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Smoothies & Appetizers

Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday)

When I was in school for dietetics, eggs were considered a healthy food but one that should only be consumed two days a week because of their cholesterol content.  And let’s be honest, that wasn’t too long ago….about 8 years to be precise.  Since that time things have changed.  Actually, a lot has changed.  Now all of a sudden cholesterol in food isn’t really what raises our cholesterol…it’s saturated fats (although for some populations at greater risk for heart disease, cholesterol should still be limited (read about Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes here)).  And these days even saturated fats are being looked at in a different light, with so many different forms having different effects on our blood lipids Speaking of blood lipids, a simple lipid profile provides only the basic information and doesn’t provide enough detail for certain high-risk populations.  Advanced lipid profiles can tell us so much more about a person’s risk (I mean, having “high cholesterol” may not be so bad anymore, as the types of LDL cholesterol are turning out to mean so much more than we ever thought).  It’s confusing, even for me, a dietitian.  There is just so much information out there, and so much yet to be discovered.

Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday) 2Source: iStock Photo

The whole saturated fat debate will probably carry on for years (if you’d like to read more check out a couple of my past posts; Margarine vs. Butter, and Is Coconut Oil Really That Great?), but a debate that I believe is finally coming to an end is the debate about eggs.  Without fail, the question I get asked the most is, “How many eggs can I eat every week?” or “Are eggs bad for me”? I’m going to start handing out this article from the New York Times to everyone who asks this, because I sometimes feel like a broken record.

Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday) 3Source: iStock Photo

The eggs may not be bad, but the bacon? That’s another story, for another post.

The bottom line? After pooling data from eight prospective studies, which included over 250,000 subjects, there was no evidence that eating up to an egg a day increase people’s risk for heart disease or stroke (diabetes patients were the only exception, but there were too few in the study to draw any conclusions. Please read the very short article to learn more).

Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday) 4

Now THAT is something to smile about!  Wondering what this is? Egg white and oat crepes; 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup oats, a dash of vanilla, put in a skillet and cook like a pancake. Top with syrup or fruit or Greek yogurt or all three!

But, the question still remains….how many eggs can be consumed each week before negative effects are seen? That’s still unclear, but the consensus seems to be that as long as you are eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. and replacing some of your saturated fats with unsaturated fats, it’s probably fine to do more than 1 egg a day, sometimes (but of course, listen to your doctor’s orders, as some people are at greater risk for heart disease and some evidence still shows that a reduced cholesterol diet is very important for certain high-risk populations).

Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday) 5

Nutrition Facts for eggs

My personal opinion? Eggs are definitely high in cholesterol, but the mere 1 gram of saturated fat is pretty amazing. And check out the protein, riboflavin and vitamin E!  And then there is the choline, which is found in the egg yolk and has some positive health effects.   Ok, but what else do you notice about the label above?I have a confession.  It wasn’t until I was working with a client just two weeks ago who was trying to stick to a low-sodium diet that I realized just how much sodium eggs contained. Can you believe I thought eggs were sodium free? Yeah, I’m so embarrassed.  That 65mg is mainly from the whites. And guess who eats egg whites all the time?? ME!

Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday) 6

This is my egg white crepe, same as the picture above but a bit messier.  Still delicious.

So….basically here is what you should know; 

  • To go along with this month’s National Nutrition Month Theme, remember, Eggs aren’t a “Bad Food” (there is no such thing as a bad food, only bad food patterns, and don’t you forget it!).  They are low in saturated fat, and even though they are loaded with cholesterol the research doesn’t seem to show that they increase heart disease or stroke risk.
  • If you’re skipping the egg yolks, you are missing about half of the protein and all of the choline in eggs.
  • If you are just eating the egg whites you need to consider the sodium content.  While the ~55 mg of sodium in 1 egg white isn’t high, it can quickly add up when you make that 6 egg white omelet!
  • Eggs are delicious and health-promoting, but if you are on strict orders to reduce your cholesterol, do not eat them. Period.

Here are some of my past egg recipes;

Egged Spaghetti Squash

Spinach and Mushroom Eggs Benedict

Alton Brown’s Perfect Scrambled Eggs

And with Easter right around the corner, don’t forget eggs are perfect hard boiled and topped on spinach salads…..Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday) 7….  and they are also perfect with peanut butter and chocolate Are Eggs Really Bad For Me? (Confused Day Tuesday) 8QUESTION:  What’s your favorite way to eat eggs???

By the way, I had a few questions about tempeh on yesterdays tempeh taco post.  I think any brand is fine, I don’t really have a preference.  I look for fewer ingredients, and the non “Flavored” type (less sodium that way).  I also like it when they add whole grains because the texture becomes  “meat-like” (and I personally like that, not everyone does though).  It’s fun to just experiment a bit.

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Smoothies & Appetizers

Opening a Pomegranate, and Blogger Pomegranate Recipes

Pomegranates are arguably the most beautiful fruit on Earth. Seriously, they could make any dish look pretty. Not only are they pretty, but they are loaded with nutrients (just to name a few; fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and plant nutrients called tannins, which can help get rid of free radicals that damage our cells).

In my last post, I asked you for some recipes that you like to use with pomegranates, and you definitely pulled through! But first I wanted to share something I love to do with pomegranates and that is add them to plain Greek yogurt (because I add everything to plain Greek yogurt). Who needs “Pomegranate Flavored Greek Yogurt”, which typically has about 5-6 grams of added sugars, when you can just add your own pomegranate to plain yogurt and get ZERO added sugars, and loads of nutrients?!Opening a Pomegranate, and Blogger Pomegranate Recipes 10

I get a lot of questions about how to open a pomegranate, and how to get the seeds out without making a huge mess. This video explains my favorite way to extract the seeds without getting “red dye” everywhere.Opening a Pomegranate, and Blogger Pomegranate Recipes 11

And now it’s recipe time! Here are some that you submitted.

Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken

Butternut, Pomegranate, and Pistachio Muffins

Grace suggested using the pear and pomegranate salsa as a compote to a white fish.<——Great idea! Jessie said; I tend to put pomegranates into anything – salad, smoothies, on sandwiches (great with leftover turkey), mixed with nuts (candied or plain), with yogurt … pretty much everywhere

Coco did an entire dinner party devoted to the pomegranate. Check out here recipes here!

Jess (Fit Chick in the City) said; I love eating them with a sweet potato and coconut butter. <—- Sounds heavenly! Jennifer suggested this roasted pumpkin salad, with pomegranates. <—- It’s so pretty! Michelle Voss, from Facebook, says she enjoys pomegranates mixed with chopped oranges <— Sounds like the perfect winter fruit salad!

EA Stewart (The Spicy RD) suggested using pomegranates as a garnish, such as with this recipe. <—-great idea! Crepes are so pretty on their own, but pomegranates just heightened their beauty. Here is an entire blog post that contains some favorite blogger pomegranate recipes! The black bean pomegranate dip really intrigues me.

I also really enjoy adding pomegranates to oatmeal. Have you ever tried that? It’s pretty darn amazing. Speaking of oatmeal, Friday’s post will be all about oatmeal, because it’s been way too long since I’ve posted any pictures of oatmeal! Seriously, last year I believe I posted oats about a million times, this year…..zero.

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Smoothies & Appetizers

Smoothie-sicles

When you buy “fruit popsicles” at the store, do you ever see the skin from the fruit? Rarely. Do you ever see an ingredient list without added sugars? No. That’s why, if you can, it’s a good idea to make your own popsicles every once in a while. Just buy some popsicle molds (sold everywhere these days!), or use ice molds.

** Keep in mind some companies do make very delicious popsicles with whole fruit and lots of vitamin C, so healthier popsicles do exist! **

The other day I made a smoothie with strawberries, organic frozen blueberries, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla unsweetened almond breeze and V8 light.Smoothie-sicles 13

You see all those flecks of skin, packed with phytonutrients (aka plant nutrients)??Smoothie-sicles 14

This smoothie turned into the most amazing popsicles. Unlike store varieties these were free of added sugars, packed with plant nutrients and only contained 20 calories.Smoothie-sicles 15

What more can you ask for when you’re in need of some healthier late night eats?

QUESTION: What do you like to eat late at night when you aren’t hungry, but you just want to eat something while in “relaxation mode”?

What about snacks to bring to work?Smoothie-sicles 16

Lately I’ve been snacking on dessert hummus (picture above), sweet potato chips and highly addictive (and unfortunately slightly high in sodium, at 230 mg per serving) dry roasted almonds. These snacks are so perfect for that mid-afternoon salt and/or sugar craving because they are packed with brain-stimulating protein, plus fiber, and in therms of the sweet potato chips, they are loaded with immune-stimulating vitamin A (it’s always a good idea to eat foods that will boost your immunity, even during the summer).

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Smoothies & Appetizers

Our Sugar-Filled World; Protein Bars and Meal Replacements

Check out my first You Tube video!!

I’m posting this one as a test, really. I’d love for you to tell me what you think, and if you had any troubles viewing the video. I plan on making a series of these so I need to get the kinks out now.

If you didn’t read my post from yesterday about fish and flax oil supplements, please do!

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Smoothies & Appetizers

Have Pulp? Make Smoothies!

Can you tell what this is?Have Pulp? Make Smoothies! 19

It’s one of our Orange Juice popsicles dipped in some plain yogurt and whipped cream. This was the perfect late night snack one evening. And as I mentioned in this post, we did not discard our orange juice pulp.Have Pulp? Make Smoothies! 20As Nick and I become more comfortable with our juicer, we’re beginning to play around with other types of produce, thus producing more pulp! We recently made carrot juice. Half a bag of baby carrots made about 3/4 cups of carrot juice.Have Pulp? Make Smoothies! 21

And of course the other half of the carrots went directly into the pulp container.Have Pulp? Make Smoothies! 22

Discard the pulp? Heck no! That’s all the fiber and other important plant nutrients that help fight chronic diseases. So what in the world have we been doing with our pulp?? Adding it to smoothies!Have Pulp? Make Smoothies! 23

Starting from the bottom we have orange juice pulp, followed by carrot juice pulp, romaine lettuce (yes, romaine!), frozen blueberries, and one whole banana.Have Pulp? Make Smoothies! 24

Before mixing the smoothie I added unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a dash of V8 Fusion Light.

Question: I know I’ve asked this already, but what are some fun juices you’ve created with or without a juicer? I would like to try some fun creations, but keep in mind I cannot eat apples, mangoes or pears.

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Smoothies & Appetizers

Asparagus Guacamole

What if you went to Chipotle and asked for guacamole……Asparagus Guacamole 26And instead of avocado guacamole you got…..asaparagus guacamole !!??Asparagus Guacamole 27I made asparagus guacamole the other day for some friends and it was a HUGE HIT! Sorry I don’t have pictures, but it looked a lot like regular guacamole just a bit more thin and watery. I only had a tiny taste because the onions and garlic called for in the recipe (not to mention the asparagus itself!) are not part of my low FODMAPs diet, but I had to taste to make sure it was ok before giving it to friends, of course….. Here is the recipe;

Asparagus Guacamole

Author: AllRecipes.com

Serves: 4-5

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus
  • ½ cup salsa (or green chilis)
  • 1 T chopped cilantro
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 green onions

Instructions

  1. Place the asparagus in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook 5 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain, and rinse with cold water.
  2. Place the asparagus, salsa, cilantro, garlic, and green onions in a food processor or blender, and process to desired consistency. Refrigerate 1 hour, or until chilled, before serving.

Notes

This is not a low FODMAPs recipe. Period.

Of course there are some naysayers out there who will refuse to give up their guacamole for asparagus guacamole, but considering all that fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C (and folate), and the incredibly low calorie count, how could you refuse?! Perhaps if you’re not one to try new things you could still add a nice succulent avocado to this recipe. After all, avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats, and the asparagus/avocado guacamole would still be a healthier alternative to most guacamole out there.

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Smoothies & Appetizers

Juice, From Scratch!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Any fun plans? Staying in to watch the Bachelor? Going out for a romantic dinner? Nick and I found a local place that is doing a 6 course Valentine’s dinner, for a GREAT price! The menu sounded amazing, so I’m actually very excited.Juice, From Scratch! 29

In honor of my heart, I chose the salmon for tonight’s dinner. Nick chose the steak…

Do you like juice? I’ve never been a fan of juice. Even when I was a child I really wasn’t into juice. As I’ve learned more about nutrition and health, I have decided that my dislike for juice is actually quite a good thing, as I’ve counseled many individuals who seem to have a slight addiction to it’s sweet and tangy taste. I prefer eating the actual fruit, personally, and that’s also what I suggest to my clients.

About a month ago Nick mentioned he would love a juicer. Of course the first thing that came to my mind was, “yuck, no thanks!”. But then I realized that in this day and age a “juicer” isn’t just a large piece of equipment that extracts juice, but in fact today’s modern juicer can turn the entire edible fruit/vegetable into juice! So really, buying a juicer wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I convinced myself that we had enough room in our tiny kitchen for one more large piece of equipment. On Nick’s birthday I presented him with this;Juice, From Scratch! 30

Three days later we purchased oranges….Juice, From Scratch! 31

read the simple instructions, peeled three oranges…..Juice, From Scratch! 32

and made America’s favorite juice, orange juice!Juice, From Scratch! 33

I was expecting all of the pulp to be nicely mixed into the juice, however, to my horror, it was all saved in another compartment on the juicer.Juice, From Scratch! 34

Nick said, “perfect! No pulp!”. I about cried. Do you know how many health benefits are in that pulp?! TONS! I insisted that he add at least half the pulp, so he did  In total, the 3 oranges made about 1.75 cups of OJ.Juice, From Scratch! 35

I even saved some of the pulp and put it in the freezer. After about an hour it was slightly frozen and I added some Truvia for a sweet treat. Sound strange? Well, it was delicious!Juice, From Scratch! 36

The juice was also delicious and I can’t wait to make other juice creations. In fact, I’m starting to think of creative ideas for summer popsicles!Juice, From Scratch! 37

Benefits of Juicing

– Depending on the produce, you may be able to eat the entire fruit/vegetable, even the fibrous core

– Minimal nutrient loss due to traveling, sitting on the shelf, and heat from pasteurization (it’s basically a raw food)

– Amazing taste

-Ability to create your own juice mixes and to be creative with your juice

Question: Have you ever juiced? Give me some new ideas please!

I almost forgot, I also made tangelo + red grapefruit juice.Juice, From Scratch! 38

I added all of the pulp to this one, and once it was chilled, it was amazing.

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Smoothies & Appetizers

A Lighter Buckeye Candy!

Who says buckeye candies can’t be slightly good for you?? As you all know, I love to modify recipes. One of my favorite desserts during fall football season, and the holidays, are buckeyes (balls of peanut butter and sugar, covered with chocolate, which are meant to mimic the look of a poisonous Ohio buckeye nut). Most buckeyes have loads of sugar, fat, and calories. I’ll be honest, mine are still pretty calorie, sugar, and fat packed, but I’ve definitely made them a little more nutritious….

A Lighter Buckeye Candy! 40

A Lighter Buckeye Candy! 41

Buckeyes

A Lighter Buckeye Candy! 42Print

Serves: ~80 buckeyes

Ingredients

  • 5 cups nut butter (** I used ¾ cup Better’n Peanut Butter**)
  • 1 cup butter, softened (**I used Smart Balance 50/50 butter blend sticks**)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar

Instructions

  1. – Mix together the nut butters, vanilla, and softened butter until well blended
  2. – Add the confectioners sugar, a little at a time. Blend the confectioner’s sugar, butter, and nut butters until you have a large bowl of a soft delicious “dough”
  3. – Start creating small little balls and put them onto a wax paper-lined baking sheet (the smaller they are, the less calories each buckeye will be!). I made my buckeyes about 1 inch in diameter. My mom (below) made hers massive, at about 2 inches in diameter.
  4. – Insert toothpicks into each ball and put the balls in the freezer for about 30 minutes (hehe, that sounds funny…sorry, I’m such a child!)
  5. – Using a double broiler (or just a bowl) heat one bag of Dove dark chocolate until it’s nice and melted
  6. – Retrieve the balls from the freezer and start dipping! You will dip each ball so that chocolate covers a little more than half.
  7. – Put in freezer to let chocolate get dry. Enjoy after about 3-4 hours!

Notes

You can use a reduced fat peanut butter to make this a lower fat buckeye, but that will also just add more carbohydrates. I used half Better’n Peanut Butter, which can be found at most grocery stores. I also used the Smart Balance butter/margarine sticks (trans fat free and lower in saturated fat than butter). Lastly, use an extra dark (~70-85 %) chocolate to add more antioxidants, and to reduce the sugar in these buckeyes.

A Lighter Buckeye Candy! 43A Lighter Buckeye Candy! 44

Total calories: ~90-100 (make them even smaller for less calories)

Other Nutrition Highlights:More vitamin E and magnesium due to the addition of the almond butter, and less fat and calories due to the use of Better’n Peanut Butter instead of all regular full fat nut butter! Also by using dark chocolate you may be getting a bit more phytonutrients, which could play a role in heart health.

Question: Have you ever had a buckeye?

When I was a kid we used to go to a huge party for the OSU/Michigan game each year. At the party there were always loads of buckeyes and black olives (yeah, I know, random). I can remember eating AT LEAST 6 buckeyes and 20 black olives (I put them on my fingers) during that 4 hour period. I can’t believe I never got sick!

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Smoothies & Appetizers

My Thoughts on Protein Powders

Before starting today’s post I thought I’d give a little update on my “elimination diet”. I had a few people ask me how I would know which foods were giving me troubles if I was just going to go ahead and give up a bunch of foods. For starters, I’m not doing the elimination diet 100%, by any means. The week after my elimination diet I only added two things each day. I noticed the increase in dairy at night, and my addition of popcorn at night, both gave me some troubles in the morning. This is why I have cut out popcorn and reduced my late night dairy intake (mainly ice cream….). Who knows, maybe I’ll actually have to go back on the diet 100% and slowly add foods back in the right way in order to find out the real problem foods. If it comes down to that I will do it, but I’m already feeling better so I think I’m on the right track.

Ok, so now onto today’s post!

Protein powders are a topic of interest for many of my readers and many customers with whom I talk at work. This article really shed some light on the problem with protein powders and pretty much summed up many of the reasons why I do not use them. Like many dietary supplements there is an industry need for protein powders, but not everyone should be using them.

Who May Benefit From a Protein Powder?

– Vegans may benefit from protein powders. Powders made from soy, hemp, quinoa, and pea proteins are just some of the options for vegans, since they do not contain animal products. To view some words which may signify dairy in a protein supplement, check out this website.

– Vegetarians or people who just don’t eat a lot of meat, poultry, and/or fish may benefit from protein powders because it’s an easy way to add high-quality protein to their diet.

– People trying to increase muscle mass? This depends. I often recommend consuming whey protein after a workout for muscle growth, but milk is a better source of whey protein, in my opinion. Paying for a protein supplement is just a waste of money when you can have a glass of milk for half the price. Not only that, but you know what’s in the milk. The same is not true with all protein powders. There is also evidence out there that suggests too much protein can actually cause your muscles to atrophy. If you want to put on muscle mass, eat more calories and increase your workout intensity. If you don’t have enough time to eat all of those calories, a protein powder may actually be beneficial.My Thoughts on Protein Powders 46

If you’re stuck on protein powders for their “convenience” and you truly believe they are making a difference in the way you look and/or feel, please be sure to do the following;

– Drink plenty of fluid throughout the day. Consuming too much protein can cause dehydration.

– Make sure your kidneys are healthy before beginning a protein powder regimen, as too much protein can cause kidney damage. This is especially important if you are diabetic.

– Be sure to choose a protein supplement that you trust, and that has been third party tested (look for GMP or USP labels).

– Watch out for “proprietary blends” on ingredient lists. This is just another way of saying “we have created a special mix of ingredients that we do not want to disclose!”

Question: What are your thoughts on protein powders?

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Smoothies & Appetizers

Another Thing I Can’t Eat/Drink…..MILK!

Before I begin this post, I’d like to highlight a very important event that occurred yesterday, July 15th, 2010. One of my favorite people in the world, Emily (The Health Nut) officially joined the special club known as “The Food Police Club”, aka THE REGISTERED DIETITIAN CLUB!!! I am especially excited to announce this because Emily was the one who got me started blogging. If it wasn’t for her I would not have found this other world, known as the “Blog World”. I never want to leave. Thanks Emily. And…..

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Ok, now post time.

As you know, I have fructose malabsorption, which means my body doesn’t have (or doesn’t have enough, or it doesn’t work) the enzyme to break down fructose. In the literature I have found that most people with fructose malabsorption also have lactose intolerance, which you can learn more about here. Briefly, if you are lactose intolerant you are lacking the enzyme that breaks down lactose, which is called lactase. When you can’t break down lactase you will have gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea (all similar symptoms that I experience when I consume too much fructose).

I have never had a problem with milk (or at least I never thought I did), but for some reason I sort of cut it out of my diet a couple years ago and switched to almond and soy milk. I have not had a glass of real cow’s milk in years. The other day, before leaving for Pittsburgh, I had a coupon for Smart Balance’s new cow’s milk, so I bought some.Another Thing I Can’t Eat/Drink…..MILK! 48While this milk is called “Fat Free” it actually has some fat added to it, in the form of essential omega-3 fatty acids. So it’s true that the milk itself is fat free, but with the added fat it has about 1 gram per cup. This milk also offers 6 IU of vitamin E, which is not much, but it’s still pretty neat that they added it to milk! Many Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin E in their diets because of the lack of fat in their diet. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and it’s also good for PMS prevention!Another Thing I Can’t Eat/Drink…..MILK! 49You can get a better view of the nutrition facts at the Smart Balance website. The milk contains .32 grams of EPA/DHA (essential omega-3 fats). I like to strive for .5-1 gram of EPA/DHA per day, so I think this is fantastic.Another Thing I Can’t Eat/Drink…..MILK! 50This milk doesn’t taste like 2%, like it says, but either way it’s still very good. However, there is one problem. I had one glass of this stuff and had FOWL gas all day. It took me a while to connect the milk to the gas, but I eventually decided that I am now LACTOSE INTOLERANT! Ugh. It’s pretty normal for humans to lose the gene that is responsible for lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose) as they get older, but I think I may have quickened this process by completely cutting out cow’s milk in the past several years. Thankfully I can still eat; ice cream, cheese, and yogurt, because each of these provides less lactose than a glass of milk, and they don’t cause me any GI issues.

Question: What’s your favorite way to get your calcium and vitamin D? Mine is definitely yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) and ice cream, but I don’t know if ice cream counts as a good source of calcium and vitamin D. Oh well!

Coming Up/Training Update

I have to stay here in Pittsburgh for more training tomorrow, then I’ll be heading back to Columbus tomorrow evening. I won’t be in Columbus long though, as I must be back here on Tuesday for another week of training. In good news, next week will be my last week in Pittsburgh! I’m not calling this good news because I don’t like Pittsburgh, in fact I really do like this city. It’s very similar to Columbus (although they are all professional football fanatics, while we are all about college football!). Anyway, I am just excited because I will no longer be living in a hotel, but instead I’ll be home and comfortable. Not to mention I get to have my own store, and I will no longer follow an RD! Apparently a Giant Eagle nearby had an RD who left, therefore they figured I could sort of take over after 3 weeks of training. I’m completely up for it. While I’m slightly intimidated, I feel that Giant Eagle has a fantastic support team and I don’t feel like I’m going in there blind, at all. I’m so excited. I will hopefully be able to post pictures and more detail once I get the “ok” from corporate (although I may not get the “ok” at all….).