Food-Borne Illnesses

Chances are that you or someone you know has gotten sick from food. Every year, one in six American's get a food-borne illness. Some times it can be tricky to correctly identify the food culprit. Normally raw foods of animal origin are most likely to be contaminated. This could be something like a raw meat, poultry, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk or raw seafood. 

I wanted to touch on some basics of food-borne illness, what foods to watch out for and how to properly handle these food items. If you think that you have gotten a food-borne illness you might want to think about a food item that has been mixed together. For example - bulk raw milk, pooled raw egg or ground beef are food items that are coming from multiple animals and being combined into one product that you are purchasing. This means that it is more challenging to pin point the infected or sick animal in food chain. If you think about that ground beef is containing meat from hundreds of cows or a single restaurant omelet may contain eggs from hundreds of chicken (if it is a liquid egg product). There are lots of places in this food chain where contamination could have occurred. 

Commonly we are hearing about fruits and vegetables carrying food-borne illness. These food items do not normally have these organisms in them, but when they are transported or how they are grown could influence their exposure to bacteria/other organisms. The only way to help prevent getting a food-borne illness from your produce is to make sure you wash it well. Now this may not get rid of all the contamination, but it is what we (as consumers) can do to minimize our risk of getting sick. 

So now that you are terrified to eat animal products and produce you are probably thinking ... what is safe to eat? Well all of these food items can be safe if you take the time to prepare them in a safe manner. Make sure your animal products are cooked the appropriate temperatures (160F for beef/poultry and 145F for fish), you drink only pasteurized milk and you avoid raw shellfish. For produce, wash it well when you get home/before using (even if the label says pre-washed). 

For more information on food-borne illness check out the following links: 

CDC website

Food poisoning resources

Fitting back into the pants ...

I wanted to share some encouragement for you if you reached into your closet and found that some of the pants you have aren't fitting quite right. That exact thing happened to me back in August. I went to put on a pair of olive green dress pants to wear to work and they were SO tight. Oh  my goodness, they would button and snap, but they looked like spandex and like I was trying really hard to fit into them. That is when you know you put on a few pounds and those are no longer acceptable to wear those particular pants in public. 

That was the moment that pushed me into counting my calories. I love those green dress pants and I have worn them a lot last year. I wanted to be able to wear them again. I dusted off My Fitness Pal app and decided I was going to make this commitment. 

I want to share this with you, even though it is personal, because I want to show you that it is possible to make some small changes in your life and see positive outcomes. I hope that you are encouraged to try a food tracker app and work to be more active. There are lots of options out there these days and I encourage you to find something that works for you!  It can be that simple, own what you put in your mouth and work towards your goals, whatever they are. 

Well I am happy to report that today I am wearing those olive green pants and they fit perfectly! I have been counting calories and exercising for the past 2 months and I have been able to lose 7 pounds. I know that doesn't sound like much, but it has been just enough to get me back into my favorite pants. 

Please note the 130lbs line from July through the beginning of August - I didn't use My Fitness Pal for a long time until ~August 14th. 

Please note the 130lbs line from July through the beginning of August - I didn't use My Fitness Pal for a long time until ~August 14th. 

I also wanted to show you the calories and physical activity that I have been doing. My calorie goals have been 1500 calories per day. At first that was rough, because I was definitely eating way more than that and I spent a couple of days kind of hungry. I chose more fruits/vegetables, because they are filling and fewer calories. There were even a couple of days that I missed and a few days where I totally rocked out ~3000 calories in one day. I owned each of those days and tried to make better choices the next day.

calorie chart.jpg

I know the idea of tracking your activity and what you put in your mouth can be challenging, but I would you encourage to try it. Take it one day at a time and next thing you know you will find your a couple of weeks into a healthier lifestyle and making healthier choices. 

Hopefully, sharing my green pants story with you will help motivate you to find what goal you want to set. Make it a measurable goal (like getting back into clothes that don't fit) and set off on your own adventure towards attaining that goal. Good luck and have fun being active!

Navigating the Grocery

Grocery shopping. It is something that we all do. We may all go to different stores, but each week we all head out and purchase food to eat. Most of the time grocery stores are set up in a similar fashion. I liked this diagram (see below); because, I thought it was a great visual to help you navigate the grocery. 

Most the time the outside (or parameter) of the store is where you want to stay. Along the outside of the store, you will find the produce, meat and dairy items. In the aisles of the grocery store, you will commonly find processed foods, frozen foods and packaged food items. Choosing to stay on the parameter of the grocery store is going to help you purchase more fresh produce, meat items and dairy choices. Then you can take these food items home and prepare delicious meals. 

To get ready for your grocery store trip, take a few minutes and plan your meals for a week. Take the time to find some new recipes and write down the ingredients you will need to purchase. Taking time to plan menus will help ensure that you eat at home and hopefully help you eat healthier. When you head to the store, remember to take a list with you. Only purchase the food items you have on your list. This will help you to save money and avoid buying unhealthy food options. 

Have fun as you head out to the grocery this week. Remember stay along the parameter of the store and try some new foods as you cook meals at home! 

Navigating the State Fair in a Healthy Way

If you live in Indiana you have probably heard that the State Fair is open and under way! I grew up in 4-H and the State Fair was always a huge deal in the summer time. Along with 4-H projects, exhibit halls, livestock shows, and the rides the fair has a ton of food. All of this food smells delicious as you walk around the fair and it is just tempting you to stop by a booth and purchase something delicious. 

If you are trying to be healthy and follow a healthy life style going to the fair and encountering all this tempting food may be overwhelming. Well I have some great tips to help you navigate the State Fair in a healthy way! 

1. Share your food. Go to the fair with a friend and suggest splitting he food you purchase. This means that you get to try some new foods and don't have to eat the entire meal yourself. 

2. Take a lap or maybe two. Walk around at the fair and explore all the livestock barns and exhibit halls. This can be a great form of exercise and can help you burn off a few calories along the way. 

3. Watch what you drink. Lots of sugary beverages contain quite a few calories. Make sure you drink plenty of water to help keep you hydrated and feeling satisfied. 

4. Set a limit. The fair is a great place to eat delicious food, but make sure that you set some limits for yourself. For example, you can have 1 ice cream cone, 1 fried food item and you will plan to drink water throughout the day. Setting expectations can help you feel food about your fair food choices. 

5. Keep your eye out for healthier alternatives. There are some healthy choices available  at the fair like roasted vegetable kabobs, grilled lean meat options, frozen yogurt or fresh fruit. 

Keep these healthful tips in mind as you head out to the State Fair! Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells as you participate in this fun summer tradition. 

Grocery Store Tour with Fresh Thyme

Tuesday evening I had the opportunity to work with the American Diabetes Association in Indianapolis and put on a grocery store tour at a local Fresh Thyme store on 82nd Street. It was a great opportunity to help provide people who some healthy tips about navigating the grocery store. It can be extremely challenging to know what items to purchase, what is the best time to buy certain fresh produce, what wheat bread means and how alcohol may affect your blood sugar if you are diabetic.  These are all issues that you can run into while navigating the grocery store. 

Here are some great tips to help you next time you head to the grocery store: 

  1. Make out a plan for the week. It helps to know what recipes you want to prepare at home during the week. I dislike having to go back to the grocery because I forgot something, so make sure you make a plan. Then planning out your meals/recipes for the week will help to create your grocery list.
  2. That is a good segue into the second point. Always make a list! This is a must. You can't head out of the house without a list of things that you actually need. Check the items in your pantry and refrigerator and only put the items on your list that you need. 
  3. When you get to the grocery, stick with that list. Don't get distracted by the tempting foods, only purchase the items that you wrote down on your list. This also will help to stick with a budget and may help to save you some money. 
  4. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. In most traditional grocery stores the fresh produce, meat and dairy items are located on the outside of the shopping area. All of the processed food items are in the middle items/freezer sections. 
  5. Purchase produce that is in season. This is important to help make sure you are getting delicious produce and not spending too much money on fresh fruits/vegetables. There is a great chart that is put out by Purdue --> Click here for the Harvest Calendar for Indiana. 

National Registered Dietitian Day!

If you didn't know March 11th is National Registered Dietitian Day! So if you know a dietitian then you should definitely wish them Happy RD Day! I think it is excited that there is a day during National Nutrition Month when we get to celebration dietitians. I may be tooting my own horn, but RDs do so much behind the scenes in hospitals to help provide care to sick patients. To give you a glimpse into what an RD might do during their day here is a list of things that I did today: 

  • Sat in a 2 hour meeting about a fortifier to use in human breast milk and the feasibility of getting this product in our NICU. 
  • Put together a display for National Nutrition Month for the cafeteria on Smart Snacking. 
  • Charted on NICU babies - assessing calorie/protein/fluid needs, growth and updating their nutrition plan of care. 
  • Spent 1 1/2 hours working with a patient on our Med/Surg unit who needed some soup and supplements that we didn't end up having in house, but got those items finally to the patient. 

That is just a glimpse into the variety of things that I find myself doing each and every day as a Registered Dietitian. For more information about Registered Dietitians CLICK HERE.

Smart Snacking

Smart Snacking ... what does that mean? I don't know about you, but I love a good snack. Maybe it is because I love food, but I am always looking forward to my mid-morning snack and my afternoon snack. It is important to make these snacks healthy. Don't get me wrong, I understand sometimes you just want a cookie for a snack and that is fine (if it is only one cookie and it doesn't become a routine). The key is making sure that other snack options are healthy. 

What types of foods do you think are healthy and good to include in your day as snacks? Some times it helps to think outside the box and maybe try some new foods. Variety is always important when it comes to eating healthy and getting all the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to run efficiently. 

Listed below are some great tips from the website. 

Snacking Tips from website. Check it out for more healthy tips!

Snacking Tips from website. Check it out for more healthy tips!


This is my new blog home. I was very excited to actually create a professional website and blog. I have spent the last 5 years writing on my Life Through Green Eyes Blog and then separately posting on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Here recently, Chas (my amazing husband) came up with the idea to have my own centralized webpage where I can have a more professional media presence. I thought it was a great idea and so what you are seeing if hopefully the start to something amazing. We were able to purchase the domain name and hoping to build off of that. It is a work in progress so bare that in mind as we get started with this new website and blog platform. 

Hopefully this will be a great place to post information about new nutrition research, recipes for you to try, tips about being healthy and can be a platform to share my media work with my friends and family.