Friday Favorites Round 4


Good Reads:

Savvy Sports Nutrition: What To Eat Before a Post-Work Gym Session

Easy Freezer Burritos. It’s been a while since I’ve had those orange wrapped frozen burritos, but I do remember they were pretty tasty! For fifteen cents I think I will start making my own!

How Chipotle Made Hundreds of People Barf. oh, and diarrhea too, don’t forget that. A great short video explaining what happened, what they are doing to fix the situation, and of course there is a shout out to my home town!

Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick Three. Because you can’t have them all!

The Birth Control Implant Nexplanon Really Works. As an early adopter (and lover) of Nexplanon I feel the need to spread the good word. If you can’t remember to take a pill, don’t want to get pregnant for 3 years, consider Nexplanon.

Good Eats:

Garlic Gouda and Parmesan Cauliflower


Pineapple Glazed Salmon


Lemon Berry Cheezecake Parfait

Vegan Lemon Berry Cheezecake Parfait

One Pot Roasted Pepper Whole Wheat Pasta


And now for some photos from last weekend. Noah’s train birthday party!



train PARTY FOR toddler





train party

Have a great weekend! I’m headed off to Big Bear with family and friends. Yay!!

What I’m Loving (and Not Loving) About Nicaragua

Cascada Blanca, one of the many beautiful waterfalls in Nicaragua

¡Hola amigos! Estoy en Nicaragua. Yo se hace mucho tiempo desde he escrito un blog. Pero, ahora me siento como escribir y es una oportunidad buena para practicar mi español. He estado en tres ciudades en Nicaragua, y todos son diferentes. No tengo tiempo para hablar cada ciudad, en vez de escribiré lo que me gusta mas de Nicaragua, y que no me gusta. Pero, para mis amigos Nicaraguense, no se ofendo por lo que no me gusta. Para mi, es diferente, pero no es “malo.” Y por favor, dime cuando yo utilizo la palabra incorrecta o cuando hago un error gramática.

For my English speaking friends, I’m pretty sure most of you know that I’m in Nicaragua already. Feel free to google translate the above. I know that it has been a long time since I’ve blogged, but sometimes, when inspiration hits you, you just gotta go with it. Other times, your brain is like an empty dark hole and you have no ideas and feel completely uninspired. Currently, my brain is the former.This is going to be a personal blog post about what I’m enjoying in Nicaragua. However, I have a few nutrition posts coming up, so please keep reading (my future posts) even if you really don’t care about my life, but like my nutrition advice. Gracias.

Me gustan mucho…

  1. Cascadas y Volcanes. (Waterfalls and Volcanoes). This one you can find in a guide book. But it’s so true! Nicaragua is full of breath-taking active-ish volcanoes. And unlike other more conservative countries, you can hike up them, slide down them, board down them, whatever you please. I have also seen many beautiful waterfalls in this country, Cascada Blanca in Matagalpa was a winner for sure. What’s more, it’s not packed with tourists ruining the beauty and serenity.
  2. La gente. (The people). Specifically, my home stay family was awesome. Carolina (the Mom) cooked really great food and she was so warm and friendly. Always willing to talk with me, play games, take me to church (ha!). Most people at restaurants and cafes are super nice too. At cafe Nicarguense they are always offering to help me with everything, plug in my computer, bring me water, give me directions etc etc. I find myself thinking, “where did these people come from?”
  3. Mojitos!! I’m not much of a drinker, as many of you know, but if I have to drink, it would probably be a mojito! I love mint and lime. Yes, I really like the limes more than the alcohol, but it’s all good. Mojitos are super cheap and super tasty in Nicaragua. You can even get flavored mojitos -cherry, maracuya, any fruit you want pretty much. It’s awesome.
  4. Desfilas y feriados. (Parades and Holidays). It seems almost every day is a Holiday here. Nicaragua is always finding a reason to celebrate whether its the Virgin Mary, Independence Day, or a soccer win. Today there was a large parade with all of the school kids, I’m not really sure the reason, other than it is just a tradition. Kids play drums, dance, wear their fanciest outfit, it’s pretty cool.
  5. Bananos y fruta. (Bananas and fruit). Bananas here are so good, they taste 1000x better than they do in the states, and they only cost 5-10 cents. They put those 29 cent Trader Joe’s banana to shame! What’s also great, is that the bananas here don’t bruise like they do in the states, you can buy a banana with lots of black spots on the outside but the inside will still be perfect. Que bueno! In general, the fruit is really cheap, and really delicious! Except apples, 1 apple sets you back $1, because they are imported.
Volcan Cerro Negro
There’s always a parade in Nicaragua! and they love their tambores!(drums)

No me gustan…

  1. Bombas. (bombs?) There is not an exact translation for bombas, but basically they sound exactly like gun shots and they are terrifying to a gringita (like me). Bombas, are a little bit like a firework, but with out anything pretty to look at. Nicaraguans love to shoot off bombas for any reason, especially at 4 and 5 in the morning. The first night I heard them in Leon I really really thought they were gunshots and was debating sleeping on the ground so no stray bullets flew into my room. Now that I no what they are, I don’t hate them as much, but still, not a fan. I wish they could just blow a horn or something…
  2. Chikungunya. When I first arrived in Nicaragua, this was literally the only word I could hear people say. It’s an African word so it really stands out when Spanish speakers say it. Basically, chikungunya is a virus transmitted to people by mosquitos. It’s pretty gnarly, the symptoms are similar to the flu, you are really sick for about a week, but then you have residual body pains and arthritis which according to some people last 6 weeks up to the rest of your life. About half the teachers at my Spanish school had Chinkungunya and it is no joke! Matagalpa, the town that I was studying in, is actually where the first case of Chikungunya originated, but it’s all over Nicaragua now (and I think most of Central America?) No quiero Chikungunya!!! I’ve been using more bug spray than I ever have in my whole life.
  3. Ollas en la calle. Holes in the streets and sidewalks. I seriously can not walk around in this town without tripping. There are so many holes in the street, and some of them are pretty large too. I usually wear shoes instead of sandals,  but I still manage to stub my toes. It’s hard too because usually I’m trying to find something, so I want to look up, but no, no, not a good idea. I pretty much have to stare at the street in order not to trip.
  4. Cat calls. The whistles and “hello baby” I can tolerate. But why are you hissing at me? How do I respond to that? Really, I want to know. Look at the person, ignore them, give them a lecture on sexism?? What’s interesting is that I get a lot of “goodbyes” as I’m walking directly towards someone which can actually be kind of cute/funny depending who it’s coming from.
  5. Food safety.  I’m not usually anal about food being at the right temperature or washing your hands, and I totally believe in the 5 second rule, but soo much food is just left out at room temperature (very warm and humid- a perfect breeding ground for bacteria) that shouldn’t be! Cheese, jelly, prepared rice dishes and stews, almost never refrigerated. I know it’s just rice and beans, but there is a “cereus” bacteria that attacks grains when left in the temperature danger zone!!! My fellow RDs and food safety professionals, do you understand where I’m coming from? So this is a little concerning to me, but so far, I haven’t gotten too sick.

Overall, its been a really great experience and I finally feel like I can understand most people when they speak to me in Spanish! Yay! It takes so long, but I’m pretty sure by the end of this trip Spanish is going to be no problem.

Tell me, do you enjoy the personal posts or you want more nutrition info? It’s pretty hard for me to do recipes when I’m abroad but I have myth busting blogs coming up. If you have been to Nicaragua or anywhere in Central America what do you recommend I see/do/eat? I’m also planning on going to Costa Rica, Panama, and perhaps Guatemala if their political situation improves.


Chelita Heather

Kids marching in the parade.
Comida tipica Nicaraguense. Typical Nicaraguan food.
Mi familia Nica
Really old cathedral in Granada. Granada was the first European city in mainland America
Shane and Carina’s House (where I’m staying at the moment)
Cascada in Matagalpa


GMOs: What Are They and Should I Be Concerned?

gmoGMO, do you know what it means? If you don’t, you are not alone. Research from Rutger’s University shows that over half of Americans know very little or nothing about genetically modified foods, despite wide media coverage on the topic.

Let’s start with a basic definition; a genetically modified organism (GMO) is one that has been genetically engineered. The process of genetic engineering involves removing a gene from one organism and transferring that gene to a different organism. The new gene becomes integrated into every cell of that organism and produces a desirable trait, such as resistance to pests or enhanced flavor. Scientists have been crossbreeding plants to produce desirable traits for hundreds of years. For example, did you know that carrots were originally white or purple? It was not until the 17th century that Dutch scientists started cross breeding them to become orange. Genetic engineering does go a step further than traditional breeding because any gene can be transferred to any organism, as opposed to traditional breeding where only closely related species can mate.

In the United States there are four main crops which are genetically engineered (GE). The three C’s: cotton, corn, canola, and soy. Roughly 90% of the corn grown in the U.S. is GE. However, that does not mean that the ear of corn you are eating at your BBQ is GE. Whole corn sold at American markets is not GE. Corn used to feed cattle and corn used in processed foods in the form of high fructose syrup is almost always GE. GE corn and soy are prevalent in processed foods (basically anything in a bag or box at the supermarket). The fresh fruits and vegetables on the displays are not genetically engineered. If you want to be 100% sure that something is not GE, you can always buy organic. In order for something to be certified organic, it has to undergo rigorous testing to prove it is free of GMOs.

Are you still with me? Good! On to the controversy, the anti-GMO activists list several reasons that GMOs are harmful. Reasons include no long term testing for safety, possible allergic reactions to new proteins that may be created, and antibiotic resistance. These are legitimate concerns. It is a relatively new technology (we have been eating GMO foods since 1996), and scientists have made mistakes in the past with believing new technology was safe when it really wasn’t. For example dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, more commonly known as DDT. Big mistake. As for the allergies, there have been no reported new allergies that are specifically from GMO foods, but allergies are a tricky subject. Who is to say that there are not allergies that go unreported or misdiagnosed?

The pros of GMOs include greater crop yield, potential to help alleviate world hunger, reduced use of herbicides and pesticides, and adding beneficial nutrients to the food. For example, have you ever heard of golden rice? Golden rice is GE rice which has been altered to contain greater amounts of vitamin A. In developing countries, vitamin A deficiency is still the cause of thousands of cases of irreversible blindness and death in children and pregnant women. Rice is a staple crop in many of these countries and it could potentially help prevent many of these deaths and illnesses.

What do you think? Do the cons outweigh the pros? I will let you decide. My opinion is that we should proceed cautiously. I do think there is potential for genetic engineering to greatly benefit the world. You should definitely do your own research, but know that there are a lot of highly unreputable sources on GMOs out there. If anyone sends me an article from, I am not reading it. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a great source for health and nutrition information.