Healthier Hair Skin and Nails with Vitafusion Plus

I’m still a-glow after spending a day with the top beauty editors in the country! Dozens of women from publications like Women’s Health, Fit Pregnancy, and Glamour gathered at Dream Dry for a break from the day to focus on self-care, sponsored by vitafusion, the #1 adult gummy vitamin brand.

#vitafusionbeauty with Rebecca Scritchfield

Beauty From Inside Out

All the beauty editors received a professional blow dry from the Dream Dry stylists and I got one too!PicMonkey Collage_Hair   As the nutrition expert, I was there to help them learn about all the ways we support our beauty from the inside out. It’s not just what you put on your body, but what you put in it that contributes to healthy hair skin and nails. We tasted recipes I created that provided nutrients important for hair, skin, and nails like yummy parfaits with blueberries, wheat berries, pecan and Greek yogurt. Check out this fun infographic I created that highlights key nutrients and food ideas for beauty.important-nutrients-infographic

Despite our best intentions, we don’t always get what we need every day. In fact, most individuals get less than half of the daily recommended fruits and vegetables.

The editors sampled two vitafusion gummies that support healthy hair skin and nails. They tried the new vitafusion MultiVites Plus Hair, Skin and Nails- a complete gummy multivitamin with biotin and leutin and vitafusion Extra Strength Biotin.

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I recommend both of these delicious and easy to take gummies. The most important health habits are ones you can stick to consistently and vitafusion gummies are more enjoyable than swallowing a pill. I love that they have no artificial colors or flavors and that they are made in the USA.

Your Self Care Checklist 

Inside out beauty also includes the ways you can work on your well-being each day. From getting enough sleep to scheduling a “me time happy hour” for yourself, daily choices add up to make a big impact on health. Check out the tips I provided for daily self care in this booklet, found here .

What About You?

What do you do to support inside out beauty? Do you take any vitamins for hair, skin, and nails?

Disclosure: I work with vitafusion, but was not compensated to blog about this event. 

My 2014 FNCE: Food, Fitness, and Friends

Another FNCE (Food Nutrition Conference and Expo) has come and gone. This is the one event each year where I am guaranteed to see many wonderful RDs I have had the pleasure to get to know through the years. It’s always a special time. From the education, to the expo and the social events, FNCE is fun!

This year, I was honored to host, not one but TWO special events for a couple of my favorite brand partners – siggi’s and Mazola Corn Oil. Check out my recap of these events and some of my other favorite memories below.

NE-Time, NE-Where Fitness, Powered by siggi’s

Now a mom of two kids  under two years old, I have embraced the idea of “making it work for me.” That includes workouts. If I don’t have the window of time to hit my favorite workout, I do effective exercises with the only equipment I need – my body. I loved partnering with Nutrition Entrepreneurs (“NE”) and siggi’s for the NE-Time, NE-Where Workout at FNCE. (I guess that includes 6:45 a.m. in front of the CNN offices and quite possibly viewers everywhere!)

Planking with Siggi and NE. Engage that core!

Planking with Siggi and NE members. Engage that core!

We started with my all time favorite – the plank – with multiple variations and push ups. Also included were lunges, burpees, chair and sumo squats, mountain climbers, and everyone’s 6th grade favorite… jumping jacks. We completed 30 minutes of a sweat-fest with intervals from beginner to advanced. We finished with yoga poses and enjoyed a delicious siggi’s yogurt breakfast.

Gettin' Siggi with It!

Gettin’ Siggi with It!

I love that siggi’s yogurt is real- no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. I also love that siggi’s has more protein than sugar per container. Just a slight sweetness from real ingredients, all which you can find in your kitchen. Be sure to pick up some siggi’s yogurt at the grocery store this week or if you can’t find it, let your grocer know  you want it.

Recipe to try: Easy peasy Post-Workout Smoothie

Cooking Right with Mazola Corn Oil: Chicken Tinga Tacos 

When I find a recipe that is easy, versatile, and good for you, I am a happy woman. The chicken tinga tacos is so simple, but the best part is that it practically cooks itself in the slow cooker. This frees up a good chunk of your time to do whatever you want – a hot bath, a workout or both!

Making chicken tinga tacos at FNCE 2014

Making chicken tinga tacos at FNCE 2014

If you aren’t cooking with corn oil, give it a try. Corn oil can help lower cholesterol more than extra virgin olive oil thanks to the plant sterols. Corn oil’s plant sterols block cholesterol absorption by the body. Corn oil has 4 times the plant sterols as olive oil and 40% more than canola oil. (See the study at Mazola’s website)

I gotta tell you, the live food demo was a lot of fun. I was happy I didn’t start a fire on the exhibit floor!

“Wonderful”  Reception at the Skyview Wheel

I love working with the Wonderful brands through the year on TV segments. You are probably most familiar with Wonderful Pistachios and the Get Crackin’ commercials. We had a blast at the Atlanta Skywheel reception complete with Wonderful pomegranate champagne cocktails, tasty bites like pistachio chicken salad, and a ride on the massive wheel.

Wonderful time with friends at FNCE

Wonderful time with friends at FNCE

Kudos, Carlene and Janet

I was thrilled to see a former intern of mine, Carlene Thomas, speaking at FNCE on social media! (Way to go, Carlene! Keep rising that star. Your blog pics are gorgeous!)

I was ecstatic for the one and only Janet Helm, who received career distinction with the Media Excellence Award. Janet has pioneered RDs as the nutrition experts on social media by founding Nutrition Blog Network.

My P’s – Wendy Jo and Leslie

And of course, I got time with Wendy Jo and Leslie – my P’s (as in peas in a pod – and I know it means something else too!) We met at Academy Leadership in 2009 having drinks by the pool :) We got the bright idea to form a mastermind group. A couple of years later we were selected to speak at FNCE on the power of peer support. We still get people coming up to us saying that we inspired them years ago and they are actively pursuing and living their career dreams. That feels pretty darn good.

I’m happy for Leslie’s latest biz – Your Supper Solution. Check it out, subscribe or at least start with her free e-mails.

John F Kennedy said “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” I think that sums up FNCE pretty well…  It’s full of leadership and learning… and fun! See y’all in Nashville 2015!

Disclosure: I worked with Mazola and siggi’s on the FNCE events, but I was not compensated to write this blog post. 

California Walnuts Harvest Tour

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By: Michelle Burton, RD at Capitol Nutrition Group and Rebecca Scritchfield Media, LLC

Last week I had the pleasure of venturing out to Sacramento and the California Central Valley for the California Walnuts Harvest Tour. I experienced the autumn walnut harvest first hand, sampled a number of AMAZING dishes featuring this star ingredient, and learned about new research that’s coming out related to walnuts. I hope you’ll enjoy this brief photo journal of my trip, and that it will inspire you to incorporate walnuts into your everyday!

Walnuts Shaking

Donald Norene, his wife, and his son all took us on a tour of their family’s walnut orchard — Norene Ranches. They have a spectacular 750 acres of his farm dedicated to walnuts. He explained that you know when the walnut trees are ready for shaking when you can throw one on the ground and it’s outer shell comes right off. They showed us the tree shaking live which was very cool. It was wonderful getting to taste fresh walnuts right off the tree.

walnut sweeping

After the walnuts are shaken off the trees, they’re swept into piles, “vacuumed” up, and shuttled to a central location for the next step in their harvest journey — hulling.

walnut hulling

The walnuts arrive at the huller where the green outer shell is removed along with other sticks and debris. Then they’re cleaned, dried, and loaded into trucks to be sent to the local processing plant (which we were also able to tour). It was amazing to see the technology involved with sorting, shelling and packaging the walnuts for commercial distribution.

walnut orchard lunch

Wine & Roses put together a beautiful lunch for us in the orchard featuring a number of dishes that showcased the unique flavor and versatility of walnuts. It started with a caramelized onion, fig and walnut flatbread, followed by a squash, apple and walnut slaw salad, then a walnut quinoa salad with grilled chicken, and the finale was THE best caramel walnut cheesecake that I’ve EVER had. I’ll be sure to share that recipe once I get my hands on it!

walnut cooking demo

We came together again that evening for a food demo by Chef and Owner of Mulvaney’s B&L Restaurant, Patrick Mulvaney. He prepared a roasted chili in walnut sauce, and we dined on a salad of heirloom tomatoes with chunky walnut pesto and fettuccine with walnuts and squash among other fabulous walnut creations. During a nutrition presentation by Registered Dietitian, Heidi Diller, I was intrigued to find out that new research is coming out showing a potential link between walnuts and increased fertility in men. They’re planning to continue research in this area, but definitely some promising information!

Looking to satisfy your walnut craving?

You can find a number of easy and delicious recipes on the California Walnuts website at www.walnuts.org.

 

Disclosure: My attendance at the California Walnuts Harvest Tour was sponsored by California Walnuts, but I was not compensated to write this blog.

Fun Food Ideas for Fall Tailgating, Getaways, and Entertaining

Yesterday I appeared on Baltimore’s WBAL to share some great fall food ideas for the season’s events! Fall is here and that means football parties, weekend getaways, and outdoor entertaining. Click below to watch the full clip, or read on for highlights on some fun and flavorful ideas to blend a little health and happiness into your gathering!

Fall Foliage is Here – Hit the Road!

You can’t miss the colors of fall. Plan a day trip or a weekend getaway to take in the beauty that nature has to offer.  In the D.C. area alone, I love visiting Rock Creek Park and Great Falls, Virginia. (I got engaged in Great Falls in October many moons ago. It was beautiful).

You know that feeling when you need to get gas, eat and hit the road in a span of 5 minutes? Well, you can hit 7-Eleven and be on your way.

Fresh Food Line at 7-Eleven

711The Fresh Food line at 7-Eleven makes it convenient to eat a healthy bite while on-the-go. The Fresh Foods line offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, whole and fresh cut fruit and yogurt parfaits, all made fresh.

  • Fresh Salads: 7-Eleven’s salads are available in 4 different varieties all under 500 calories. They come in easy and portable packaging, which makes them a great lunch option. Plus, they’re very affordable at $3.99.
  • Sandwiches: 7-Eleven’s sandwiches are all prepared locally and delivered fresh every day. They are made with fresh ingredients including premium meats and fresh-blended spreads.
  • Seasonal Fruit: 7-Eleven has several quick and healthy snacks options to grab on the go including fresh cut fruit and whole fruit, including everything from pineapple and mixed melon to grapes and bananas.
  • Snacks: 7-Eleven has a fresh selection of snack options including hard boiled eggs, yogurt parfaits, and carrot and celery packs with dips.

Next time you’re in your local 7-Eleven, forgo the doughnut and grab one of these great new options!

Tailgate with Flavor Using McCormick Recipes

McCormickWith special dietary needs such as eating gluten-free, parties can be a special challenge. For tailgates, like the big Ravens game this weekend, the seven-layer fiesta dip made with McCormick Taco Seasoning is great. Now available gluten-free, this is something you can bring or serve and enjoy with the rest of the crowd. It pairs perfectly with tortilla chips or other gluten-free snacks. Or, try the Chicken Lettuce Wraps, a nice change of pace from traditional tailgating fare. Made with McCormick’s Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy mix, it’s loaded with colorful toppings like shredded carrots, red bell pepper and peanuts. With Thanksgiving coming, Turkey Gravy is a great seasoning mix to have on hand for a foolproof gluten-free gravy in just five minutes. Have your gravy at-hand with ease and without worry.

Also, if you’re entertaining and looking to try a new recipe, McCormick has a digital service called Flavor Print that creates personalized recipe and flavor suggestions tailored to your likes and dislikes. Take the thinking out of the process and focus on the fun!

Entertaining your Friends and Family with Zespri Kiwifruit

ZespriBring one last burst of summer flavor to the table. Zespri Kiwifruit are only available through the end of October, so now is the time use them. “Wow” your guests with this tasty kiwifruit and prosciutto crostini. It’s easy and delicious! Just top crostini with herbed goat cheese and prosciutto-wrapped kiwi. Green kiwifruit is probably what you’re familiar with, but there’s also Zespri SunGold variety. It has a sweet, refreshing tropical flavor and it’s newly available in the U.S.

Zespri kiwifruit are nutrition “powerhouses” and two kiwifruit have more vitamin C than an orange and as much potassium as a banana. Two SunGold kiwifruit have 2.5 times the daily-recommended amount of vitamin C.

You can even use kiwifruit in cocktails and mocktails like this Southern Cross SunGold Kiwifruit Cocktail. It’s so colorful and flavorful, the perfect recipe for a fun evening! Be sure to take advantage of this delicious fruit while you still can!

A Healthier Halloween with Wonderful Pistachios

WonderfulPistachiosFor snacks when you’re entertaining, nothing could be easier than putting out a bowl of Wonderful Pistachios. A recent Neilsen Survey showed that Americans love salty snacks like chips and cheese most. Pistachios hit the spot because they taste salty, but they also deliver on nutrition. They are among the highest protein and fiber content nuts with three times the protein and fiber compared to chips. And with Halloween around the corner, pistachios are a great pre-trick or treat snack to energize them with something healthy.

On the big night, hand out snack size packs of Wonderful Pistachios. It may not be candy, but everyone loves pistachios. If they need convincing, tell them pistachios taste great with a bite of chocolate. Look for the single-serve packages that are perfectly portioned to satisfy savory snack cravings, a mini-sized (1 oz.) pack of Wonderful Pistachios having 80 calories, 3 grams protein and 2 grams fiber. Kids have fun cracking them open, and these portable and convenient packages are also a smart snack for a weekend getaway road trip. Have them ready to go or pick them up along the way at most gas stations and markets.

For more information on these delicious, healthy and easy options, visit their websites at http://www.mccormick.com, http://www.ZespriKiwi.com, http://www.getcrackin.com, and http://www.7-eleven.com. Remember to follow them on Twitter using @McCormickSpices @ZESPRIkiwifruit @getcrackin (for Wonderful Pistachios) and @7eleven.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or send a tweet to @ScritchfieldRD to share your favorite fall recipes and activities.

Disclosures: I was compensated by Zespri Kiwifruit, 7-Eleven, McCormick Spices, and Wonderful Pistachios for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

My Samba with Sabra

Written By: Lindsey Earl, Dietetics Graduate Student, Eastern Michigan University

As Rebecca’s intern, I had the privilege of attending a “hummus summit,” if you will, held by the popular hummus makers, Sabra. This gathering marked the opening of their “pop-up” restaurant “Hummus House” in Georgetown, Washington D.C. First, if you don’t know what a pop-up restaurant is (I certainly didn’t), it’s a temporary restaurant available for a limited time. In the case of Hummus House, it will be open just four weeks, for lunch and dinner, through October 26th. During this gathering, a collection of very knowledgeable Sabra representatives met with a diverse group of nutrition and food experts to discuss (and eat) hummus.

I’ll be honest, when I heard I was attending a meeting to talk about hummus, I wasn’t expecting a riveting and heated debate over the present state of the chickpea. What I was pleased to find was a very colorful and passionate sharing of information and ideas on a topic we all love. Hummus was simply the reason to talk about it. So while we munched on (shocker!) hummus, we learned a little more…actually a lot more…about this nutritious but sometimes unfamiliar food.

What the heck is hummus anyway?

The basic formula for hummus includes primarily ground cooked chickpeas, oil, tahini (ground sesame seeds), and is typically seasoned with garlic and a bit of salt. Chickpeas carry the most weight for making hummus what it is, so our discussion went on to help familiarize us with this vegetable…um, protein, er, grain? Wait…what is it anyway?

Every member of the panel was asked to give their opinion on what category the chickpea fell into and, it turned out, the vote was split! 8 people thought it was a vegetable, 8 thought it was a grain, and 8 thought it was a protein. Guy Johnson, Ph.D. put our confusion at ease by explaining that nutritionally, it actually falls under several categories, including the ones we chose. He went on to reveal quite the nutritional wrap sheet, which included (in ½ cup serving) 7.5 grams protein, 50% of daily fiber requirements, 250 mg potassium, appreciable amounts of minerals magnesium and manganese, and a significant proportion of resistant starch, to name a few.

Sabra Speakers Take the Floor

A Food Scientist Helps us with the Science – Guy Johnson, Ph.D.

As a former biology major and current nutrition student, the science-y portion of Guy’s presentation was what I really “geeked out” about. Recent research has shown a low glycemic response from chickpeas and apparent correlation to decreased LDL (bad cholesterol). Further, studies have also shown that those who eat hummus are also increasing their vitamin and mineral, fiber, and polyunsaturated fatty acid intake. This isn’t solely from the hummus, this is also from the vegetables these people are eating WITH the hummus. So, incorporating hummus into someone’s diet can actually help them eat more vegetables, which is almost always a good thing.

A Counseling Dietitian’s Perspective – Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, LD

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Cue Rebecca. Sharing the real-life and counseling view of hummus’s role in an American’s diet, she shed some light on not only its nutritional benefits, but its convenience, versatility, and simplicity as well. Assuring her clients they “can’t mess it up,” hummus is a nutrient-dense food that can be taken to work or school with vegetables as a snack, used in place of peanut butter for peanut allergies, and can replace cheese or mayonnaise to healthy-up just about anything you could think to put it on. In short, it’s an easy addition to healthy eating habits that doesn’t require significant time, effort, or thought.

I think this convenience aspect is hugely important. How often do we hear “I don’t have time for that” as a reason for just about anything? In a current world where it takes a lot more money to fill up the gas tank, and a second (or third, or fourth…) job to put food on the table, the last thing you should have to say this about, is your health. As a future dietitian in today’s busy world, my responsibilities have grown to emphasize how to fit achievable healthy eating into someone’s lifestyle. The Sabra panel proved this point yet again.

The Possibilities are Endless –  Chef, Mary Beth Albright

The chef behind the Hummus House dishes, Mary Beth Albright, shared her mission in creating the restaurant’s menu. She wanted to open visitor’s minds to the limitless faces of hummus. We learned that in Mediterranean communities, hummus restaurants are open early, as this food is no stranger to breakfast. Topping their morning oatmeal with hummus, Mediterranean people are consuming a hearty nutrient-packed meal that can keep them satiated for hours. She wanted to illustrate how much just changing the temperature can alter a food. Serving hummus warm, instead of the typical refrigerated form, can change the flavor profile completely. Our eyes lit up as the conversation explored the many delicious possibilities for this already tasty food.

Food and nutrition reaches out to such a diversity of communities, it’s difficult for a single entity to anticipate and comprehend all of their opinions and needs. So why not bring people from a variety of communities together for each to share their unique viewpoint. This was what we did! Internet bloggers, chefs, and food service experts alike, shared how they have observed hummus to be represented and perceived in their respective communities.

This turned out to be just as fascinating as the science for me. It seems that as Americans, we have a bit of hummus-fear. This is a food well seated in Mediterranean cultures, but not so much in the land of steak and potatoes. Most understand hummus to be a dip, and that’s about as far as their knowledge goes. So, those at Sabra learned more about something they already knew. They, as the hummus experts, need to educate the unfamiliar public about the possibilities for this emerging food. What I learned, is that it’s part of our job too. As dietitians, we know this is a food our clients can benefit from. From salad dressings, to oatmeal, grilled cheese paninis, and stuffed fruit, this panel certainly taught me how to help them do that.

Sharing Their Passion – Laurie (from Sabra)

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I mentioned earlier that this was a passionate group of people. One of the big highlights of the panel included a presentation on chilies by Laurie (from Sabra), to introduce the relatively new salsas Sabra has developed. Learning quite a bit of facts about different types of chilies (pre-dates the apple in the Americas!), we also learned that certain recipes of these salsas were developed specifically for those people who are proud “heat addicts.” This is going to get Bill Nye for a second, but it turns out capsaicin, the chemical in chili peppers that gives them their “heat,” stimulates the Trigeminal nerve in the brain. This nerve then creates what is known as a feedback loop, allowing us to feel pleasure in response to a sensation that burns. Thus…a heat addict is born! IMG_0977It was a pleasure to be in the presence of so many people who share the same passion and positivity about what they do. I believe this is where amazing things come from.

The Hummus House in Georgetown is meant to be a pilot restaurant. With success will come additional pop-ups, maybe even in your own town! In the meantime, take a trip to the Sabra Hummus House in Georgetown, and experience for yourself what the people at Sabra are so passionate about!

To read more from Rebecca about Hummus House dishes and nutritional benefits, check out her blog entry, Sabra Pop-Up Restaurant “Hummus House” Opens in Georgetown.

Follow the fun and keep up on social media updates with Twitter hashtag #sabrahummushouse.