and it will need some revision, but some sort of change definitely needs to happen soon. And for now, I am grateful that it allows me to stay on my parents insurance until I’m 26, considering I still do not have a steady full-time job and may not even receive benefits when I do find one. Another visual this speaker used it the hammock idea. Many conservatives try to say it’s time to cut the hammock. Well, there is no hammock, just a crappy, porous safety net. And a note on this whole government shut down, I think we’ve been doomed for a while considering the model of democracy works when their citizens are informed. But we do not have an informed society. People don’t have time these days so a lot of information comes to us through twitter or Facebook or if we happen to have time to watch tv and catch the news, which is usually biased anyways.

I’ll be honest, I am not as informed about politics as I was in college.  I cannot cite all the studies or where these statistics came from. You can cite statistics all day about the prevalence of poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity. But for me, the fact that it happens to one person is this country is unacceptable. And although this conference had a very liberal spin on things, I consider myself pretty moderate and think that these are not issues that should be divisive.

ben franklin

Now onto something more positive. The sessions after lunch seemed to have glimmers of hope sprinkled throughout. Baltimore really is a sort of hub for work in food insecurity and is leading the nation in creative approaches to tackling this multifaceted issue.

Things that make me happy:

-The EBT benefits (electronic benefit transfer aka food stamps) used at farmer’s markets has been increasing exponentially over the past three years, The pilot year, a total of $15,000 were used, $42,000 the next year, and $90,000 the next year.

-The work I have done with low-income parents over the past year at my internship showed me that 99.9% of them want to eat healthy food and want that for their kids, but just don’t know where to find it or how to pay for it.

-A program called Baltimore Bucks will double someone’s EBT benefits up to $5 at a farmer’s market since they are spending it on fresh produce.

-Baltimarket is a free, virtual pea-pod type of delivery program to reach people in food deserts.

-There is a prescription assistance program where a doctor can literally write a prescription for fruits and vegetables for a patient and they will receive $10 to spend at a farmer’s market. That just made my heart sing. And that’s why I probably could never work in a hospital when I’m really being honest with myself. That is the direction our healthcare system needs to be heading. From “Sick Care” to “Health Care.” From reactive to proactive.

-There are tons of community projects being funded that focus on urban gardens, mobile farmer’s markets, kitchen renovations, cooking classes , etc. and even one modeled after the Jamie Oliver community kitchen idea to give people the skills they need to prepare healthy food.

-Real Food Farm in Clifton Park was one organization I had the pleasure of working with during my internship. They have a mobile farmer’s market that visits low-income areas and last year 20% of their sale were SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program aka the new name for food stamps after the 2008 farm bill) benefit recipients.

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I know this post was super opinionated and probably very biased as well. But for me, this is not a political issue, it’s a heart issue. Because of my values and the way I live my life, I cannot help but feel called to be a part of the solution. I truly believe in the power of the individual. I can’t save the world of hunger by myself, but I can do everything in my power to make sure I am not harming others by my actions or votes.

A quote from the Dali Lama, “If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.”

And finally, to end with a quote from my favorite person:

.. whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.. Matthew 25:40

Again, thanks for hanging in there for all of this 🙂

Indignation: Anger aroused by something unjust, mean, or unworthy. I think the emotions this day brought out in me is just all the more confirmation that I want to dedicate my life’s work to pediatric research and be a part of the solution. Thanks again for joining me in this journey!

Indignantly yours,

Cara

How to be a domestic goddess

This will be more of a light hearted fun foodie post. I don’t have anything super deep and spiritual to say today.

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My latest adventure has been house sitting in the lovely town of Glenelg in Howard County. Not quite the city life I love, but it has been a nice restful week 🙂

A family friend once told me that no one will want to marry me because of the amount of debt I accrued during college, but then once he tried my cooking, he took it back and said that would cancel out the debt. He now says I can win any guy’s heart over with my cooking. However, I’ve never been much of a baker (I prefer the art of throwing spices together while cooking and I hate measuring and being so exact. Maybe it brings back bad memories from organic chemistry lab in college). But in my mind, being able to bake is always how I picture what it means to be a true domestic goddess. Not like I have anyone to impress these days but you never know when those skills will come in handy.

I’m house sitting for a dietitian I used to work with and her kitchen really is like a chemistry lab. It has everything you could need for baking and more. She has quite the collection of cookbooks as well which is where I found this one and it seemed fitting with the theme of my day.

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I actually didn’t end up using this or any other cookbooks. Pinterest seemed way easier and I like having the pictures.

Despite it being 85 degrees today and not much of fall weather, I was in the mood for pumpkin. The two recipes I chose were whole wheat chocolate chip pumpkin bread and cranberry pumpkin chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I wish I could say these are my own recipes. But they are my own pictures and it is actually me making them! Too bad I didn’t get in any action shots… Those of you who know me well know that I have done some hand modeling in the past and always hoped to make it big. Check out these wonderful food blogs for the recipes!

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http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/06/03/whole-wheat-chocolate-chip-pumpkin-bread/

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pumpkin 2

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*Note: I doubled the recipe and it made 39 cookies.

http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/10/24/healthy-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-oatmeal-cookies/

My sister has always said that baking is stress relief. Honestly, it used to invoke anxiety in me (probably flashbacks to all the labs I took in college), but I think the more I have practiced, the more relaxing it gets. And I must say, using a kitchenaid mixer makes all the difference!

There is something calming about creating something with our hands. Whether it’s art, cooking, collaging, pottery, sewing, scrapbooking or even play-dough. A wise mentor once told me that in those moments when we create something, we mirror our creator and we feel some sort of peace and connection to Him through that. And ultimately, we are reminded of how intricately we are made and that gives us a sense of worth and accomplishment.

Ok well maybe I will leave you with one little nugget to chew on 🙂

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

-Psalm 139:14

Until next time,

Cara

P.S.  I was going to end with a quote from Nigella Lawson just to bring everything full circle, but my computer froze when I opened up the quote website. Clearly it’s a sign from God that she does not need to be quoted at this time and His words are better. Thank your wordpress for saving this post as a draft automatically 🙂

He who began a good work…

Overwhelmed by the breathtaking beauty of creation at Glacier National Park this past summer

Hello friends, family, and future followers! So here is my fist post, my first attempt at breaking into the blogging world. It has always been a dream of mine to have a food blog, although I recently decided that I wanted to incorporate more of my heart and soul into my posts and not just write as my foodie self. As a newly registered dietitian who is still in the midst of the ever frustrating job search, I thought now would be the perfect time to get back into some old hobbies and/or pursue new ones. Writing is something I loved in high school and did not get to do very much in college as my major was very heavy on the sciences. I am a bit rusty and am far from my days of writing AP English essays that received the ever coveted 9s. But if nothing else, this will be a good form of  therapeutic self-expression during this transition time I have been given of reflection and down time, which is often so hard for me to enjoy.

Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”

Like many other 20 somethings these days, I often ask myself what I am doing with my life. It is so easy to get caught up in worldly mindsets and feel like a failure because we are unemployed or working at a job we hate or still single or whatever. This verse happened to be one of those “verse of the day” verses that came at just the right time when I needed it most. Instead of focusing on what I need to be doing to get my life together, I need to be seeking God each day and trusting that He began a work in me and He will finish it. Our God is a God of completeness and wholeness. He meets us at our brokenness and incompleteness and makes us new. Now this verse says at the day of Jesus Christ. So we will not really be complete until Jesus comes back and our spirits get to be with God forever. But until then, he is molding us to be more like Him each day and getting closer to that completeness.

We so often look to God to complete us now with whatever that might be. A spouse, a job, a house etc. But those things are never enough. First I wanted a dietetic internship, then I got my top choice and it took up all of my time and I just wanted it to be over. Then, I just wanted to pass my exam and become a registered dietitian. Well then I passed and that STILL was not enough. Now I wanted a job. Once I have my “dream job” I’m sure there will be something else in my circumstances to be discontent about. I have been guilty many times of treating God like a genie in a bottle (minus Christina Aguliera). It’s a vicious cycle that never ends. The truth is, we will never be fully complete on this earth while we still have that flesh component to ourselves to longs for things of this world to fulfill us. Our contentment is not dependent on our circumstances. True contentment comes from resting in God and His plan and sovereignty, despite what is going on around you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

By truly trusting God, we are saying that God is good and He is who He says He is. He wants what is best for us, even if the path to get there is hard. Who am I to doubt His timing and perfect plan? He already knows what job I will have and where I will be living and I’m sure it’s way better than any plan of mine. So I am inviting you on this journey with me. To live with intention and seek God daily and in each moment. This blog will serve as a sort of memoir in the form of eat, pray, run, similar to the travel memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert. Or if you’re not a reader, Julia Roberts may come to mind, who is also ok by me 🙂 I will be posting a lot of different things here related to food and fitness all in the context charm city, where God has called me to be as well as any others I may encounter during this journey of faith I’m running. So thanks for reading! Stay tuned 🙂

Cara Shipley, RD