3 Things Your RD Wants You to Know Before Your First Appointment

3 Things Your RD Wants You to Know Before Your First Appointment

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesché, MS, RDN, LDN

It can be intimidating to schedule an appointment with your new healthcare provider. You are wondering what a registered dietitian (RD) can do. Rest assured that the RDs at Case Specific Nutrition (CSN) are here to help. To prepare for your first visit, here are a few things your RD wants you to know:

    1. You are courageous. I’m proud of you for realizing that you can’t do this alone and seeking out an expert health professional, rather than trying the trendy diet you saw on TikTok. It takes bravery to reach out, schedule an appointment, show up and be vulnerable because, let’s face it, food is personal.
    2. You won’t be judged. Dietitians are not the food police. I won’t judge you if you eat fast food every day or even if you want to KEEP eating fast food every day. If you’re not sure if you want to give up your current diet like keto or beach body, I will meet you where you are to help you achieve YOUR goals. I will give you my honest opinion, but you decide where we go from there.
    3. Your life is about to change forever. Once you start working with a dietitian, you’ll relate to food in a whole new way and finally understand the root of your eating behaviors. You’ll have an arsenal of knowledge and tools that you will be able to use to make informed food decisions for the rest of your life!

Working with an RD can be very impactful and bring peace to your body and mind. Whether you are struggling with food intolerances/allergies, disordered eating, or wanting peace with food, CSN has a dietitian that is right for you. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

Upcoming at CSN…

RDN Devon Kroesché and Dr. Sobel are hosting A Midsummer Night’s Dream on August 11th at 7pm on Zoom! They will be discussing seasonal plant-based meal prep that is both affordable and easy for a busy household. Click the button to join the Zoom.


Mindful Eating & Slowing Down

Picture from: https://www.ecommunity.com/healthminute/2021/20-foods-your-heart-loves

Written by: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

The Oxford dictionary defines mindfulness as “a mental state achieved by concentrating on the present moment, while calmly accepting the feelings and thoughts that come to you, used as a technique to help you relax.” When applying this to the eating process, slowing down and concentrating on the food you are putting into your body can help you connect with your thoughts and bring you peace. Mindful eating can improve mental health by lowering disordered eating thoughts and anxiety, while also improving digestion and reducing overeating. It is important to focus on a few aspects while practicing mindfulness which lead to healthful benefits.

To begin, a few steps that you can take to practice mindful eating include getting rid of distractions. Check in with your senses: chew slowly, remain aware of each bite’s taste and texture, and imagine the food nourishing your body. Also, checking in with your hunger and fullness cues can help keep you satisfied. All these steps can help you slow down and really think about the food you are putting into your body. When you take a bite, do you feel the texture on your tongue? How does it taste? Do you connect with any memories associated with that bite? Are you slowing down?

Slowing down and practicing mindful eating can increase your natural awareness of hunger and satiety. A meal or snack with at least two food groups can help you feel satisfied. Nourishing your bodies with carbs, proteins, and fat will fulfil your appetite and promote satiety at mealtimes. Don’t forget to check in with your thoughts and make peace with food.

Mindful eating is important because we live in such a fast-paced world where everything is available at our fingertips. Some carry that mindset over to mealtime. Maybe you are watching an episode of your favorite show to relax during breakfast. Maybe you have a 30-minute lunch break and eat super quickly so that you have extra time to use the restroom or take a coffee run. Maybe you will eat dinner quickly so you can meet up with your friends in town for a few drinks. All of these scenarios are normal for most people, but peace with food can be lost along the way. By attempting to follow some of the steps I previously mentioned, there can be a positive impact on both your mental and physical health.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians to talk about mindful eating and making peace with food, please email scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

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Why You Don’t Actually Need to Cut Out Carbs

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS, RDN, LDN

Carbs often get a bad rap. They are described as “unhealthy” or “bad” for you. Let’s clear up this confusion because carbs nourish your body. Read that again, please. Carbs are nourishing to the human body for many reasons. For example, carbohydrates are turned into glucose to use as energy for your body.

It can be misleading on social media or by word-of-mouth when someone says you should cut carbs out of your diet. However, they are one of the five major food groups and an important macronutrient (others include fat and protein). It is vital to balance your dietary intake and eat from all the major food groups. First, I will discuss the distinct types of carbs. Then, I will emphasize the importance of eating the rainbow and having a variety of nutrients in your diet.


Types of Carbs

To begin, there are two distinct categories of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs consist of sugars, whereas complex carbs consist of starches and fiber.


Sugars are simple carbs that include natural sugars and added sugars. Simple carbohydrates break down quickly in the body and give us quick energy. Furthermore, natural sugars include those naturally occurring in whole foods like fresh, whole fruits or in milk. Added sugars are added to foods for flavor and include things like canned fruit or fruit juice, ice cream, and baked goods.

Tip: Limit foods that are refined and high in added sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, and white flour and instead focus on getting a healthful balance of natural sugars from whole fruits and milk products.


Starches are complex carbs that include fruits (watermelon, raspberries, apples, etc.), vegetables (corn, potatoes, beets, etc.), whole-grains (oatmeal, whole-grain bread, brown rice), beans and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, black beans, etc). Complex carbohydrates break down longer in the body and provide energy, as well as helping us to feel fuller for longer. Most starches provide vitamins and minerals to our body.


Fiber is a complex carb found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Our body can’t digest fiber, but it aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar. Additionally, fiber keeps you fuller for a longer period. The two types of fiber are insoluble and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber speeds up digestion and soluble fiber gives bulk to the stool. Both types of fiber are found in foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.

Whether eating simple or complex carbs, they are fuel for our bodies. MyPlate is a great estimate to ensure you are eating enough carbs in a day. This recommendation says to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and the last quarter with protein. Another tip is to replace half your grains with whole grains each day, to include fiber and complex carbs. Eating should include a balance of foods from all the food groups and nourish your body and mind.

If you have any questions, or would like to get in touch with our dietitians, please email us at scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com to schedule an appointment!

Which Milk is Healthiest?

By: Ava Elliott, Marketing Intern

Reviewed by: Devon Kroesche, MS RDN LDN

The Big 9 food allergens include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, sesame, and soy. Many people are either lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy.

A food intolerance occurs when the human body has a chemical reaction and a challenging time digesting certain foods, whereas a food allergy elicits an immune response. With a milk allergy, there is an immune response elicited and a reaction to milk protein occurs. There are many cow’s milk alternatives on the market, and it can be confusing to choose the right milk for your body.

Let us break it down to the basics and learn about the several types of milk and plant-based milk available.

Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk is a rich source of protein and calcium. Protein is important for growth and repair in the body. Calcium is vital for bone and teeth health, strong bones, and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Choosing milk with lower milkfat can decrease the saturated fat content.

Soy Milk

Soy milk is a lactose-free dairy substitute that is rich in B vitamins, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids: healthful fats that can help with brain health and prevent certain diseases like cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and some cancers. Look for soy milk that is fortified with calcium to help with bone health. Soy milk is comparable to cow’s milk, but it contains more fiber and has slightly less fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Oat Milk

Oat milk is another plant-based, milk alternative. Oat milk has 2 grams of fiber per 1 cup, but less protein than cow’s milk or soy milk. Look for oat milk that has fortified vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin A. Another tip is to look for “unsweetened” oat milk to reduce the amount of sugar.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is another plant-based, lactose-free milk available for those who enjoy a nutty flavor. This milk is rich in magnesium, which is necessary for reactions in the body and can help control blood sugar levels. Look for unsweetened almond milk to lower amount of sugars and carbohydrates. A common tip is to purchase almond milk fortified with calcium and phosphorus to strengthen bones. Almond milk is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin E that help prevent cells from damage and lower the risk of certain conditions like heart disease.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a great source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which increase energy and are a healthful source of fat. Coconut milk contains a small amount of both iron and calcium. Coconut milk contains a higher amount of saturated fat and should be limited in moderation. 

It is important to consider allergies and intolerances when choosing the right milk for you. Some plant-based milks are great for cooking or baking, and others taste great alone or in coffee or tea. Check out the healthful tips mentioned above and the table comparing the nutrients of each milk mentioned above.

Whether you are choosing a non-dairy alternative due to an allergy/intolerance or other reasons, it is important to make sure you are not missing out on key nutrients. This is why working with a registered dietitian is so important! Schedule an appointment with us by emailing scheduling@casespecificnutrition.com.

The Athlete Mindset

Think you're not an athlete? Think again.

By: Jeremiah Rowe, CSCS, CPPS

The fitness industry is inundated with poor advice for lifters of all demographics. You see it when you go to your big box gym; that guy with 5 plates on each side of the bar, quarter-squatting his way to imminent lumbar disk herniations. You see it with the Instagram “influencers” spouting off their supplement recommendations and their promotion for fit teas and Botox. You see it in high school (and COLLEGE) athletics programs where the football coach hands his entire team the same workout plan to be followed, with next to zero oversight, for the next 3 months. The workout will have 12 exercises, each for 3 sets of 8-10 reps, except for bench press, of course. They’ll be maxing out on that every Monday. Perfect.

To paraphrase the great Michael Jordan, “”I take that personally.” That is why, when I was offered the position as head strength coach of Case Specific Wellness Center, I started visualizing what my future days would look like at this dream facility. I could hear the metal weights on the bench press clanging like church bells, calling everyone in earshot to give their attention to this sacred altar. 

I saw the hard-nosed, blue collar, western Pennsylvania football stars pushing a few hundred pounds of steel across the turf, their legs feeling like they’re disintegrating from their bodies, but still somehow finding that inner drive to push their knee to their chest and take another step, one after another. Over here an unassuming freshman girls’ soccer player is about to hit 135 lbs on her trap bar deadlift for the first time, and the rag-tag group of kids from various other teams and sports are encircling her, yelling and clapping as she grinds through her set and lifts two 45lb plates off the floor for the first time.

Yes. These athletes are working hard, but they’re working SMART, too. This idea is what turned my vision from Case Specific Wellness into Case Specific Athletics. I want to provide intelligent strength and conditioning coaching to athletes and general populations who want to work hard, but in a way that is going to train them for performance in life as well as on the field/court/rink/track, you name it. 

I’ve spent years working closely with general populations and their healthcare professionals trying to coach them intelligently in a way that allows them to feel better as much as look better. I love having people come to me with knee pain, unsure that they will even be able to train at all, only to realize 4 months later that they’ve got 100lbs on their back and they are squatting with no pain at all!

Now, the injury and movement impairment rehabilitative side of what I do is one thing, and I feel I’ve proven myself to (most of) my clients to be more than just a meathead gym bro. The issue, though, became this: Would the name Case Specific ATHLETICS turn away those populations who I am able to help move and feel better than ever?

I had one client who, when we were ordering new Case Specific Athletics hoodies with the new logo (see below), was hesitant to buy one because “There’s a weightlifter on it and I’d be embarrassed to wear it because I’m not fit.” This was the same client who, when she first came to our facility, was unsure if she should even bother with a nutrition appointment because “This is a place for elite athletes.” The same client who, a year later, is one of our hardest workers. She is in our gym 2-3 times per week in our B.A.S.I.C. (Building A System of Integral Components) Training classes, kicking the crap out of herself to get into the best shape she can, and pushing the pace of the whole class as she does it.

As adults, many of us lose touch with that youthful athletic drive that we possess through high school and maybe college. Our bodies age, we gain a bit of weight, we start to feel a bit more sluggish in our day-to-day grind. Sure, these are factors of life that everyone has to deal with at some point. I would argue, however, against the easily adopted mindset of “I’m not an athlete.” Do you think a non-athlete could go out and ride a bike through the whole neighborhood with his eight year old after a 10 hour workday? Do you think a non-athlete could be 70 years (young!) and accidentally trip over a crack in the sidewalk and manage to bring a foot through to catch his or herself before hitting the ground and possibly risking serious injury? Do you think a non-athlete could chase a wild toddler around the house all day, making sure the kid doesn’t jump off the couch or try to eat the Yankee Candle off the dining room table. I have a 19 month-old niece and, let me tell you, that girl needs a whole freaking team of people watching her to keep her from mischief.

What else I saw in those visions from earlier were the adults who have found their place among the young warriors. They’ve been intoxicated by this environment of sweat, loud music, and hard work, and they are out there on the floor, working just as hard as the kids. They’re grinding; not for sport, though. They’re fighting and battling this iron enemy for something greater; for life. It’s a life in which they feel comfortable that they can go out and play baseball with the neighborhood kids, keeping up and even “showing them how it’s done.” It’s a life that a dad working at the office isn’t coming home crippled up and sore from a long day of sitting. This is a life where a mom who hasn’t played a sport since high school is able to keep up and not become overwhelmed with the hustle-and-bustle of her three kids playing three different sports that she has to drive them to in between PTA meetings and making dinner. It’s a life where a husband can look at his wife of 15 years and two kids as she gets ready to shower and say “DAMN. I get to spend the rest of my life with THAT?!”

So maybe you don’t play a sport. Maybe you used to in high school and then college and life came at you quick and you lost touch of that athleticism that you used to have. Maybe you never played a sport because you didn’t have the confidence or just plain weren’t interested. That’s fine, but DON’T tell me you aren’t an athlete. You are as much an athlete as any one of those people you watch throw a ball around on TV. That vision that I had for Case Specific Athletics did include YOU. And if you are ready to find your inner athletic potential, reach out to us today and find out how you can get started with a FREE physical assessment or athlete movement screen! I hope that you’ll let me help you change your life forever.

Call 412-593-2048 (option 5)

or email info@casespecificathletics.com

Earth Day Blog Cover photo

3 Easy Plant-Based Recipes to Celebrate Earth Day

By: Devon Kroesche

It’s no secret that eating more plants is good for the environment. According to a study conducted at the University of Oxford, a plant-based diet is one of the most dynamic ways to reduce your carbon footprint. It reduces water and land usage, reduces greenhouse gas production, and reduces production of many other toxic pollutants.

Eating more plants can also be great for your health! Consuming plants, especially in their whole form can provide you a rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Most Americans do not meet the recommendations for daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Does that mean everyone needs to become vegan to be healthy? Certainly not. In fact, eating ONLY plants can make it easy for you to miss out on some key nutrients if you are not very vigilant.

That being said, a diet with lots of variety – different types of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs, dairy (if you can tolerate it), meat, poultry and fish can all contribute to a healthy lifestyle when consumed within reasonable amounts.

How can you fit more plants in your diet, meeting your recommended daily servings AND making a positive environmental impact? Try making at least half of your plate fruits or vegetables at every meal. Go meatless for dinner once or twice a week. Small changes can add up to create a big impact, both on your health and the environment. Check out some of my favorite recipes for a day of plant-based eating:

Breakfast: Scrambled Tofu Breakfast Tacos

Enjoy with a cup of coffee (or a mimosa, no judgement here)

What You’ll Need:

  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu, drained of water and crumbled
  • can black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 cup sliced bell peppers
  • 1 cup sliced diced yellow onion
  • optional (but recommended): guacamole and salsa

What to Do:

  • Sauté peppers and onions in a frying pan on low heat with olive oil until tender.
  • Add tofu and taco seasoning and cook for 5-7 minutes on medium to low heat, stirring frequently. Stir in black beans for the last 2-3 minutes.
  • Place mixture on tortillas and  top with guacamole and salsa if desired. Serves two people.

Lunch: Harvest Grain Salad

Can be served warm or cold. Refreshing and quite filling as well!

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup farro, dry
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
  • 2 apples, sliced and cubed into small pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, diced finely
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

What to Do:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Combine farro and broth in a large saucepan and cover. Bring to a simmer. Lower to low-medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes until farro is tender.
  • Arrange butternut squash, rosemary, and onion on a baking sheet, toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  • Zest lemon into a small bowl. Squeeze lemon juice into same bowl. Whisk together with honey and remainder of olive oil.
  • In a large bowl, combine farro, butternut squash, onion, rosemary, dressing, and the rest of the ingredients and serve. Enjoy!

Dinner: Lentil Pasta Marinara with Vegan Sausage

Best when paired with some vino, a sunset, and good company.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 box lentil pasta of choice (I used black bean spaghetti, but was not thrilled with the consistency. Chick pea pasta seems to be the closest to regular pasta that I’ve found.)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jar marinara sauce
  • red bell pepper diced finely
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced finely
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • 2 vegan sausage (I use Fieldroast links, available at Giant Eagle in the refrigerated produce section)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

What to Do:

  • In a medium sized pot, bring 4-6 cups water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.
  • In a frying pan, saute garlic, peppers and onions on medium heat with 2 Tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes. Add grape tomatoes and cook for another 3 minutes.
  • Add lentil pasta to hot water, cook for 5-7 minutes until al dente.
  • In a small saucepan, warm marinara sauce until simmering.
  • In a small frying pan, heat vegan sausage on all sides, turning frequently.
  • Drain pasta, serve on a plate topped with marinara, sauteed vegetables, marinara, and sliced sausage. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do! Happy Earth Day.

Devon is Case Specific Nutrition’s Social Media intern. She is a second year graduate student in the Dietitian Nutritionist Program at the University of Pittsburgh. She enjoys cooking, hiking, and petting every dog in sight.

Positive Self Talk

The Impact of Self Talk

By: Laine Greenawalt, MS, RDN, LDN, CSSD

Reaching your optimal potential requires constant mental engagement. “Self-talk” is an essential component of cognitive control and can either enhance or inhibit performance.

Positive vs. Negative

Positive self-talk can raise your self-esteem and encourage you to remain in the present rather than focus on past negative thoughts, feelings, or performances. In comparison, negative self-talk can cause us to engage in behavior that reaffirms your negative thoughts. This creates a dangerous loop where the original negatives thoughts become reality. Developing strategies that allow us to transform negative thinking into positive thinking is beneficial for making and sticking to healthy lifestyle changes. Statements such as “I can’t”, “it’s too hard,” or “what’s the point” are common laments we hear from clients when trying to build new habits. Use the following techniques to help yourself stay motivated and track with positive self-talk.

How do we change these thoughts?

By recognizing our thought patterns and coupling them with “thought stoppage” techniques and positive mantras, we can redirect our attention and therefore our behavior. 

Remember: Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings and negative behaviors which in turn result in poor performance or failed habit change. This pattern exemplifies the importance of eliminating negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts > Negative Feelings + Negative Behaviors = Negative outcomes

Be the change.

Identify a trigger word that works for you (an easy option would be to use the word “stop”). As a negative thought enters your mind, tell yourself to “stop”, followed by a true positive statement. For example, after saying “stop”, say to yourself “Hang in there”. Chances are, you’ve done it in the past, and you can use this knowledge to push through the negative thoughts and feelings. 

Key Point: Select your individual trigger word and short positive statement in advance. Make it something you can act on immediately. Building mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness when it comes to optimal performance.  

Try this.

Mantras are a form of mindful mediation where you repeat a series of phrases over and over. Things like “I am at peace with what was, what is, and what will be”, “I am enough”, “Where I am is exactly where I should be”, “I change my thoughts, I change my world”. When getting started, it is beneficial to say the words out loud because this involves both hearing and feeling.

at home workout featured image

At-Home Fitness Equipment – is it Worth it?

By: Jeremiah Rowe,BS, CSCS, CPPS, USAW – Head Strength Coach of Case Specific Wellness

Let me start this article with a “congratulations” to everyone out there with their own home gym. You guys are the doomsday preppers of the fitness world and you didn’t even know it! Of course, who could have known that in 2020 we’d be faced with a plague-like situation unlike anything we’ve seen in the last 100 years (barring others that have arisen with less impact, shout-out Ebola, Zika, and Swine Flu).

Economic factors aside, I find myself pleasantly surprised by the amount of disappointment that I’ve seen, not from a lack of social interaction, not from a restriction on restaurant access, but because of gym shut-downs. I’d say this has easily been the biggest inconvenience that I’ve heard complaints from, and I have to say that it’s refreshing. I’m undoubtedly biased being in the fitness industry myself, but I love the level of priority that I’ve seen placed on physical fitness for so many. I’ve even seen facilities that are renting out their equipment to members while shut down. That is SO FREAKING COOL.

Now, with that in mind, not all of us were well-prepared for such restrictions on access to fitness equipment, and not every gym is able to rent out equipment to their members. I’ve spent a lot of time writing and filming at-home exercise programs for people that only have access to minimal equipment. A few of those, with more to come, can be accessed here:

  • https://youtu.be/Y4kW6W7VYR8
  • https://youtu.be/8ovBvd9lDEY
  • https://youtu.be/gf7evd2GJac

Since there’s no apparent end in sight for this virus, though, I wanted to find a more comprehensive way to help everyone suffering from the loss of their beloved fitness centers. I thought it might be beneficial to create a list of some at-home fitness equipment that I think will be useful to have, not only in times of worldwide shutdown, but when travelling, during off-hours for your facility, and maybe when you’re just feeling motivated at home and want to “get after it.” At the time of writing this, I’m alarmed at the number of items that are sold out, as well as the price gouging on what Is available. Take these as recommendations , but don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for similar pieces that are more affordable.

Doorway Suspension Training System

Overview: One of the toughest challenges that I’ve faced with writing at-home workouts is finding a way to do pulling movements. Without some kind of bands/straps, options can be highly limited. The link included is for a full kit that includes a few adaptable pieces that make it multi-functional. 

Price: This kit is listed at $64.99. Like I said, it has extras included. All I will say is that I got a set of doorway straps at TJ Maxx for $12.

Link: https://amzn.to/2QPeXGl

Tubing Band Kit

Overview: Again, this kid includes a variety of different bands and parts that allow for many uses/resistances. The price seems high at face value, but if you ever priced out resistance bands, this is great value considering what you get.

Price: $45.99

Link: https://amzn.to/2WMgLE3

“Loop” Bands

Overview: Any of my clients will tell you how often we use these kinds of bands during our sessions. At first they seem one-dimensional, but you’d be surprised at how many ways there are to use them for a great workout! At the time I’m writing this, there are only two color options left in stock. I hope they restock them quickly. I suggest getting a few oranges, a purple, and a red, at least. 

Price: Variable

Link: https://amzn.to/2WMmiu0

A Doorway Pull-Up Bar

Overview: Most people who are new to training can’t do pull-ups. Don’t let that get in your head. Even if you can’t do them, these door frame-mounting bars make great anchors for bands and suspension trainers to do other vertical pulling movements. Also, those loop bands I just mentioned above? They make for a great accessory to help you do pull-ups when attached to the bar and looped under your feet/knees.

Price: This model is listed at $56.99. It appealed to me because it has the elevated handles that get you out of the doorway. I will gladly admit this isn’t necessary. A simple model will work just fine. Also, look around. I bought mine at DICK’s for about $15.

Link: https://amzn.to/3an4tG3

Adjustable Dumbbells

Overview: Ah, adjustable dumbbells. The quintessential tool for a basic home gym; the crème de la crème; the upper echelon of at home equipment… aaaaaaaaaaaand the priciest, by far. Look, no one NEEDS these for their home work-outs, but you open Pandora’s Box to an entirely new universe of options if you have them. I personally prefer PowerBlock brand to Bowflex. However, they’re on EXTREME backorder right now because of shut-downs in Minnesota, where they’re made, as well as everyone else across the globe buying up their stock. So if you’re in a rush and committed to the home-gym life, Bowflex is here for you. Aside from that, you might check Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist in your area.

Price: $329.99 for a 5-50lb kit.

Link: https://amzn.to/3dw9LRB

Carpet Sliders

Overview: It feels good to add these to this list. The price is right and the exercise options are endless with them. For those of you who live in a home with hardwood floors, a couple of dish towels will work just fine.

Price: $13.14

Link: https://amzn.to/2JgXDpD

Medicine Ball

Overview: This is one of those ones that could be an immensely useful tool in your arsenal. Med balls are great for conditioning work that is low-impact on your joints. There are a million variations of exercises using them, and I like the bounciness of this type of ball for allowing maximal speed in exercises that require slamming.

Price: I’m listing this ball because I trust the SPRI brand, but feel free to look at other, cheaper options. The 10lb ball is listed at around $51

Link: https://amzn.to/33QopOU

 I hope that you choose to pick up some of these pieces, and I’d love to hear your feedback on other equipment that you find essential! I’m sure I missed something that I’ll kick myself for later, but I wanted to post this ASAP to get my suggestions out there for all of you! Good luck and stay healthy!

Author: Jeremiah Rowe, BS, CSCS, CPPS, USAW
Head Strength Coach of Case Specific Wellness

3 Superbowl Snacks so Delicious You Will Forget They’re Healthy

Super Bowl Sunday is a great opportunity to break up the harsh winter with a fun and relaxing get together with friends. It is also a day when many people forget all about their New Year’s diets, mindlessly grub down on wings, pizza, and ALL the queso – only to wake up in a confused and bloated state (not to mention, quite likely, with a bellyache). This can lead to a feeling of regret that’s totally unnecessary. This regret is sometimes even powerful enough to knock you out of the healthy routine you’ve been working on. That shouldn’t be the case! Tomorrow night, I hope that you enjoy some snacks, maybe even a few drinks, and get right back to business as usual on Monday. To help with this, here are 3 snack ideas that are so delicious, you’ll forget they’re healthy too!

New & Improved Buffalo Chicken Dip

Recipe Credit: The Sorority Nutritionist


  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp spice ranch seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded chicken breast


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl mix cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Mozzarella cheese, hot sauce and ranch seasoning until blended together.
  3. Slowly mix in chicken breast.
  4. Transfer to cast iron skillet.
  5. Put in oven for 25 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Optional: Broil for 1-3 minutes to get crispy on top! (Makes 6 servings)

Turkey Taco Lettuce Cups

Recipe Credit: Cooking Classy


1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 lb 95% lean ground turkey
2 cloves garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder (preferably 2 tsp regular chili powder and 1 tsp ancho chili powder)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Iceberg or Romain lettuce leaves , doubled up, for serving
Shredded Mexican cheese , diced Roma tomatoes, diced red onion, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, light sour cream, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add turkey and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, tossing and breaking up turkey occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add chili powder, cumin, paprika, tomato sauce and chicken broth. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes until sauce has reduced. Serve mixture over lettuce leaves with desired toppings.

Avocado Shrimp Salsa

Recipe Credit: Jo Cooks



  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb shrimp large, shells removed and deveined
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper or to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed


  • 2 medium avocados peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes chopped
  • 1 English cucumber chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro fresh, chopped


  • 1/3 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook on both sides until the shrimp turns pink, should not take more than 2 minutes for the first side and 1 minute for the second side.
  • Remove the shrimp from the skillet and chop into small pieces. Add chopped shrimp to a large bowl.
  • To the same bowl add the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and cilantro.
  • In another small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salsa. Toss everything together well.
  • Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

So no matter what team you’re rooting for, or even if you don’t care who wins because you just came for the snacks and free beer, I hope you have a great time tomorrow and wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the week. Happy eating!


5 Healthy Meals to Make with Your Instant Pot

Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Sausage Meat Sauce

Recipe Adapted from: Keto In an Instant Cookbook By Stacey Crawford


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb chicken Italian sausage
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp fine grind sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 lb spaghetti squash washed and dried
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated parmesean cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil ribbons (optional)


  1. Select Sauté (Normal). Once the pot is hot, add the olive oil, chicken sausage, garlic, and onions. Sauté, stirring continuously, for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, parsley, sea salt, black pepper, and chicken broth to the pot. Using a wooden spoon, stir and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Add the bay leaf.
  3. Using a paring knife, pierce the spaghetti squash 4 or 5 times on each side to create holes for venting the steam. Place the squash in the pot and on top of the sauce.
  4. Cover, lock the lid, and flip the steam release handle to the sealing position. Select Manual or Pressure Cook (High) and set the cook time for 8 minutes. When the cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes and then quick release the remaining pressure.
  5. Open the lid. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the squash to a cutting board and set aside to cool.
  6. Add the tomato paste to the pot and stir. Select Sauté (Less or Low), replace the lid, and let the sauce simmer for 6 minutes.
  7. While the sauce is simmering, slice the cooled squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Using a fork, scrape the flesh to create the noodles.
  8. Transfer the noodles to a colander to drain, pressing down on the noodles with paper towels to expel any excess moisture. Transfer the noodles to a serving platter.
  9. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Ladle the sauce over top of the noodles and garnish with the Parmesan and basil ribbons (if using). Serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition Information:
Calories: 230
Fat: 12g
Net carbs: 9g
Protein: 19g

Bone Broth

Credit: Laine Greenawalt, MS, RDN, LDN


  • 3-4lb chicken or beef bones
  • 2 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 1 medium parsnip, scrubbed and into large chunks
  • 3 celery ribs, with ends and leaves
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered with skin and root end intact
  • 6 cloves of garlic, lightly crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8–10 peppercorns
  • Handful of fresh sage, rosemary, thyme and/or parsley
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4-5 cups Water
  • Sea salt to taste


  1. Place bones, vegetables, aromatics, peppercorns, herbs and vinegar into the pot of the Instant Pot.
  2. Add enough water to just cover the bones and vegetables in the pot.
  3. Place lid on Instant Pot and lock into place.
  4. Select ‘Manual’ setting and adjust the time to 120 minutes. When cooking is done, allow pressure to release naturally (10-20 minutes).
  5. Release any residual pressure using the vent valve before removing the lid.
  6. Strain the broth into a large bowl to separate the liquid from the solids.
  7. Transfer broth to glass jars with lids, leaving the lids off until the broth has cooled enough to be refrigerated, usually 1.5-2 hours. Makes 3 quarts of broth.

Steel Cut Oats

Recipe Credit: Cooking Light


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons toasted chopped pecans


  1. Stir together water, milk, oats, cherries, and kosher salt in bowl of a 6-quart programmable electric pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot. Cover Instant Pot, and fasten lid. Lock and seal steam valve. Set to HIGH pressure for 4 minutes. (The pot will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.) When cooking program ends, carefully release pressure by turning Pressure Release to VENT. (Steam is fully released when pressure valve drops.) Remove lid.
  2. Stir oats to incorporate any liquid on top; stir in 4 tablespoons brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and cinnamon until fully incorporated. Spoon about 3/4 cup oatmeal in each of 6 bowls. Sprinkle evenly with pecans and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information: Calories 357 Fat 8g Protein 10g Carbohydrate 63g

Vegetarian Chili

Recipe Credit: McCormick


  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato cut into 1/2 inch chunks (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 can black beans drained and rinsed, 15 1/2 ounces
  • 1 can diced tomatoes undrained, 14 1/2 ounces
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 package McCormick® Original Chili Seasoning Mix


  1. Heat oil in Instant Pot on SAUTÉ function. Place pepper and onion in pot. Cook and stir 3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add water. Stir in beans, tomatoes, corn and Seasoning Mix. Close lid. Set Valve to Seal.
  2. Select PRESSURE COOK (MANUAL); cook 7 minutes on HIGH PRESSURE. When done, quick-release the pressure. Open the lid once pressure inside the pot is completely released. (Check manufacturer’s manual for safe operating instructions.) Makes 6 servings.

Coconut-Blueberry Chia Pudding

Recipe Credit: The Healthy Meal Prep Instant Pot Cookbook by Carrie Forrest


  • 14 oz full fat coconut milk 1 can
  • 1 cup Water
  • 12 oz frozen blueberries 1 bag
  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • fresh berries for garnish (optional)


  1. Combine the coconut milk, water, blueberries, chia seeds, oats, maple syrup, and vanilla extract in the inner pot.
  2. Lock the lid into place. Select Pressure Cook or Manual; set the pressure to High and the time to 3 minutes. Make sure the steam release knob is in the sealed position. After cooking, naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  3. Unlock and remove the lid. Pour the pudding into individual serving cups and refrigerate until it sets, about 1 hour. Serve cold garnished with berries, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 390 Fat: 24g Carbohydrates: 42g Protein: 8g

Click the link for tips on how to use your instant pot to reduce waste: