beef and sustainability

What a fun few months I have been having! If you read my post earlier this month you read about how I was turning my focus to being present and enjoying life, instead of worrying and overstressing about big projects and goals. This shift has helped me really focus on the fun and professional work that is important to me. Plus, this approach is helping me say ‘no’ more often, which means more time for things I love.

In March I was insanely excited to head out to Kentucky for a couple of days (Sponsored by the Beef Checkoff) to learn all about beef production and sustainability. Did you know that Kentucky produces more beef than any state east of the Mississippi River?

On our trip we learned from a master butcher, ground and made our own burgers, had a steak taste test, toured the YARDS, an education center focused on the science and practices in the beef industry, and toured Eden Shale Farms. The best part was hearing from and interacting with local farmers.

I have to say, I was really blown away by these incredible farmers who work so hard every day to care for their animals, that they don’t get a chance to get out there and share what beef farming and ranching really looks like. Some farm full-time, some have their family members help, some work full-time and take care of their farm and cattle in the evenings and on weekends. Many of the 38,000 cattle farmers in Kentucky operate multi-generational cow-calf farms. These are real families that have helped to feed our country for many years.

They all have one thing in common: they CARE.

These beef farmers and ranchers care so much about their animals, and their wellbeing. I don’t feel this message is conveyed enough, or ever. Our society is quick to shun different foods and food groups and then others latch on to the latest trend. When was the last time you made a food decision FOR YOURSELF? The last time you didn’t play back in your mind what someone at work said to you about this food, or what food your sister was avoiding on her new diet. It is important that we educate ourselves and make up our own minds about what and how we want to eat.

I eat beef, and I eat poultry, and I eat dairy, and I eat more fruits and vegetables than most people I know. I also eat almost all of my meals at home. I eat products and foods that I believe in and I feel good knowing that beef not only provides me with the essential vitamins and nutrients my active body needs, but also that it supports real families, agriculture, and our environment.

Here are some things about beef and sustainability that I learned on my trip. I really hope this helps you make a new food decision for yourself, or at the very least, teaches you something new.


Facts about Beef and Sustainability:

  1. Cattle are ‘upcyclers’. They eat human-inedible plants (ahem- grass) and convert it into a high-quality human edible protein.

  2. Cattle also consume plant-based leftovers that would otherwise go to waste like distillers grains, and cottonseed.

  3. Cattle graze on rangeland that is unsuitable for cultivation which expands the land available for food production.

  4. Corn only accounts for 7% of cattle’s diet. Concerned about this corn being removed from the food supply? The corn usage for animal feed has decreased while the corn usage for fuel production as increased so if cattle weren’t fed that bit of corn, it would likely go towards fuel production

  5. The US beef production system is 10-50x more efficient than other nations. We have more efficient practices, which are being improved constantly, and through these practices use fewer natural resources and put out a carbon footprint that has been on the decline since the 1970s.

Ultimately, the decision of what you eat is and should be up to you. We are all entitled to our own food choices, and that is what makes education and awareness of the facts that much more important. If you want to explore more you can check out this website which has the answers to the most common questions, and misconceptions about beef. If you have questions, post in the comments I will happily reply and work hard to find the answer to your questions if I don’t know the answer myself.

PS the grain v grass fed discussion was insanely informative for me and you all need to read this blog post from Nicole to learn more about the actual process of finishing beef.


Post content is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. All opinions and meal ideas are my own.

life update: 2019 goals

Why hello there, friends.

As we enter into quarter two of 2019 I see that blogging once a month has become my norm (I apologize) and that my resolutions for 2019 remain unset (I will not apologize for this).

I have decided I am forgoing setting goals for 2019, both for my life, and my business.


If you read my January post you read about how much success I had in 2018 both with meeting and exceeding many of my goals. But, 2019 is proving to be the year of slowing down. Right now, I do not need goals to push myself and achieve and challenge myself, I need to slow down. This post is let you know where I am at, and what I am focusing on. I hope it helps you be ‘okay’ with whatever your choices are. Whether you are choosing to make this a year of hustle, a year of family, a year of love, whatever it is, it is yours to choose. I certainly am periodically panicked that I ‘should and could’ be doing more. But then I remember, I am enjoying the less doing and more being. I also remind myself that those things are available to me when I want them. I know how to hustle, if I want to start pushing my limits I can certainly flip that switch. For now, this break is okay. I hope you will share your 2019 updates with me and of course continue to follow my journey on IG where I share daily. Below are some updates on what I have been up to and enjoying.

what I’m doing

  • Focusing on my job. My new job has proven to be a great outlet for my skills and passions and as a result I feel less drive (pressure) to do ‘all of the things’ outside of work. Work is more fulfilling, and that is a positive.

  • Getting married. I am getting married in just over 5 months and while we aren’t doing anything crazy, it is still WORK. We have weddings to attend, family functions, events to plan, and details to organize. That is enough for my to-do list for the next few months, thanks.

  • Hanging out with my nephew. Because he is cute.

  • Exercising. I joined a gym for the first time in several years. It is fun to get back to lifting heavier and also rediscovering what my best ‘balance’ of lifting, running, walking, yoga, barre, etc really is. I love experimenting with my body.

  • Therapy. This is new to me but has been great.

What I’m loving

  • Reading. So. Much. Reading. If you are following me on IG you are following along with my reading and my audiobook listening. I set a goal of 50 books completed in 2019 and I am already just about halfway there. Reading is great because instead of stressing and finding ‘things to do’ and things to worry over, I take any moment of free time and open a book.

  • Teaching group fitness. I am teaching at InlineFit in Canton, Baltimore 3 classes per week + subbing and recently started picking up some Saturdays at LIFT in Mt. Vernon, Baltimore. These classes are a highlight of my week.

  • My InstantPot. (DuoPlus 6 Qt.) Really working on spending more time enjoying my time in the kitchen. Turns out when you don’t overfill your life it is a lot easier to find enjoyment in cooking.

So thats my 2019 trajectory. Nothing crazy. No big goals. Just lots of things going on and I want to enjoy and be present instead of stressing over the week or waiting for stressful events to pass by. I hope you continue to enjoy my content, even if the pace is slowed down. As usual, if there is something specific you want to hear about LMK!

Talk soon!

lessons learned: no added sugar

Hey friends!

How was your February? Two weeks ago me and my friend, and fellow RD, Becky went one week without added sugar. Did you join us? If you missed the challenge, you can find the details here.

Today I am sharing some of the lessons learned during our brief seven days without added sugar. Don’t worry, I am back on the donuts, but it was a great, eye opening challenge.


lessons learned: added sugar

  1. Too much sugar can make you feel crappy and can aggravate IBS.

  2. Added sugar is in SO many foods. Truthfully, I tend to think my added sugar intake is fairly low day-to-day (unless I bake cookies or am PMSing) but, getting reacquainted with the food label on staple foods in my diet made me realize that I likely come very close to the ‘recommended’ added sugar limit of 25 g/d. Between sausage or bacon, a granola bar, bread, sauces, and so much more, sugar is literally everywhere, and often in places it really doesn’t need to be.

  3. Eating sweets can quickly become a habit. We found that nighttime snacks and post dinner treats weren’t really something that was needed or even really wanted.

  4. Sweets are often used to comfort when stressed, or occupy when bored. Yikes!!! I am all about mindful eating, I really try to think before I eat and this challenge helped me identify the moments when I normally would reach for some m&ms or chocolate in the cabinet. This challenge forced me to check-in. EVERY SINGLE TIME I had that urge it was due to looking for a distraction from something I didn’t want to do, or feeling stressed / overwhelmed and wanting a moment of comfort. I prefer intentional treat selection for enjoyment, but I am not immune to the comfort of my favorite chocolate to escape my stress. I definitely do this way more often than I realized and I am glad for my better awareness. Now I am more apt to stop and ask ‘what am I really feeling right now?’ It is challenging, but powerful.

  5. A savory breakfast can be just as satisfying as a sweet breakfast. PS Becky has some amazing recipes and breakfast shares on her IG so make sure you’re following her.

  6. Fruit makes a great dessert! We both really enjoyed adding more fruit to our day, either at breakfast, as a snack, or as dessert after a meal. Clementines and grapes are extra tasty this time of year and are certainly sweet!

  7. Carbohydrate intake didn’t decrease. This eye opening experience showed us that we do love carbs and can eat carbs and will eat carbs for fuel and satisfaction but perhaps the countless sources of added hidden sugars in our diet don’t all need to be there too. I rely on bread a lot more than I ever have (due to my schedule) and I recognized there were higher quality breads I could invest in for more nutrition and less / no added sugar.

  8. Not drinking alcohol is tough. We had an alcohol goal, I did not succeed. Some weeks I drink 3-4 days, some weeks 1 day, some weeks 2 days. I wasn’t going to give up on a social outing and seeing friends because of this challenge. If I am out and socializing I prefer to drink. If I didn’t want to drink I would stay home and read. Worth highlighting two big points here: 1) Your alcohol intake isn’t benign, I know about my relationship with it, what’s yours? and 2) Your diet choices should not limit your social life and enjoyment of life.

  9. And of course, as I always say, it is important to be able to enjoy a treat when you want it and when it is special. Sweets are for enjoyment, not just because you realized your taxes are almost due and your anxiety is thru the roof. My biggest take away, was to remind myself of this exact thing that I know and teach but can sometimes lose sight of. Choose the treats that matter, that are chosen for the sake of truly tasting and enjoying, not the treats that are used to numb.

Well guys, there you have it. We survived, we learned a lot, we have new ideas for snacks, and a greater appreciation for why we make certain choices. Are we both back to eating sugar? You bet, however I always appreciate a learning moment and ideas about how to be more mindful and I look forward to using these lessons moving forward.