Random updates

A couple of random updates. First, I ordered and just received a book called “The Thyroid Connection” by Amy Myers, MD. It’s all about the thyroid, how it affects the body and how to possibly fix it, or at least how to get help and find the appropriate medication to treat it. It’s very food centric though which is the big reason I got it. Having hypothyroid myself and having been on thyroid meds for nearly 10 yrs, I wanted to get back into studying the thyroid. My thyroid condition is a big reason why I got into nutrition in the first place. I have been super strict in the past about gluten free and done lots of blood tests to try and figure out the root cause of my thyroid condition, to no avail. I’ve done most of the extensive labs including TSH, T4, freeT4, T3, freeT3, rT3, and Thyroid antibodies, most of which aren’t done unless you beg/plead/convince your MD to do. I’m currently on Levothyroxine and live pretty normally. No real complaints other than crazy dry skin in the winter. My TSH is still a little higher than I’d like though and I think my skin could be better. I’m excited to learn some new things and understand the thyroid even better. I know it will also be useful when helping clients feel and be their best in the future too.

Second, our cover crop is coming in pretty well, but a little more sparely than expected. We got a pound of cover crop seed and thought it would be plenty, but seems like we should’ve gotten more. :-/ We are really trying to help condition the soil for Spring 2017 when we’d like to really get to planting some crops. We also got a couple pear trees in the ground! We’re hoping I dug the holes deep enough to allow the trees to not drown…. darn non draining VA clay, and all the excessive rain recently! img_6260 img_6251


Breakfast of weekend warriors


Buckwheat pancakes and brined bacon

Buckwheat pancakes recipe:

1 cup buckwheat flour (buckwheat is gluten free if you are curious)

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp sugar (or honey)

1 tsp salt

Mix dry ingredients

1 cup milk (almond, cow, goat, doesn’t matter)

1 egg (beaten)

2 Tbsp butter (melted)

Add 1 wet ingredient in order at a time to dry mix.

Mix in until blended.

Add whatever fixings you like, banana slices, walnuts, pecans, berries, etc.

Grease a medium/hot griddle with butter or coconut oil

Spoon or pour out batter onto skillet. I like smallish pancakes, around the size of a glass coaster. Flip when bubbles stay popped like regular pancakes. These aren’t quite as fluffy as your standard bisquick pancake but have a great flavor.

I stopped by the farmers market and got some local bacon, brine cured instead of smoked and it was delicious! Hopefully you don’t need directions for cooking bacon. If you do, just send me a note.

I topped the pancakes with a little peanut butter and a drizzle of honey. I had to eat quickly so my almost-two-year-old daughter wouldn’t eat them all.







Quick Pickles

This is a bit late in the season for most of these veggies, but I thought I’d share anyway. I think this can be used for fall veggies too like summer/fall quashes if cut thinly. Cucumbers, beets, string beans and even fruits like lemon slices can be used in this recipe.

This recipe makes enough liquid for 2 normal size mason jars (16 oz.)  

The pickling Liquid:

1 c white vinegar

1 Tbs salt

2 tsp sugar

2 c water

Bring the water and vinegar to a boil and stir in the salt and sugar until dissolved


Put 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or other spice or herb such as mustard seed, celery seed, or dill in bottom of 2 pint jars. I like the combo of dill and red pepper flakes for the cucumbers). Add 2-3 smashed garlic cloves to the bottom of the jar. Cram as many thin slices of cucumber or whatever you want to pickle into the jar. A mandolin slicer is a great tool for this kind of slicing. 

Pour the boiling hot pickling liquid over the veggies in the jar, covering all the veggies, nearly to the top. Put a lid on it. I like to agitate the jars a bit to move the spices and veggies around so everything get evenly dispersed and exposed to the hot pickle water. 

Let the jars sit out until they cool off to room temperature and then refrigerate. The vinegar, salt and sugar are all antimicrobials. This method will pickle the veggies, preventing them from going bad, but this is not a real canning/jarring method and won’t store foods for a long time so they should refrigerated and eaten within a couple weeks. 


I know kombucha may not be a new thing to a lot of you. My wife has been drinking it for a few years now as a treat, maybe once or twice a week since it is so expensive. Most of the grocery stores around here (Richmond, VA) sell several different flavors/brands ranging from 3-4 dollars or more. For 12-16 oz, that’s a bit pricey as far as we’re concerned.

A few weeks ago, a local nursery called Sneed’s Nursery had a class about making Kombucha. We had talked about this several times and just never got around to getting the SCOBY, or the supplies, so when this class popped up, we decided now was a good time. We stopped on the way home after the class to pick up a big party size drink dispenser, the kind you usually see filled with tea or lemonade. One with a spigot at the bottom (made from plastic, not metal, I’ll explain more later), is ideal to make for easy bottling/drinking.

The most important thing about making kombucha is the SCOBY. It’s an acronym that stands for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. Much like the starter or “mother” for sourdough bread, you get a SCOBY from someone who is making their own kombucha. If you don’t know anyone like that, you can either order a SCOBY from places online, or some health food stores have them. Or, you could buy a store bought kombucha and instead of drinking it, you could make up a batch from the purchased drink since it has a small about of the bacteria/yeast colony in it.

What is kombucha? It is fermented tea. It doesn’t taste much like tea at all, as it’s a bit sour and tastes more like vinegar. It is tart and tangy and served cold can be very crisp and refreshing. The store bought versions are usually mixed with some other flavors to help the masses enjoy it. Ginger is a popular addition, as is cranberry and lemon, but you can find it a wide variety of flavors as more people take a liking to it.

“Why would you want to drink kombucha?”, you might ask. Since this is a food/health/wellness blog, and I am obsessed with gut bacteria, you might have guessed that kombucha is a probiotic! Just like yogurt, kefir or kimchi or sauerkraut, it’s full of gut friendly bacteria to help fight off bad bacteria.

If you are interested in making your own, I’ll tell you how I make mine, which is based on the directions given by the lady who taught the class.

Things you’ll need:

A gallon size pot, tea bags, sugar, water, a glass container to ferment the tea, plastic wrap and tightly sealable containers.

A glass container is necessary, don’t skimp and get a plastic or metal container. Plastic will make it taste funny and metal will ruin the SCOBY. Our container has a plastic spigot (painted silvery on the outside) which is fine.

Step 1: Get a SCOBY

Step 2: Brew a gallon of sweet tea. 1 gallon of water, 8 tea bags (they can be green or black or mix and match, not herbal or citrus flavored though), and 1 cup of sugar. White, refined, plain cheap sugar is ideal. It’s easier for the SCOBY to eat. Bring a pot of water to a boil, mix in the sugar until it dissolves, remove from the heat and add your tea bags. Let the tea sit until it is room temperature again. Not lukewarm, not tepid, room temperature, like 75 degrees F. This is important because if the tea is too hot, you will kill the SCOBY.

Step 3: Once your tea is brewed and it’s not hot at all, you pour your tea into a glass  container. kombucha

Step 4: Add the SCOBY.

Step 5: Cover the tea so nothing gets in, but air can get out. Leave it out on the counter/pantry at room temperature. Do not put it in the fridge. We’ve covered ours with saran wrap and poked small holes in it with the tip of a toothpick. You want the holes small enough so dust/mold/fruit flies can’t get in, but CO2 can get out. The SCOBY will produce CO2 and vinegar as by products when the eat the sugar. If you are worried about calorie count or sugar content of kombucha, it is very low because the bacteria and yeast eat practically all the sugar.

Step 6: Wait. Wait until your SCOBY spreads across your entire container, from edge to edge. Depending on how cool or warm you keep your house, this may take a week or two. Once the SCOBY fills the container, it will thicken and continue to grow. The longer it grows, the more vinegary your kombucha will taste.  At this point it is determined by personal preference. You can drink it earlier for less vinegar or wait longer if you’d like. We usually wait about 10-12 days since we like it pretty vinegary.


Continuing to make Kombucha: the original SCOBY, we’ll call it SCOBY-A you got from a friend/internet/bottle used for batch one will grow a new SCOBY, called SCOBY-B, which is what will grow and fill your container. After it has grown and you have harvested/drunk almost all your Kombucha, you will brew a new batch of sweet tea and will take SCOBY-A out of the container with very clean hands. SCOBY-B remains in the container and you pour your new tea over SCOBY-B. This will then ferment for 1-2 weeks while growing a SCOBY-C and producing your second batch of Kombucha. The cycle repeats and you remove the older SCOBY and let the new SCOBY do it’s magic, always leaving the new SCOBY. The newer SCOBY is always going to be the one at the top of the container.

There is a way to “Double-ferment” the tea, which is were the “tightly sealable containers” come into play and most of the fizz (and tiny bit of alcohol) comes from. Instead of drinking the tea straight from your container with a spigot, you can pour the kombucha into a container you can seal tightly and this is when you can add flavors. You can squeeze the juice out of a small piece of ginger (microplane grater and a garlic press work well here) and add it to the container, along with a small (1 tsp) sugar. This is so the bacteria can have some fresh sugar to eat and produce more CO2. You can add herbal/flavored teas to this container, or any juice that has some sugar instead of the tsp of sugar. Let the double fermenting jars sit out at room temperature for 3-4 days and then put in them in the fridge if you’re not going to drink them immediately. Get creative! Let me know what recipes you come up with!



I finally finished all the requirements to be a Registered Dietitian! After completing an undergraduate degree in Biology at James Madison University, ~8 years later I went back to school to be a dietitian. Starting in May 2012, while continuing to work at UNOS, I took nutrition specific classes for 2.5 years, then completed a 10 month internship. Finally, I took the Registered Dietitian exam and passed it on Aug 18th, 2016! Along with getting married, having a child and moving to the country, it’s been a busy couple years. Hence why I haven’t posted anything in a long, long time. I plan on making time for blog postings at least weekly from here on out.

Thankfully, I have a full time job again at Southside Regional Medical Center as a Clinical Dietitian. It’s amazing work and I am excited to use what I’ve learned to help people during their stay in the hospital. I also hope to start working very part time at a private practice to see what I can learn, and how I might be able to help people who are less acutely ill and more able to do something about their current health woes.

I am very excited to have completed these tasks, and to be able to practice and help people with food allergies, GI troubles and anything nutrition/health and wellness related. The best is yet to come! Look for more posts in the near future, and if you have any ideas or questions about topics you want to read about, please post in the comments!

Updated site


If you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t posted in a while. My website was pretty much broken. It was still up and live and accessible up until a few days ago, but I couldn’t post. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t even get to the log-in page to edit/post/update.

So after a lot of work and copy and pasting I have a “new” site that I can update and post to again. It’s simpler, with less options to adapt the page to how I’d like it to look, but I can update it, which is the whole point. Moving forward…


I’m happy to say I was accepted into an internship. I am now a Dietetic Intern with Virginia State University. I finished my classes last winter and had a semester off and have now started my first rotation doing clinical work with a great group of Registered Dietitians at Regional Memorial Medical Center just north of Richmond city in VA. This is the first of many rotations and I will finish up in June 2016. I’ll try and keep you apprised of my progress throughout the year while posting (now that I’m able) new and hopefully interesting links, articles, recipes, and reviews.

Automimmune Genes

This is an interesting article about how old the genes are that play a role in Crohn’s and psoriasis.

“Both diseases are autoimmune disorders, and one can imagine that in a pathogen-rich environment, a highly active immune system may actually be a good thing even if it increases the chances of an auto-immune response.”
The question they don’t ask, and we’ll never know, is if these ancient ancestors suffered from the symptoms of these issues. Then you could ask the question, like in the book “The Epidemic of Absence”, would people who suffer from Crohn’s today, benefit from from being exposed to pathogens?