Master’s In Nutrition

Yesterday at work I had a customer talk to me about weight loss and how she is on some weird elimination diet where she is pretty much eating lots of red meat and little fruits and vegetables.  We talked and I was telling her about The University of Bridgeport and how I am earning my Master’s in Nutrition she was so happy to hear that getting healthy doesn’t have to be so complicated and she thanked me for my advice.  Based on what I talked to her about she had decided to change what she has been told and approach her weight loss in a healthier way.  That made me feel over the moon with happiness because it is what I want to help people do because of this program.

Getting my Master’s in Nutrition will allow me to venture multiple avenues from helping people lose weight loss to helping athletes perform better through good plant-based nutrition.  I am constantly going back and forth with what I want to do with my degree which I will receive in about a year.  Based on my love for running and staying in shape and my belief that exercise is necessary for a healthy lifestyle I know I will want to integrate physical exercise into any healthy lifestyle change.  However, do I want to focus on athletes, children in impoverished neighborhoods that don’t know what an apple looks like or women who want to lose weight?

My answer? Why not do it all!? Money (unfortunately in the world we live in) is a necessity so that means having a steady list of clients.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t incorporate other aspects of what I want to do into my career.  It is all about balance and time management, something I have become very good at organizing my move across the country, doing my school work, working full time and exercising on a daily basis, not to mention making some time for hanging out with friends and family.

I have found that passions should be followed and dreams should be lived and if I have the possibility to do everything I want to do to feel satisfied with my career and life then that is the journey I am determined to go on.


Moving to Colorado


Ideal Market

I graduated from college three years ago and since then have been living in my childhood home with my parents, two younger sisters and two dogs.  It is time for a change.  For the last year or so I got it in my head that I wanted to move to Colorado.  The openness, the atmosphere (although I have never been I have been told it is a hippie town with chill people who love to spend all their time outdoors) and the MOUNTAINS!!

Being a runner and an avid outdoors fan I decided I wanted to move there.  I didn’t know my time frame because it would be a big move and I have my sister’s wedding at the end of June.  But when a position at Whole Foods Market in Boulder, CO opened up I applied.  I let my boss and family know, I got an interview and an offer just two weeks ago!

I immediately told everyone and started scheduling my move.  I decided I wanted to take my time getting there so I will take 5 days to drive from NY to Boulder.  I have secured a temporary sublet while I will look for a new apartment, I start working midway through June, and start classes after labor day weekend.

The photo above is a picture of where I will be working with the beautiful mountains in the background.  The store is just a few blocks away from hundreds of miles of trails that I can’t wait to start running on.

This is a big move for me as I have never done something like this.  I lived in Maryland while I went to college but had everything provided for me and was just a three and a half hour drive from home.  This is a plane ride away to somewhere I have never been to and a place where I know no one.  I couldn’t be more excited and scared and can’t wait for the road trip to start!!

Bikini Body Guide

Although I have always loved running and love doing half and full marathons, I have wanted to supplement my running with additional workouts.  Not only do resistance workouts help with my running, it helps with my overall strength and body tone.

Due to this information, I have recently started the Kayla Istines workouts.  It is a three month workout regimen consisting of resistance training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The workouts are challenging but doesn’t take up much time – 28 minutes three days a week.  I still run and even have started integrating weight lifting into my daily regime to further help with my strength.

I have not, to this point, done all 12 weeks at once.  It is not easy to incorporate all the running I want to do, the weight lifting I want to do, the work I have to do and the school I have to do.  I tend to want to do so much at once that when I attempt it I give up on all and just feel like crap.



My First Half-Marathon Race!!

All these past years of running have finally paid off!!!!! I have completed my first half-marathon and it was amazing!!  I signed up with the encouragement of some veg strong friends that I met when I did Rugged Maniac this past summer.  I started looking up races and signed up for the Yonkers Half Marathon without knowing that it is one of the hardest races in the US.  I followed a 12 week training program by Hal Higdon and combined lots of running with some cross training as well.  It was tough both physically and mentally but it was totally worth it in the end.

The day before the race was probably more difficult than the race itself! I was off from work and therefore was stuck home all day thinking and thinking and thinking about the race and hoping not to psych myself out.   I just wanted the day to be over so I could wake up and race!  When I get anxious and nervous all I want to do is eat – EVERYTHING!  I was watching tv, stretching, walking around, trying not to overeat and give myself a stomach ache.

Thankfully, 9pm came around and I was able to go to bed and attempt to sleep.  I managed to fall asleep pretty quickly and go up nice and early at 5am.  I made a large batch of green smoothie to drink and ate a banana.  I got to the race early so I could find a parking space and pick up my pre-race packet which consisted of my race bib and t-shirt.  Since I was doing the race by myself (no family or friends at the race with me) there was more waiting around.


The waiting around involved a lot of people watching, from people putting on compression socks to men putting bandages on their nipples, I got to see a lot of different pre-race rituals.

FINALLY hundreds of people got to the starting line for some last minute announcements about the route and where we even had a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon.  Then the race began at 8am sharp.

The two weirdest things I saw at the beginning of the race was a man running with a tutu on and holding a “magic wand”.  The next was at around mile 2, a man ran past me juggling three balls – don’t know if he did it the whole race but I saw him run for about half a mile while juggling.

The route wasn’t too bad, with water stations at every mile and only a couple hills to get over.  It was certainly different from what I expected.  I was happy to see runners net to me, behind me and in front of me at all times.  For some reason I though after a couple of miles I would be all by myself and everyone would have separated.  There was one girl with a bright pink shirt on that I would pass some times and she would pass me then be way in front of me and then I would catch up to her.  By the last 2 miles we were neck and neck and she kept me going fast!! By the last mile I lost her completely behind me and kept running fast making it to the finish line.



At the end of the race there were people there handing us metals and the shiny blankets to keep runners warm.  They also had food for all the runners including bags and bags of bagels and lots of fruit.


Overall the race was an incredible experience and made me so happy that I signed up for.  I have two more half-marathon races coming up before the year 2013 ends in the winter time.  I have continued my running and have even added in gym workouts to build up my core and upper body strength.




Everyone loves a great vinaigrette to go with salads, to go over steamed veggies or even with a protein! (I am thinking rice and beans or marinated with tofu).  The key is to find a good balance between the oil and vinegar and all the other flavors in between.  Plus, don’t remember to shake!

I usually don’t ever use measurements because I find it boring (hence I HATE baking because you have to use measurements).  But now because I want to post y recipes I have estimated the measurements of the ingredients I use and you can always adjust them to your like.


What is great about vinaigrettes is that if you have an oil that you love or a vinegar that you love it is really easy to add other herbs, sweeteners or anything else to enhance the flavor and mix it up.  I love adding garlic so I will mince it up with some salt on a cutting board and then turn it into a paste by rubbing the flat side of the knife on the chopped garlic.  (A tip I learned from Food Network)


Something else I have found about almost any salad dressing recipe is that it is best if the dressing has time to infuse with all the flavors so I would recommend making it at least 4 hours or more before you plan to use it.  This recipe in particular can make any dish delicious so if you are trying to be healthy by eating a bowl of brown rice and steamed vegetables and all you can think about is macaroni and cheese or a juicy steak or deep fried foods this vinaigrette can make your dish taste so delicious you will forget about all those other foods.

IMG_0725(make sure to mix up the vinegar and oil dressing before pouring – they will separate naturally when left undisturbed)

Recipe type: Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Salad dressing is the best way to make a drab pile of vegetables delicious!
  • ¼ - ½ cup oil (extra virgin olive oil, hemp oil, flax oil...)
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • splash fig balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper for taste
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend away

Superfood Bar

Protein bars are very popular because they are satisfying and are  convenient!  However they are not always healthy with added sugars, whey proteins and unnecessary preservatives.  This is not to say there are no good ones out there.  I love larabars and raw revolution because of there clean ingredients making them terrific post workout snacks on the go or a bite to eat at work.

But to get a bar that is perfect for you – you can make it yourself!


Working at Whole Foods Market, I was required to demo food.  Instead of getting a protein bar to show and allow people to taste, I made some myself at home with only 5 ingredients!


These bars are excellent for any time of the day.  They are great for breakfast because they are filling or for dessert because of the chocolate.  These are also excellent bars for athletes for pre, post or during a workout.  They have good proteins from the almonds, healthy fats from the coconut oil, high magnesium from the cacao powder and  healthy antioxidants from the goji berries.

cacao powder   coconut   goji

Any almonds, dates and coconut oil can be used however my favorite brand for cacao powder is Navitas Naturals.  They also have goji berries and many other superfoods that call all be added to these bars ingredients list.


Superfood Bar
Recipe type: Protein Bar
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30
A delicious homemade superfood bar that is a great alternative to the store bought stuff.
  • 1 16oz bag of almonds
  • 1.5 lbs mejooli dates
  • ¾ cup cacao powder
  • 7 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 cup goji berries
  1. I put all the almonds in the food processor and processed until it became a fine powder.
  2. I added the dates a couple at a time and blending until it had all come together and there were no more large chunks of dates.
  3. I then added the cacao powder to the processor along with the coconut oil (a tbs at a time).
  4. Once it has all been combined and is a sticky chocolaty mass I added the goji berries and pulsed the food processor so that the goji berries were combined but not so that they were pulverized.
  5. I put the whole mixture onto a baking sheet pan and laid our flat and thin.
  6. I then put the sheet pan in the fridge to set (a couple of hours should be good).
  7. I pulled it out this morning, and cut it up ready to eat!!!
To make this easier, you can always purchase almond meal rather than almonds and just skip the first step by putting the almond meal in the food processor and immediately adding the dates.
If allergic to almonds you can substitute cashews and you can substitute the goji berries for a (less expensive but still delicious) dried fruit of choice.



Beans and Rice

A great easy high protein dish is brown rice and black beans.  They both add good amounts of protein and fiber.  However, as good as it is for you, it can be kind of bland and tasteless.  Therefore it is an excellent foundation for adding more veggies and healthy flavoring.


When I was at college it was the first time I was buying food on my own.  I also didn’t have a car and so making the one mile trek to Trader Joe’s was not that fun, especially in the winter.  Therefore I would not want to go food shopping more than twice a month.  Going that infrequently I had to pack up a lot of fresh produce.  So when the time came to go food shopping again, I wouldn’t have much left in the fridge.  Maybe a few handfuls of lettuce or the last lonely cucumber.  Therefore, the night before I would go food shopping I would make a dish for dinner I called “the garbage bowl” that would start with some brown rice and beans.  I would then scour my fridge to find whatever was left of my veggies and cook it all together in a stir-fry with some tomato sauce or soy sauce.


This is a great way to finish off the last half of a bell pepper sitting at the bottom of the fridge before heading to the supermarket to get a fresh bunch peppers.  So the following morning my fridge would be empty and ready for a large new fresh batch of food.

Beans and Rice
Recipe type: entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
This is a great way to finish off veggies before food shopping or veggies that will go bad in a few days and you don't want to waste
  • ¼-1/3 cup brown rice
  • ¼ black beans
  • sauce to bring the dish all together
  1. Cook the brown rice and black beans.
  2. Stir fry all ingredients together.


GREEN Smoothie

So as I had posted earlier, my oatmeal recipe is a delicious breakfast for a pre-run or just for a good hearty breakfast.  However, I have been reading the book Finding Ultra by Rich Roll and he had mentioned how he loves his green smoothies before a run so I have decided to experiment on todays 12 mile run.

I know it had to be a big smoothie to power me through my longest run to date.  I decided to fill it with lots of GREEN and was kind of apprehensive of how it would taste because it looks like salad in a blender.


Surprisingly it was really good!! It certainly was not an ice cream sundae but I also didn’t gag while drinking it and enjoyed it!  In this recipe, every ingredient had an important healthy purpose to fuel my run.  The first is an ingredient I cannot stand on its own and I actually do gag when I drink it and that would be coconut water (thank goodness this recipe hides the taste).  Coconut water is filled with electrolytes and minerals that are important for rehydrating yourself before and after hard exercise.


I also added kale and parsley which are filled with tons of vitamins and chlorophyll that is just plain healthy and everyone should eat them!  I added cucumber for added hydration and a green apple for flavor.  Because of green apples strong tart taste I have found it is the best apple choice to go in a green smoothie.


What I love about this smoothie is that because it so jam packed with nutrients you feel surprisingly filled!  In fact, after drinking it I felt energized and great for my 12 mile run.


Since this smoothie makes about 64oz of greenness, on a day when I am not doing a long run, I will drink about 32oz first and save the rest to drink throughout the day.


GREEN Smoothie
Recipe type: Smoothie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
This smoothie is packed full of delicious greens that can power you throughout your day or a hard workout
  • 2 cups kale
  • Large handful of parsley
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 8oz coconut water
  • 1 green apple
  • extra water
  1. Put all ingredients into a vitamix and blend till liquified.
You can put all parts of the fruits and veggies into this blender. You don't need to remove the core of the apple or the stems of the kale.

Moo Shoo Vegetables With Pancakes

Yes, another Asian dish!  As you will see a lot of my recipes will either be Asian themed or have asian ingredients in them.  For one, I freaking love asian food but also, lots of Asian ingredients are super tasty giving a dish lots of flavor with little to no calories.  (They tend to be high in salt but I have always had low blood pressure and excess salt has never affected me).

This dish was taken from Chloe Coscarelli‘s book Chloe’s Kitchen (that has the best pictures ever to go with her recipes).


This recipe also takes a while to cook because you are starting the pancakes from scratch so it also gets messy, but thats the joy in cooking!

IMG_0673 IMG_0675 IMG_0674

One thing I learned about making this dish is to make the pancakes first!! They take a while to make from start to finish and you don’t want to have cold vegetables and super hot pancakes that you can’t pick up!

IMG_0671 IMG_0676

Since the recipe has chopped cabbage, they can be really tough so I marinated them in some soy sauce and miso paste to make them a little tender and then put it all in the pan to cook.

Moo Shoo Vegetables With Pancakes
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
This is a delicious dish that does take some work and is messy! But it so worth it in the end!
  • Veggies:
  • ½ package tofu
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • ½ tbs miso paste
  • ½ package shredded cabbage
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 2 scallions
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • Sauce:
  • ¼ cup VEGAN hoison sauce
  • 1-2 tbs soy sauce
  • Pancakes:
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • sesame oil for brushing
  • pinch of salt
  1. Mix together the flour, salt and boiling water with a wooden spoon until you can mix with hands.
  2. Kneed the dough and leave on a floured surface covered with a kitchen towel for 20 minutes.
  3. Marinate the veggies in the miso, garlic and soy sauce.
  4. After the dough has sat for 20 minutes, roll the dough into a log and cut into eight one inch pieces.
  5. Roll the pieces of dough as thin as you can and brush with sesame oil
  6. Heat a skillet and cook the pancakes until they are slightly browned on the bottom and bubbling on the top and then flip to brown the other side.
  7. While the pancakes are cooking cut and cook the tofu until brown and crispy and then add the veggies (with some sesame oil to make sure it doesn't stick).
  8. Hopefully timing is right and the pancakes will all be finished by the time the veggies are done cooking.
  9. Serve veggies, sauce and pancakes on separate plates/bowls and serve!
If you are not sure about timing, cook the pancakes first and then focus on the veggies. You don't want super hot pancakes and cold or overcooked veggies.



Walnut Kernels

Walnut Butter

I have made my own raw almond butter and raw cashew butter and was ready for something different.  Looking in my cabinets I eyed the new sprouted raw sunflower seeds I just bought but then realized it was a little too expensive to make sunflower seed butter.

Then I saw a large container of walnuts and thought – why not?


It turned out great!  It was actually easier to make than the almond and cashew butter because walnuts are softer and did not take as long to make.  One thing I did add was a little bit of maple syrup because the walnut butter had a little bitterness in it so the sweetness helped even the flavors out.


This nut butter can be used for anything that you would use almond, peanut or cashew butter for.  It is nutty and super creamy.  I paired it with an apple and a banana for breakfast. Only a few tablespoons of the nut butter paired with the fruit gives you a super filling meal that is healthy and raw! (I didn’t use all the walnut butter featured in the picture)

Walnut Butter
Prep time: 
Total time: 
This is a great alternative to regular nut butters and is made with no oil (unlike lots of nut butters in grocery stores)
  • 2-3 cups walnuts
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  1. Put the walnuts in the vitamix and blend until creamy so that it can all blend together.
  2. After removing the creamy butter from the blender, mix in the maple syrup and salt if using.
You need at least 2-3 cups of walnuts so that it can blend well in the vitamix. If you do less then it all just goes to the sides and is very difficult to blend.