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  • 2015_8_24

Get The Best of The Twin Cities with RedCurrent


An important part of living a healthy, active lifestyle is getting out and finding fun events and activities within your community and city. Oftentimes though, it’s hard to find local events that cater specifically to you and your interests. The generic results from a web search such as: ‘summer events in the Twin Cities’ or ‘Things to do in August in Minneapolis’ will often bring you back to square-one of searching for things to do this upcoming weekend and lead you to hearing about all the best events of the summer after they’ve already occurred.

RedCurrent is an awesome new Twin Cities mobile app that aims to tackle this problem by bringing all events going on in the Twin Cities to one easy-to-use and navigable platform that let’s you search for local events by date, category, and location. The app’s great design and user-friendly layout make it extremely simple to sort through all upcoming events and find the one’s that interest you. Whether you’re interested in Farmer’s markets, brewery events, art fairs, wineries or any of the other categories on RedCurrent, you’ll be able to find all the events that interest you.

RedCurrent is a free mobile app currently available to iPhone users in the App Store. An Android version is set to hit the GooglePlay store in the next few months and the service can be run ubiquitously from any computer or mobile web-browser by going to www.redcurrent.com. Currently the app is only available within the Twin Cities but be on the lookout for added cities in the near future.


Below is a brief photo-guide on how to get started using the platform, and on your way finding great events, fairs, festivals, and more to attend with your family and friends in the Twin Cities!


1. When you first go to the website you’ll be prompted to log in with Facebook, Google, or enter an email address. This will allow you to save all your favorite events and venues within the application.



2. Once in the site or application you’ll be directed to the ‘Your Twin Cities’ homepage where you can explore the biggest events in the Twin Cities (‘The Marquee’ ) or explore other event subcategories such ‘Everything Breweries’, ‘Farmers Markets’, and several other primary event topics of interest.



3. If you want to browse event categories and venues even more specifically you can click the ‘Categories’ tab in the upper right corner and search for events based on the specific category.



4. Choosing a category like Farmers Markets will allow you to explore the category in more detail. For instance, the Farmer’s Markets category allows you to explore the top farmer market events going on in the cities as well as view the farmer’s markets by the day of the week they’re scheduled for.


All-together RedCurrent is a simple and free application that allows everyone in the Twin Cities to find the best events going on around town and allows them to use this information to find fun new events for to attend with their friends and families!

Drew Thomas ⋅ University of Minnesota ⋅ Nutritional Science 15′

Dark Chocolate Sunscreen

 4376382115_4821e61752_bPhoto curtesy of Magic on Flickr

Minnesota summers are a magical time of year and provide a much-needed release from being cooped up during the harsh winter months, allowing ample opportunity to catch some rays and get vitamin D production going again. However, if you’re anything like me and have a rather fair complexion that always seems to be overly susceptible to sunburn, then many of your fun-days in the sun will lead to a red and painful day after. Even with the use of sunscreen!

So what makes some people more susceptible to sunburn than others, and is this a characteristic the can be quantitatively expressed? Surprisingly, yes. The minimal erythemal dose (MED) is a measurement that expresses the minimal amount of UVB ray exposure (time in the sun) to cause redness 24 hours after the initial exposure. A higher MED value means you can withstand a larger amount of UVB ray while a lower MED value means it’ll take you less time out in the sun to get burnt compared to someone with a higher MED value.

Finding a way to boost MED values would effectively lessen predisposition to sunburn and allow you to enjoy the summertime outdoor fun without always having to worry about getting burnt or dealing with a painful and annoying sunburn the couple of days after.

Luckily enough, studies have shown that the flavanols in dark chocolate effectively boost MED levels, thereby protecting skin from sunburn and, in the long-term, improving overall skin quality, by preemptively blocking sun-induced skin damage before it can even take place.

According to a study published in 2006 in the Journal of Nutrition it was found that the photo-protection due to a daily high dark-chocolate flavanol intake (330mg/d) was increased by nearly 25%. Additionally, the subjects consuming the flavanol rich cocoa experienced increased circulation to the skin, as well as increased skin hydration and density (Heinrich 2006). A second study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, found that a 20 gram portion of dark chocolate daily more than doubled the MED value of the subjects being studied, providing a significant improvement in UV protection (Williams 2009).




A typical chocolate bar is 100 grams so one quarter of a bar would raise your MED value. 20 grams would be equal to two individual squares of Ghiradelli Chocolate or 43 Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Chips or half of a 72% Cacoa Dark Chocolate Bar from Trader Joe’s (the red label) Just read the label and eat 20 grams. (Does this sound delicious or what?)

While future studies will help elucidate and shine light on which flavanol compounds in dark chocolate are responsible for increased photo-protection from UVB rays, it definitely won’t hurt to add dark-chocolate to your daily nutritional regimen. The high antioxidant content and numerous studies that have backed dark chocolate as a highly nutritious food for a variety of different purposes, in addition to increasing your skin’s natural sun protection, make it something to definitely get in to. Plus it tastes delicious! Happy Eating!

Blog Post By Drew Thomas – Nutritional Science 2015, University of Minnesota
Heinrich, U., Neukam, K., Tronnier, H., Sies, H., & Stahl, W. (2006). Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. The Journal of nutrition, 136(6), 1565-1569.
Williams, S., Tamburic, S., & Lally, C. (2009). Eating chocolate can significantly protect the skin from UV light. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 8(3), 169-173.
Image from Ghiradelli

No More Beer


No. Not. Me. July 12th. “D Day.” I arrived home from a super relaxing Timberman Triathlon weekend at the Mullaney Cabin to a life changing email. My Enterolab test result for gluten sensitivity was positive. My first thought was my number is “not that high” so maybe I really don’t “have it.” My smart RD sister, Laurie Meyer, informed me that any number over the threshold was indeed positive for gluten sensitivity. The first week I didn’t care and “sort-of” forgot about it. I was NOT doing that horrible diet. And so it went…I ate bread, crackers with Gram Ady’s jam, and even drank a beer with Julie and Tim Thoma while boating on Lake Minnetonka. How could an ex-Pabst brewery worker from Milwaukee, Wisconsin not drink beer? Guilt. More guilt. I knew I was creating inflammation in my body and didn’t care – or did I?

2015-07-24 19.54.41

Since Gary’s retirement on July 1st, I have watched him have a ton of fun while accomplishing a lot. In July, he biked 800 miles and completed two big projects – under-the-cabinet lighting in our kitchen and sealed coating the driveway. His big atlas is his constant companion as are his many maps for planning his trips. His first trip will be hiking the Black Hills. Jealous. Very, very jealous! I want to be Gary. But, how can I be guaranteed a future, healthy retirement if I am constantly creating inflammation in my body? So I decided. I woke up on July 20th and decided NO MORE GLUTEN!


Slide1A decision is a belief.

It is a declaration. It is a commitment to where you are standing and there is no turning back. Example: I decided I will retire healthfully and happily with Gary.

A goal is an action and is measurable.

Goals are where you want to be. Example: I will follow a gluten free diet.

Goals are great but the power is in your decision. Once you make a committed decision you can set goals along the way to support your decision. But you HAVE to make the decision. The decision comes first. You are not going to make a change unless you decide. You get what you decide.

How do you get from a decision to a goal? With small manageable preparation steps. My preparation steps were to buy Trader Joe’s rice crackers and give away my gluten-filled noodles and breads.

2015-08-07 19.59.27

The most difficult gluten free weekend was the Bork family cabin weekend complete with Amish toast, Special K Bars, and my “heaven on earth” Uncle Mike’s Pecan Kringle. But I decided before I hopped in the car that I want to retire healthfully and happily with Gary.

The secret about going on a new diet is to dump the willpower theory. After you decide, you create your environment to support who you want to become. My wellness coaching clients memorize, “My environment is stronger than my will.” It is not about will power. I call that worry power. Can anyone have a glass cookie jar on their counter with their favorite cookies in it and not eat them? I have not met them yet. Can I have yummy looking gluten-filled cinnamon bread on my counter and not eat it?

Goals are great. But until you really, really decide that you truly WANT to be happier and healthier and start new behaviors, nothing will change. Nothing.

The unexpected bonus from the gluten free diet is that my joints don’t ache anymore, my temperature is normal, and I am mentally more focused.

Remember, if you have not consciously made a decision to be amazing, happier and healthier, you have unconsciously made the decision to be average, unhappy and unhealthy.

We would love to hear your decisions and how you created your environment to support them.


5 Steps to Making A Decision


Image curtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every day we make thousands of decisions. Multiple sources on the internet suggest we make 35,000 decisions a day. I am great with “day time decisions” but the “night time decisions” are another story.   How many nights have you spent wide awake wondering what to do with your life? I just spent an exhausting  four nights wide awake trying to decide if I should do advanced professional coach training. I used this 5 step process to decide not to do the advanced coach training as it did not align with the order of my values. My sweet is more important than my love of learning and career right now.

  1. Identify your goal (an action)
  2. Ask yourself: Does this goal align with my values?
  3. Create a list of the pros and cons of the goal ( If more pros continue and if more cons dump the goal)
  4. Identify your decision (What belief will support your goal?)
  5. Rate the importance of your decision on a scale of 1 to 10. If not a 7 or higher refine it.

What decision have you made that you are proud of?


15 minute 5 Ingredient Chicken Curry Salad

curry salad

This is my go-to salad when I need a salad for a get-together, need a lunch for a day of kayaking, or when I am craving curry and don’t feel like cooking. The sweetness of the grapes, the crunch of the water chestnuts and the savory of the curry is a winning combination. Not to mention the inflammation fighting powers of turmeric. Even my friend Gaye who doesn’t love lots of foods gave this salad” a thumbs up” today. She liked it!! Hurray!

  • 1 – 12.5oz can chicken breast packed in water, drained OR 2 boneless skinless breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 8oz water chestnuts, sliced (must have for the crunch)
  • 1 ½ cup red grapes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp turmeric or more to taste ( I love 1 tsp)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

In an 8 cup mixing bowl (love the Pampered Chef Batter bowl) toss together all the ingredients. With a colored spatula, (mine is red) stir gently to combine. (I have two wrecked white-turned-yellow spatulas from cooking with curry.) Refrigerate. To serve arrange on Bibb lettuce. Yield: 4 cups of salad.

I often spy it in the fridge and eat it standing with the fridge door wide open (don’t tell Gary) and eat it right out of the container.


This salad is a time saver nutritious winner in my book. It takes 15 minutes from start to finish. Prepare it the night before to allow the flavors to blend. I buy my canned chicken from Costco. If you desire more than five ingredients a few sliced green onions add another layer of flavor. If you are not curry lover you can substitute your favorite fresh herb like tarragon.

Is Mayonnaise gluten free?

Most mayonnaise is gluten free as most are made with naturally gluten free ingredients. They may not be labeled gluten free because they are not guaranteed against cross contamination. If you want to be certain it is gluten free use Spectrum mayonnaise products which are confirmed gluten free by analysis.

The Healing Powers of Turmeric


Photo curtesy of Steven Jackson

Don’t forget turmeric has healing powers. Turmeric’s main ingredient curcumin has been shown in over a thousand studies to have a wide array of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Studies show that the elderly of India have very low rates of Alzheimer’s disease which is attributed to their daily consumption of curries. Duke University researchers have concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic diseases including cancer and arthritis. When I had my concussion my functional medicine colleagues advised me to take turmeric capsules to fight the inflammation.

Turmeric photo: CC rights by Flickr photos by Steven Jackson

5 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

Be Happy 1

Photo curtesy of dineanddish.net




Savor everyday moments

Avoid comparisons

Have meaningful goals

Get out and exercise

Put money low on the list


The Happiness Dance of Success

car accident

Gary has always told me there is never a good time for a car accident, to be sick or have a baby. Boy is he right. All I said to Gary was “Look at the grass!” And seconds later we hit the car in front of us!

We had a rear end collision last week with our niece and two nephews in the back seat. Life knocks me down at least once a week. When it does, I feel sad for a bit and then remember my beliefs are not a fact, just a belief. I have a choice: respond or react. When I respond I take two steps forward and when I react I take two steps backwards. Just thinking about it for two seconds helps us respond. Which reminds me of dancing…let me explain.

Gary and I had a marriage contract; the kids would be Catholic, they would not go to Catholic school, Gary would take ballroom dancing lessons, and I would go camping without electricity. Yes, we honored them all. Since then, I have thought of my life as a dance.

The waltz is the smoothest ballroom dance of all! Almost effortlessly, we glide along the dance floor with flowing movements, continuous turns and “rise and fall.” Life happens and we are moving towards our goals and dreams with ease and grace.

The foxtrot is a smooth dance of flowing movements across the floor. Sometimes you can stop and just stay in one place and do little square movements. You are not gliding around the dance floor like the waltz. But, you are still moving.

Our favorite was the quickstep, which is a quicker version of the foxtrot. It is comprised of extremely quick stepping, syncopated feet rhythm and runs of quick steps. We made the most mistakes but felt the most accomplished and had the most fun.

“Doing life” is like dancing. Sometimes days and weeks fly by easily and quickly, like the waltz. We love the feeling of an accomplished satisfying week. Sometimes we may get stuck for a while and end up dancing in a little square for a bit like the foxtrot. We cover the same ground over and over. Just because we are in one place for a bit doesn’t mean we have failed as we are still MOVING! We just need to figure out what is not working and how to begin again.

Sometimes there are detours or distractions in our lives that take us away from our initial purpose. Maybe we step backwards. But that is ok because sometimes it is good to step back and look at the distractions as they create opportunities for us to adjust the dance as needed. But remember we are still MOVING!


This car accident was a big detour as we were on our way to a shopping extravaganza at the Mall of America with Zach, Tyler and Hannah. It was also great example to show my niece and nephews how fast an accident can happen. Hopefully this will attract attentive driving for them and throwing away their cell phones when driving.


I love it best when life is like a waltz and good things are happening…like Gary’s recent retirement and seeing him so worry free while I feel stressed out. But that doesn’t happen every day UNLESS I change my beliefs and focus on abundance. To protect myself from the negative, I pick my dance partners and if I have to have a dance partner in my life who brings me down I know I can only be in charge of my beliefs and my actions – not theirs. 

Even on my worst days when I am struggling to continue to foxtrot and feel like I am doing the same move over and over I have to remember I am still moving! Life is ok. My beliefs create my happiness, which create my success. Now that Gary is so worry free maybe I can convince him to take more dancing lessons again…or maybe not.

Remember successful people are not necessarily happy but happy people are successful. Better get busy deliberating creating your happiness dance of success!


Lemon Tilapia with Red Wine Vinegar and Spinach Quinoa

By Drew Thomas

I am happy to share this recipe developed by Drew Thomas – a Nutritional Science major at the University of Minnesota who also enjoys cooking!


Looking for a simple and delicious meal that’s packed full of nutrients? Then look no further! Today I’ll be covering the recipe for one of my go-to meals: Tilapia with red wine vinegar and spinach quinoa. This meal is a nutritional powerhouse and is packed full of protein, whole grains, and a great way to get your daily dose of spinach! The recipe is extremely simple and can be prepared start to finish in about 20 minutes; great for those of us who are busy but are looking for a wholesome and delicious meal to prepare.


  • 3 Cups Spinach
  • 2 Tilapia Fillets
  • ½ Cup Quinoa
  • 2 Tbsp, Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Large Lemon



Preheat oven to 350. Place 1 cup of water and ½ cup quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil.


While water and quinoa are coming to a boil place the thawed fish fillets in a baking pan. Slice lemon and place on top of fish and squeeze extra lemon juice on both fillets. Add desired amount of salt for flavor.


Once the oven is at 350, place the fish in and set the timer for 13 minutes. At this point the Quinoa should be boiling. Reduce the heat of the quinoa and bring to a simmer for the next 15 or so minutes-until excess water is gone.





In another saucepan add spinach, red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, and any remaining lemon juice. Place on low heat and cover with a lid, stirring occasionally.







Once the Quinoa finishes up, add it to the spinach mixture and stir over heat for 1-2 minutes. This will allow the quinoa to absorb the flavor of the spinach mixture while also picking up the water-soluble nutrients lost in the liquid upon cooking.




Finally, Take the tilapia out of the oven, bring everything together, and prepare yourself for a delicious meal. This recipe makes 2 servings but can easily be modified for more. Bon Appetit!


Guest Post: Tricks to See Weight-Loss Results Fast

Thank you to  for the quote in this article on Everyday Health!


Tim Robberts/Getty Images

“Another trick to encourage mindful eating is to focus on the taste of food instead of the activity you’re doing while eating (like staring at a TV screen or reading emails). “Cultivate [your] taste buds by focusing on the first three to six bites of food,” says Chere Bork, MS, RDN, a speaker and coach in Minneapolis. “Taste buds are chemical sensors that get tired very quickly, so unless you’re very hungry, the first few bites of a food will taste better than the next few bites. After a larger amount, you may actually have very little taste experience left.” By savoring the early bites, especially when it comes to rich foods like chocolate and cheese, you will satisfy hunger and cravings without eating large portions.”

See all 9 other tips and the original article here!


Cranberry & Cucumber Potato Salad


Tired of the same old same old potato salad? Zest up your BBQ with the addition of dried cranberries and cucumbers in this delightfully light potato salad.

And what’s not to love about cranberries??

  • Cranberry products are naturally low in sugar and high in acidity (very similar to a lemon!) so they require sweetening to be palatable—but when it comes to dried cranberries, the total amount of sugar is equal to that of other dried fruits, like raisins and dried cherries.
  • Drinking 8–16 oz. of 27% original, low- or no-calorie cranberry juice cocktail each day is recommended to maintain urinary tract health and prevent urinary tract infections.
  • One-quarter cup of dried cranberries is equal to ½ cup of fruit, according to MyPlate.


  • 8 oz. small red or yellow-skinned potatoes
  • ½ cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. white balsamic or cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. hot red pepper sauce
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup diced seedless cucumber
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions


  1. Wash potatoes and boil with skin on for 15-20 minutes or until almost tender. Remove from heat and drain. Cool. Cut into cubes and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper sauce. Stir in cranberries and let stand 20 minutes to soften cranberries slightly.
  3. Stir potatoes, cucumber and scallions into yogurt-cranberry mixture and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning as needed. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. This makes 6 servings.

Mix it up! Switch out cucumber for diced apple or pear, or try it garnished with chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 70, Calories from Fat 10, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 70mg, Total Carbohydrate 14g, Sugars 6g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 8%, Calcium 4%, Iron 2%

Hungry for more recipes? check out

*I was not paid to write this but was delighted to receive dried cranberries to test out this recipe and we loved it in our house! Hope you love it too!