Family, Fitness, RD Advice

The Kick-in-the-pants that you just might need

I have a bit to say this morning about inspiration, dedication and pushing through in order to better your health. WARNING: you may commit to lifestyle changes after this post!

When I was in the US for a month, I spent family time with my in-laws who are living in India for 5 years, also working with Mennonite Central Committee.

Gordon and Carol are the most giving people I have ever met. What I mean by this is that they give 100% of themselves to other people. They are wonderful hosts who enjoy the presence of their guests. They are caring servants that devote themselves to their field of work and being the hands and feet of God. They are tireless and always have time to talk when you need to. They are great people and wonderful in-laws.



However, both of them decided that they needed to take time for themselves and their health. I don’t know if they both started on the same day or who encouraged who, but around this past April, they both started walking on their treadmill. In addition, they started eating smaller portions, and more fruits and vegetables.

When I heard about the habits that they were incorporating into their lives I was so happy for them. Gordon was getting up at least an hour early in the morning and walking while he watched TV. Carol was leaving work on time (instead of later) and walking in the evenings before dinner. They told me that after they built up endurance they would go farther and turn up the speed. Carol was keeping track of her weight and kilometers that she walked every day. And when I saw them at the airport I could see that their hard work had paid off. Again, so happy for these guys! They are still walking and sticking to sustainable eating habits that help them manage their health –  yeah!

I get over-the-top excited whenever I hear stories like these and see people change their lives for the better. My in-laws are an inspiration. They may not know this before reading this post, but these days, whenever my alarm goes off in the morning and I contemplate turning it off in order to sleep more instead of working out, I think of them. I think about their dedication to their health and I remember that I made that promise to myself as well. So I roll out of bed, find my clothes, put on my shoes and get to it. I am absolutely nowhere near perfect, I go in and out of periods of my life when I maybe get in 3 workouts a week, maybe. And I also do not have time to spend an hour working out every day. Some days, like this morning, I have 20 minutes, other days I have an hour and a half. I work with what I have and feel good about whatever I accomplish.

While I realize that setting your mind to it and changing your routine and eating style is daunting and difficult, it is possible. No matter your age, fitness level, time constraints, etc. your current and future health deserve it. Emphasis on future health. Health issues don’t occur overnight, they take years to develop. Obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, etc. These are serious things folks and there is no better time than your right now to make sure you are doing all you can to prevent them. Okay, not meaning to scare anyone – but please, don’t set yourself up for this in the future!


And, if you are wondering, “what will these changes do for me at this point in my life?” well let me give you some helpful reading material:

1. Whatever Your Age, Exercise is Essential

2. Healthy Living/Exercise and Fitness as you Age

If you are also thinking, “well I really don’t have that much time so I should just wait until I can be 100% devoted,” here’s a little more to give you that kick in the pants:

Lastly, if you are saying, “Meghan, I don’t have a gym nearby or I hate working out in front of others or I have no exercise equipment,” check out these great sites for at-home workout inspiration.

There is no great way to say this but….we all have 15-20 minutes a day to spare, no excuses, you can do it!

So, are you ready? Keep me in the loop if you are starting an exercise plan or need some extra motivation or ideas! You got this!

~The Optimist

Family, Uncategorized

My faith and me

Hello there friends! I am happy to say that I survived bachelorette weekend #2! During several conversations with my mom, my sister, and my friends, I am coming to see this time by myself as an experience that is good for me and I am hoping that I will learn a bit more about myself. That is what my mom says at least – I think that maybe the most important thing that I will learn to do is fall asleep by myselfSmile

But more seriously, I know that God is using this time for good, whatever that may be. While I may not know yet  what that good may be– I know it exists…just like I know that he will always take care of me and my family. I move ahead with a blind faith that God is in control and to over-anticipate His plans is time-consuming and fruitless.

First, a couple of weekend highlights:

  • Friday night girls night with some great gals and Tikki drinks that took us to a tropical paradise even though it was around 20 degrees outside:

Hawaiian style old fashioned

  • Saturday packing in the morning (I loooooove to pack!) and a 5 mile treadmill run in the afternoon. I also had a bonus skype date with my hubby.

5 miles

  • Saturday Night: Using my gift-card to Whole Foods for dinner from their hot bar and dessert afterwards. I did a blog post about why I don’t shop at Whole Foods. This was the first time I have been in one of their stores. It was beautiful and I appreciated some of their delicacy items. However my mind remains unchanged. I could probably walk out of their blowing up my grocery budget for the week, even if I went for just a few items.

saturday dinner

  • Saturday night movie night with kit kat. We watched Age of Adeline. I know this has been out a while but it was never something that Zach volunteered to watch with me so it was the perfect sappy love story to watch when you are missing a loved one.
  • Sunday morning meal planning, gym, grocery store.
  • Afternoon errands, baking, and meal prep. I made a couple of types of lemon chia seed muffins. One was a gluten-free variety with a lemon glaze. They were dense but the glaze made them pretty good. Find the recipes here: Flour-less Lemon Chia Muffins and here: Healthy Lemon Chia Muffins. I also made a couple of types of quiche, both crust-less, but one with torn up bread pieces on the bottom. I didn’t use a recipe because quiches are a normal dish in this household. I usually sauté some vegetables, whip up 4 eggs with some milk and spices, and pour this on top of the cooked vegetables and 1 hearty cup of cheese. I bake them for 45 minutes at 375.

gluten free lemon muffinslemon chia seed muffins

chopped vegetables


I am a Christian, which you may have been able to tell from the topic of this blog post. I feel that it is important to say out loud on this blog because I want to incorporate this part of who I am into every part of my life. While I may be Christian, that doesn’t mean I am the best one – not even close in fact, and I know that I will always have room to grow, learn, and change to be a better person in this area of my life.

Something that I have been working on for quite some time is being intentional with this area of my life. I can definitely say that I have allowed myself to get swept up with the busyness, striving, and struggle of the world and I have often put intentionality with God at the bottom of the To-Do list. What have I allowed to get in the way? Let me share with you my list of excuses:

  1. My relationship with my family and friends
  2. My high school and then my college “work-load”
  3. Wedding planning
  4. Moving
  5. Exercising
  6. Housework
  7. Moving again
  8. Studying to become a RD
  9. Media (watching TV, Facebook, Instagram, ……and now blogging) And more..

There have been several times in the past 8 years (I was 16 when I accepted God into my heart) when I have said, enough with it, I need to make time. And there have been several times when I have not been cautious enough and once again have found myself in the same place again, hanging my head and asking God to forgive me for putting literally everything else ahead of Him.

I am very lucky to have a wonderful mom who is a great role model to me in this area of my life. While she may not know this, she is one of the reasons that I continue to fight for an intentional life with God. She prays for me, she encourages me to always seek Him in my life and make time for him, and she also shares with me what she is working on in her relationship with God. I love that I can always count on her prayers when I ask for them, and even when I do not Smile

So where does that leave us at the end of this post? I don’t quite know, but I do want to encourage any of you, wherever you may be in your relationship with God to fight for that relationship. Personally, I think that it is time that I try being intentional in a different way than I ever have before. When I try to be intentional with other things in my life I usually succeed or improve by writing that activity into my week. I plan my meals and my exercise. I think that I also need to plan quiet time with God into my week. If I need to chillax on some of the things that I think are important to be a “good dietitian,” like cooking, exercising, and blogging, then so be it. There are many things in my life that are more important than my career and God is one of them.

Question of the day: What do you do to intentionally make time for your relationship with God?



Goodbyes and Good Times

Good Monday morning to you all!

I had quite the weekend, it was a mix of emotions, sadness, impatience, peace, joy, and comfort. I believe that I felt all of those emotions in that order as well, ha!

Friday Night:

Zach and I met up for dinner with the group of PhD Economic students that he had been apart of before switching his career choice. We had a great time with these people. When Zach was considering stopping the program to chose another degree, he was very torn because all of his classmates and their significant others were such great people. We didn’t want to lose their friendship and luckily we didn’t have to. Everyone has been so great at keeping in touch with us, inviting us to birthdays and parties, we have continued to become closer with them all. A bit sappy, but all to explain why we wanted Zach to have a chance to say goodbye before he left. We ate, drank, talked – a perfect goodbye.

The rest of the night Zach made phone calls to relatives, we finished Madam Secretary (at least all the Netflix seasons) and then just soaked up some talking time and snuggles with the kitty.


Cinnamon Swirl French Toast and Scrambled Eggs with Tomato and Mushroom

We slept in a little (no morning workout for me, that was not a priority) and I made a nice breakfast for us to enjoy. Together we finished packing Zach’s suitcases, he said goodbye to kitty (sob!) and we left for the airport.

My un-showered, no make-up attire

I wore sunglasses into the airport, I am a crier and there are never enough tissues to soak up my love. I think I cried not just because I wouldn’t see or even have consistent communication with my best friend for a month (maybe longer) but also because I was a little scared, annoyed that I have to stay behind, and overwhelmed with what I have to do.

My handsome man, about to leave





Leaving the airport, I already had a plan to go to Marshall’s and shop. Yep, shopping takes away my sadness pretty quick. I think at one point I had 10 items in my arms. This is how I shop though, I pick up pretty things, walk around a bit, try them on, walk around some more, and then end up putting almost all of them back and fighting with myself in my mind over whether or not I need whatever I am still carrying.

I felt a wave of sadness when I got home, it was 3 pm on a Saturday. I felt like I needed to pack, clean, make myself lunch (late), and sleep all at the same time. I don’t quite remember what I did but I did eat something and fully cleaned both bathrooms (yes!).

Later than evening, as I was about to roast some vegetables for meals this week I got a text from a friend inviting me to a movie night – life-saver – I was starting to feel silly and sad about not having made prior Saturday night plans and I was probably going to end up in bed at 8 pm. We watched a couple of episodes of Street Food Around the World and then Arrival. I got home at 12:30 pm. Zach woke me up at 1:45 am because he was in Paris on a layover. It was so wonderful to hear his voice.

Sunday: I had my plan a bit more together for Sunday. I woke up, made a to-do list while I ate breakfast (half a bagel with egg, onion, mushroom and cheese) and got started.


I did a 45 minute workout at the gym. 30 minutes of cardio, 10 minutes of abs, 5 minutes of buttocks. I didn’t have a plan going into the gym but thankfully I ended up getting a good sweat and burn. I was planning on going to Aldi right away but swung into Goodwill, which is in between my gym and Aldi. I found a few things that I literally wanted to buy brand new at Marshalls the day before so I was happy that I saved a significant amount of money. Zach and I are being very conscious of our money (we kinda always are) so that we come back to the states in stable financial condition.

I then went to Aldi and then the wine store to grab a bottle of Malbec and some boxes for packing. I picked up a lot of fresh produce from Aldi and ingredients for Morning Glory muffin. When I came home I saw this waiting for me on my porch! Zach said that a surprise would be arriving on Sunday!


What a great surprise! I adore Michelle Obama and really admire her work with the White House Garden, Play 60, and nutrition and garden education that she provides and promotes to youth. Such an important cause and very near and dear to my heart.


Baking is not really my thing, but because it is National Nutrition Month I wanted to bring a good muffin into work this week. These turned out to be the best muffins I have ever made! I doubled the batch to leave some for myself for breakfasts and I am so happy I did! Please check out the recipe at: It is very worth your time, I promise.

I am guilty for ruining the picture because I couldn’t wait to eat one!

Between baking a double batch of muffins, packing, laundry and listening to Pandora, I barely had time to finish my last batch of muffins before meeting up with some members from the Econ group for dinner at my favorite restaurant in SouthSide, La Palapa!


I got tameles, first time having them, ever (!), and they were amazing, I am glad I tried something new. I saved half for lunch today, yay!

To sum everything up.

  1. Life is good, there is a season for everything, I am “#blessed.”
  2. Zach is safely in Lebanon and his first day of work is today.
  3. My friends are amazing. They helped me more than they know this weekend.
  4. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13. This comes to mind when I start to feel overwhelmed with packing and all of the other tasks that I have to accomplish before leaving. Take everything bit by bit, God is in control.

I hope to come to you this week with a new “What’s Trending” post. I am torn between a couple of different topics so I will just have to hurry up and decide! Try the muffin recipe, so good!




The last 6 years

This March marks six years that Zach and I have been together. Dating for 2ish years, engaged for 1ish, and almost married for 3ish (June 21st). I thought that today I would share a little bit about the story of how Zach and I met and a little from our backgrounds that led us to become the people we are today. So sit back and enjoy this post because everyone loves a good love story, right?

I moved to Lancaster, PA right before my junior year of high school. My new school was much larger than where I came from (tiny Montana towns, lol). Zach and I had a few classes together during high school but never talked to each other at all during my junior year. I was shy and he was busy with three sports a year, yearbook club, etc.

High school me during a summer trip with my youth group to Ecuador.

I had made a great friend my senior year of high school. When the school’s talent show rolled around, we decided to do a musical act together. We decided on our first practice session that we needed drums to give our song a beat. Enter Zach – one of the two people in the school who knew how to play drums. He agreed. I can remember one of the first times that I hung out with Zach, after practicing our act. I liked the way he genuinely listened to me as I talked, he had a way of being really present during conversation. He also had beautiful blue eyes that I loved looking into. Zach tells me that he had a crush on me at this point.

During the last few months of our senior year, we ended up finding each other in between classes more and more often. We would walk from calculus together with another friend of mine. She would mention how Zach pointedly looked for me after class and would jog to catch up if her and I were ahead of him.

After the talent show was over, Zach ended up asking me to our senior prom. He did it in the most nerdy way, he had our calculus teacher add a question to the end of one of our tests that used a calculus-type formula to ask me to prom. I said yes. I failed that test because after skimming the questions right at the beginning of exam time, I saw that last question and couldn’t focus on the rest lol. Against our friends advice, we started dating in the last month of high school. They thought it was silly to start a new relationship before going off to college. They were right, but we didn’t care.

A picture from our high school prom
High school graduation

We had already planned on going to different colleges, so we did the long-term thing for a few years. There were many weekend trips down to Harrisonburg, VA to spend time with him. We had many adventures during winter and summer breaks, I knew after three months of dating that I was in love and wanted to marry him.

Post graduation pie making experience. You can see the juice spilling out in this pic!


Zach decided early on to try to get done with college in three years. He ended up proposing to me during my sophomore year of college. We got married after my junior year and I ended up doing the married thing during my senior year. Given the choice once more to get married that young, I would do it again. I have been able to see my husband grow, change, and learn about himself as a man. While growth is not always a smooth road, it is necessary. Looking back at the people that we were when we started dating and comparing them to us now, I am grateful that we were together through the entire process.

Taken right after Zach proposed to me. I love his face!


Our wedding, one of my favorite days with this guy!


We have had many adventures in our short time together. Zach has come with me several times to my family home in Montana, visited my sister with me in North Dakota, we vacationed in India for 3 weeks last winter with his mom and dad. We have been blessed with many new friends in our lives together. Here is where I would use the very overused “#blessed” hashtag. I love the path that our lives have taken.

Packed and ready to go!


Now I am staring at the bags that will take Zach to Lebanon tomorrow. Another day, another adventure. When we moved to Pittsburgh, we thought that this would be our home for the next 5-6 years. I remember a meaningful conversation with some good friends over drinks one night a few months ago. They have been married 10ish years and they told us that not one part of their life has gone as planned, but it has been rich and beautiful nonetheless. I am starting to see that this is also the case with our lives. There is a greater plan for our lives that we cannot predict. I am glad to have this guy by my side through all the uncertainty and adventure that awaits us. We cannot wait to both be together serving in Lebanon. Here’s to the next two years! It’s going to be great!