5 Things Friday!

TGIF, Friends!  This week has been incredibly busy between deadlines at work, and evening commitments after work.  Some highlights for the week include Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe and volunteering (then indulging later) at my favorite Cincinnati fundraiser, Taste of the NFL.  I’ll have full recaps on both those events coming at ya next week but I thought I’d share 5 food and fitness tidbits from my week so you can get a glimpse of how I’ve managed to find balance amidst the chaos!

  1.  I made it two times to P/E class at the Blue Ash Recreation Center.  Every time I go, I realize how much I miss having the time to attend all 5 early AM classes.  Per usual, Andrew designed some killer workouts, and my hamstrings definitely felt it yesterday when I tried to run.   
  2. Taste of the NFL!  I love that I’m on the volunteer list for this event.  Not only do I get to support a great cause, but I get to taste some of Cincy’s best eats.  I think the last time I felt that full was Thanksgiving dinner.  Standouts for me were obviously the dishes that included donuts, but more to come on that next week 🙂   
  3. Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe was a winner in my book.  I love supporting local business, especially those with coffee, so learning the history behind the business and getting to taste some of their menu offerings was a real treat. 
  4. After a week of indulging, I was in major need of something green.  It’s rare that I crave kale–those who know me best know it’s not a favorite food of mine–but when I saw the kale salad in the cafe at work today, I knew it would hit the spot.  Paired this salad up with some hummus and wheat crackers.  Perfect satisfying, healthy lunch. 
  5. A patient told me yesterday, “God gave us taste buds for a reason.”  Couldn’t agree more.  Food is meant to be enjoyed and every now and then, we may have a week where we overindulge, but finding balance and getting back on track is the real key to staying on the healthy lifestyle wagon.

What are your taste buds planning to enjoy this weekend?  A new recipe?  A new restaurant?  A favorite food? 

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The New Nutrition Facts Label

Hi Friends!  Happy Monday.  I recently wrote an article that is soon to be featured in a professional newsletter, but I thought I should share some key highlights from the article with all of you.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released it’s final rules for it’s overhaul of the nutrition facts label and food manufacturers with more than $10 million in annual food sales are expected to transition to the new labeling format by July 26, 2018.  So, what does this mean for you, the consumer?  Detailed below are what I consider to be some of the most relevant and significant changes to the new food labels.  Let’s take a look:

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  1. Updated Design
    While the classic look of the label will remain, many updates have been made to ensure consumers have access to the information they need for making informed dietary decisions:

    • Increasing font size for “calories,” “servings per container,” and “serving size.”
    • Bolding the “number of calories,” “servings per container,” and “serving size.”
    • The footnote section on the label will better explain what the percent daily value actually means to you, the consumer
  2. Up-To-Date Nutrition Science
    The new label will feature the addition of “added sugars,” in grams and percent daily.  It’s no secret that added sugars are detrimental to our health.  Scientific data has demonstrated a positive association with weight gain and obesity in children and adults.  In addition, added sugars have been linked to a variety of other health conditions including heart disease.  Research has also demonstrated that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits if more than 10% of total daily calories consumed come from added sugars.

    Another scientifically relevant update comes with the removal of “calories from fat.”  Current research demonstrates that the type of fat consumed is more significant than the amount consumed.

  3. Serving Size Makeover
    Serving sizes must now reflect amounts of food and beverage that people actually consume, not what they should be consuming.  Over the years, how much individuals eat and drink has drastically changed since the previous portion size requirements were published back in 1993.  Here’s an example of what I mean:  The reference amount for a scoop of ice cream was previously 1/2 cup of ice cream per serving.  The new nutrition label will reference a 2/3 cup serving of ice cream.  While I find it a major bummer that the new label will not reflect the modest portion sizes we should be eating, I think it’s important for consumers to have easy access to accurate information about their food, and this change in serving sizes will allow consumers to make realistic and informed decisions.
  4. New Labeling Requirements For Certain Package Sizes
    Package sizes that are between one and two servings (like a 20 ounce soda bottle) will now be labeled as one serving.  This is to reflect the idea that most consumers are not just drinking half of a 20 ounce soda bottle, they are most likely drinking the entire thing.  For products that are larger than a single serving but could be consumed in one sitting, manufacturers will be required to provide “dual column” labels to identify the amount of calories and nutrients on a “per serving” and “per package” basis.  An example of this new requirement would apply to a pint of ice cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday Thoughts #4

Happy Thursday guys!  The week is almost over and I feel like I’ve been going non-stop since last Friday.  Thank goodness I’m working a half-day tomorrow.  I could use the rest and relaxation!  Between work and other obligations this week, it’s been a busy one.  For this week’s Thursday Thoughts, here’s what is on my mind.

Got a unique taco dinner at Frida 602 Saturday.  Think brussels sprouts taco with a peanut salsa.  It was tasty but can someone please explain to me when it became socially acceptable to charge $5 for a single taco WITHOUT MEAT?!  I’d go back if it was for drinks and a snack, but I’d have to eat way too many tacos for it to feel like a meal.  PS local readers, their margs were killer.

   
 Hill workouts have been the theme of my running this week.  I did one Saturday and Tuesday.  Pretty proud of Saturday’s though because not only did I run some steep hills, but I also made it a negative split run.  What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?

  
Donut obsession still going strong.  Last week was National Donut Day.  I enjoyed a sweet treat (or two) and got my donation in to the Salvation Army.  Did you?

  
Attempted to make Anne’s grain free pancake this week.  It’s always a major fail.  I can never get it to cook properly.  Who has advice?!  Either way, it still hit the spot and made for an incredibly filling breakfast.

  
Who is aware of the new nutrition facts panel?  It’s pretty hot news in the world of nutrition.  I’m thinking I’ll share the inside scoop–what you need to know in an upcoming blog post.  I’m glad the label is getting a makeover.  It’s about time that the label pair better with current scientific information.

  
I’ll leave you with a picture of the dogs.  I babysat them all last weekend.  Aren’t they cute?

   
 It’s going to be 95 degrees this weekend in Cincinnati.  Hoping to still squeeze in a run!  How are you planning on staying cool?  

 

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Memorial Day Things

Hi Friends.  Gosh.  I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday.  I have a proposal:  all weekends should be long ones.  It gives you time to do fun things and relax all while making the week fly by.  I feel like zero people would argue with a 4 day workweek.  Let’s make it a thing!  This is going to be one of those posts where I over share details of my long weekend with you.  Are you ready?

My weekend was filled with all the outside activities, starting out Saturday morning with the Clippard YMCA 5K sponsored by my running club.  Because I’m in summer training with Queen City running, my entry for this race was covered.  Since free is my favorite price, I was pretty stoked.  Not going to lie, I was pretty nervous prior to this race.  It’s been what feels like decades since I’ve actually raced a 5K.  I didn’t even know what my PR was.  Anyways, my friend Katie and I showed up bright and early to pick up our packets.  Almost too early.  We didn’t realize how small and casual this race was.  It was a very small field of runners, maybe 200 people tops, so there was no reason to arrive an hour before the race.  Regardless, we took advantage of that extra time to squeeze in a mile warm up jog and some stretching.  Since this race was so casual, they just had everyone line up together at the start in the parking lot, and had all the sub-9 minute milers line up in the front.  Hey!  That’s me!

  
And off we went!  The course was flat for the first mile and then the second 2 miles were very hilly.  This course was very small and very casual like I said, and they forgot to mark one of the turns, so some of the super fast runners missed one of the turns… oops!  Since I had a turn-doc, I didn’t miss the turn, but I could see how easy it would have been to follow the crowds.  Throughout the whole race, I was neck and neck with the second place female.  It was a fun feeling running a smaller race, knowing the entire time it was very likely I would place!  There was no chip timing for this race, it was all done by the gun, the old fashioned way.  I crossed the finish line about 9 seconds after the second place female in 24:09 (7:54 pace).  I’ve never placed outside of my age group category in a race before, so snagging the 3rd place overall female award was pretty exciting, even if my time wouldn’t have held it’s own at a larger 5K.  And shout out to Katie!  She placed first!  Our prizes you ask?  YMCA memberships.  Cool!

 

 
After there race, I rushed home to change as some of my college friends were coming to town for a visit.  First on the agenda?  Checking out the brand new rooftop patio at Rheingeist.  The space is super welcoming and perfect for hanging out.  I’ll be back all summer long.  

Next stop?  Taste of Cincinnati.  This event happens every Memorial Day Weekend in the Queen City and I rarely attend.  Why?  It’s always super hot, sticky and crowded.  But visitors in town meant I had to show them some of Cincy’s best!  After sampling a few small bites (a taco from Red Sesame – DELISH, and Bella Luna’s bread pudding)  it was back to Over the Rhine!

  
 My friend Sarah is just as Holtman’s obssesed as I am, and she had to get her fix while in town.  I will never argue with a donut run followed by window shopping so of course I was down.

 
After a long nap back at my place, a late dinner was in order.  After spending the day in the heat, a light meal sounded tasty so I suggested E + O.  They are normally packed, however we snagged a seat on the patio lounge right away.  Awesome.  I ate here last month for a friend’s birthday and while the service disappointed then, the food did not.  Tonight the food was just as spectacular.  We tried a few things and shared.  The brussels sprout salad is my favorite, but the edamame guac and the sushi rolls were delish as well.  Plus, my margarita was super refreshing.  It had egg white in it which added a thicker mouthfeel to it.  I’m not sure if I loved it or not, but it definitely hit the spot.

   
   
After such a jam packed Saturday, I wanted Sunday to be slow.  Coffee emporium + Farmers Market were on the agenda.  Then lot’s of time spent hanging out on the couch.  Then, my visitors had to head home.  So sad.  Come back soon, Sarah and Molly!

  
Monday was the laziest of days.  After meeting up with Katie in the morning for a hot, sticky, humid, 6 mile run, I showered and headed over to Katie’s pool.  I think laying out poolside for half the day backfired because I got terribly sun burnt.  Oops!  After the pool, I headed over to my parents house to grill out.  On the menu?  An ice cold beer served with BBQ chicken, corn, zucchini and some good ‘ole blue oven bread.  Hit’s the spot every time.

    

What did you do this Memorial Day weekend?  What was the best thing you ate?

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Weekdays Can Be Weekends Too

Happy Wednesday aka hump day, friends!  For me, Wednesdays are hands down the longest day of the week for me to power through, so I always love starting it out with a solid workout.  Per my usual Wednesday morning routine, I hit up Andrew’s P/E (power and endurance) class at the Blue Ash Recreation Center.  While it’s slightly out of the way for me now, this class is hands down one of my favorites and a great value at $6 dollars for a drop-in fee.  Plus, I used to be a regular back in 2014, where I attended 4-5 mornings a week!  So, it’s always a good time seeing some familiar faces :).  Andrew organized a killer workout this morning.  I think the hardest part was the third tabata we did–instead of the traditional 10 seconds of rest between rounds, we did wall sits.  Ooof!  Super challenging.  As always, loved the puns on the workout board and the high energy of class.  Can’t wait until next Wednesday!

  
I wanted to pop in today to tell you why I think treating your weekdays like weekends is a good thing.  That’s right.  The world we live in is incredibly fast paced, over-scheduled, and full of constant, non-stop activity.  My life is no exception to this.  Sometimes, this can lead our weekends to feel just as busy as weekdays and no time for relaxation with loved ones.  In an effort to try and be a more positive thinker, I’ve come to the realization that slowing down can be a good thing.  I read this post a few weeks back and realized what a great concept it described:  Making our weekdays feel more like the weekend.

  
I spend every day of my workweek looking forward to Saturday, my one guaranteed day off each week.  I look forward to taking my time in the morning, getting in a great workout, enjoying a delicious breakfast or brunch I might not normally indulge in (or have time for) during the week, and in general, moving slower.  Weekends are also great because they involve more mental relaxation and time spent with friends.  Weekends are also great for downtime.  I read this article from Scientific American recently, that describes why our brains need more downtime.  “Research reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories, and encourage creativity.”  Mental breaks can look different for everyone.  For me sometimes it’s curling up with a good book.  Sometimes it’s eating a delicious meal outside and just enjoying the quiet and peacefulness.  Sometimes a mental break is a walk to grab coffee with a friend.  These mental breaks can lend towards productivity in the workplace, but can also allow us to have a clear head and positive attitude when it comes to making healthy lifestyle choices too.

  
While I can’t say I’ve discovered a true love for meditation, what I have found is that slowing down and allowing myself to enjoy activities I traditionally save for weekends has allowed me to think more clearly, positively and remain more productive and motivated to accomplish goals during the workweek–work goals, fitness goals and even health & nutrition goals.  I gave this idea a shot on Monday, because we all know Mondays can be tough, and it worked out really great.  From moving just a touch slower and making a real effort to incorporate things into my day that provided mental breaks from my work tasks, I was really able to end the day feeling positive and refreshed, even though I spent 9 of those hours at work.

  
In an effort to move slower, Monday started out sleeping in an extra 15 minutes until 5:30 AM.  While it seems silly, allowing myself the extra 15 minutes made a huge difference!  After waking up and enjoying my coffee with a dose of NBC news on the side, I did a 25 minute circuit in my apartment.  Normally, I wouldn’t have time for this, but I knew that working out helps me to clear my head and start the day on a positive foot, so I was happy to make time for some movement.  I did a few tabatas and EMOMs (every minute on the minute) and then made breakfast.  I have been craving bacon for weeks now, and it’s typically a weekend food for me, but since I was trying to have a “weekend” kinda mindset, I went with it.  Breakfast was soaked oats, fruit and extra crispy bacon.  This meal left me so, so happy.

  
Later that day, I decided to take a work break and squeeze in a walk + coffee date with a friend instead of my traditional lunch break where I snack at my desk.  The sun was shining and there was a nice breeze.  It felt absolutely incredible to grab an iced latte and breathe in some fresh air.  It made all the difference in my day.  After work, I went straight to the park to meet up with my friend Mary for a run.  Normally, I probably wouldn’t go to a park on a weeknight, just for sake of time, but in an effort to incorporate more interesting and exciting activities into my day, I was excited to go see how the development of Summit Park was going.  We did 4 easy miles on the loop that surrounds the park before our good form running clinic that was meeting at the park later that evening.  Wandering and exploring the park prior to the clinic was a fun way to slow things down too!

 

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 The day ended with the Bachelorette  premier + pizza with Mary.  Pizza is normally a weekend food for me, but in honor of treating Monday like the weekend, and JoJo, why not?

  
What did I learn from slowing down my Monday?  Well it didn’t impact my productivity negatively, and I ended the day feeling more refreshed, less stressed, and overall more positive about my week.  While slowing down every day isn’t a realistic goal for me, I will be making a more conscious effort to incorporate more positive activities into my days to make them more interesting and exciting.

  
Your turn, how would you make a Monday feel like the weekend?  What are your tips and tricks for slowing down?

 

 

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Why Early Morning Running Is My New Favorite Thing

Happy Monday morning everyone!  Is it just me, or does the weekend always end too quickly?  I had a nice one, specifically because I got to spend Saturday catching up with my brother; he moves to Seattle next week!  I also got to hit up the Hyde Park Farmers market and that always puts a smile on my face.

  
So these past few weeks, I’ve been making it a pretty permanent part of my workout routine to squeeze in some early morning runs before work.  That’s right, I said early.  When I run in the morning, I’ve gotta be moving by 5:15 or 5:30.  Ridiculously early, I know.  I used say that that waking up before 5:20 AM was too early and I wouldn’t do it.  I also used to roll my eyes at the 5:00 AM runners I’d drive by on days I used to go in to work at 6:00 AM.  Things change though, and these early runs have actually become my favorite thing.  Here’s why:

  1. After I finish, it’s usually just after 6AM, and I feel BADASS because I’ve accomplished something awesome, while most people are still sleeping.  
  2. It’s calm and quiet outside.  I have most of the streets to myself and have time to just think and release any stress from my week.
  3. Because recently, I feel like I’m chasing the sun.  I start around 5:15, and by the time I finish, the sun has completely risen.  I get to see the world wake up right before my eyes.  
  4. The sun rises early now so recently, there has been less of a need for my reflective gear.  Three cheers for safety!  
  5. Now that the sun has started rising earlier and the temps are warmer, all my fellow Hyde Park neighbors are joining me for runs.  While I typically do my early AM runs solo, it’s fun and motivating to see so many other runners hitting the pavement at ridiculously early times.
  6. Weekend warriors!  My fellow neighbors come out to run early on weekends too.  Case and point?  I had to work Saturday and ran at 5:45 am.  SO MANY other runners were out.  It was surprising to me that so many individuals in the area had such incredible motivation to get up and at it on a weekend morning.   LOVE IT.  
  7. Finally, who else feels like they can conquer the world after an early morning run?  It sets a nice tone for the rest of the day.
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Fun Week of Workouts

It’s Friday.  YAY!  This week has flown by and I’m certain part of that is because I’ve had so many fun things going on, including some new to me workout classes in the Cincinnati area that have helped me to deviate from my regular routine.  I’ve been trying to make it a priority to incorporate more strength training into my workout routine because I used to experience the benefits when I was an avid bootcamp goer.  I just haven’t been as proactive about fitting it into my schedule until recently.  I’ve discovered some fun new workout facilities around town and had time this week to check them out.

First stop?  Cincy 360 Fitness.  This gym was a new to me option in the area.  I discovered it through word of mouth.  Some running buddies of mine had mentioned that they tried a class and were super sore from it.  Awesome.  Sounds like what I was looking for.  After doing some investigating, I discovered you can try your first class out free.  Sold.  I signed up for the Cincy Circuits class Monday evening and was excited to experience a new workout.  Circuit workouts happen to be some of my favorite.  I love how you are moving through various stations and do a variety of movements and exercise, maintain a high heart rate, but never get bored.  The structure of this class was awesome–the first circuit was 8 strength exercises focusing on upper body and core.  We rotated through the circuit 3 times and spent 40 seconds on each station with 20 seconds to rest and move to the next station.  The second circuit was mostly legs and plyometrics, or as the instructor called it, her cardio circuit.  I certainly understand why too!  This really shot my heart rate up.  We rotated through the circuit 3x, but this time did each exercise for 30 seconds since these were much more intense exercises (think burpees and box jumps).  The instructor was really friendly and provided modifications and demos as needed.  You can pay to “drop in” here so I’ll definitely be back for another workout soon!

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My favorite workout of the week was definitely last night.  I attended the Yelp Quirks Out event at Corestrong in Covington, KY!  As a Yelp Elite, I am so thankful to get access to events like this just for sharing honest reviews of local business on the site.  I had never heard of Corestrong prior to this event but it’s safe to say I’ll want to return.  This studio was located in a warehouse type setting.  They have the Indo-Rowers which are powered by water, they have TRX Suspension Training, sleds, battle ropes, tires, boxing bags and a variety of other equipment to prevent members from getting bored.

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Loved the modern feel of this facility too.  While it was in a warehouse type setting, they definitely gave the gym a more upscale feel.  The class offered free to Yelpers was essentially a sampling of everything they offered.  We divided up into 4 groups and rotated through each for 10-15 minutes at a time.  The instructors here know what they are doing because they certainly got the room sweating in a matter of minutes.  We all started warming up together.

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Then, my group started on the TRX.  Loved the inspirational quotes on the walls.  TRX training is one of my favorite ways to incorporate strength exercises into my routine.  I’m always sore after.

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Next up, boxing.  I’ve done kickboxing classes before but never using a bag.  This was fun and really got my heart racing.  Third stop?  Rowing!  I’m not very good at these.  I’ve tried the Indo-Rowers a few times before at another gym and the instructor there has tried to help me improve my form but I tend to overthink the motions.  I know if I could improve my form, this would be a sweat dripping workout all by itself.

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Last up were the sleds.  I’ve never pushed a sled without weights before.  While it was still super tough, it was fun to see how fast  I could move while pushing it.  After the 4 stations, one of the instructor lead us through some cool down yoga.  Then we hopped back on the rowers for Glow Row!  They turned out all the lights, gave us glow sticks, and had us compete in races in teams.  Super fun.  Your first week at Corestrong is free so it’s safe to say I’ll be back.  I’m not sure if I’ll invest in a membership quite yet because it is pricey, however,  with all the different options it’s safe to say this provides some great variety to any workout routine!

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Anyone else try some fun new workouts this week?  Where is your favorite fitness class?

 

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Thursday Thoughts #3

I think this is the third time I’ve written a post entitled “Thursday Thoughts.”  They say it takes at least 3 times for something to become a habit (or 21 days) so I think sharing my Thursday Thoughts is officially a thing now.  Don’t you?

Early morning runs are my favorite.  Loving them even more now that the sun is up around 6 when I finish!

  
It was my Mom’s birthday Monday.  This cake was hands down the highlight of my week.  These cakes are infamous in Cincinnati and make any special occasion extra special.  Mmmmm opera cream 🙂

  
After seeing a bazillion friends go nuts over the cookbook Cravings, I broke down and bought it.  Hands down worth every penny.  The book is full of “cravable” (see what I did there) recipes that do not require too much hands on effort.  My favorite!

  
I made the spicy tomato skillet eggs + prosciutto (I subbed ham) and it was super tasty.  Served with toast for balance 🙂  The recipe reminded me a lot of shakshouka, a dish that reminds me of happy memories in Israel from the summer of 2009.  Except the version I ate in Israel wouldn’t have included pork.

   
 Yay speed workouts!  Queen City Running Club focuses on shorter, speedier workouts during the summer. Tuesday was super gross outside, but running buddy Mary and I drove over to Covington, KY to meet the group.  The organized workout began and ended with a slow but steady 1 mile warm up / cool down and the middle chunk was speed intervals by Paul Brown Stadium.  I’m never super pumped about speed work until I actually start moving and this workout was no different.  At the end of it all, I dropped some sub 8 minute miles and felt pretty spectacular about it.  Go me!

  
This new flavor of kind bar I discovered is my new favorite snack.  I want to eat it all the time.

  
Loved squeezing in a Blue Ash Rec Center workout.  Always a good sweat fest.  Sweat fests make me happy.

  
And… I’ll end this post with an awkward photo of my feet.  My right big toe is definitely swollen.  You know how sometimes on walks you stub your toe in the sidewalk crack, but then the painful feeling goes away immediately?  That apparently didn’t happen here.  I’m thinking this will go away soon but who knows.  Maybe I’ll keep you guys updated.

  
Tell me, what are you thinking about on this Thursday?

 

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Missouri Weekend

Hi friends.  Happy Tuesday.  Just popping in here on this dreary Tuesday morning (so sick of the rain…who else is with me?!) to share some snapshots of my quick, weekend trip to Columbia, Missouri.  Myself and some of the fam went to see my younger brother graduate before he moves to Seattle.  Exciting stuff!

The drive from Cincinnati to the Columbia area took almost 9 hours.  I blame rush hour traffic in the St. Louis area.  Is St. Louis rush hour always the worst?!  The drive included plenty of packed road snacks (almonds, fruit + iced lattes) and a Panera stop for lunch.  Upon arrival to Columbia, it was dinner time.  Off to one of our favorites in Columbia, Broadway Brewery!  Broadway Brewery is located in the basement of a building so it’s very dark inside so unfortunately, no photos.  While I was 100% underwhelmed by their pre-selected graduation menu and did not enjoy my meal Friday, from a previous experience, I can report that their burgers are top notch and you can’t beat the beer.  I like their honey wheat.  Instead of food photos, here’s an attractive family photo at the restaurant.

  
The next day was a late wake up call.  After a morning workout and hotel breakfast, it was off to explore Columbia.  Coffee, scones and donuts?  Yes, please.  I was sad sour cream dunkers were the only type of donut Harold’s had left, but just goes to show in a college town, the hangover can motivate students to buy all the donuts at a local donut shop before lunch.

   
 Next up, a very early (like 3:30pm) dinner at Sophia’s before the graduation ceremony.  Sophia’s was good, not great.  In true Kaplan family fashion, we tried a bunch of stuff.  Started with an antipasti plate.  It had pita, cheese, fruit, and meat.  So tasty.

  
The ahi tuna pita flatbread was just okay.  The horseradish mayo was way too overwhelming for my taste buds.

  
My favorite was the pasta carbonara.

  

I was most confused by the grilled romaine.  Why is that a thing?

  
After or dinner (or linner–lunch + dinner, is that a real phrase?) we wandered the Mizzou campus for pre graduation photos.  Then, much needed coffee.  Then, a boring graduation ceremony.

  
The drive home was long so immediately after returning to Cincinnati, a run was in order.  5 miles with my friend Maria in the books.

  
Congrats to the grad!

Who else is traveling to graduation ceremonies this month?  Any healthy traveling tips you swear by?  Does anyone actually like grilled romaine salads?

 

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OAND Pre-Conference: Your State, Your Plate!

Hi Friends!  Happy Monday.  Posts were few and far between last week, but for good reason!  On Thursday I was up in Columbus for the day to participate in the Ohio Academy Of Nutrition and Dietetics (OAND) annual pre-conference event.  I have always wanted to attend the actual conference however, I had plans to travel to Missouri with family Friday and Saturday.  So, when I saw this pre-conference meeting was an option, I jumped right on it.

    
The day was planned and organized by the American Dairy Association Mideast, with help from the Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, and Ohio Cattleman’s Association in partnership with the Ohio State University Extension Center.  The goal for the meeting was for participants to get a firsthand look at how our foods are produced.  We got to chat with farmers and speak with food production experts to learn exactly how different foods end up on our plate.  Awesome!

  
First tour?  OSU’s dairy farm.  Before heading over to the actual farm, we had to put on some super attractive foot covers (pictured above) to prevent bringing contaminants on site.  Clearly they take great care of their cows.  I think for starters, it was incredibly surprising to find that right in the dead center of an urban campus, there is a fully functioning 167 acre dairy farm featuring over 100 Jersey cows.  While the main focus of this dairy farm is obviously to benefit the university (research, education, student employment), they do sell their milk to Smith’s Dairy and these profits help support the mission of the farm.

  
Now, let’s talk milk!  What I found most interesting about the dairy industry was that there is typically a turnaround of no more than 48 hours from milking the cow, to the milk appearing on supermarket shelves.  Crazy to think that milk from the grocery store is literally as fresh as it could be.  What I found to be slightly more shocking though, was how little farmers earn off each gallon of milk sold at the grocery:  only 65 cents to a dollar.  This amounts to around a $40,000 / year salary for a farmer with 100 cows.  I would have guessed they earn more considering how hard the farmers work.  It’s a 24/7 job!

   
   
Next stop was OSU’s Garden of Hope.  This garden is a unique set up designed specifically for local cancer patients.  The farm is used as a means for educating patients, survivors and family members on healthy dietary patters, specifically with cancer in mind.  These individuals also have the unique opportunity to come harvest their own produce from this ENORMOUS garden.  A lot of thought and consideration went into developing this project, including pesticide use.  They do not use pesticides or herbicides because most of the people picking the produce are immunosuppressed cancer patients.  In addition, this farm cannot be considered organic due to use of synthetic fertilizer.  Again, due minimizing risk for the cancer patients, the decision was made to prevent exposing them to the organic fertilizer, which typically is made with manure.

   
 
During lunch, we skyped a pork farmer, and he introduced us to his pigs, and explained the process of raising pigs.  Unfortunately, the skype connection was not the best and it was very difficult to hear what the farmer had to say.  However, I was very impressed with how clean the facility was and how well managed it appeared.

After lunch, we were off to the OSU Beef Facility.  Here we got to speak with the farmers and student interns who manage and maintain the cattle.  Fun fact:  did you know there is a beef farm in every Ohio county?  What was also interesting to learn was that all the cattle are artificially inseminated in order to synchronize the breeding.  This allows for all cows to be on a similar schedule, making animal management much less cumbersome.  While this farm functions just like any other beef facility might, the primary purpose here is for research and education.  Any beef left over is sold at a university meat market at a discount price (aka perfect for struggling college students!).

   
   
After the long day of farm tours, it was time to head home to Cincinnati.  Such an interesting way to spend a day–while I don’t do any farming for my work, I deal with individuals who are constantly asking questions about food and where it comes from.  This meeting provided me with new facts and perspective on what it takes to get food from farm to plate.

 

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