Remember Me?

Hey there friends!  I’ve missed you!  I am happy to be back with you guys.  This was kind of an unintended break but it was necessary.  Last week was pretty crazy in PA school.  2 big tests, a quiz, homework assignments, and day in the nursing home.  Rather than get into a long rambling post I thought I would share 5 things to catch you guys up.


1.  I have 19 days left of didactic year … not including weekends.  CRAZY to think that these 15 months have gone by so fast.  Blows my mind.  But at the same time I don’t feel anywhere near ready to actually be treating patients which I will be doing in just a few weeks.  Gulp.


2.  I got my ‘final’ rotation schedule yesterday.  I have Internal Medicine first which is a pretty intense first rotation.  Internal Medicine covers EVERYTHING.  I will be rotating exclusively in the hospital for that rotation which is fun because that’s exactly what my dad does.  I am getting a game plan together to prepare for the rotation but most of all I am just looking forward to learning a ton.


3.  The girls are doing SO good.  My mother-in-law was here last week which meant they got extra love and snuggles.  My mom comes this weekend so they are bound to get even more.


4.  Check out what Bryn did last night … Chris walked out of the living room for a second and came back to find her dressed in his shirt.  She is a crack-up and we never quite know what’s coming next.


5.  I have completely fallen off the wagon.  Last week pushed me over the edge and my diet is TERRIBLE.  Like whoa.  Why is it when you’re stressed/tired bad food tastes SO much better?  Le sigh.  Time to get back on the journey.  I have felt super sluggish and I am sure it’s a combo of the lack of sleep and terrible food choices.  I just don’t FEEL good when I don’t eat right so here we go again.


Hope you have a happy Tuesday!  Since it’s been a week … tell me one thing about YOU!

Heart Healthy Diet Made Simple!

I am super excited to have my friend Melanie guest posting for me today for American Heart Month!  We met when our husbands were stationed in Missouri and hit it off right away.  We also both have personal connections to heart disease and want to help others live heart health lives!
Hi Food, Fitness & Family readers!
I am Melanie, the RD and mom over at Nutritious Eats.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Madeline a few years ago when we lived in Missouri. She found me on Twitter and we realized we had a lot in common so we immediately scheduled a coffee date. After hitting it off (yes, making adult friends is often like dating, ha) we decided we’d be gym buddies for the short time period before she moved. Madeline inspired me a lot in that time we had together and I love that we are still long-distance friends.
I am so happy to be here today to share some info on a heart healthy diet.
Heart health is one that is near and dear to my heart. My dad had his first heart attack when he was 38! I was just a tiny toddler but I remember a lot of lifestyle changes that my family undertook. My parents implemented family walks every night, healthy home-cooked meals, a careful watch on sodium intake. It was real. There were real life changes that needed to take place in order for my dad to stand a chance at surviving. Well fast forward 30+ years, Dad is still living a healthy lifestyle in Texas, post heart-transplant. And just to keep it real, he has far exceeded the survival percentage of post-transplant patients. There is no doubt in my mind that a big part of that has to do with the dietary changes he made along the way.

So what does a heart-healthy diet look like?

1.  Plant-Based

FruitVegRibbet collage
Are you sick of hearing about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables? Well sorry, that advice isn’t going anywhere! The scientific data all support the same claim and that is that people who eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily have a reduced risk of stroke and heart attack. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and no pill or juice will replace them.

2.  Good Fats

Research has changed over time regarding our fat intake (no more fat-free diets, yay!) and rather than focus too much on saturated fat, so let’s focus on the heart healthy fats you should be eating. Monounsaturated fats can protect people against heart disease by reducing blood pressure. Foods high in monounsaturated fats include olive oil, olives, avocado and nuts such as peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pine nuts and pistachios. Chose these over high saturated fat foods like high-fat meats, whole-milk dairy and fried foods.

3.  High Fiber

Soluble fiber can help reduce cholesterol by grabbing onto it as it pulls it out of your body, as well as helping to lower blood pressure. Foods high in soluble fiber are oat and rice bran, oatmeal, barely, beans, peas and lentils, vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, potatoes and squash, fruits such as berries, apricots, pears, strawberry, peaches, apples, seeds and nuts-yep those nuts again!

4.  Low in Refined Carbohydrates

Low-quality carbs include sugary foods, soft drinks, baked goods, anything made with white flour. These foods cause a spike in insulin which then leads to a rise in triglycerides. Instead aim for high-quality carbs like oatmeal, wild or brown rice, quinoa and other whole grains and don’t overdo your portions of these types of food.

5.  Limited Salt

Sodium in small doses is necessary for body function, however too much will draw excess fluid into the blood which can cause high blood pressure. Limit added salt to food, replace it with no-salt seasoning, spices and herbs. Read food labels and chose brands with less sodium and limit your intake of high sodium condiments like pickles, canned foods, soy sauce, marinades, etc. In 2010 the American Heart Association changed the recommendations to state that Americans consume less than 1,500 mg/day sodium, which is the level with the greatest effect on blood pressure; this recommendation does not apply to athletes, people who work in conditions where they are exposed to excessive heat or any else advised by their healthcare provider.

6.  B Vitamins (Folate, B6, B12)

B vitamins have been shown to lower homocysteine levels, an amino acids and breakdown of protein metabolism, in the body. High homocysteine relates to a higher level of heart disease. Focus on food sources high in B Vitamins like oatmeal, peas, beans, lentils, spinach, mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, beets, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, berriesand fortified whole grain cereals and bread.

Sample Heart-Healthy Menu

Banana-Peanut Butter Oatmeal
One serving (1/2 cup dry) oatmeal cooked in water, non-dairy milk or low-fat milk. Topped with 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter, 1/2 banana and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and cinnamon.
1 cup Greek yogurt topped with 1/2 cup berries (fresh or frozen)
Spinach Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese and Walnuts (Grilled Chicken optional)
A large bowl of baby spinach topped with dried cranberries, walnuts, tomato halves, sliced beets and goat cheese. Toss with a couple teaspoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice.
Packed with vegetables, beans, tomatoes, serve this high fiber dish with a simple tossed salad.
So there you have it! Not too difficult, right? These simple nutrition and lifestyle changes you can make can really turn around your risk factors for heart disease.  Thanks for reading!
What is your favorite way to get in heart healthy foods?

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(Healthier) Comfort Foods

This post is sponsored by


I don’t know about you but the weather has taken a turn to the colder down here in Savannah.  Now I fully understand that our “cold” is pansy compared to anyone in the north but for me I am super chilly.  Ha.  Tomorrow the temperatures are in the 20’s in the morning which is WAY too cold for this Arizona girl.  When cold weather hits all I want to do is curl up on my couch with a book and eat my favorite comfort foods.  Now throw in back-to-back testing and my cravings for comfort foods go through the roof!  Since I am really trying to stay on track with my healthy eating I thought looking up some healthier versions of my favorite comfort foods and am sharing some of my favorites with you!


Healthy Comfort Foods


Check out (Healthier) Comfort Foods

by Madeline Glasser at

What are your favorite comfort foods?

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A Glimpse at the 21 Day Fix

Happy Wednesday!  My 21 Day Fix challenge group started on Monday and let me tell you they are KILLING it.  SO I thought I would share another ‘What I Ate Wednesday’ …. 21 Day Fix style!  Thanks Jenn for hosting!








2 eggs scrambled with spinach and mushrooms. 1 slice of nitrate free bacon and a fruit mixture.  Plus a side of emergency medicine ;)  (1.5 red / 1 green / 1 purple)




A romaine and spinach salad with mushrooms and sliced turkey.  I didn’t have time to prep food on Sunday due to studying so I improvised.  Homemade paleo ranch on the side! (2 green / 1 red / 1 orange)




Shakeology with unsweetened almond milk and ice (1 red)

Ezekiel sprouted grain wrap, PB, and a banana (1 yellow / 1 purple)

Carrots (1 green)

Apple and almonds (1 purple / 1 blue)





Grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, and roasted veggies!  (1 red / 1 yellow / 1 green)





I did the 21 Day Fix Cardio Challenge workout and it was a great way to wake up!  Awesome knowing you get a good workout in in just 30 minutes :)


Overall I am still 100% satisfied with the 21-Day Fix meal plan.  I am having a hard time getting my yellows in though so that’s something I am going to be working on!  My next challenge will be starting February 26th …. email me at foodfitnessandfamily (at) gmail . com!


What did you eat this week?

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American Heart Month

Disclaimer:  While I am a Physician Assistant student this is not official medical advice.  Always consult your healthcare with your own healthcare provider ;)


There aren’t many times on this blog that my love for healthy living and my love for medicine perfectly align for content but today (and this month) is one of them!  The month of February is American Heart Month with the American Heart Association.  So over the next few weeks I want to share some things about how you can be more heart healthy.  Why is that important?  Heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States.  Not only is this important to me as a future healthcare provider, it’s important to me because my dad suffered a heart attack and ended up with quadruple bypass surgery.  So this topic hits home on both a professional and personal level for me.  Fun fact – cardiac health is also the philanthropy of my sorority Alpha Phi!


American heart Month


Heart disease in the medical word is called coronary heart disease (CHD).  CHD is the result from coronary artery disease, or the build-up of plaque in the vessels of the heart.  There are many risk factors that can lead to heart disease and that’s what we are going to talk about today.  I’m a big believer in “knowledge is power” and knowing what risk factors you might have is important.  While there are certain things you can’t change, there are many risk factors that you can eliminate through lifestyle changes.


Non-Modifiable Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • Gender.  Sorry guys (what few of you might be reading)  …. just being male automatically increases your risk of heart disease.  However, it’s important to note that after menopause the risk of dying from a heart attack is higher in women, so we gals aren’t off the hook.
  • Increasing Age.  Since no one has found out how to stop aging this is something we will all have to deal with at some point.
  • Genetics.  Your family history is important when it comes to your own risk factors for CHD.  Having an immediate family member with a cardiac event before the age of 55 increases your risk.
  • Ethnicity.  African Americans have a higher risk of heart disease than Caucasians.


Modifiable Risk Factors

Now that we have talked about the things you can’t change, how about some things you can?

  • Stop smoking.  Smoking increases your risk for so many different disease but it greatly effects your risk of CHD.  Being around secondhand smoke is also an issue so watch out for that as well.
  • High blood pressure.  If you have hypertension you are at greater risk for heart disease.  Getting your blood pressure under control whether through lifestyle modifications or medication is important.  Prolonged high blood pressure can put a lot of strain on your heart over time.
  • Poor glycemic control.  If you are diabetic you are at higher risk for heart disease as well.  Keeping your blood sugar tightly controlled can help decrease your risk of this and other complications.
  • Inactivity.  Increasing your activity level is a great way to decrease your risk of heart disease as well as help control your blood pressure and reduce your chance of obesity.  Aim to exercise 30 minutes most days of the week.  The more vigorous the activity, the better!   But even walking for 30 minutes is beneficial.  However, before taking up any big change in your exercise routine (like marathon training) it is always a good idea to get an EKG first to check for any abnormal heart activity.
  • Obesity.  People who are overweight as at greater risk for heart disease.  When you are carrying more weight you are putting a greater work demand on your heart which can be problematic over time.  You are also at increased risk for diabetes.  Using proper nutrition and exercise to get to a healthy weight is essential.
  • High cholesterol.  Having abnormal cholesterol levels can lead to plaque build-up in your arteries which is often a precursor to heart disease.  I am going to go over how to interpret your cholesterol results on a different occasion.


There are many other factors that go into the development of heart disease and this just scratches the surface.  However, there are so many things each of us can do to help decrease the chance of us having cardiovascular problems in the future.  It’s never too early to start thinking about your heart health because many of these things can accumulate over time!  For more information you can check out the American Heart Association and I will be back next week with some more heart tidbits!



Why is heart health important to YOU?

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