bookmark love.
this vegan no-bake blueberry cake [don’t you just want to drown in her photos??]
this red lentil spread.

sidenote — I’m going through all of the first mess‘s blog from start to finish, so get ready for her recipes to take. over. these posts. Liiikkkkeee…right now:

this vegan coffee pudding.
this chai spiced multigrain porridge.
this banana zucchini bread.
this raw breakfast crumble with almond cream.
this salty chocolate caramel tart with avocados and dates!!!!! (!!)
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Kraft Singles KER Logo

While I was writing my first post about the #RepealtheSeal movement directed toward the new partnership between Kraft Singles and the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics Kids Eat Right Program, I received an official response from the House of Delegate leadership team for the letter I sent to them Monday night. I am posting it here, as I cannot let their political attempt at placation slide by. They have missed the point. They have insulted my intelligence in thinking I would fall for their crafty elocution. And I know that they, and we, can do better.

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Message from Delegate Leadership:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight regarding this consumer education initiative of the Academy’s Foundation, which was seriously misstated in the New York Times article.

As mentioned in President Sonja Connor’s March video message to members, which you can view at http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/media/multimedia-news-center/videos/march-2015-message-from-the-president, the Kids Eat Right/KRAFT Singles program is a nutrition education campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of vitamin D and calcium in children’s diets. We hope to drive consumers to our Kids Eat Right website so they can find out how KRAFT Singles and other dairy can be used in a healthy eating style that includes more consumption of vegetables and whole grains.

Contrary to what has been reported, this collaboration does not constitute any endorsement or nutritional seal of approval by the Academy, its Foundation or Kids Eat Right of this or any product. In fact, Kraft is proudly acknowledging its support of an outstanding nutrition program – Kids Eat Right – on its package labels.

By policy, the Academy does not endorse any products, brands or services.

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I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging.  I invite my fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to also post this Open Letter on their own blog, to sign the petition at change.org, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media. -Jessica Serdikoff, RDN CPT

I am participating in the #RepealTheSeal campaign to show my disagreement with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ recent decision to allow the Kids Eat Right logo onto food packaging. I invite my fellow colleagues and bloggers who share this opinion, or who support this campaign, to also post this Open Letter on their own blog, to sign the petition at change.org, and/or to use #RepealTheSeal hashtag via social media. -Jessica Serdikoff, RDN CPT [originally posted by Regan Jones, RDN]

Today, we’re talking politics. Some of you may have heard of the recent Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics’ [our national professional organization] endorsement-not-endorsement of Kraft American singles as they embark on a new financial professional partnership. If you aren’t familiar with the issue, please take a moment to read the link above, along with the official Academy press release. If that’s all too much, let me catch you up: Kraft American Singles now carry a “Kids Eat Right” sticker on their label; Kraft says it’s an endorsement by the Academy; the Academy says it merely shows Kraft’s support of the Kids Eat Right program; 99% of registered dietitians appear to be appalled and embarrassed either way; and much of the general public is a little perplexed by a partnership between this country’s national association for nutrition experts and the company that invented homogenized, processed “cheese product.”

Three guesses which side of the fence I’m on.

Fortunately, I am not alone. I am surrounded by progressive, strong, and passionate colleagues who have refused to compromise their integrity in a world that doesn’t always want to hear what they have to say. And they will not stand by idly and watch their professional footing lose hold, nor will I. I do not sign petitions enthusiastically; I find them to be, more often than not, superficial placation in our pursuit of feeling righteous without needing to act that way in daily life. I sign petitions when they are grounded in action, when I can do more than raise my hand and say, “me too.”

I cannot tell you to agree with me, or to support the cause in any particular or vague way. I can only put my voice out there and ask that you not lose faith in my profession as it struggles to find its united voice in a society structured against it. And if you feel compelled, in the end, to raise your hand and say, “me three,” well, thank you.

Three dietitians — Regan Jones, Rachel Begun, and Kate Geagan — have drafted an OPEN LETTER [printed below] stating that (1) we do not support this type of logo placement (2) we request that the on-package logo be repealed and (3) we request full transparency by AND & KER about this partnership to ensure this does not happen in the future.

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March 17, 2015

To Mary Beth Whalen, President Sonja Connor, leadership at the Academy and the Kids Eat Right (KER) Foundation:

As long-time members and proud supporters of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), we are dismayed, shocked, and saddened by the blog post in last week’s New York Times. The piece (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/12/a-cheese-product-wins-kids-nutrition-seal/?_r=0 – ) reports on the KER Foundation’s Nutrition seal— a seal that the Academy states was not an endorsement of the product, but is an indicator of the brands that support Kids Eat Right.

As dedicated Registered Dietitians/Nutritionists and food and nutrition experts, we are protesting the Academy’s position to allow the Kids Eat Right logo on Kraft Singles, as well as the possibility to allow any future implied endorsement of any product by AND for the following reasons:

Flawed Understanding of the Marketplace
We wholly reject the rationale that the Academy used in their formal press release to defend the nature of the relationship between Kraft and the Academy. A logo on a product label is an endorsement, an alignment, and recognition of a paid relationship. Simply stating otherwise in a press release, no matter how emphatically, doesn’t change this fact. Rather, AND’s actions illustrate how profoundly out of touch AND is with business principles, which has put our professional integrity and credibility at risk. It is also a decision that is out of touch with members’ values.

Failure to Provide Transparency to AND Members and Consumers
We work hard to provide full transparency in all of our own business relationships, and we expect the same from the Academy. Failure to be transparent about ANDs actions violates the Academy’s own Ethics Policy, which calls for the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and for members to not engage in false or misleading practices of communications.

Actions Requested of the Academy: #RepealtheSeal
We ask that the Academy make available to its members, the media and the public the following:

  • We ask for full transparency regarding the process of approval to allow the KER logo on the Kraft product— including the names of those involved, the meeting minutes of the discussion, and Board’s vote on this issue.
  • We ask for full disclosure of the terms of the financial agreement between KER Foundation and Kraft. We also request full transparency regarding the status of future agreements under consideration for use of our Logo.
  • We ask the Academy to provide their plan for the discontinuation of this specific relationship with Kraft and removal of the KER logo off Kraft Singles product packaging.

Academy members deserve strong leaders who will protect the integrity of the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist credential. This latest action is an embarrassing misstep that must be corrected swiftly in order to prevent further damage to the RD/RDN brand and to the Academy.

Sincerely,

Jessica Serdikoff, RDN CPT

Rachel Begun MS, RDN
Kate Geagan MS, RDN
Regan Jones, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionists colleagues listed at change.org

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If you would like to join the #RepealtheSeal movement, here are some things that you can do:

Sign the petition.

All fellow dietitians can write a letter [you can find a skeleton letter at the dietitians for integrity facebook page] to your house of delegates representative(s).

Tweet or repost the following: As an RD[mom/parent/American/doctor/etc.], I’m appalled with the @eatrightkids label on @kraftsfoods Singles, endorsement or not. #RDchat #RepealtheSeal

Repost this open letter on your own blog or facebook page.

And most importantly, educate others on the importance of reading labels front and back, choosing whole foods over processed ones, and being their own advocate in the supermarket and in life.

balsamic chicken pasta via @floptimism

Five years. Five years ago, I had only just begun studying nutrition at college and my kitchen repertoire consisted almost exclusively of sweets. I was dabbling, though, at dinner, and an extra credit opportunity by my food prep basics professor for any student who cooked and took a picture of it, led to Floptimism’s first ever recipe, rosemary-balsamic chicken and pasta:

The pictures were…well, where most food blog pictures seem to begin, barring the exceptional blogger with a legit photography/stylist background. The chicken I made was undercooked and the pasta was cold by the time I served it. Still, I seemed to be a good sport about it all, the only negativity in the post not about the recipe’s fate but rather, a concern that this blog would never amount to anything (never mind the fact that I refused to tell anyone it even existed for literally years).

My archived recipes deserve a second chance. A photographic face-lift. A whole-foods, nutritional spin on the ingredients. A successful execution. I don’t have any intention of deleting those older posts, as I like the (albeit kind of embarrassing) story they weave of how this blog has changed over the years — how I have changed over the years, but I do intend to give them new life. I’ve been testing them and retesting them, a process that currently has us up to our ears in crepes of all shapes and sizes (a consequence we are weathering with much grace and tact, I’d say), and is painstakingly slow. I doubt I’ll post these recipe “reboots” with any kind of regularity, but when I’m happy with a recipe and its pictures, you’ll know. And if I decide a recipe is just not in line with the message I’m trying to send — a dilemma I’m facing with alarming frequency with these old posts — I may leave it to rest in the dust of 2010.

My cooking habits, my food preferences, my values surrounding healthy living, have not just shifted but evolved into something almost unrecognizable from where they began. I’ve toyed with turning this into a vegetarian or vegan blog — not because I am exclusively either of those, but because those are the recipes that I feel so passionate for right now — which makes recipes like these feel strange and out of place on the landing page of Floptimism. In the end, though, I am not a tidy label. I am not and likely never will be 100% vegetarian or vegan. I sometimes like a good, grass-fed burger. I sometimes like yogurt. And the occasional all-butter cupcake from a small shop near my parents is not something I care to give up, even if the cupcakes I personally bake eschew dairy completely. And so Floptimism has to reflect that. There will be recipes for vegans and vegetarians. There will be recipes that are dairy free, and gluten free, and sometimes even nut free, though I tend to add nuts to recipes in the same way a normal person might add salt. And there will be meat, and I will encourage it to be smaller portioned and from ethical sources, but it will be here. I will try to balance it. I hope you’ll stick around for the next recipe if the latest one doesn’t suit you.

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28 Day Happiness Journey via @floptimism

Welp, it’s March 1st, which means I must have technically kind of essentially made it to the end of the #28daystohappiness challenge I created for myself. I really hit my stride with it in week three, and was going strong for the first half of week four, too. Then, my pregnant sister did something totally ridiculous — she went into labor — and so I packed up my things and high-tailed it back to Philly to house (animal) sit, fill their freezer with home-cooked meals, and, most importantly, stare un-endingly at a beautiful, sleepy newborn. Up until I sat down to write this, I thought I had done pretty miserably at the challenge while I was in Philadelphia — I was so busy that I barely had time to think seriously about it — but as I started to write out my thoughts, I realized something pretty incredible actually happened; I was mostly doing the challenge, without even thinking about it:

  • The thoughts of gratitude were the easiest. I mean, how can you not be constantly appreciating the world around you, when that world includes the most precious newborn baby to ever exist (fact)? It’s easy to appreciate the world around you when something so big and so positive happens.

  • I almost wrote to you that I didn’t reflect on the positive events from the day, until I realized that I absolutely had – I just hadn’t consciously sat down to say, “Ok, now it’s time to relive something good that happened today.” I wasn’t aware that I was doing it, but every time I looked at a picture from the day and smiled, or sent a picture to my sister and brother-in-law of their dog settling down calmly for me, or sent friends and family the latest photo or anecdote, I was reflecting and reliving. It just came so naturally, that I hadn’t even realized that I was doing it.
  • Exercise was almost as easy as the thoughts of gratitude. Over the years, it has just become a part of my life. I do actual workouts 3-4 times per week, but on top of that, I was on my feet literally all day doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, running their dog around outside, walking around the hospital…I was up and about, moving around constantly.
  • Random Acts of Kindness were far easier than at any other point in the challenge. While my sister and brother-in-law were in the hospital, I filled their freezer with food so they wouldn’t have to worry about cooking or overdoing take-out; I took care of their pets and watched over the house; I did all of their laundry and folded it; and I was there when they came home to help them get settled and introduce the baby to the rambunctious pets. I did all of these things without thinking. I wanted to do them. In fact, I wanted to do more for them.
  • But the meditation, you guys, the meditation. It didn’t happen. I could give you a list of reasons why, and they wouldn’t be wrong or overly dramatic, but they’re still cop-outs. If I had really wanted to, I’m sure I could’ve found a way. It mostly came down to: their dog was not about to let me lie down peacefully for even 10 seconds, and I figured the aggravation of trying to maneuver a meditation session would’ve outweighed any relaxation I got from it. So, I actively chose to forego this one — which is why I felt like I hadn’t really stuck with the challenge at all these past four days. Because clearly, missing out on 20% of a challenge = total failure. Because, Type A personality.
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    bookmark love.
    these whole foods cat treats for my nonexistent cat.
    these thai stuffed sweet potatoes.
    this apple & spice baked buckwheat.
    this “cake batter” chia pudding, ohmygosh.
    this blog, added to my must-explore-in-great-detail folder.

    pinterest love.
    this ridiculous meringue decorated cake.

    just…love, love.
    this natgeo article on the evolution of diet — it’s a long one, but really interesting! Spoiler alert: eat real food.
    these tips for cooking for one, because I never hear the end of it at work. Yes, you can cook/eat healthfully (and not waste food either!!) when only cooking for yourself or one other person. Pinky swear.

    orange spinach salad via @floptimism

    I feel time barreling, fumbling, crashing quickly into Spring, though the snow globe in which I’m living reminds me that the first of March is more the final leg of winter than of lawns purpled from wild crocuses and the heavy scent of the air after it rains. Yesterday was spent photographing a springtime salad for a future post, standing beside a window, skies overcast with another five inches of snowflakes wafting down. I feel myself coming out of the hibernation of oatmeal and stew and turning to the crisp, cool crunch of anything that is vibrant and fresh. It may still be Winter, but as we imagine it slowly, slowly melting away into Spring’s horizon, it’s time to find solid ground in the grey space between two seasons.

    Let this salad be your anything-but-grey grey space.

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    You thought I gave up, didn’t you? It’s ok, you can say it. I kind of thought I gave up, too. I mean, I kind of intended to, except the moment I gave myself permission to not finish something that I started for once…I started doing it. Still not perfectly, but significantly more effortlessly. I went a little quiet with the recaps, the thoughts of gratitude, and the like, but I’ve been doing them on my own time, offline. I just started to feel a little spammy and disingenuous with those daily thoughts of gratitude on social media — it got to be too much, and though I know social media is meant to be used and abused regularly, it just didn’t feel right coming from me. So, I say my daily thoughts of gratitude out loud or to myself before the day ends. This post should have been “28 days to happiness, week two,” posted at least six days ago, but, life.

    28 Day Happiness Journey via @floptimism

    Some things I’ve learned over the past two weeks:

    • I’m super not into using social media the way it’s designed to be used. I’m much more of a, go-with-the-flow, forget-about-it-for-days-and-lose-followers-then-suddenly-have-a-spark-of-creative-inspiration-and-share-again kind of user. Go figure the one thing I’m not totally anal about is the thing most people update every time they blink.
    • The first week I could not for the life of me find a meditation technique that I liked, and just this past week I stumbled across the honest guys on youtube, and I’m totally hooked. I feel so relaxed afterwards! So far I’ve done the guided meditations for anxiety and negativity. I don’t know why I found other guided meditations cheesy and distracting but not these, but I’m not questioning it too much. I’m not doing them every day, but I’ve done them 3 times since discovering them on Tuesday.
    • I’m still struggling with the random acts of kindness. I think I’m probably averaging about 2 per week, that I’m conscious of. Moving on.
    • I intentionally skipped exercise & meditation today, when I got home from work and realized that I was about to force myself to do it just for the sake of saying I had accomplished it. I have to remind myself that sometimes, it’s ok to veer off track or fall a little behind in exchange for embracing what will bring you genuine peace, joy, or amusement. That’s not to say you should never push yourself or get uncomfortable, but it is important to find that balance and to be honest with yourself about why you’re feeling resistant to…whatever.

    And that’s that! I’ll have one more recap at the very end. This was just a quick one to say — I’m still here! I’m still working on it! I hope you are, too, in your own way, whatever that may be.

    p.s. you can read my week one recap for more thoughts on this crazy challenge I created.

    You know you’re a rock star food blogger when you spend the week before Valentine’s Day getting ready to blog about the most garlicky of garlic breads ever. I mean, who needs chocolate covered strawberries and oysters when you can stink up your breath with some delicious homemade bread, amiright?

    garlic lover's bread via @floptimism

    On a side-note, if you’re one of those people who is crawling out of their skin at the thought of even being in the same room as a loaf of bread that has been baked with three heads of garlic (hi, Mom!), you should probably just stop reading now. Nothing good is going to come of this post for you, I can assure you.

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