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This local health pro shares how to “eat the rainbow.” By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

Cameron Wells is a staff dietitian with the DC nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Barnard Medical Center, where she guides clinical research studies and leads employee wellness programs to help people choose the best foods to maximize weight loss, lower blood pressure, boost energy, and stabilize blood sugar throughout the day. She can also be found on Capitol Hill hosting briefings on healthy school lunches or meeting with members of Congress to discuss the latest dietary guidelines.

Fittingly for someone so focused on nutrition, Cameron’s food choices are as healthy as they are delicious-looking. She focuses on "eating the rainbow" with meals centered on a wide, colorful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and proteins such as beans and lentils. Read on for a look at her typical day of eating.

6 AM: “My breakfast today is homemade chia-seed pudding made using unsweetened almond milk and frozen berries that thaw out as the mixture sets overnight, drizzled with agave and eaten with an orange on the side. I’m also a fan of pumpkin-packed oatmeal topped with cinnamon and raisins; sweet potato pudding; and leafy green smoothies, which all provide a variety of vitamins and nutrients like protein, fiber, calcium, and vitamin C.”

Noon: “My go-to lunch is a big colorful salad. Today it’s a black-bean-and-edamame salad with diced red bell pepper, chopped red onion, cilantro, and frozen corn thawed, dressed with lime juice, cumin, and chili powder. Instead of creamy salad dressings, you can easily swap lemon or lime juice with your favorite spices. The same is true of your favorite vinegars.”

4 PM: “Fresh fruit is my favorite snack. I usually always keep an apple in my bag. My second favorite is fresh vegetables with hummus. Water-packed foods like celery sticks, cucumber slices, and strawberries provide instant hydration and lasting energy. This helps fuel evening trips to the gym or nutrition classes I might teach at night with our clinical research team.”

6:15 PM: “Tonight I’m headed to a spin class at Crunch to get some cardio in—I find it is a great stress reliever.”

8:30 PM: “My dinners tend to revolve around green vegetables, beans or lentils, and some form of beta-carotene—sweet potatoes and butternut squash are two favorites. Tonight I had maple-roasted Brussels sprouts with a piece of leftover lentil loaf and sweet potato wedges. The vitamin C you get from both vegetables maximizes iron absorption, which the lentil loaf and Brussels sprouts are good sources of. Studies show carotenoid-rich vegetables, like Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. All you need is three to six milligrams a day, the amount you’ll find in six baby carrots or half a sweet potato. I enjoy putting the science into practice!”

Posted at 11:27 AM/ET, 12/16/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Katie and Elliott fuel their busy, active lives by planning their meals ahead. Here’s how they do it. By Sara Gilgore

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

It can be a challenge to juggle the various responsibilities of work and life while maintaining a focus on health, but Katie Tobin and fiancé Elliott Lane have it down to a science. The couple, who live in Southeast DC’s Hillcrest neighborhood, are both athletic coaches: Katie teaches swimming for the DC Triathlon Club; Elliott, a rowing coach for Walt Whitman High School and Thompson Boat Center, teaches in the early mornings, as well as in the afternoons and evenings. They’re also both triathletes, and document their experiences on their blog, 1 Bed, 1 Bath, 6 Bikes.

To accommodate their very active lifestyle, Katie and Elliott are both out of bed before 5 o’clock most mornings. Katie, who holds a desk job in Fairfax County, frequently exercises in the area, but lacking walkable lunch options, habitually plans her meals, snacks, and workouts ahead of time. “People wonder why I carry a backpack instead of a purse,” she says. “It usually contains at least one pair of shoes, clothes, a water bottle, and food—lots of food. I have a standing desk and try to incorporate squats, toe raises, and stretches as I work. I also try to go for a ten-minute walk each day, either alone or with colleagues. It’s a great way to come up with creative ideas.” Elliott is able to return home during the day between rowing practices to cook and train, and often bikes to and from work so his commute doubles as a workout.

Click through the slideshow for a look at this couple’s typical daily meals and snacks—most of which they make at home—plus some time-saving tips for healthy eating on the go.

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 12/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Matthew Chisholm lost 40 pounds by changing his diet and exercise regimen. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

When attempting a lifestyle change, some people swear by special diets—going Paleo, trying veganism. Others, like Matthew Chisholm, find success in the old-fashioned philosophy of eating less and moving more. Matthew, 28, works as the deputy chief of staff to a freshman congressman and a veteran of several federal, state, and presidential campaigns. His career kept him busy, but his diet and exercise choices were dragging him down. “Up until last year I constantly felt awful, lacked energy, and looked tired,” he says. “Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I began running and eating well—and since I changed my lifestyle, I’ve lost 40 pounds.”

Matthew’s new routine includes running three to ten miles three or four times a week—he is training for a half-marathon in February—plus two or three sessions of light strength training. While he admits a fondness for the barbecue at Columbia Heights’s Kangaroo Boxing Club, his meals typically center on vegetables and lean protein. Read on for a look at his one-day food diary.

Pre- and post-workout supplements: “First, Amino Lift by USPLabs to provide a burst of morning energy—it usually carries me throughout the day. Then ModernBCAA to replenish the lost electrolytes and for muscle repair.

Breakfast: Scrambled egg whites with sliced baby bella mushrooms, jalapeños, spinach, and kale, topped with avocado, red pepper flakes, and Sriracha. Sliced tomato on the side.

Lunch: Grilled chicken breast on a Rudi’s spinach wrap with spinach, kale, tomato, hummus, and harissa. Sliced cucumbers and baby carrots on the side.

Snack: Celery topped with chia-and-flaxseed peanut butter from Trader Joe’s.

Dinner: “When I’m not at a Wizards game or the Kangaroo Boxing Club, I usually opt for poultry or fish. Tonight was grilled salmon with garlic herb butter, and baked Brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, cumin, and ginger. I also had a side salad consisting of spinach, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.”

Posted at 02:06 PM/ET, 12/02/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cathy Fenwick has a two-year-old son and is expecting her second child. Here’s how she plans healthy meals that keep the whole family happy. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

On busy days, feeding yourself can be challenge enough—but throw in toddler taste preferences and prenatal nutrition concerns, and a simple meal can turn into quite the headache. As a holistic health coach and mom of two-year-old Jack, Cathy Fenwick has developed some strategies to ease the process, which she teaches to other moms through her business, Umami Health. Says Fenwick, “I don’t believe in fad diets, deprivation, or counting calories—none of those are fun! I believe in real, delicious, and nutrient-dense foods.” She and her husband have made unprocessed foods the focus of their son’s diet from day one, and while he still shows “some of those unavoidable picky toddler tendencies,” he also loves snacks such as chickpeas and sauerkraut. Because Cathy is also six months pregnant with her second child, she tries to incorporate plenty of healthy fats and nutrient-dense foods, plus “tons of water” every day.

Running after an energetic toddler keeps her active, but Cathy also makes sure to walk at least half an hour each day, incorporate family activities such as hiking into her family’s weekend schedule, and fit in yoga and swimming sessions when she has time. Read on for a look at how she feeds herself—and her son—on a typical day.

Breakfast: “When I wake up, I drink a cup of warm water with honey and lemon—it’s a great way to rehydrate your body after a night of sleep, as well as kick-start your liver and digestive system. My husband, son, and I eat breakfast together at home, and it’s a rotation among eggs, oatmeal, or yogurt; today was scrambled eggs with red pepper, cheese, turkey sausage, and some sliced tomatoes. I also love a cup of decaf black tea with honey and milk in the morning.”

Snack: “I usually get hungry mid-morning, especially now that I’m pregnant. I snacked on a home-baked blueberry muffin made with whole wheat flour, honey, coconut oil, and Greek yogurt. I always like to have a cup of green tea, too. Since Jack eats breakfast fairly early (usually by 7), a banana around 9 keeps him going through lunchtime. He’s obsessed with ‘nanas,’ so it’s a banana each day—why mess with a good thing?”

Lunch: “I typically have a salad for lunch. It’s easy to make a bunch in advance so I have it ready to go throughout the week, and salads are a great way to get in your leafy greens and veggies. I added some salmon left over from last night’s dinner. My go-to dressing is olive oil, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard—I don’t use store-bought dressing because of all the additives and unpronounceable ingredients.

"I make soup at least once a week, and that increases significantly in the fall and winter. I use a homemade bone broth as the base for most—it’s easy to make in a crockpot (but takes about two days of cooking), and has a ton of minerals and vitamins that are great for our digestive system, immune system, and bones. I’m not too scientific about soups; I just chop whatever veggies I have on hand and simmer them in the bone broth, and sometimes add some chopped meat or little pasta. Chickpeas are a fun finger food and make a great protein-rich snack for kids. I add grass-fed butter and/or sea salt for extra nutrients and flavor—I don’t think kids need to eat bland foods.”

Snack: “I can’t make it to dinner without a pretty substantial snack. Sweet potato fries baked with coconut oil and cinnamon are chock-full of nutrients and almost like eating dessert, and smoothies are an excellent way to sneak in leafy greens and other fruits and veggies. I made this one with kale, banana, blueberries, pineapple, and coconut water, with ground flaxseed for omega-3s and coconut oil for healthy fat. Jack had a yogurt—I don’t buy the flavored kind, since it’s full of sugar, additives, and other flavorings. We buy full-fat, plain yogurt (ideally from grass-fed cows) and eat it plain or top it with fruit and nuts.”

Dinner: “We try to eat dinner together each night, but that can be hard given that my son eats early and often we’re not all home for his dinner time. If I plan simple meals that are easy to reheat, it’s more likely to happen. We eat a variation on a Mexican rice bowl each week—this time I used farro and included ground beef and black beans for protein. Toppings included avocado, salsa, sautéed onions and peppers, and mustard greens. I never get tired of this meal, and it’s great for lunch, too. I like to drink kombucha with dinner—it’s a fermented tea so helps with digestion, and it’s fizzy, so it’s almost like drinking a wine spritzer. I also take some liquid cod liver oil for extra omega-3s and vitamins A and D, which are particularly important in pregnancy. Fortunately, my son’s a good eater, but I feed him in courses or else he’ll eat only his favorite food. He’s loved sauerkraut ever since he first tasted it at eight months, and it’s great for boosting his good gut bacteria and immune system.

"We don’t eat dessert unless we go out to dinner for a special occasion, but I do like something sweet, so fruit or some dark chocolate is my go-to. Jack likes to finish off his meal with some fruit, cheese, and olives. He also gets a teaspoon of cod liver oil—I buy the strawberry flavor, and usually he asks for more!”

Posted at 02:45 PM/ET, 11/18/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Stephanie Wimer relies on small, frequent meals to power through her busy schedule. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

Stephanie Wimer owns and writes for the website Strong Figure, which aims to inspire and aid people in their health and fitness goals through providing training and nutrition tips, recipes, and more. In her Strong Figure bio, Stephanie says, “Losing weight, discovering how to make the right food choices, and learning how to lift weights and exercise properly has taken me on a years-long journey of experimentation, trials, success, and even failure. I created Strong Figure to write about what I’ve learned and to help people who might be struggling in the same ways I have before.”

In addition to her work for the website, Stephanie works as a recreation specialist for Harrisonburg City, Virginia, where she plans fitness regimens and teaches boot-camp classes. With whatever spare time she has remaining, she coaches CrossFit and trains as a strength athlete. To fuel her active lifestyle, she makes time for frequent small meals throughout the day, filled with protein and healthy fats. Read on for a look at Stephanie’s typical daily diet.

Breakfast: “My first meal is my Accelerator Shake, which is coffee, whey protein, and organic coconut oil. This gets me going and gives me the energy to start my day.”

Lunch: “My second meal is around lunchtime and is always made up of protein, good fats, and vegetables. Here, I’ve got grass-fed sirloin cooked medium-rare, steamed kale, and cauliflower rice made with ghee (organic clarified butter) and part-skim mozzarella cheese.”

Snack: “My third meal is typically a snack similar to my lunch: high in protein, vegetables and good fats. Today I’ve got about three ounces of ground turkey, steamed cauliflower and broccoli, snap peas, and some heart-healthy mixed nuts. This meal holds me over and gives me the energy I need for my workout.”

Pre-workout drink: “Around my workout, I drink BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), typically at least 24 ounces. BCAAs spark protein synthesis and reduce muscle soreness.”

Post-workout snack: “My post-workout meal always includes carbs and protein for optimal muscle recovery and growth. One of my favorite meals is mashed sweet potatoes and applesauce with a little cinnamon, and a protein shake—typically vanilla flavored—with almond milk.”

Dinner: “I eat this chicken stew weekly—it’s my favorite! I throw organically raised/hormone-free chicken breasts, diced tomatoes, frozen cauliflower, and plenty of spices into a crockpot and cook on low for about eight hours. I can get a week’s worth of dinners out of this.”

Nighttime snack: “My last snack or meal is probably my favorite of the day and is an excellent way for me to both unwind and help refuel my muscles from my lifting session: hot, organic steel-cut oats with frozen blueberries and half a scoop of protein powder. Yum!”

Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 11/11/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sticking to the diet helped Stacy Toth drop more than 100 pounds and manage her autoimmune disease. By Caroline Cunningham

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

Four years ago, Stacy Toth had just given birth to her third son and had undergone surgery to remove her gallbladder. At 336 pounds, she felt defeated and overwhelmed when it came to weight loss, but she knew she needed to make a change.

After discovering the Paleo diet, Stacy was surprised to find how quickly she adapted to the lifestyle. Her intestinal problems disappeared, and she had more energy than ever. Just a year after adopting the new eating habits, she had slimmed down by 120 pounds.

Today Stacy, her husband, Matthew, and their three sons follow the dairy-, grain-, sugar-, and legume-free regimen, and Stacy documents their progress on her blog, Paleo Parents. Read on to see how she keeps herself full with protein-packed meals.

Breakfast: “This is an egg-white protein shake with almond milk, water, frozen banana, ice, cold-soluble gelatin, and maca. It tastes like such a treat with hints of nut butter from the maca! I love that it sustains me for hours and is a protein-rich way to start the day without too much meat.”

Morning snack: “I continue the day with my antioxidant-rich green tea matcha powder and Pete’s Paleo Gut Gummies gelatin snacks. Collagen-rich gelatin has been a huge part of my healing and health journey, from soups to smoothies to gummy snacks; I try to eat it where I can. I have two autoimmune diseases that affect the lining of my intestines, and when I am eating gelatin regularly (about five times a week) it not only helps me manage my AI diseases, but it also helps my skin and hair, and eases joint pain that use to be near debilitating.”

Lunch: “A lot of people think the Paleo diet is full of only meat, but I was a vegetarian for seven years before this diet, and I find I eat way more vegetables now. Instead of a sandwich with chips or leftover pasta, I have the same portion of protein and replace the refined carbohydrates with vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Today I am having leftover pork roast from Beyond Bacon with organic greens. I add sea-vegetable salt for umami flavor and natural iodine, as well as dressing from Tessemae’s, a local company that makes its products without processed oils high in inflammatory omega-6 fats. Paired with local pastured pork from Heritage Hollow Farms, it’s a perfect match.”

Dinner: “This is the Baked (Not) Potato Soup from Real Life Paleo (get the recipe). I try to limit dense carbohydrates to the days I train, which makes this low-carb, veggie-rich soup a great choice for my rest day today.”

Post-dinner snack: “The bacon slivers on my soup weren’t quite enough protein for me, so I’m having two scrambled eggs, as well. Nothing fancy, just a little leftover bacon fat and some whipped eggs.”

Posted at 11:25 AM/ET, 11/04/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sara Lavan strives to create healthy meals that are still kid-friendly. Find out how she does it. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

Among all the wonderful things about children, an adventurous palate is unfortunately not always one of them. As the mother of a nine-year-old and a six-year-old, it’s a challenge Alexandria resident Sara Lavan understands well. She aims to feed her kids balanced meals with plenty of vegetables and whole grains, but still makes time for the occasional indulgence, such as homemade ice cream. (You can find some of her recipes on her blog.)

Sara is the owner and operator of Alexandria’s Local Motion Studio, where she develops the adult classes and creates the curriculum for the children’s dance program. She also teaches Pilates and barre, dances in the local modern company Choreographer’s Collaboration Project, and in her free time volunteer-teaches dance at Mount Vernon Community School, where her children go.

Read on to find out how Sara keeps herself—and her kids—fueled for busy days.

Breakfast: “One of my favorites: greens (chard, spinach, and/or kale), two free-range eggs, and hot sauce.”

Morning snack: "To sip during the morning at the studio—either during teaching, or before or after class—juice (this time celery, carrot, green apple, spinach, and orange), and a yogurt-and-fruit smoothie. (homemade yogurt, grass-fed gelatin, chlorella, spirulina, and fruit)."

Lunch: "Gluten-free lasagna with spinach and grass-fed beef, left over from the night before."

Snack: "An oatmeal-applesauce cookie—flour-free!"

Dinner: "Had dinner with the kids—brown rice and shrimp stir-fry with fresh ginger, half an avocado, a Caesar salad, and mushrooms."

Dessert: "Homemade pumpkin ice cream. Really made for the kiddos, but of course I had a little.”

Posted at 10:30 AM/ET, 10/28/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Protein is key for fueling her intense workouts. By Tanya Pai
Christy Adkins. Photograph courtesy of DC Brawlers.

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail tpai@washingtonian.com for details.

Christy Adkins is a member of Washington’s newest professional sports team, the DC Brawlers. The team—one of eight groups in the National Pro Grid League and the inaugural champions—competes in coed functional fitness “human performance races.” Christy, 29, is a graduate of George Washington University, where she played Division 1 lacrosse; she now works as a registered nurse and a personal trainer. She started CrossFit workouts seven years ago, and has placed in the top ten in the CrossFit Games three times since 2009.

As a pro athlete, her daily schedule involves plenty of physical activity, so to fuel up for her grueling workouts, she relies on a diet rich in protein and healthy fats, plus plenty of vegetables and even the occasional chocolatey treat. Between training sessions and indulging her love of bacon, she likes to spend time with her husband, Tim, and their yellow Lab, Bella. Read on for a look at a typical day of eating for Christy.

7 AM: “I always wake up hungry and ready for coffee right away. Luckily, my husband makes coffee before he leaves the house at 5, so there is some waiting for me. I like to drink it black or with heavy cream if we have it. I love when I have the time in the morning to sit, sip coffee, and eat an About Time bar with almond butter. If I’m heading into DC for work, I eat this on my drive.”

8 AM: “I cooked applewood-smoked bacon in a pan, threw in some frozen veggies or the leftovers from dinner, and let them cook in the bacon grease. Then I added three eggs for a delicious scramble.”

11 AM: “After an hour and a half of lifting (five sets of five back squats, heavy double snatches, and snatch pulls), this fuel pack gave me the energy I needed to get through my sets of weighted pull-ups and powers me through a conditioning workout with rowing on the erg, muscle-ups on the rings, and dumbbell clean-and-jerks. The Fuel for Fire packs are just puréed sweet potato, apple, and whey protein. I like that they don’t upset my stomach while giving me the carbs I need without any of the fake stuff like some of the goos and gel packs have.”

12:30 PM: “My post-workout protein shake—just water and chocolate About Time protein.”

2 PM: “Lunch was leftovers from dinner last night: grass-fed, organic ground beef purchased from the Organic Butcher, cooked in a no-sugar-added marinara sauce from Trader Joe’s, and served over spaghetti squash.”

2:30 PM: “Afternoon coffee with something special added. CrossFit friends and some of my Grid teammates got me hooked on coffee blended with organic butter and coconut oil. Add a tablespoon of each to hot coffee, blend on high, and get a yummy, creamy, high-in-good-fats coffee treat.”

5 PM: “I needed a snack to tide me over until dinner. I made an open-face pb&j sandwich with Paleo bread, almond butter, and Crofter’s organic raspberry fruit spread. My mom visited last week and bought this bread for us, but I usually make my own with a really simple recipe that consists of almond flour and eggs.”

7 PM: “I roasted an organic brined chicken I bought at Trader Joe’s following this recipe from Nom Nom Paleo. I used sweet potatoes and a regular onion instead of her suggested veggies. I cooked some more bacon in a pan, then sliced Brussel sprouts in half and tossed them in. I could seriously cook all my vegetables in bacon fat; sometimes I’ll do coconut oil instead, but my true love is bacon.”

9:30 PM: “Sometimes at night I will have a couple pieces of dark chocolate or some Paleocrunch from Steve’s Club. Almost every night, I make a shake with chocolate About Time nighttime protein, a frozen banana, a spoonful of almond butter, ice, and water. It’s a sweet treat that helps me not wake up hungry in the middle of the night!”

Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 10/21/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
This passionate runner and mom of two relies on a high-protein vegetarian diet to keep up with her busy schedule. By Francesca Saunders

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Deborah Brooks is the author of the healthy living blog Confessions of a Mother Runner and the mother of two teenagers. She also “runs” the McLean chapter of the nationwide running club Moms Run This Town; coaches Girls on the Run, a program to get young girls active; and serves as a Rock ’n’ Roll Race Ambassador for the DC series. 

A lifelong vegetarian, Deborah strives to eat healthy, well-balanced meals full of vegetables and protein. She tries for five small meals a day, typically cooking for her family and herself during the week and reserving meals out for the weekend. She also works out six times a week—including plenty of running, of course.

Thanks to her balanced meals and her activity level, Deborah says she doesn’t feel the need to count calories or weigh herself frequently. Keep reading for a look at her typical diet—and some of her go-to recipes. 

Breakfast: Omelet with two egg whites and one egg with tomatoes, black beans, half an avocado, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, and homemade salsa; one piece of Ezekiel sesame bread with Smart Balance spread; coffee; and sparkling water. “Today I’m doing an hour and a half of high-intensity kickboxing and strength-training, so a healthy breakfast is important.”

Pre-workout snack: Homemade chocolate protein muffins (see Deborah’s recipe), Chobani 100 yogurt, and water. “I drink mostly SmartWater and homemade sparkling water.”

Lunch: “I’m completely starving after my workout and need to replenish with carbs and protein. I am newly obsessed with tempeh for protein, so I created this tempeh, rice noodle, edamame salad [see Deborah’s recipe]. This was my biggest meal of the day and really filled me up post-workout.”

Afternoon snack: Low-salt almonds, a plate of cantaloupe, and sparkling water.

Dinner: Black bean, sweet potato, and veggie tacos on corn tortillas with half an avocado and salsa.

Dessert (not pictured): Four Hershey’s Kisses. “No one’s perfect! I need a little chocolate every day, and this does the trick for me.”

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet.

Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 08/12/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Neighborhood Farm Initiative director Kristin Brower teaches city dwellers how to grow their own food. Take a look at her daily diet. By Tanya Pai

Are you a local health, nutrition, or fitness expert with a love of food? Keep a food diary for us! E-mail wellbeing@washingtonian.com for details.

Kristin Brower is the director of the Neighborhood Farm Initiative (NFI), a nonprofit that aims to educate Washingtonians about how food is produced and help them learn the skills to grow their own. NFI, founded in 2008, has a community garden in Fort Totten at which it hosts programs such as Grow, Harvest, Eat! and Adult Urban Garden Education; the organization also donates the produce grown in its garden to area food bands and kitchens. 

Given Kristin’s occupation, it’s no surprise she has a focus on healthy eating, with a diet that incorporates plenty of fruits and vegetables. Still, she admits it’s not always easy to stay active during the day. “Every time I tell someone I work at a nonprofit that does urban garden education, they think I must never sit at a desk, but unfortunately, my job is fairly computer-heavy,” she says. “I need the garden time to stay sane, so I usually go out two or three days a week to weed, harvest, or just help with our classes and volunteer days. My typical fitness routine usually depends on whether I’ve signed up for a race or triathlon. I’ve realized those help keep me really motivated. I’d say on average I run two or three times a week, bike almost daily for commuting and transporting veggies with my bike trailer, and take my dog for long walks.”

Read on for a look at Kristin’s daily diet. 

Breakfast: “I start out most of my weekday mornings having toast with peanut butter. I wanted to dedicate more time this year to breadmaking, so I pledged—via Facebook, so everyone would see—that I would make a new loaf of bread every month. This month it was a hearty, whole-wheat oatmeal loaf, which was delicious with the peanut butter. I also start every day with tea. A month ago it was coffee or black tea, but after an eight-year addiction, I decided to go cold-turkey with caffeine. Now my go-to is dandelion tea—it has the same bitter taste I love in the morning, but is great for your digestive system.”

Drink: “I used to be a big snacker at work, but after I switched from the 9-to-5 gig and was on my feet most of the day, either in the garden or running around, I noticed that I stopped snacking. Now I usually just enjoy tea or a hot beverage during some downtime. This morning, it was peppermint tea to help perk up my brain.”

Lunch: “It makes me sad when I see someone eating a granola bar or something else probably unsatisfying for lunch. To me, it’s a time in the day to take a step back and refocus, so a healthy lunch is my way to go. Today’s special was leftovers from dinner, something my husband and I nicknamed ‘Trasherole.’ Two summers ago, we noticed we had so many greens from our garden and CSA that we just didn’t know what to do with them all, so we came up with Trasherole. It’s basically eight cups of greens or veggies, four eggs, some cheese, and any kind of spices you want, baked for about 30 minutes with bread crumbs on top—and voilà, dinner! I also got used to having salad at almost every meal besides breakfast, because of the amount of fresh greens we’d have at one given time. I love it when half my plate is full of salad. The red sauce is hot sauce made by NFI’s garden manager last year with NFI-grown peppers. To end the meal, I brought in a beet brownie. I made these once when we had so many beets that I just couldn’t down another one, so I found a way to make a dessert out of them, and I’ve never baked another kind of brownie again.”

Dinner: “This is probably one of my favorite dinners: collard wraps! They are so easy and so delicious that I end up eating them a lot when collards are in season. The filling is a mix of ‘soysage,’ quinoa, onions, several spices, and kale. Of course, a salad is also part of the meal, topped with flaxseeds and carrots. Not pictured here (because I forgot) was a Heavy Seas IPA, also a great way to end the day.” 

The Food Diaries series is intended to be inspirational and is not an endorsement of each individual’s diet. Find Tanya Pai on Twitter at @tanyapai.

Posted at 12:18 PM/ET, 08/05/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()