Combating SAD Season


Written by Jackie Stevenson, BS, DTR

SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, often referred to as the “winter blues”. If you are affected by this disorder you know that it doesn’t always wait until winter to set in, but usually coincides with the drastic decrease in sunlight that fall brings. The theory is that the body’s natural circadian rhythms (what prompts sleeping and waking) are thrown off by changes in light. Sunlight itself plays a role in the production and release of serotonin, a “feel good” neurotransmitter, in the brain.

Just like any disorder, people can react in diffenhanced-25544-1446831790-1erent ways. Some see minimal effects like wanting to sleeping later or curl up in a blanket after work, but others can be completely down for the count, falling into major depressive episodes.  It seems as the daylight fades, so does your motivation to eat well and exercise. For nutrition professionals, it’s a time to help patients rethink plans and help them avoid these seasonal pitfalls.

Knowing what is behind your lack of motivation is the first line of defense. Just being aware that SAD is a real thing can help you recognize how if affects you, and be proactive about treatment.  Yes, it will be harder to wake up for that early morning workout. Yes, you will crave more high-carb comfort foods as the temperature drops. Yes, you will need to work a little harder to find some motivation. But you don’t have to accept the SAD defeat.


The recommendation for daily exercise does not just go away when it’s cold. In fact, maintaining or increasing your current activity level can be the key to beating depressive symptoms. Regular exercise has been shown to counteract symptoms of depression, so stopping that morning run just feeds into your problem. Countless people blame the cold or the dark for decreased activity. Be strong and creative to find a solution to what is stopping you. If you’re scared of the dark, try finding time later in the day to get some exercise. Being outside during peak sun hours can also produce more serotonin naturally.

If your schedule is full and an AM workout is the only option, proper clothing and gear can keep you going outside all winter if you are willing. Of course, safety would be the number one concern here. Think bright sweatshirts, flashlights and reflective-gearreflective clothing. You can also get reflective leashes and jackets for your canine partner if necessary. There are studies showing that exercising in colder weather helps burn more fat (woot! woot!). If that’s not up your alley, or you just don’t feel safe outside, there is plenty to be done inside. You could join a gym or try some new classes. Use exercise videos or online tutorials to exercise in the comfort of your own home. Get creative and use stairs for cardio, and old milk jugs filled with water or sand for weights.

Food choices

This time of year brings apple pie, apple fritters, creamy comfort foods and pumpkin spice everything. The majority of seasonal delights are baked goods that are deep fried and/or loaded with empty calories. Any reasonable person realizes that we must limit these things year round fochick-pot-pie_0r good health, but somehow that fact is lost when face to face with a pumpkin spice latte. While it’s ok to be festive and indulge here and there, it’s easy for your routine to get derailed. Try making a list of reasons why you want to eat healthy or stick to your program. Pull it out every time you feel the need to overindulge. You can enjoy pumpkins and apples in a number of healthy ways, and lots of comfort foods can give you the warm and fuzzies without blowing your normal diet. When I think comfort food, I think soups and casseroles, and there is nothing inherently wrong with either one. How you prepare and serve it another story. Keep it light by skipping the excessive butters, oils, heavy creams and rich crusts/toppings. Look for new recipes if you have to. If you find yourself cornered by a big pot of mac and cheese, take a 1/2 cup portion and make yourself a salad (don’t forget your protein). Google “light comfort food recipes” or something similar to find some new twists on your favorite comfort foods. This article has lots of Paleo recipes for old favorites.


Lack of motivation to cook healthy meals can have detrimental effects on nutrition status. There are several vitamins that can affect mood and mental health if deficient, so it is important to make sure you are getting adequate amounts. Deficiency, especially when you are already dealing with SAD symptoms, can exacerbate your problems.

  • Vitamin D, primarily received through sunlight, should be increased in the diet as light sources decline. Fatty fish and egg yolks provide a natural source.
  • B vitamins normally found in animal proteins are sometimes traded for heavy, carb-based dishes, causing a decrease in B vitamin intake. runners-nutrition-mistakes
  • Antioxidants, vitamin C and E, help boost the immune system and fend off cold and flu bugs. As fresh fruits and veggie intake decline, so do the variety of vitamins and minerals that come with them.

A well-rounded multi-vitamin can help supplement some of these missing elements if you are not getting them from your diet. Some vitamins, especially Vitamin D, may need to be supplemented in larger doses to maintain stores built up over the summer. Blood testing can determine whether or not the need for excess supplementation is necessary. We find that most people do not have a clinical deficiency, but are below optimal levels of vitamin D. This means that they will not develop rickets, but their mental health and energy levels may suffer, making SAD symptoms worse.

Light Therapy

One of the most common SAD therapies is use of light boxes to mimic sunlight and stabilize the body’s natural circadian rhythm. The idea is to trick your brain into producing neurotransmitters, a process usually triggered by sunlight. Sitting in front of a light box has proven to help decrease symptoms. However, not all light boxes are created equal, so research any product before buying. The most common advice we’ve found is to invest in a 10,000 lux light that filters out most UV light, which can be dsadamaging to the eyes in large doses. The Mayo Clinic website recommends using the light in morning hours for 20-30 minutes. Sit a foot or two away, but don’t stare directly at the light. For functional purposes, set it up in an area like your bedroom or bathroom, where you are getting ready for the day if you don’t have time to spare. An interesting article by Harvard shows some of the possible pitfalls of light therapy. First, this treatment doesn’t work for everyone, and can actually trigger mania and depressive episodes in people with bipolar disorder. It can also cause damage to the retina in people with existing sensitivities to light. Talk to your doctor if there is any question whether this is right for you.

Final Thoughts

We have given lots of advice to try and prevent and treat low level SAD symptoms in this article. We are aware, however, that people who see more extreme effects of SAD have already tried all of these recommendations to find little relief. It’s important to speak with your doctor or therapist if symptoms persist or worsen, because medical intervention may be necessary in some cases. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you are suffering.


‘Tis the Season for Pumpkin EVERYTHING


Written by Jacqui Campbell MS, RD, CDN

I think every year the stores roll out more “pumpkin spice” flavored and scented

pumpkinramen_charityowlthings than the last. Some of the odd things spotted so far this year include pumpkin chicken sausage and pumpkin spice dish soap. I personally think that’s going too far and I am a sucker for all things pumpkin.  The thing is, I love PUMPKIN things, not PUMPKIN SPICE, so I’m always on the hunt for things made with REAL pumpkin and not just added cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and orange food coloring.  So while this guy spent two weeks eating ALL THINGS PUMPKIN, I decided to try to find decent pumpkin products that are gluten free, dairy free, and even paleo.

This year’s top finds so far:20161004_102751

Larabar Pumpkin Pie – paleo approved! Ingredients: Dates, cashews, almonds, dried pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger.  If you like Larabars and pumpkin you’ll love this fall treat.

KIND Caramel almond pumpkin spice – I got super excited about this because I love KIND bars. Downside is the caramel contains ‘milk powder’ so they are not dairy free.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage – tasty almond milk with real pumpkin and spices.  I really liked this and was happy to see it is sweetened with cane sugar instead of stevia like the So Delicious brand I tried last year. I think this would taste great in coffee, tea, smoothies or anything you might normally add almond milk to. Use it to make your own paleo pumpkin spice latte! Be aware it does have 15g sugar per cup though.

Trader Joe’s Cold Pressed Pumpkin Harvest Juice – if you’re a fan of green juices this is for you. Every bottle of Pumpkin Harvest Juice contains 10.5 ounces of pumpkin, 2 carrots, 3/4 stalk of celery, 1/8 sweet potato, 1 inch of ginger, and a hearty pinch of turmeric.  Paleo approved, but like all juices it’s important to be mindful of the naturally occurring sugar from the starchy vegetables – 23g per bottle. Make sure to have with some nuts or other source of protein to balance the carbohydrates.

Pumpkin Spice Cheerios – gluten free, dairy free (not paleo as they are grain-based). These are actually made with pumpkin puree and are quite tasty.   I used them to make snack bars by mixing in chopped pecans and raisins and using peanut butter and honey to keep them together. Trader Joe’s also makes similar cereal called Joe’s Pumpkin O’s which I tried last year and found to be a little less strong on the spice (still gluten and dairy free).

Other healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin:

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie – A favorite of mine and so easy to make.

  • 1 cup dairy-free milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 TBSP almond butter
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Optional sweetener: honey, maple syrup or dates

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Spice Creamer – avoid the chemicals and dairy found in the store bought creamers and make your own using canned coconut milk, pumpkin, and spices.  I’ve made this recipe before and it’s delicious.

Pumpkin Porridge – try this as an alternative to oatmeal in the morning

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree canned
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp honey.

Mix ingredients together. May eat at room temperature or microwave for 30-60 seconds.

4-Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 2 eggs, beat
  • ½ banana, ripe and mashed
  • 2TBSP pumpkin puree
  • Dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon and nutmeg

Mix together banana, pumpkin and spices. Add eggs.  Heat pan on medium heat and grease pan with coconut oil or oil of your choice before pouring batter.

**Make sure when buying canned pumpkin you get “100% pure pumpkin” and pumpkin is the only ingredient. You do not want “pumpkin pie mix” which has added sugar and spices.


Feeling ambitious? Follow these instructions to make your own pumpkin puree.

Want more? Check out 25 Paleo Pumpkin Recipes here.

What’s your favorite pumpkin product or recipe?






Canning: Effectively Preserving Your Harvest


If you’ve seen our post on freezing veggies but aren’t satisfied with that temporary preservation method, canning may be for you. For beginners, freezing is the best way to start. It does not require much time, thinking or equipment. This article is for those ready to make the next step. A word to the wise, please do some research before going into this project blindly. There are tools available that will make everything much easier. Try this website for detailed information and video tutorials for getting started. It has much more specific info tailored to your specific needs, much more detailed than I can be here. Kits like the one below are a good place to start.


Canning your vegetables has a big advantage over freezing. Items can be stored for longer periods of time, about a year if done right, and are not susceptible to loss if the freezer suddenly loses power. Major win. Canning is not something to take lightly however.

Here’s the disclaimer: Canning is great, but also holds possible dangers if not done correctly. The purpose of canning is to expel all bacteria living on the food through either extreme heat or extreme pressure. Failure to reach these extremes before sealing can lead to bacterial growth, making the food unsafe. The worst case scenario is contamination with botulism, a potentially toxic bacterial overgrowth. This bacteria lives harmlessly on most fresh foods, but thrives and produces toxins in an air-free environment, in this case, a sealed can. The bottom line is, you need to be careful, follow directions and use this method at your own risk. Now that I’ve scared you, let’s continue (if you dare, haha!).

Two canning methods

Extreme Heat: High-acid foods only (tomatoes and anything pickled). This method is the easier of the two, but not many foods qualify. I have used this method with pickled vegetables only, as of yet. I plan to do tomato sauce later this season, but will probably pressure can it just to be safe. The idea is simple. Stuff your jars with vegetables, leaving about 1/2 inch space at the top. Add whatever combination of spices you want to the jars. For a pint jar, leave it to about 2 tablespoons total of whatever spices you pick. In a stockpot, boil 2 cups white vinegar, 2 cups cider vinegar, 4 cups of water and 5 tablespoons of salt (good for about 8 pint jars). Once boiling, pour water to top of each jar, leaving about 1/2 inch head space. Seal the jars and begin your water bath.


Jars of cukes, beans and squash with their pickling spices ready to go. Any combo will do, this batch is dill seed, peppercorn and minced garlic.

Use a trusty source to find out how long you should process your pickled goods. Don’t start the timer until the water comes to a rolling boil. Once the time is up, remove the jars as soon as possible to avoid squishy, over-cooked veggies. A grabber, like the one seen below, works very well. They’re inexpensive and definitely worth the investment.


Once out of hot water, let your jars sit undisturbed on the counter to cool for about 12 hours. Within about an hour, you will hear the “pop” of the center of the jar lid being sucked into the can. This is how you know you got the seal. I sat in the living room for a well-deserved break, counting the sound of my six jars sealing. Very satisfying.

From here, it’s a waiting game. You could save all of your jars for the dead of winter, but I prefer to open one or two to find out how the spice combo worked out. I wait about a week for the veggies to marinate in the spices, then I test them. A jar of pickles lasts about an hour in my house. All that’s left is an empty jar ready for round two.

Extreme Pressure: For low-acid foods (pretty much all of them). Clostridium Botulinim, the bacteria responsible for botulism, is able to grow on low-acid foods. It produces spores that contain their toxin, and are resilient to high heat. The only way to kill the spores is by using extreme pressure. Unfortunately, this is harder to achieve, and most veggies fall into this category. This method will require the use of a pressure cooker.

To be honest, I was a little nervous to start this project. I had never used a pressure cooker before, so even getting started was a little daunting. My first tip is to thoroughly read the instructions for using your pressure cooker. My second tip would be to trial-run the cooker, and get comfortable with adjusting the pressure (adding or removing heat) before trying it with jars inside. That’s really the hardest part. Once you have the system down, it’s really not that hard.  Also, find a reliable source to get your cook times from. This website  has copies of the USDA guidelines for home canning. This is probably all you will need. Remember, it’s always better to over process than under process.


Quick tip: turn down heat when about 2lb under desired pressure. It will continue to rise to desired pressure. It’s better to be a little over than any bit under.

My results the first time left a bit to be desired. Actually, I got a terrible batch of summer squash that I threw out. Cost of trial and error. My biggest mistake was not following directions. So….follow the directions! The cans came out completely sealed, in fact, it was really hard to break the seal to try them. I put them in full to the top with water, they came out, each jar was about 1/4 empty. They also didn’t taste very good. It had an off flavor that I can’t quite explain. Something went wrong, not sure what. The good news is, the green beans came out great, and I have plenty more squash to experiment with. I found this problem-solving page on the Ball website. My problems essentially boil down to my lack of patience by the end of my long canning day!

Canning, whether water bath or pressure cooker, is quite a process. It takes time, patience and a lot of new toys to start this project. The results, however, are very rewarding. Avoid wasting that abundance of garden veggies and preserve them in whichever fashion you have the time and will to do. Whatever method, you will likely be proud of your results!



Dill pickles, dilly beans, beans in water, pickled zucchini. All delicious.

Got questions? Ask them here or on Facebook and I will do my best to answer them. I’m just a beginner as well, but we can learn together!  -Jackie S.





Freezing Veggies: Simple How-To Guide


Written by: Jackie Stevenson, BS, DTR

We’ve reached a point in the growing season where there are just too many veggies to eat. Personally, I have about ten zucchini and summer squash sitting on my counter right now, plus a shopping bag full of string beans and pea pods in the fridge. Not to mention the kale and lettuce is still going strong. With more on the way, there is just no feasible way to eat all of that before it goes bad. What’s a girl to do?

  1. Pawn them off on friends and neighbors.
  2. Preserve them.1468627918998

You will soon exhaust your loved ones with excess veggies, leaving only one option. Preserve what you have. I purposely grow lots of veggies in order to preserve them for use in the off-season. It’s nice to have some reminder of summer in the dead of winter. It’s also a bonus to save some money on overpriced produce that’s been carted in from clear across the country.

The two best ways to preserve your harvest is to either freeze or can what you have. Freezing is a much simpler, time-effective solution, and will be the focus of this article. Follow up with us in the coming weeks for info on canning.

What vegetables are good to freeze?

String beans, Zucchini, Summer squash, Pea Pods, Eggplant, Kale, Spinach, Chard

How to freeze…

  1. Wash and cut your veggies into bite-size pieces.
  2. Set a pot next to stove with cold water and ice cubes.
  3. Bring another pot of water to a boil on the stove.
  4. Drop small batches of cut veggies into the water for 30-60 seconds. Leafy greens, like kale and spinach will need a max of 30 seconds, they just need to wilt. Heavier items like squash can go 30-60 seconds depending on how large the p20160715_220222ieces are cut. The goal is only to lock in freshness, not to cook. Pieces should still be crisp when pulled out.
  5. Pull out with slotted spoon and drop into ice water to stop the cooking process.
  6. Drain well,  then spread out onto cookie sheet. It’s ok if the pieces touch, don’t layer on top of each other. Cover with plastic wrap or foil.
  7. Store in freezer overnight.
  8. Once frozen, use spatula to scrape frozen veggies off of tray, store in freezer bags.
  9. Freeze immediately to avoid re-thaw!!

***Shortcut: Skip the cookie tray if you’re pressed for time. Freeze veggies in single serve bags to be used all at once. Keep in mind that veggies will freeze into a solid block, and will not be able to be split apart.

Problems with this method

There are two limitations to the freezing method. One, the bags are likely to get freezer burnt if stored for too long in the freezer. They will probably still keep for 3-6 months. A possible solution would be to use an airtight sealer (I have not tried). The second limitation is power. Having worked for a generator company in the past, I have a realistic appreciation for electricity. Unfortunately, if the power goes out for an extended period of time and your freezer is not backed up, you are likely to lose some of your harvest.

Canning your harvest instead can solve both of these problems. This method is more tedious and time-consuming, but you will get shelf-stable jars full of veggies that will not freezer-burn or go bad without power. Keep an eye on the blog in the next couple of weeks for help with canning.

Happy Harvesting!

Zucchini Recipe Round Up


Written by Jacqui Campbell MS, RD, CDN

If you garden and have planted any zucchini plants you’re likely starting to get a harvest of at least one or two zucchini.  If you’re like any of us at Bordeaux Nutrition you’ve already got zucchini coming out of your ears. Since zucchini tends to be abundant and last throughout much of the summer we’ve put together some recipes (all paleo approved or easily adapted) to help you from getting bored.

First zucchini from Jacqui and Jackie’s gardens (with a side of baby bump and spinach)

Simply grill, saute, or roast/bake – My go-to is to slice zucchini thinly lengthwise or into coins, toss with olive oil and herbs (or oil based salad dressing) and grill or saute in a pan.  You can also roast in the oven at 450° for about 15 minutes, flipping half way. one-pot-spicy-thai-zoodles_thumb

“Zoodles” – a simple and quick substitute for spaghetti/noodles in any dish.  You can use a spiralizer for spaghetti-like noodles or a simple vegetable peeler or mandolin for long, flat noodles for lasagna.

Fritters/latkes – Zucchini can be shredded and made into fritters very similar to potato latkes. Just be sure to drain the shredded zucchini well or they will come out soggy.  Paleo Zucchini Fritters recipe.


Taco Zucchini Boats from 5 Dollar Dinners

Zucchini Boats – Slice zucchini in half length wise and hollow out the inside.  Fill with ground/shredded meat, spices and other veggies. Bake for about 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees or until the boat is soft enough to cut through.



Zucchini Meatballs to go with your zoodles.  This recipe adds zucchini to traditional meatballs, while this recipe from Skinny Taste is for vegetarian “meatballs” made with mainly zucchini. Make them paleo by swapping out parm and breadcrumbs for almond flour or gluten free bread crumbs.

One Pot Meals


Flourless Chocolate Zucchini Muffins from Running with Spoons

Sweet Treats (all Paleo!)

No matter how you slice it (haha!), there are tons of ways to utilize zucchini from your garden or CSA. If you’re really sick of it, try freezing it. Cut into bite-size chunks, blanch in boiling water before freezing to lock in the freshness. Store in single-serve bags. You can freeze the chunks on a cookie tray to keep them from sticking together. Once frozen, scrape them off with a spatula and store in a freezer bag. Do this quickly so they don’t thaw. With this method, you can store a large batch in a 1-gallon freezer bag, but makes it easier to pour out a small portion out at a time.

Happy gardening!

CT Garden Season In Full Swing


The weather is heating up and the plants are loving it! Take a look at how the garden is doing.


Jackie’s garden in Colchester-complete with watch kitty. Pic taken a few weeks ago, plants have now doubled in size!

Plenty of kale, lettuce, swiss chard and spinach have already been harvested, about 8 gallon-size containers full. These cool-weather plants will soon go to seed, just in time for the zucchini and summer squash to hit their peak.


Last week, pulled out an 8-quart pot worth of greens, plus two early zucchini. They made a great pile of ‘zoodles’ paired with tomato and sausage sauce.

The peas are still hanging in there, despite the heat. Peas are normally started in late March after St. Patrick’s Day, but these babies didn’t get planted until early May. Hopefully the weather stays cool enough for them to produce. They’re just flowering now.


Tip: Plant pea seeds along a fence line so they have somewhere to climb. Don’t be like me and install a fence after they’re already 6 inches tall. It was a struggle. I like this one’s moustache face.

Garden care takes dedication and hard work, including harvesting time. Especially with your greens, make sure to take the time to wash and pack your pickings as soon as you’re done. Wash away dirt (and bugs) off leaves, dry well and store in the fridge. Don’t let your hard work go to waste.


A pile of wet kale waiting for someone to dry and pack (suddenly, husband has disappeared to the garage…).  I like to take it off the stems to pack more per container, plus makes quick work of meal prep later.

The season is young, people, it’s not too late to start some plants. You can even cheat by buying a few already grown. Tomatoes and summer squashes will soon be in their prime, get them started now. There is nothing like the taste of pesticide and chemical-free produce fresh from the garden. Not into gardening? Support your local farmers markets and CSA programs.


Jacqui’s organic “calf share” from Oxen Hill Farm in Suffield, CT including radishes, kale, sugar snap peas, bibb lettuce, and garlic scapes.

Much more to come as the season continues…



Happy Eat Your Veggies Day!


Written by Jackie “Lynn” Stevenson BS, DTR


Good day! Today is National Eat Your Veggies Day, a day for nutrition professionals to rejoice!

The point of this national day is to bring attention to the dietary need for vegetables. As I’m sure you’ve heard, veggies are a great source of a variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, all of which are a requirement for optimal health.

The USDA’s dietary guidelines recommend getting at least 5 servings of vegetables per day. One serving equals 1 cup of raw vegetables, or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables.

One thing to ask before wildly consuming your veggies today…

“Is this vegetable considered a vegetable or a starch?”

Starchy vegetables including potato, sweet potato, corn, peas, butternut squash, spaghet830c3b5ebbd7752842f66af84498697eti squash and the like should really be considered a carbohydrate.  Although we would rather see you getting your carbohydrates from these starchy roots and tubers, they need to be consumed in moderation, just like any other starch (pasta, breads, rice). Keep these starches to about 1/2 cup at a time. The professionals at Bordeaux Nutrition can help you determine how many servings of these starches is appropriate for your diet.

Non-starchy vegetables should be eaten abundantly, and, we suggest, even more than the USDA recommends. Try to get 2-3 servings with lunch and dinner, and add to breakfast and snacks when able. With farmers markets starting up for the season, getting your servings in should be a breeze! Here are some easy ideas to get your fill…

spiralizedzucchiniwithquicktomatosauce-550x825Bulk up your current go-to meals by adding an extra side of veggies, or throwing them right in the recipe. Tomato sauces or casseroles are my favorite places to add extra greens, especially spinach and kale. They tend to cook down and disappear into the recipe. Create more substance and flavor in your sauces by adding chopped mushrooms, onions, zucchini or yellow squash, green peppers, eggplant or broccoli. Don’t like the bulk? Blend them before adding to the mix. If you’re really dedicated, try spiralizing zucchini in place of spaghetti noodles.

Add to fruit smoothies: Fruit smoothies are great, but they could be even better if you throw in some veggies. Start slow if that sounds gross to you. Spinach will turn the mix green, but doesn’t significantly change the flavor. webres_lamb_03

Summer wraps and burgers: Try switching out the traditional hamburger bun for a grilled portabello mushroom or grilled eggplant. Replace your burger bun or tortilla wrap with lettuce.

Snacks: Pack celery and carrot sticks to dip in hummus or other dip. Make ‘ants on a log‘ for kids. Chop tomatoes and cucumbers and marinate in Italian dressing.


In season right now: Leafy greens including lettuce, spinach, swiss chard and kale. These cool season veggies are peaking now. These veggies can easily be incorporated in salads. Add some fresh seasonal strawberry for a splash of color and flavor. See recipe here!  Kale and spinach are also great to add to tomato sauces, or simply sauteed in some olive oil.