How Climate Change is Impacting The Nutritional Value of Your Food: Part 1, Carbon Dioxide

How Climate Change is Impacting The Nutritional Value of Your Food: Part 1, Carbon Dioxide

I still remember sitting in my Public Health Impacts of Climate Change course at Columbia Mailman School of Health (my elective choice while a Columbia nutrition MS student) learning about how climate change is impacting the nutritional value of food.

To sum it up, I was “shook,” as the cool kids say. It was actually one of the lectures in one of the classes that set my on my current path, and I gotta say, no regrets.

One of the most amazing and wonderful things about studying what I study (which is the intersection of nutrition and environmental health) is that I am honestly so interested in what I am learning about that I eagerly listen and complete my reading and assignments. Especially about things like climate change and how it is disrupting the quality, quantity, and nutritional value of our foods.

I thought this could make for an interesting and enlightening blog post that will perhaps leave you feeling “woke” on the topic, eliciting similar feelings to those I felt in my chair of Mailman room 1101 (shout out to my EHS crew). If this isn’t your thing or your find this super boring, don’t worry, I’m sure more dog and dessert pictures will be coming your way soon.

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Weekly Vegan Eats

Weekly Vegan Eats

Another week to roundup some of the nommie things I ate. I had kind of a rough week between a couple bad allergic reactions causing skin rash outbreaks and eye swelling (cute, I know), and Millie getting super sick, but regardless, here are some scrumptious vegan food highlights to help inspire your eats if you’re in a rut!

(PS: Millie is doing much better now thanks to our wonderful vet in Hoboken and a couple rounds of antibiotics!)

Pistachio Butter

Easy Homemade Pistachio Butter

Holy cow! This stuff is incredible. I have been fluctuating between inhaling and trying to slowly savor this stuff since I made it last week. You can get the recipe here. It’s lovely on bread and toast and on bread with jelly and with chocolate. Can’t get enough!

Cherries cherries cherries

Holy cow ShopRite came through with the cherry sale this week. This was a particularly juicy, plump, and flavorful batch. I mowed through a huge bag in under 36 hours. Could have done it faster, but wanted to spread the wealth over more than one day. YUM. I actually went back on Thursday for another bag, which I ate in its entirety that day.

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Homemade Pistachio Butter

Homemade Pistachio Butter

For years and years, I’ve wanted to make pistachio butter.

Easy, Delicious, Homemade Pistachio Butter

Honestly. This idea has been on my mind since probably 2010. As a nut butter lover, I’ve always wanted to make pistachio butter, which is noticeably lacking from most grocery stores. And when you do find it, it’s noticeably much more expensive than most other nut butters.

DIY Pistachio Butter

So I’ve wanted to DIY pistachio butter since my undergrad days. Why did I never pull the trigger, you ask? Well, probably because I only had a $12 Food Network brand mini food processor and a very dull blender inherited from grandmother to work with.

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How Studying Nutrition Changed The Way I Eat

How Studying Nutrition Changed The Way I Eat

Back in the day, I got my master’s degree in human nutrition from Columbia University. It was an intense, interesting, and rewarding experience: one that left me hungry (no pun intended) to learn more about the field. A pivotal experience, my MS in human nutrition instilled an insatiable scientific curiosity in me, and is probably why I’m on the path I am on today.

I chose to study nutrition because I was always fascinated in how the foods we use to fuel our body have the power to impact our health. For many, many, years, however, I wanted to be a doctor. However, when I was shadowing physicians, I realized many lacked nutrition education and training.

Which totally is not their fault – most medical schools have minimal time/curriculum devoted to nutrition. But when I learned about this reality, I wanted to ensure I’d have a solid foundation of nutrition (outside the nutrition minor I got while at NYU) in addition to a medical degree. And so, I enrolled at Columbia prior to going to med school.

Obviously, I’ve gone a none-medical route since, but since I’ve studied the topic, I occasionally get asked questions about nutrition, specific ingredients, my diet, and how I think others should eat.

So I thought it may be interested to list out how I’ve changed my diet since studying nutrition. Below are 12 ways studying nutrition morphed how I eat and how I think about food and health in general.

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What I’ve eaten this week (plant-based)

What I’ve eaten this week (plant-based)

Time for another roundup! Here are some snacks and meals from my past week. I hope it inspires you to eat something oh so delicious and satisfying, too.

Salad + Fries from Hamilton Inn

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Last Friday night I went out to diner with my mom at Hamilton Inn, which is a pretty hyped place in Jersey City. I had always been curious to see if it lived up to the hype…but apparently not curious enough to go until now.

Welp, on Friday it was nice out, and so we decided to take advantage of their outdoor seating and give it a whirl. I got a Roasted Sweet Potato salad with mixed greens, apples, dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, and some other stuff with maple vinaigrette, and I added avocado to make it more filling. The combo of veggies and cranberries and dressing and apples was really refreshing. I also loved the dressing. I’m gonna recreate this dish at home, but maybe with nuts.

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I also snagged a bite of a vegan realistic-meat-substitute burger my mom got and shared her fries. The burger was good but not my kinda thing (I prefer veggie burgers that taste and feel like beans or veggies, not meat), but the fries were really good. Crispy but not greasy (I hate when fries are overly greasy and soggy).

Overall, a good meal, although a little overpriced IMHO. Regardless, still a great meal, and Millie had a good time, too.

Beyond Sushi 

Are you even surprised? Haha! My favorite ever. On Tuesday I had tickets to the late show with Steven Colbert. After some ticket mix ups and confusion I ended up taking my mom. I think she enjoyed it? TV show tapings are kinda like a lot of waiting around for 5-6 hours total to watch 30-50 minutes of actual show taping.

Still, I find it interesting to see what goes into television production.

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Easy Raw Vegan Cheesecake for 2

Easy Raw Vegan Cheesecake for 2

All my life I’ve dreamed of a working blender or food processor. And thanks to Amazon Prime day, my dream has become a reality at last, and I can now part ways with my $12 Food Network brand mini food processor from Kohl’s circa 2009. This major upgrade has helped bring me (and you) this incredibly easy raw vegan cheesecake.

Easy Vegan Raw Lemon Cheesecake

Now. Raw cheesecake is something I’ve wanted to make for…oh I don’t know basically forever. But my old mini food processor was so small, dull, and crappy, that it could barely dice a ripe banana.

I’ve dreamt about making raw cheesecakes and smooth hummus and nut butters for years but never had the right equipment to properly execute these desires.

Easy Raw Lemon Cheesecake for 2

Enter new Ninja blender. Enter happiness. And freedom and inspiration to make ALL OF THE THINGS. Stay tuned!

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Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol

I recently wrote up a little story for a friend’s upcoming project about how a lot of alcohol isn’t vegan (yup). If you want to know more about that, then stay tuned! I’ll link to it once it’s live.

In the meantime, though, I got to thinking about my relationship with alcohol and thought I might explain why I don’t drink. I actually get asked about this a lot, so I thought I’d explain why I hit the hot cocoa over the vino after a long day.

I just wanted to make a disclaimer that I don’t judge others for drinking, nor do I mind if others drink around me. Booch is as hard as I go for a rage, but if you want a nice glass of wine or a drink when you’re out, I support you doing whatever makes you happy!

I simply thought I’d share why I don’t drink, since sometimes not drinking when you’re in your 20s can feel sort of isolating, since drinking is the norm these days, in hopes that others who don’t drink (or don’t drink often) realize they’re not alone. And also to sort of explain to those who may not understand my choice why I make it.

There are several reasons why I don’t drink, so I’m just going to list them here for your enjoyment.

1. I honestly do not enjoy being intoxicated, nor think being drunk is fun.

545358_3470391610990_318705946_nWinery tour in France, summer 2012. Please notice how awkward I look holding wine lol.

Being intoxicated just isn’t a good time to me. I know that’s hard for a lot of people to understand, since so many find it relaxing and enjoyable. But personally, it makes my anxiety go wild.

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What I’ve eaten this week (vegan)

What I’ve eaten this week (vegan)

Another food roundup for ya! Hope these meals and snacks inspire some deliciousness in your life.

Just Salad:

Grabbed Just Salad the other day with my mom who is in town. Just Salad will forever be my fav salad chain. No shade to the others, just Salad just holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s the reusable bowls, maybe it’s all the toppings. Perhaps it’s the yummy grilled roasted tofu or the variety of dressings or the nostalgia of it all since it was a staple for NYUers since they had one right by the library. Whatever it is. It yum.

My go-to is a build-your-own with kale and romaine mixed as the base, with apples, double roasted sweet potatoes, raw beets, apples, roasted broccoli, chickpeas, avocado, and grilled tofu. With agave Dijon dressing. And bread always, duh. YUM.

Onigiri from KoroKoro Riceball cafe

Recently tried a local onigiri cafe in jersey city and am hooked! They have rice balls stuffed with yummy and creative fillings.

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Onigiri is itself a Japanese Street food, but the fillings are Koro koro are inspired by other cultures making it a fun fusion place of sorts.

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Nut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate-Dipped Dates

Nut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate-Dipped Dates

These nut butter-stuffed, chocolate-dipped dates are like a 14/10 on the amazing scale. 5 Ingredients. No fancy equipment or oven required. Insanely delicious sweet treat.

Easy Salty Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates with Chocolate

All you gotta do is crack open some dates, de-pit them, slather their insides with nut butter, squash a whole nut in there (optional, but recommended), dip in some melted chocolate, and finish with sea salt.

Chocolate-Dipped Easy Salty Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates

A short chill sesh in the freezer later, you have a treat that’s chewy, crunchy, creamy, salty, sweet, and chocolatey. It hits every desirable snack element in one swoop.

Scruptious Stuffed Dates with Chocolate and Nut Butter

Honestly, the result is far better than it has any right to be. It tastes like a snickers but without any artificialness or sugar overload. They’re actually kind of like a lazy version of my favorite-ever Sunbutter Caramel Date Truffles with Sea Salt.

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Hunger vs Appetite, and Fullness vs Satisfaction

Hunger vs Appetite, and Fullness vs Satisfaction

Do you ever find yourself thinking, “Gosh darn it, when did eating get so complicated?” Because it really shouldn’t be. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and it’s if you’re feeling any confusion, it’s certainly not your fault.

Vegan Pasta with Hemp Parm with Charred Tomatoes and Broccolini.jpg

We live in a food and weight loss-obsessed culture. Without even trying, we’re exposed to numerous food and fitness ads, ideas, and theories on a daily basis. They’re everywhere: the internet, social media feeds, TV commercials, even tabloids in the aisle at the grocery store.

All of these tidbits of information can be overwhelming. And oftentimes, to confuse things further, we hear opposing “facts” about the same topics. This encourages us to disengage with our natural eating instincts, and ignore our internal cues regarding hunger and fullness.

Today, I wanted to address a few words/concepts that may help you get back in touch with how to eat like an actual instinctual human rather than a confused oversaturated-with-misinformation human. Let’s go.

Hunger vs Appetite:

Vegan Cookie Levain Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

These words are often used interchangeably, but actually have different meanings in the nutrition science world. Physical hunger is defined by the physiological need for food. This may manifest itself as a rumbly tummy, empty-feeling stomach, low energy, and/or inability to concentrate. I know for me personally, I feel light-headed when I need to eat. But everyone is different.

Physical hunger is a result of blood glucose dropping in your body. When this happens, and your stomach is empty, a hormone called ghrenlin is released by your GI tract, sending a signal to your brain to increase gastric (stomach) acid and let your brain know “Hey! You up there! I need food!”

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Ghrenlin stops being released when food enters the stomach, letting your brain know that the need for food has been taken care of.

Appetite, on the other hand, is a desire to eat, less from a physical need, and more as a result of physical or environmental cues, such as the smell of freshly baking cookies, routines, and/or the desire to eat the doughnuts in front of you at a meeting even though you may be physically full.

If you eat in a very rigid, routine-style fashion, you may develop appetite to eat out of habit, kind of like a dog (#relatable).

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