Friday, August 21, 2015

Beefed Up Hamburger Soup {ReDux}

The nights have definitely been cooling off, the Canadian geese look like they're getting ready for a journey south and my iced coffees are now just coffee - yes it's 'back-to-school' time for most people. I have a few teachers in my life, so it's back to work for them too. 
I often feel that September is a time to get back in the kitchen, get back into activities, and get re-organized as lake time comes to an end. The ladies at the Recipe ReDux were thinking the same things, since this month's theme is:
Back to the Dinner Table - After the hustle and bustle of the holiday/vacation season, August is the time many families get ‘back to routine.’ Show us your favorite recipe to help families get ‘back to the dinner table.’ It might be a favorite family recipe from your childhood that you’ve ReDuxed; or maybe it’s your family’s current favorite. Let’s all gather back at the table!

Right away I thought of big batch cooking, as I prefer to prep and cook once and eat multiple times when things get busy, or freeze some for a later date. Perhaps family members will have to eat at different times, or maybe a big batch is the way to sneak in a sit down family meal. Since I also had family on my mind, I decided to tweak one of my mom's recipes. As I said, it's getting colder here, so I'm more open to warm dishes like hearty soups.
I started with my mom's hamburger soup and added lentils and a more few vegetables to 'beef it up". I also thought it was funny that I 'beefed it up" by adding lentils! This way I feel like soup can become a meal and I find it's a great way to get more vegetables in, or even to use up your garden goodies. I used ground beef, but I'm sure you could use chicken or turkey as well. I also usually make it on the stove (as a one pot meal), but I'm sure I successfully made the original version in the slow cooker once too.
Beefed Up Hamburger Soup

0.5 to 1.0 lbs of lean or extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
28 oz (796 ml) can diced tomatoes, no salt added
3 medium carrots, diced
2 zucchini, chopped
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup barley, rinsed
1/2 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups of water
4 cups of beef broth/stock
salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Brown the meat and cook the onions (3-5 minutes), drain fat.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients (nice and easy). 

3. Bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 1.5 - 2 hours, stirring often.

I did have a little 'help' in the kitchen this month too!

Eat up,
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Eat the way you do yoga - a reflection

My sister-in-law invited me to free yoga in the park on Sunday (from The Better Good, led by OneYoga). It was a beautiful morning and I felt lucky to be outside and have my baby at home with my husband. I think I even managed to do a decent job of being in the moment and focusing on the class.

Of course, my mind did wander, and I found myself reflecting on the class (while I was in the class). That's pretty good mind wandering if I say so myself - I wasn't thinking of to-do lists (as I often do) or other places to be, or the people around me. I even reflected on the idea that we did a lot of reflecting in university and I actually do a lot of it lately, often via this blog.
There were lots of people out - all ages, sizes, and fitness levels, but we were all there together. This made me start thinking about how hard people are on themselves when it comes to healthy eating. There is a lot of all-or-nothing thinking. When attending an all-levels yoga class, we are all going at our own pace, comfort level, and based on how our body feels. Yet, with food, we expect to be like everyone else. We're all different.

Yoga instructors often say to focus on your own mat, not to look at what other's around you are doing. Yet, again with food, we make judgments, we want to follow another person's diet, we want to look like a picture in a magazine or on instagram, we examine what or how much we ate compared to others. We are all at a different place on our journey towards health. The important thing is that we show up!

It's not that you 'just' did yoga (because someone else ran 21km, etc.), it's that you did yoga - you took time for yourself, for your health. All of these little things add up, so stop saying 'just'!
Throughout the class we were encouraged to try different postures, given alternatives if needed, and reminded that it was okay to fall out of a pose, but to come right back. With the all-or-nothing thinking many people have with food, they expect perfection or place restrictive rules on themselves, rather than accepting that balance and moderation are more sustainable and it's okay to occasionally eat the 'less healthy' or 'choose less often' types of food - I know I do. We also have to remember that it's okay to indulge, but that we need to come back to our goals at the next eating opportunity, it's about progress, not perfection. We were reminded that it's call yoga practice, because we're working on improving ourselves. I often talk about practicing nutrition for sports, but it's the same for everyday. We can't expect to change a lifetime of habits overnight, it takes practice.

We were also reminded to lift the corners of our lips - to smile. This made me think about mindfulness and also the enjoyment of food. I love food, as do most dietitians, it's part of the reason we got into nutrition in the first place. I aim to eat healthy most of the time. I think about adding vegetables or fruit to meals. I try to balance out my days and not go too long without eating. I am tempted by sweets in my house. I enjoy a good meal and glass of wine with my husband. Food should be something we can smile about, if we're lucky enough to have access to adequate amounts and are able to make choices to include the items we like. It shouldn't be something we fear or stress about.
While doing yoga, we're supposed to be there, doing yoga. I was reflecting, so I still need to work on that, but it's also a reminder that when we're eating, we should just be eating. Get rid of the distractions, slow down, find time to taste your food and be grateful for it. Some yoga teachers also ask you to set an intention for the practice, again something we can easily do each day for our eating or our goals.

That's how my yoga session went. Have you reflected on anything recently? Feel free to share below!

Steph Langdon, RD