Join My Happy Holidays 60 Day Wellness Challenge (It’s FREE!)

Happy Holidays

 

Would you like to have more energy, more fun, and more happiness this Holiday Season? Join me in a free 60-day challenge to make “Happy Holidays” more meaningful. It’s free. It’s online 24/7. There will be surprise prizes throughout. There will be one GRAND prize – three months of nutrition coaching with me over Skype*.

All you need to do is sign up.

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What Will We Do?

Once you sign up, you’ll start getting weekly e-mails with the self-care goals for the week. You will also get tips, recipes, and freebies. Some e-mails will have a contest, a quiz question to answer or other challenge to enter to win. (Winners will be chosen at random.)

This is not a holiday diet. Heck, it’s barely a plan. I won’t tell you “5 foods you must avoid” or any other negative rule like that. If you can’t do it for life, why bother at all?

Our focus will be finding happiness in the holidays by setting realistic goals for my three pillars or wellness: Food, Fitness, and Fun. Tips will be positive, empowering, and actionable. I’ll help you overcome the typical wellness barriers we all struggle with over the holidays. If you aren’t familiar with my non-diet approach to healthy living, read more about my philosophy. Check out what others say testimonials from real clients.

You can ask me anything during the challenge through my Facebook page or send me a private e-mail.

If you’re up for it, you can play an important role in motivating others in the challenge.  If you have advice to share, do it. We can all inspire each other and be there for each other.

If you will be using social media to chronicle your experience, use the hashtag #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Let’s make these holidays truly happy (and healthy) by taking care of ourselves and each other.

Why a “Happy Holidays” Challenge?

“The Holidays” are always an interesting time of year for me. I love the seasons, celebrations, enjoying good food, spending time with wonderful people, hot chocolate, a warm fire, crisp air, and even the seasonal music.

As much as the holidays are about pleasure and enjoyment, I’ll admit that other holiday traditions of mine have included stress, anxiety, fatigue, guilt over what I’m eating, guilt over what I’m spending, guilt over the exercise I’m not doing, and overall bah-humbug kind of feelings.

A few years ago, I secretly decided that this was no way to spend the holidays, especially as a food and nutrition expert. (I’m supposed to be the one to help people, right?!) So I decided to help myself first. I committed myself to squashing the urge to be so judgmental or perfect, trying to live up to some unrealistic ideal of what I should be doing (or not doing). I set some boundaries. I respected myself. I was nicer to myself. I was happier. And most interesting to me, my habits were healthier!

It was the best holiday ever.

I want to do this challenge to help more people enjoy the good that comes with the holidays and let go of the bad. My goal is to educate and inspire you, but really I just hope I offer you tools and solutions to help you achieve the way you want to feel.

Are You Ready to Get Happy?

Sign up below.

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Enlist a Crew

People do better with support from friends. (It’s a scientific fact!) Ask your friends to join you by sending them this blog post and sharing on social media. Social shareables below:

Facebook: Join me and Rebecca Scritchfield for a free 60-day wellness challenge.  Get healthier and happier this holiday season. #HappyHolidaysChallenge

Twitter: I’m taking the #HappyHolidaysChallenge with @ScritchfieldRD. Join us http://wp.me/p2T0R-20c

* Prizes will be announced on the e-mail list. Nutrition coaching winner chosen at random at the end of the challenge from e-mail list subscribers participating in the challenge.

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. 

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.

Welch’s Vineyard Tour and Harvest Event

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By: Alison Sacks, RD at Capitol Nutrition Group and Rebecca Scritchfield Media, LLC

This week I had the exciting opportunity to travel to Richland, Washington to participate in the Welch’s Vineyard Tour and Harvest Event to discover all the goodness of Concord grapes and how grape juice is made! This unique region of Washington, located in the Yakama Valley is one of the top producers of Concord grapes and is absolutely beautiful! The experience was wonderful to see the harvesting process during peak season and get to know the farmers behind the Welch’s brand.  IMG_0201

Welch’s dates back to 140 years ago, when Thomas Bramwell Welch decided to serve Concord grape juice instead of wine at his church. He later went on to bottle the first pasteurized juice using Concord grapes that has become a common household name to so many of us.  The oldest Welch’s grape vine dates back to 1849 in Concord, MA and to this day is still producing berries. (Now that’s sustainability!)

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Welch’s grower explaining the unique seed of the Concord grape that contains 77% of the polyphenols.

Family Famers: The Heart of Welch’s

At the heart of Welch’s are 1,000 family farmers who know that quality starts in the fields. For many of these farmers, it’s where their families and livelihoods have grown for generations. We spent the afternoon with Farmer Tim Grow whose first Welch’s memories date back to his childhood helping his grandfather on the family vineyard, where today his own two daughters lend a helping hand on the same family vineyard.

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Concords are sweet, tangy, bold purple grapes that need a special climate to grow – specifically, chilly areas.

What Makes a Concord Grape Great

For starts Concord grapes are berries! What makes them distinct from most table or wine grapes are its bigger berries and seeds and deep purple slip-skin. Purple is a cue that fruits and vegetables have plant nutrients called polyphenols that can help promote health, especially heart health (the darker the purple, the more polyphenols).

Berry polyphenols act as antioxidants, helping to protect our healthy cells from the damaging effects of oxidative stress. The majority of polyphenols are found in the thick skins and seeds of the Concords that are usually discarded when eating, which is why pressing Concords into juice helps to concentrate and preserve the heart healthy polyphenols.

Concord grapes are also an important ingredient in heart health. Decades of research has shown when 100% Concord grape juice is drunk consistently it helps support healthy blood vessels by increasing the flexibility of arteries for healthy blood flow. Studies also show Concords may also provide an anti-clotting effect similar to red wine and may help manage the effects of LDL or “bad,” cholesterol by keeping arteries free and clear of excess plaque build-up.

Check out this neat infographic on different ways you can pump up the purple in your diet.

Delivering the Fruit to the Glass

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The treat tank where heat and enzymes are added to help extract the heart healthy polyphenols from the skin and seeds of the Concords.

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A glimpse inside the belly of the grape harvester.

The Concord grape harvest is short and sweet, lasting only about 30 days between September and October. Due to climate variables, no two years of grape growing are alike but what makes Welch’s unique is their ability to blend grapes from multiple growing regions to deliver that consistent field-fresh flavor.

100% grape juice is made with nothing but whole Concord grapes-seeds, skin and all. From the time the Concords are picked in the fields they are inspected, washed and pressed into juice within 8 hours. During the pressing process the Concords are treated with heat and enzymes, which extracts the heart-healthy polyphenols from the grape seeds and skins and is releases into the juice.

Translating the Grape Science

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Sampling a taste of the day’s harvest! Delicious!

We know less than 50% of Americans meet their daily fruit needs so adding 100% fruit juice can be a delicious and convenient way to help fill this gap. Including ½ cup of 100% fruit juice as part of a meal or snack is a simple way to help get in an extra serving of fruit and support a healthy heart. While fresh fruit contains more fiber per serving, consuming fruit in any form still delivers that same health promoting vitamins and minerals. Health experts agree that when 100% fruit juice is added as a compliment to whole fruit intake, consumption can actually double or triple.

8 ounces of 100% Concord grape juice provides 250 mg of polyphenols and contains more than 40 grapes. Its equal to 2 servings of fruit and high in immune boosting vitamin C and a good source of potassium-a key mineral important in regulating blood pressure.

One Juice-So Many Uses

Adding 100% fruit juice to your diet is an affordable and convenient way to help support a healthy lifestyle. Its year-round-availability and flavor variety makes it an easy way to sip sensibly or add to dishes. Look for labels that contain “100% fruit juice” or “No added sugar” and read ingredient labels to make sure they do not contain any added sweeteners or artificial ingredients. Looking for other ways to get creative with Concord grape juice?

  1. Add it to your grains! Make oatmeal or quinoa with 100% grape juice instead of water.
  2. Add a splash of 100% juice to seltzer water for a tad of sweetness.
  3. Make ice pops in the summertime or freeze into ice cubes to add to beverages.
  4. Dress up your favorite greens with a homemade salad dressing using 2 parts heart-healthy oil, 1 part of your favorite vinegar, and a splash of 100% grape juice.
  5. Cook with 100% grape juice instead of red wine.

Thirsty for More?

What are some of your favorite ways to use 100% juice? Feel free to share your favorite recipes by leaving a comment below. You can also follow the hashtag #DiscoverConcordGrapes and visit Welch’s Heart Healthy Recipe site for more flavorful ways to use 100% Concord grape juice.

Disclosure: My attendance at the Welch’s Vineyard Tour and Harvest Event was sponsored by Welch’s but I was not compensated to write this blog.

Food Ideas for Fall Fun

Fall is just around the corner and that means football parties, weekend getaways, and outdoor entertaining.  This week I appeared on Let’s Talk Live DC to share some of my fun and flavorful ideas to blend a little health and happiness into your fall gatherings. Watch the clip below or read on to learn more delicious fall food ideas.

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Starting with the weekend getaway, whether you do a day trip to a local farm for apple picking or overnight at a B&B, nutrient-rich road trip snacks help keep you feeling full and satisfied. I love packing Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks for a delicious and convenient snack option that’s portion controlled. Sargento Natural Cheese Snacks are a natural source of high-quality protein offering 4-8 grams of protein per serving to help keep your body fueled. They are available in 15 delicious varieties, including the Sargento Natural String Cheese, which actually contains MORE PROTEIN than a serving of almonds or a hard-boiled egg. Another favorite in my house is the Sargento Natural Reduced Fat Colby-Jack. With the fresh flavor of real cheese, they’re a wholesome snacking option that doesn’t sacrifice on taste. Check out the Smart Snacker tool at Sargento to build your own snacks pairings.

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You also want to pack fruits for your weekend getaways. One food I’m loving right now is Sunsweet’s D’Noir Prunes, which are picked from among the best tasting “California reserve” prunes and packed without preservatives for an amazingly fresh flavor. They are an excellent source of fiber, and a smart choice as most Americans aren’t getting the recommended amount of fiber each day. That’s one of the reasons I love these as a choice for healthy snacking on the road, but you can also use them as a versatile recipe ingredient. The special care taken in growing these reserve prunes leads to a smooth, elegant, and complex flavor profile to compliment all your fall entertaining dishes. Make an easy party platter with the Sunsweet D’Noir prunes, the Sargento cheese stick chopped into bite size pieces, some nice crackers, hummus and green olives. Check out Sunsweet D Noir to learn more.

Entertain with Flavor and Funstrong_kind_asset_bars_vert

You know it’s not often that the dietitian gets to talk about beer. But I love looking for creative ways to help people enjoy foods and have fun entertaining. I’ve paired the Strong and KIND bars from KIND snacks with a few of my favorite brews – kind of like a wine and cheese pairing but with KIND and beers. The new STRONG & KIND bars offer BOLD and SAVORY flavors and 10 grams of protein per bar from almonds, seeds, and pea protein. These bars do not contain soy or whey protein. The Five Bold Flavors go great with some seasonal favorite brews, like Hickory Smoked paired with a dark stout beer, Honey Mustard pairs well with an IPA, Thai Sweet Chili is delicious with a seasonal Pumpkin ale, and Roasted Jalapeno pairs well with a crisp Oktoberfest. You really can’t mess it up. Have fun with it. Check out Kind Snacks for more info.

tostitos-scoopsAdd In Nutrition to Tailgates

Whether you are having people over to watch the game or tailgating at the stadium, you need something to crunch on. I like Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chips because they are made with simple ingredients – just corn, oils and salt. You can use Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chips as a vehicle to scoop up extra nutrition by pairing them with wholesome dips, like bean dip or veggie filled salsa. Fritolay has great recipe ideas, such as Cheesy Bean and Kale Bake that is a guaranteed crowed pleaser. Plus, you can feel good about serving Tostitos® Scoops!® tortilla chips to all your guests – even those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, since they have been qualified as gluten free.

Share a Snackwonderful_hero

Like Wonderful Pistachios! Everyone will love this because Wonderful Pistachios taste great, they are FUN to crack, and they are CONVENIENT. Just pick them up in the produce aisle and put them in a party bowl. And Wonderful Pistachios are a high-quality food with great nutrition. They boast plant protein and fiber – and no cholesterol. Better yet, you get a whopping 49 nuts per serving, and the shells can help slow your eating pace and be a visual reminder of how much you are eating. That’s good news for the hours spent snacking in front of a game. Try Sweet Chili and Salt & Pepper flavor varieties. And of course, everyone loves the Roasted & Salted. Wonderful Pistachios even offer lightly salted and no salt. Check out Get Crackin to learn more.

Bring a Healthy Dish to PassOR_SpinachCheese_tort

It’s always good to serve something of “substance” at tailgates, but rather than rely on the store deli, you can do better on your own where you control the quality of the ingredients. Make a simple and healthy pasta salad using Three Bridges Organic Spinach & Cheese Tortellini. After a quick boil, cool pasta and tossed them with shredded carrot, chopped red bell pepper, arugula and Italian dressing. It really takes the chore out of cooking and empowers anyone to make a delicious dish. Three Bridges fresh-cut pastas are chef-crafted and available in the refrigerated aisle at Super Target’s and Safeway in the metro DC area. Visit Three Bridges to discover more tasty pastas and sauces.

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 Frito, Three Bridges, KIND Snacks, Sargento, Pistachios, and Sunsweet for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.