September Life Updates & Goals!

Is anyone else relieved that August is over? I don't know about you, but August was one of the hardest months of my life. We went on vacation at the beginning of the month, and just a few days after I was starting back up at work. Even though I am only working three days a week, those three days are filled with tears and so many emotions. I speak regularly about wanting to be positive about this experience and returning to work with being a new momma, but it has been SO hard to leave my sweet baby. I feel like a piece of my heart is left behind every time I leave.

So even though I wallowed and threw myself a lot of pity parties in August (and unfortunately, Oreos were involved), I want to still work towards being strong and brave throughout this experience. I know that everything happens in life for a reason, and I know God is trying to teach me patience and TRUST throughout this whole process.

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My phone background is this quote, and it's been really helping me focus on being kind, fierce, and brave. Our thoughts impact our behaviors SO much. Having a fierce mind means being strong to whatever negative thoughts come my way. My favorite Bible verse always pops into my head when I remember how powerful our thoughts can be:

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Making my thoughts obedient to Christ is something I want to work on this month. I want to surrender all of the noise, fear, and anxiety to Him. I am starting a 30 day Miracle Morning challenge with my friend where we spend the morning time in prayer, in God's word, journaling, visualizing, and of course, working out! I am looking forward to really focusing on the positive and all God has done for me in the morning time and hoping that sets the tone for the rest of my day! Practicing Miracle Mornings is one goal I have for September (and comment below if you want to know more about this and do it with me too!)

Another goal I have for September is to continue on my plant based diet experiment. I am cutting out beef, chicken, pork, etc this month (still eating eggs and occasionally, fish!) and really focusing on getting as many whole, PLANT foods into my body as possible. I started this past Monday but have not been as plant-heavy; carbs have been the easy option this week. So I plan on meal prepping this weekend and making PLANT foods the easy option, aka prepping and planning my meals out so I stick to my goals and nourish myself fully!

I also want to be blogging more, but I need your help! Tell me, what do YOU want to see more of on the blog? Recipes? My weekly meal plan? Workout updates? Mom-life updates? Day in the life posts? Nutrition research and summaries? Comment below or email me (tveen.verano@gmail.com) and let me know what YOU want to see more of in this space.

Workout wise, I am finishing up two rounds of a strength and agility program I started back in July. I loved doing this program, but I am SO ready for a change! I am starting a week long program next week focused on heavy lifting, then doing my favorite, 8 week toning program for the rest of September and October! I am so excited for this program and saw amazing results back when I did in last year. If you'd like to join in and be my workout buddy, fill out this application and I will get back to you!

Lastly, I am now taking on new clients for my private nutrition counseling practice! September is almost like January, right? School is starting, it's back to routine and a fresh start...so why not jump into taking care of yourself and learning how to properly nourish and fuel yourself? If you want to lose weight, get your cholesterol or diabetes under control, GAIN weight, or just learn how to prepare healthy meals for your picky family, I can help! I focus on individualizing nutrition for each of my clients, so if you want some additional support and guidance as you embark on or continue on a healthy lifestyle, feel free to check out my services and book your first session with me! I plan on taking on only 5 new clients this month, so be sure to reach out so I can save you a spot and we can get you started!

So happy September and almost fall, everyone. I plan on buying a few cans of pumpkin after work, because it's never too soon to start baking up some healthy fall treats! Hope you all enjoy your weekend and stay tuned for my plant based diet meal plan for next week!

 

 

The Joyful Harvest is opening her doors! Nutrition consulting has begun!

 

Four years ago, I started my blog, "The Joyful Harvest." I wanted a place where I could share my thoughts, health tips, recipes, and whatever else crossed my mind. I named it The Joyful Harvest because I wanted everyone to find the JOY in this journey! There is so much joy in planting the seeds in your journey that will lead you to reap the harvest of a healthy and vibrant life. I loved the Joyful Harvest concept so much, that from there, I got the guts to get my business license under "The Joyful Harvest" name, so I could start seeing clients on a private basis and provide them with personalized health and nutrition plans, while helping them find the joy in this lifestyle that I had found.

Well, that biz license has just sort of sat there this past year. I’ve seen clients here and there, but for the past month I've felt God's gentle nudges and whispers and "you can do its" to take this practice to a whole new level. Well, I'm listening, so I am now accepting NEW spring time clients into my private practice for nutrition consulting! What does this mean? Well...

Becoming a Joyful Harvest client includes:

  • one-on-one counseling with me, the dietitian!
  • learn how to develop healthy habits 
  • personalized meal plans that we will created specific to you and your lifestyle
  • follow ups and tweaks to the plan so we make sure it is specialized to YOU and your needs

What I’ve learned over the past year is that everyone’s journey to health is different, and my desire is to personally help those I work with gain a better understanding of what will work for THEM on their own health journey. If you want to begin working with me one on one, please email me at tveen.verano@gmail.com to set up your initial consultation! Or fill out this form below and I will get back to you!

Name *
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Adding Variety to Meal Planning

I've heard it said time and time again that the more simple you keep your meals, the higher the chances that you will stick to your healthy eating goals. While I agree with this to some extent, I do think there are a few exceptions to this piece of advice. Keeping meals simple helps us when we are planning because we don't have to overthink what we want to eat. I know that I do this from time to time, especially during busy weeks. If I have some of my beloved frozen turkey burgers from Trader Joe's in my freezer, BOOM, meals for the week. If I have some sausage and sweet potatoes, I whip up a casserole and call it a day. But sometimes, especially when you are finding yourself eating out of boredom and dreading your next meal, it's time to rethink the mundane simplicity of your every day, go-to meals. IMG_5483

I've been feeling this kind of boredom lately. And I am a big lover of food, so when I don't look forward to my next meal...it's a problem. I realized that all I've been eating are salads with the same dressing, and some kind of protein, usually my turkey burgers. I love those turkey burgers, but sometimes, a girl needs some variety! These past few weeks, I have been giving myself so many more options when it comes to my meals. My only "rules" are gluten free (I started sneaking that pesky bugger in during and after the holidays...not a good idea), and minimal sugars, processed carbs, and processed foods in general. All else is totally game.

Let's start with breakfast. Usually, I eat veggie scrambles. Every. Single. Day. And while I love eggs, eggs every day can get a tad bit repetitive. Last week, I made some protein pancakes instead. I hadn't made pancakes in FOREVER, and I decided that I would make them again. They don't take that long to make, and are still healthy when you pack them with some protein (I used Jaime Eason's Lean Body for Her Vanilla Whey; best whey I've ever tasted!). These turned out great and added some nice variety to my morning.

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I also hadn't had oats in what felt like a very long time, so yesterday morning, I microwaved my oats (short-on-time syndrome) and topped them with some chopped walnuts and blueberries. This kept me full for a WHILE and I thoroughly enjoyed my warm mushy breakfast.

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And speaking of blueberries, I've just been having them as a snack lately too! On Saturday, I was pretty hungry in the mid morning, but it was almost lunch time and I didn't want too much to fill me up. So I opted for a nice bowl of bloobs and they hit the spot!

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Lastly, last night, I decided to have a vegetarian dinner. I am a huge, HUGE, meat eater. I was actually vegetarian a few years back in grad school, but because of some of the health problems I experienced, I decided to add meat back into my life, and I have never looked back. But as much as I love meat, having it at every single meal can get annoying and kind of gross. Last night, I heated up a can of Amy's Organic low sodium lentil vegetable soup. I added a WHOLE lot of spinach to the pot to make it more vegetable-y (yes, it's a word), and the spinach of course shrank. Then, I added a bag of Trader Joe's frozen brown rice. The whole meal was ready in about 5 minutes, made two servings so I am all set for lunch today, and is the perfect winter stew!

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If you want to add more variety to your meals while still keeping them healthy, I recommend getting started in a few easy steps:

1. Take inventory of what you have at home. I realized I have so much frozen tilapia, chicken, grass fed beef, and a mahi mahi burger that are just waiting to get eaten. You can season these meats up differently every time you cook them and get a different flavor each time.

2. Make a list of all the meals you could make adding and combining these foods. I brainstormed that I could use the chicken as a stir-fry with vegetables and some coconut aminos, I could make it into a vegetable casserole, or I could eat it with some marinara sauce and lentils (such a great combination!) I could make the grass fed beef into taco meat, or into little sausage patties. There are so many things we could create if we actually knew the foods we had on hand!

3. Start today. Start changing up your schedule today. You can still eat healthy foods while adding variety to your meals and not getting stuck in the same patterns every day. For me, getting stuck causes me to reach for variety in the form of not so healthy foods. I'd rather change up my daily meals knowing that they are still healthy and look forward to eating every day of my life!

 

I hope this helps someone out there who finds themselves in a food rut! What is your go-to meal every day, and what do you think you could do to spice up your meal plan a bit?

 

 

Meal Planning Made Simple!

As a dietitian, and an overall planning and organization nerd, I have always loved to plan what I am about to do. I love scheduling and making list, and this habit has spilled over into my eating habits and meal plans as well! This is something I am definitely grateful for. Cooking and planning your meals usually leads to spending less money, making healthier choices, and actually enjoying your meals more! There is something about cooking and preparing your own food that makes you appreciate it so much more when you sit down to eat your meals! :) Since starting work not too long ago (11 days ago to be exact), I have taken my love of meal planning to a whole new level. I have been meal prepping on the weekends and planning my meals like there is no tomorrow, and I love it! Last night, as I was preparing food for the week, I was filled with such joy in my kitchen! I have always been a firm believer of helping people use food to their benefit and not their detriment, so planning and cooking my own meals that benefit my health just fits right in to my philosophy! This practice of mine has also led to WAY less waste money and food-waste, which is always a needed bonus in today's world. I thought I would share some of my meal planning tips and tricks for you all who are crunched on time but still want to plan and pack your meals for work, school, and the like!

I usually do my meal planning and prepping on the weekends. On Saturdays, I assess what I already have in the kitchen to see what I can use up before my buy more food. Based on this, I make my meal plan and write out any additional items I need from the store. On Sundays, I head to the store, stock up, and get to cooking. Trader Joe's has been my go-to grocery store to shop from. A little can go a long way in this store, and they usually carry exactly the foods I am looking for. Prepping most of my meals on the weekends ensures minimal to none meal prep needed throughout the week, which works for a busy schedule! I have included my easy meal planning tool below to assist anyone that needs a little boost to start planning their meals! Just click on the link and save!

Easy Meal Planning Tool

Below are some of my meals from my first few days at work. Most of the recipes are up on the blog, and some of the other meals are just the assemble and pack type!

Breakfast Ideas:

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you don't have time to eat something before heading to work in the morning, it is crucial that you have food on hand to grab and go! Eating breakfast helps you wake up and be more alert throughout the day, and also decreases the chances of mindless snacking later on! Eating in the morning also regulates your hormones and helps your metabolism get up and moving! One of my favorite breakfast options are hardboiled eggs. These are so easy to prepare, and you can boil a large quantity at a time and keep them in the fridge (with the shell on) for 5-7 days! You can peel them the night before consumption, or spend 30 seconds peeling them in the morning. They are the perfect nutritious and protein-packed meal option. You can pair an egg with some fruit or even some sweet potatoes. I used my spiralizer to get those sweet potatoes spiraled, and just popped them in the oven on 400 degrees F for 40 minutes, flipping and mixing them around on the pan in between.

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Another breakfast option is to make one of my many famous and healthy baked goods. I have a variety of recipes on this site ranging from gingerbread, pumpkin bread, carrot cake, brownies, and banana bread that are all healthy enough to eat for breakfast! I use protein powder and healthy ingredients to make these baked goods not only taste good, but also fill you up in the morning! Below is my banana oat bread! Check out the rest of the recipes to make as quick and delicious breakfast options!

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Lunch Ideas:

Lunch is one of those meals that you definitely want to make you feel satisfied and full. I don't know about anyone else, but for me, the afternoon is one of the most dangerous times for me to snack! I have been making sure to have filling and satisfying lunches while at work so I don't have an energy crash and burn, or get those snack cravings in the afternoon! I made a spaghetti squash casserole last week (recipe is posted) which lasted for about 4 days! It tasted delicious! I paired it with veggies or a salad to make it a well-rounded and filling meal!

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My zucchini stew recipe is also an easy one to make in bulk and pack for the week! My recipe below was made with grass-fed beef, zucchini, and a few other delicious flavors. This meal kept me going for hours and equipped me with great energy during the day! Check out the recipe to make some for the week!

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Below is an assemble and pack meal option. I usually cook my own chicken but was short on time this weekend, so I grabbed the prepared Lemon Pepper Chicken from Trader Joe's, which is usually next to the prepared salads. All you do is slit some holes in the chicken container, stick it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes, and viola! This chicken is actually really delicious too, and I am very picky about my meat! I also bought the stir fry vegetable mix from Trader Joe's, which is just a ton of fresh, chopped vegetables! I sautéed these with some olive oil and garlic. Lastly, I used some microwaved, boiled, roasted, or however-you-want-to-cook-them sweet potatoes to add some healthy starch to my meal! I portioned it all in my nifty ziploc container, and this made the perfect lunch for work!

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Snack ideas:

It's a good idea to pack some snacks with you, just in case you do get hit with hunger and don't want to give in to cake, donuts, or whatever else may be lying in the break room. I usually pack some vegetables or high-protein snacks to make sure these snacks will provide me with nutrients, not just empty calories. String cheese is a good option, but my favorite snack combination is carrots with nuts. I don't know why, but this combination tastes incredible! Don't knock it till you've tried it! In addition to how delicious it tastes, it also keeps you insanely full. I usually have some around 3 or 4 pm to make sure I am full and energetic for my long commute home, since I usually don't have dinner until about 7pm on most nights!

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I hope this post helps spur some ideas for planning and packing your foods for your workday! If you carve out a few hours of your weekend and dedicate them to planning and prepping your meals, you will be sure to make healthier choices throughout the week, waste less food and money, and enjoy your meals 10 times more than you would if you were eating out every day! I hope you all have as much fun as I do while planning and prepping your meals for the week! Have a great night everyone!