health · nutrition · wellness

cooking for one

I’m sort of an expert at cooking for one, and find cooking for myself an extremely enjoyable, stress relieving activity and a favorite form of self care. As a single lady, it’s also somewhat of a necessity if I want to eat home-cooked meals. A lot of people I work with fall into the same boat, whether it’s because they’re single, divorced, widowed, empty nesters or have busy families on different meal schedules. But one thing I’ve been told pretty often in sessions is something along the lines of, “well it’s only me so why bother” when I ask about cooking. This makes me so crazy, because oh my gosh, we are all worth a home-cooked meal. If you wouldn’t question cooking a nice meal for others, then why not be at least that nice to yourself?

lentil stew for one (plus puppy sniffs)

Before you start thinking of how much more work it is to cook for yourself than it is to pull up Seamless on your phone, know that there are quick and easy ways to make this happen for one person. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as a gourmet, many hours long situation with a thousand dishes to do afterwards. But it’s also a bit more effort than eating a sandwich on a paper towel over the kitchen sink. Remember, you’re worth it. Here are a few of my favorite strategies for making nourishing one-person meals that are fairly quick, easy and always delicious.

Batch cooking
This one might be a no-brainer, but I’m telling you it can make all the difference. One thing I do on most weekends is to roast a ton of veggies – usually brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and sweet potatoes – and store them in the fridge to use all week for quick dinner bowls with the addition of some sort of protein, quinoa, pasta or more sweet potato. This usually takes an hour or an hour and a half, and if you do it before a meal you can also kill two birds with one stone and use some of what you make for that meal. Try not to be deterred by the time commitment, which is probably not that long compared to how many hours most people spend on social media these days (right??). I love listening to podcasts while I’m cooking – it makes the time fly.

To make a bowl like this one here, I sautéed some kale and fried the eggs while throwing leftover roasted veggies and pasta in a bowl with some crunchy chickpeas and sauerkraut that I had on-hand from my last grocery shop. Once the eggs and kale were done, I tossed everything together. Super quick and so good. Eggs are hands down my favorite and easiest go to for dinner when I want something easy and fast. Omelets with veggies and a side of toast, for example, takes 10 minutes, hits a big variety of nutrients and is super satisfying. Avocado toast topped with eggs or smoked salmon, same deal. Obviously a quick meal like this doesn’t have to be pretty and “Instagram worthy” but to be honest, I like the whole plating process and sitting down to something that looks good. It’s all about the experience!

Stews and chilis
This sort of falls along the lines of batch cooking too, but takes it to another level because these options freeze so well. If I’m home on a weekend evening and want a nice cozy dinner, I’ll make a hearty stew that will have plenty of leftovers. After pre-portioning into individual Tupperware containers and cooking, I store the leftover stew in the freezer for easy meal options when I have no time or don’t want to think about what to make. These also work well to bring into work for lunch.

this is Run Fast Eat Slow hearty minestrone stew with spicy chicken sausage and it’s so good. Peanut once again can’t help herself

Comfort foods
There is nothing like a homemade version of a favorite comfort food, and maybe this idea can help make cooking for yourself at home a bit more exciting. One of my favorite things to do is homemade pizza with whatever toppings I feel like. It’s super easy to separate dough, either homemade or store-bought, into single serve portions. I usually aim for about a fist size for each portion, and the rest goes into the freezer portioned in sandwich bags. If you buy your dough, which I usually do, this meal takes slightly more than 30 minutes from start finish and is so satisfying. Also more budget-friendly than most takeout pizza options (especially those in NYC!).

whole grain dough with pesto, ricotta cheese, kale, tomato and shiitake mushrooms

One sheet pan meals
This is another favorite of mine and highlights the efficiency and deliciousness of roasting. Take one sheet pan (or two, if your oven is tiny like mine) and spread out various veggies and your protein. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and/or whatever seasonings you like, and roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Voila, dinner is served. I love using this method for the combination below – Japanese sweet potato wedges, broccoli and wild salmon – because it’s just so good and tastes like it took a lot more work than it did.

Frozen stuff
It would be totally remiss for me to not mention frozen options, but I’m not talking about frozen meals. There’s nothing wrong with them once in a while, but I find they’re just so loaded with sodium and can just taste off. Rather, stocking the freezer with frozen veggies that can be prepared quickly and won’t go bad in the fridge like the fresh versions if you don’t use them in a timely fashion. I love frozen veggies for stir fries and sautéing, because you can add lots of different flavors and sauces to spice them up. A quick sauce with tahini, garlic and lemon juice is one of my current favorites – it’s so good! Picking up frozen fish is also super useful and more budget friendly than the fresh stuff.

Hopefully these ideas help making cooking for one a bit less intimidating, and at the risk of sounding like a L’oreal commercial, I’m going to reiterate again that you’re worth it (really!).


health · nutrition · running · wellness

full fat dairy – data, hormones and athletes

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about the resurgence of full fat dairy products, which have been increasingly trendy in the past couple of years. I think the trends stem in part from the hype on some recent studies coming out showing lower incidence of certain chronic diseases with consumption of full fat dairy vs. non fat, but more relevant to probably most people reading this is the relationship between full fat dairy intake, fertility and female reproductive hormones in general.  And adding to that, the impact this relationship could have on some of the effects of disordered eating and chronic under-fueling in athletes. There is also the very simple aspect of taste and the satisfaction factor, but first…

Let’s look at the general data
A couple of years ago a study came out associating consumption of full fat dairy products with lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, and others associating full fat dairy intake with lower incidence of central adiposity and cardiometabolic risk. While these studies do not prove cause and effect, they do add to a growing body of evidence that dairy fat might not be as detrimental to health as was one believed.

full fat yogurt bowl with all the fruits & granola!

There are probably a few “whys” here. The more complex hypothesis revolves around the metabolic effect of specific fatty acids found primarily in dairy and their role in things like muscle glucose uptake. The less complex one is more focused on the satisfaction factor and overall satiety after meals, in which fat is so extremely helpful. Were the subjects in the study who were regularly eating full fat dairy eating less overall because they were more satiated after their meals? That’s possible too. I know for me and a lot of people I work with, having a container of nonfat flavored yogurt doesn’t do much in the satisfaction department and often can be a snack that leads to another snack (and maybe another snack) until the satisfaction factor is met. On the other hand, with some whole milk yogurt or cheese, and it doesn’t take much to feel satiated. Without getting into a debate on sugar content (that’s probably a whole different post) the main difference here is fat.

Dairy and lady hormones
There is a TON of research on dairy and women’s health. I’m pretty well-versed on the data involving breast cancer due to my full time job – in short, despite what “What the Health” says, a few servings of dairy per day is absolutely fine in women with breast cancer – but I’ve also been delving into the relationship between dairy and female reproductive hormones too. This is due in large part because of the disruptive effect disordered eating can have on the female reproductive system and the strategies I use to help others overcome this. In other words, full fat dairy can be a tool in the toolbox to help those with disordered eating and resulting amenorrhea regain regular menstruation. Here’s a bit on how…

the best vehicle for cheese, always

Backing up a bit
Amenorrhea, or specifically functional hypothalamic amenorrhea (FHA) in this case, is the absence of a menstrual period caused by a chronic energy deficiency. This is either due to insufficient caloric intake, excessive energy expenditure or both. Stress can also cause FHA, and often times it’s a combination of all of the above. Here is a great study on just how much of an impact FHA can have on our health, both in the short and long term, and like I mentioned in my last post, not having a period is not normal. It’s the body’s way of telling us something is wrong and to fix it, please. There are a lot of factors that go into healing ones relationship with food and exercise, not just to reverse FHA and obtain better physical health, but also to live more of a happy, balanced life. That’s probably a whole series of posts and I don’t want to belittle the complexity of it all, but my purpose today is to focus on one small component that could be helpful (and most definitely delicious) in talking about full fat dairy.

So let’s talk data. A prospective cohort study from The Nurses Health Study II found that 1-2 servings of full fat dairy per day, including whole milk, 4% (or full fat) yogurt and cottage cheese seemed to be protective against infertility by supporting ovulation. Other studies have also had similar findings in that infertility was less likely in those who consumed full fat dairy regularly. Another study found high fat dairy intake was associated with an increase in luteinizing hormone (LH) concentrations, in which levels are typically low in women with FHA. Data like this makes a good case for recommending full fat dairy, or switching from non fat to full fat dairy, in women with FHA. The bummer is that to date*, there really isn’t much research directly looking at a possible benefit of full fat dairy products in women with FHA. So for now I’m relying on this possible effect on fertility and hormones in general, as these are both key factors with FHA.

Something else we can’t overlook is the simple fact that full fat dairy is more calorically dense than non fat dairy, and can be so helpful in those with chronically insufficient energy intake and excessive energy expenditure. While oftentimes these two factors are intentional due to disordered eating, I’ve also seen endurance athletes without disordered eating have difficulty keeping up nutritionally with hard training. This can also cause an energy imbalance and resulting loss of a menstrual period, and just like I mentioned above, switching from non fat dairy to full fat can help bridge this energy gap.

And we can’t forget…
There’s also one thing the WSJ said that, although less scientific, makes a whole lot of sense. Full fat dairy products taste better! After a long stretch of a lower fat diet craze and “I don’t care how this tastes because it’s ‘healthy'” mindset, people are starting to change. Not only to do we know how important fat is in the diet, but we care more about how our foods taste. Adding to that, I also think the “satisfaction” factor after meals is something people are thinking about a bit more as intuitive and mindful eating become more popular. Food for thought, right?


*if you know of any research on FHA and full fat dairy specifically, please let me know!

**all thoughts here are my own and meant for educational purposes only. Probably about eleven people read this blog, so please don’t even suggest I’m being paid by any industry or company to write this. 

dogs · health · nutrition · wellness

all inclusive wellness and self care (not $elf care)

A few months ago I was asked for my thoughts on a new baked good developed by a company to specifically help manage and/or prevent PMS symptoms. I had heard rumblings about the company on social media, but didn’t know their baked goods sold at a premium price (I mean, I should have guessed, but…). The “PMS-curing brownie” in question was I think around $15. For a brownie. Literally, a brownie with ingredients you can buy at most grocery stores, nutrients that are abundant in a variety of very reasonably priced whole foods (like fruits and vegetables) and an added oil that is allegedly “a known warrior against PMS.” Other health claims for this magical brownie are that it’s great for a “stronger libido” and the ever popular “adrenal support.”

these foods have most of the nutrients in this questionable brownie (and then some!)

What gets me really fired up here isn’t just the potentially bogus and totally exaggerated health claims – these are maddening, yes, but they’re also everywhere, all the time, and impossible to control.  It’s the insinuation that in order to achieve better health, or in this case, ease symptoms that 51% of the population will have, currently has or has had on a monthly basis, you have to have the means to shell out an insane amount of dough for a damn brownie (pun intended. HA!). This is just one example of a sort of “elitist” culture in the health, wellness and self care area, and it seems to be growing rapidly thanks to social media. So many of my patients and clients are led to think that wellness and self care are unattainable unless they have some pretty hefty resources to use towards them. Hell, sometimes I’m led to think this too! And it just isn’t true.

So I thought I’d list out some really great ways to care for yourself that are affordable and likely more beneficial than an overpriced brownie or so many of the other extravagant specialty foods and practices circling the inter-webs.

Go for a walk outside. This is very simple, but immersing yourself in nature can have profound stress-reducing, mood-boosting effects. There have been studies on this (here’s a report on one), and there are also physicians who prescribe nature walks to depressed or anxious patients before medication. I also regularly include nature walks in my recommendations for clients, and have seen first-hand how helpful they can be. Parks totally count if you’re a city-dweller.

Pet a dog. Yes, I am absolutely biased here, but there is research to back me up! Dog owners live longer, happier lives, and even the simple act of petting a dog can lower stress levels. I see this every time our therapy dog comes to visit patients getting chemotherapy, but also every time someone starts smiling goofily when they see Peanut walking down the street and she stops to say “hi.” If you don’t have a dog, shelters always need volunteers to walk dogs or spend time with dogs, and it can be so fulfilling to both parties. Dogs are way more magical than any brownie, if you ask me.

I mean… ❤ 

Keep nutrition simple. These days, we tend to over-complicate nutrition. Buzzwords tend to make us think foods have to have specific special properties or be “free” of something, “adaptogenic,” “superfood,” “gluten/grain/soy/dairy/etc. free,” “immune-boosting,” “anti-inflammatory,” “clean,” … I could go on. This stuff makes my head spin and I can’t imagine how someone who isn’t a nutrition professional weeding through the research every day feels. Add in dietary supplements and it gets even more overwhelming. There seems to be a supplement marketed to “support” so many things – the immune system, the adrenals (again with the adrenals!), the liver, the gut, “beauty,” the list is endless. It’s so important to keep in mind that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Manufacturers can almost literally say anything on their packaging and do not have to show efficacy, safety or even prove that what they say is in their product and the amount listed on the label is actually there. Stick to a variety of whole, delicious foods that you crave and keep it simple. This is healthier for your body, your brain and your wallet.

Shut off and censor the technology. Feeling present is becoming increasingly hard, and even going 30 minutes without instinctively checking your phone can seem like a lifetime. How did we get here? And what do we miss while being totally buried in our phones? Take a self-imposed break from social media, email, even texts for a day (or more!) and notice what you notice. And what you don’t miss. I try to do this for at least part of the weekend, and have a rule of no social media before 7:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. every day. It’s so nice to have a sort of “cut off” point, and I’ve definitely found myself being more productive and present. While you’re at it, unfollow, de-friend or block anyone who makes you feel inadequate, exudes negativity or promotes $15 brownies for optimal wellness.

Cook a simple meal. The act of preparing a meal, from shopping for ingredients to chopping, following a recipe and enjoying a finished product can be so therapeutic. It’s nourishing beyond actual nutrients (though those are great too!), and usually a lot less expensive than ordering takeout. Cooking for someone else can feel fulfilling and nurturing, but I find just as much satisfaction cooking for myself. If it’s just “you” and you’re hesitant to put together an entire meal for one  – so many of my clients are – know that you’re worth it. And leftovers exist for a reason!

this is an easy but so hearty and satisfying option – curried lentil soup from Run Fast Eat Slow (one of my favorite cookbooks!)

nutrition · running

marathon training nutrition do’s and don’ts

Between working with athletes training towards goal races and some media interviews, I’ve been talking a lot about fueling and nutrition during training lately. My knowledge on this topic has definitely changed and evolved since becoming a dietitian (about five years ago now, time flies!), and somehow running 11 marathons myself since 2010. Nutrition has always been a key player in my own running successes and failures (ahh, so many failures), and to a point I think I’ve been my own sports nutrition experiment of one. My learnings, combined with the latest literature and my experience with a big variety of athletes over the years has really helped me form a pretty solid set of nutrition do’s and don’ts during training. Keeping in mind, of course, that nutrition is very individual and there will always be exceptions to these rules (or, “rules”), but overall I think this list is relevant for most runners.

the morning after the marathon meal (sourdough french toast, yum!)

Do: eat carbohydrates. This sounds like a simple one, but I’m telling you, carbohydrates and carbohydrate-containing foods are still feared or vilified by runners all the time. This is in part a result of diet culture, but also because of the recent popularity of low carb or ketogenic diets for sports performance. I wrote a longer post about it here, but the bottom line is that carbohydrates are your body’s main and most preferred source of energy. Ketogenic or low carb diets have not been shown to be beneficial performance enhancers in the literature, despite some anecdotal stories to the contrary. If you’re going to be running  the mileage it takes to train for a marathon, your body needs carbohydrates to fuel these miles. Period, end of story. Without them, performance will suffer, the body will be extremely stressed and you will eventually feel like garbage.

Don’t: try to lose weight during marathon training. Or start training for a marathon with the primary goal of losing weight. While some people may inadvertently lose weight during marathon training, this should not be the primary goal. Restricting food intake while ramping up the miles takes the focus away from what the body physiologically needs – nourishment via protein, carbohydrates and fat – and puts it on numbers. Calories, grams, the scale.  Hunger levels inevitably increase during marathon training very simply because we need more energy to support lots of activity. Having a “diet” mindset of restricting energy (or calories) for weight loss when you’re becoming increasingly hungry from training can very easily cause bingeing, since the body’s physiologic need for energy will eventually override this “diet” mindset. This can create an endless cycle of restricting and bingeing, and also leads constant fatigue, poor sleep and injuries. Dieting during marathon training (or any time, that’s for another post!) can fuel an already unhealthy relationship with food or create one, and very often leads to disappointment on race day because the body is stressed and underfueled.

Do: listen to your body’s signals. Marathon training is stressful on the body, and every body handles this stress differently. Not better or worse, just differently. One fairly common manifestation of training stress, often accompanied by underfueling whether we mean to or not, is the loss of a menstrual period in females. This is not normal and it’s not something to ignore, even if it makes training “easier” or seems like evidence that you’re working hard (um, NO!). This is our body’s way of telling us that something is off, it doesn’t have enough energy to function on all cylinders and is slowing or shutting down the reproductive system to conserve energy as it’s not essential for living. I’m going to repeat myself again – this isn’t normal, guys. A missed period is a sign that you need to look at your training, your stress in general and your nutrition because something is not quite right (better yet, work with a dietitian who can help!). Not addressing the issues here can lead to bone loss and stress fractures, disordered eating and have long term health effects.

Do: plan post-run refueling. Lack of appetite is pretty common after a long run or tough workout, and it may take some runners an hour or two before they feel up to eating a meal. But this is too long! And one of the few instances where I’d say eating intuitively or mindfully isn’t the most beneficial because it’s important to take some nutrition in shortly after a hard effort regardless of hunger levels. This is because your body is the most efficient at restocking glycogen stores that were depleted during the run and your muscles more efficient at using protein to rebuild from the stress and damage of a hard run. A recent study even found that immediate ingestion of carbohydrates and protein after a hard run may create a more positive bone turnover balance (so, stronger bones!). Waiting a few hours before eating something after a run can cause lingering soreness, delay recovery and leave you feeling pretty crummy for the rest of the day. Getting some carbohydrates and protein into your system within about 30 minutes of finishing your run is a great goal to help maximize recovery, and it can be super simple. I often find it’s easier to drink than eat if your stomach is feeling a little off or you’re just not hungry, and something like a chocolate milk or smoothie with fruit and Greek yogurt work really well. Once your appetite kicks in, have that more substantial meal.

favorite “more substantial meal”

Don’t: compare your body, your running, your food choices, your fueling (etc.) to other runners. If you watch or run any race, you’ll notice that runners of all speeds come in all shapes and sizes. Even though the unreasonable standard that all good or fast runners have to be rail thin is starting to be challenged (this article by Allie Kiefer is awesome and so is she), it still exists. Getting hung up on what you “should” look like or what other runners look like, are eating or not eating and what their PRs are compared to yours can be so damaging and not very useful. The comparison trap can waste so much energy and brainspace that could be focused towards our own training (and living!). Every body is truly different – respect your own and what it can do for you, fuel it appropriately and you’ll absolutely run your best.


breakfast goals (and why you should eat it)

Breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. Maybe it’s because I’m a morning person, but there is something about the combination of morning light, the Today Show and usually something with nut butter that I will never not look forward to. And don’t even get me started on that first sip of coffee. Bliss.

sprouted grain toast, Greek yogurt, pear & honey, peanut butter, berries & hemp seeds. with a side of dog pajamas.

We’ve all heard the popular nutrition adage of “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” right? But why, exactly? It is the secret to eternal youth? Happiness? Or media favorites, weight loss and “flat abs.”

While I do love breakfast the most, I don’t necessarily think any of these ideas are totally accurate, nor do I think it’s THE most important meal of every person’s day. There’s even research showing that breakfast may not even give you the “metabolism boost” that some of the more legit-sounding theories claim (and I’ll admit I’ve definitely said this before too!). So ok, why eat breakfast then?

If I had a dollar for every time a patient or client told me they either skipped breakfast regularly or quickly had something like a “bar” or a “shake” and were so hungry by the afternoon that lunch, snacks and/or dinner often consisted of whatever they could get their hands on first, I’d be living it up on Park Avenue. If I had another dollar for every time these same patients or clients have said they felt shame for overeating or for what they chose to eat during those times, I’d have a farm upstate and like, one million rescue dogs.

What I’m getting at here (besides my desire for really good real estate), is that while breakfast isn’t a magical metabolism booster, it does “break the fast” after prolonged sleep and is your body’s first source of fuel for the day. Without it, our blood sugar will remain in that low “fasted” state and our glycogen stores won’t be replenished following sleep. Eventually, this will result in your body telling you it needs food NOW with crazy hunger levels and the overwhelming urge to eat something that will quickly raise blood sugar – usually a simple carbohydrate. It’s really hard to eat intuitively or listen to your body’s cravings when you are at this point of “hanger” and it’s also really hard to stop eating when you feel comfortably satisfied because it takes time for those hunger levels to calm down. This can create a blood sugar spike, followed by another drop and the cycle repeats itself. Any feelings of shame during this process – either for food choices or eating beyond the point of fullness – can further complicate what we chose to eat next and when to eat it.

overnight oats in an almost-empty almond butter jar (recipe below)

But it doesn’t have to be this way! Think of blood sugar like a roller coaster. It could be like one of those crazy Six Flags rides with almost vertical climbs and drops as in a typical breakfast-skipping scenario, when what your body really needs is a more docile Coney Island fun coaster. Breakfast is something that can really help you get to that nice, steady blood sugar level throughout the day. This makes it so much easier to listen to our hunger and fullness cues, choose a variety of foods that we’re craving and to feel like a fully functioning, energized human.

That said, the need for breakfast is not necessarily one size fits all (as is so much about nutrition). If you are the type of person who is just not hungry in the morning and comfortably starts your day with a mid-morning snack or lunch, feels good throughout the day and rarely gets into the “hangry” zone, I wouldn’t necessarily tell you to change anything or that you absolutely had to start eating breakfast. But if the crazy roller coaster example I mentioned above sounds all too familiar, eat breakfast! It can make a world of difference in how you feel throughout the day and can also be pretty dang delicious. I sprinkled some of my favorites in the photos throughout this post, but below is a recipe for overnight oats that I’ve found to be really helpful for clients with busy mornings. Try it!

Overnight Oats (serves 1)
Need: 1 small Tupperware container or Mason jar


  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 heaping tsp. cocoa powder
  • ½- ¾ cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • ½ cup berries (fresh or frozen and thawed)
  • 1 tbsp. nut butter of your choice (I love almond butter with this!)
  • Sprinkle of dried unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions: at night, mix oats, cocoa powder, chia seeds, Greek yogurt and almond milk together so all of the oats are fully coated/covered, refrigerate. In the morning, top with fruit, coconut flakes and nut butter. Enjoy on the go or throw it in a bowl if you have time!

recipe above, prepped in a bowl

Kelly Hogan Health: A New Venture

Kelly Hogan Health is now up and running! Starting an “official” private nutrition practice has been a long time coming, and I’ve made good use of some fairly fresh New Year’s motivation to make it happen.

I’ve probably mentioned before that I work at an outpatient breast cancer center that is part of a big hospital in NYC… I love my job and have no plans of going anywhere, but lately I’ve had a strong desire to flex my nutrition coaching muscles beyond the typical client population that I see most often. In the past couple of years, I’ve become more and more entrenched in the principles of intuitive eating and developed a strong “non-diet’ approach in my practice. The work I’ve done towards these philosophies has opened my eyes to just how prevalent disordered eating is in this country and beyond, especially in women. What I mean by this is exhibiting behaviors like restricting foods or food groups, bingeing, obsessing over eating “clean,” labeling foods as “good” and “bad,” continuously following various diet plans, letting your physical activity dictate your food choices (or vice versa), etc. Our society normalizes these behaviors so often that it’s hard to realize just how harmful they can be to the individual. While these behaviors can certainly develop into full blown eating disorders, they frequently hang around in this gray area and can go unrecognized for far too long. This can affect all aspects of life and be so damaging physically, mentally and emotionally.

Individuals with an unhealthy relationship with food can come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, many studies and surveys have found much more than half of women with ages ranging 18-65 report having disordered eating behaviors at some point in their lives. Myself included. I think a lot of dietitians who work in the disordered eating, non-diet space have once had their own struggles with food and disordered eating at some point. And that’s why we are so passionate about and good at helping others overcome their own inner battles. It’s possible to find peace with food, or food freedom, and it can be so healing for your body and your brain.

As a distance runner (11 marathons and counting, my goodness), I love working with other runners and endurance athletes to help them learn how to fuel their bodies appropriately for training and racing. Underfueling with or without disordered eating is common in runners, especially female runners, and can have long-lasting effects well beyond a sub-par race performance. It’s so important to approach a fueling plan with this in mind, and I love seeing my athletes get through a hard workout or race day feeling nourished and strong.

I hope this explains a bit of what my nutrition practice will focus on and gives you a taste of my nutrition philosophy. I plan to continue to use this space to write a whole lot more about nutrition and anything and everything that relates to the above. I might also continue to talk about my rescue dog Peanut from time to time (#sorrynotsorry). If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me on my website, Kelly Hogan Health.



what’s the deal with DIM, anyways?

this was pretty much the subject line in one of our oncologists recent emails to me, and it’s a good question. Especially if you or someone you love has or is at higher risk for certain cancers, which is mostly everyone, but also if you just need another reason to eat your vegetables.

ok but first, what is DIM?
DIM, or diindolylmethane, is a breakdown product of the antioxidant indole-3-carbinol (I3C) found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale and cabbage. DIM is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and because of this has been extensively studied in the scientific community for its possible protective properties against disease. More specifically, DIM may help block cancer-initiating events by increasing cellular detoxification and reducing inflammatory signaling. DIM also plays a role in estrogen metabolism. For those with or at risk for breast cancer, my area of specialty, DIM may be effective in modulating the initiation of cancer at all stages of breast tumor development. How cool is that?

spot the crucifers!

let’s talk research
as of this writing, much of the research on DIM has been done in cells or rodents, and though there have been some human observational studies published, finite recommendations can’t be made from the available date just yet. Even so, the studies have been very promising thus far. In breast cancer cell lines, the various actions of DIM has been shown to inhibit growth of human breast cancer cells in both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent cell lines. This is exciting because it may potentially expand therapeutic options for triple-negative breast cancer in the future. DIM has also been studied in combination with some chemotherapies, which is also promising but preliminary. I typically advise against taking any antioxidant supplements during chemotherapy treatment currently due to the possibility of affecting the treatment negatively (i.e., protecting cells we don’t want protected!), and research pointing to a possible synergistic relationship could be a game changer. But let’s be clear, MUCH more research needs to happen before recommendations and standards of practice are changed.

DIM-related recommendations I do make right now are more related to food choices. A recent meta-analysis of more than 18,000 individual cases suggested that overall high intake of cruciferous vegetables (> ¾ cup/day) was significantly associated with a 15% lower risk of breast cancer. In ladies with breast cancer, high cruciferous vegetable intake was associated with a 35% decrease in recurrence women taking Tamoxifen. So, it’s very rare that I meet with a patient without a mention of broccoli, cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. The fact that they are delicious and so versatile is an added bonus.

don’t forget that kale is a cruciferous veggie too!

so should I take a DIM supplement?
as of right now, I have to say no. Even though much of the research has been on very high concentrations of DIM, which is easier to obtain from a supplement, we need way more of it before recommending it be used. It’s also important to keep in mind that dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA and finding a brand that has been reviewed by a third party for safety and ingredient content is key. Especially since DIM has limited bioavailability, so you really need a specialized formulation of DIM for any benefits.

ok, so what should I do?
eat more vegetables! Often when I suggest adding more cruciferous veggies to their diets, people cringe a bit. This could be because they commonly cause gas or they associate them with a sub-par taste thanks to a boring cooking method or no seasoning. Both concerns can be remedied! When cruciferous veggies are consumed on a regular basis, our intestinal microflora can adapt and produce less gas (this also goes for beans!). And, cooking methods are everything when it comes to cruciferous vegetables. Roasting brings out delicious flavor by caramelizing them, and using various herbs and spices can up the flavor game even more. Here are two of my favorite, simple recipes that are always crowd pleasers.

roasted curried cauliflower (serves 4-5)


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp black pepper (this enhances absorption of curcumin, the powerful antioxidant found in turmeric)
  • Pinch sea salt

preheat oven to 425° F. Chop cauliflower into bite size pieces and spread evenly on large parchment or tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over pieces and sprinkle curry powder, turmeric, black pepper evenly, season with pinch of sea salt. Place baking sheet into the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and browned. Enjoy warm and store leftovers in a sealed container for up 3-4 days.

crispy roasted brussels sprouts (serves 4-5)


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1-2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

preheat oven to 425° F. Place Brussels sprouts on a parchment or tinfoil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 minutes, and then toss the Brussels sprouts with a spatula. Roast for an additional 5 minutes, then turn oven off and let Brussels sit in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until tender and caramelized.  Enjoy warm and store leftovers in a sealed container for up 3-4 days.


*disclaimer – this post is for informational purposes only and not meant to serve as individual medical advice or medical nutrition therapy.