Weight of a Nation

In my Health Promotion Program Planning Class, we watched the HBO’s series of “The Weight of a Nation.”

So many thoughts raced through my mind; here are a few of them:

  • Environmental influences have a great impact on how we feel about ourselves and about the world around us. Many people struggle with their weight. They are embarrassed and desire a greater quality of life. They get tired of feeling like failures.
  • It all starts in childhood: advertisers want to get them hooked fast.
  • Our children can be our motivation to make behavior changes now. “They are our future. They need us. They need us to care.”
  • “It’s not all about what you are eating, but what is eating you.”
  • There is no magic bullet. It’s a change of lifestyle, behavior, and habit. They need support and be realistic for themselves.
  • It isn’t all about food; many times it can be a reason under the surface, and it’s important to address those other aspects of life as well. (Hardship in emotional and social and family life, stress, hormonal, etc.)


What are your thoughts on the obesity epidemic? Where should interventions start?

Homemade Refried Beans

I am converted.

I can never go back. 

Canned refried beans, I’m sorry. 

We must break up forever.

Best refried beans ever! 

Simple ingredients.

High in protein and fiber.

Easy preparation.

No fancy equipment required. 

Here it is.


Add onion, garlic, and oil to a skillet heated on medium heat. Saute until caramelized in color.

Add beans and liquid to the skillet. Begin mashing with a potato masher. (If you don’t have one, the back of a cooking ladle/spoon will work as well.)

Add salt, cumin, and paprika. Continue to mash.

Mash until all the beans are uniform. It usually takes me about 10-20 minutes (depending on how soft the beans are.)

The beans thicken up as they cool down (as the fiber in the beans will continue to soak up some of the liquid).

Serve with your favorite tacos, chips, rice, or guacamole!

Kat’s Homemade Refried Beans


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed or minced
  • Oil to coat pan
  • 6 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 2 cups liquid*
  • 1-2 tsp of salt (to taste)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika or chili powder

Makes about 7 cups total. 


Prepare pinto beans. (I will do another post on how I prepare beans up here at college.)

Saute onion with garlic in a pan with a little oil (about 1-2 tbsp.). I like to use either coconut oil or canola oil.

Add beans, liquid, salt, cumin, and paprika. Mash with a potato masher over medium-low heat until smooth and uniform. (If you don’t have one, the back of a cooking ladle/spoon will work as well.) It usually takes me about 10-20 minutes, depending on how soft the beans are. I like mine a little chunky.

Serve with your favorite tacos, chips, rice, or guacamole!


*I use the liquid from the beans cooking. You can also use broth, water, or even the liquid from the cans if using canned beans.

**I started with 2 cups dried and cooked them in my crock-pot. If you are short on time, you can use three to four 15-oz cans of prepared beans.

***If you have a powerful blender, you can even blend up the beans instead of mashing them to save time.

Print This Recipe

You can easily make a half of a batch. I like to cook a big bath of beans and freeze the extras to have on hand when I want to make another batch; it helps cut down on time in the kitchen (which is a blessing as a college student). 


What is your favorite dish with refried beans?

I’m Back!

Hi everyone!

How have you been? A lot has happened these past two years. I am grateful for the families I met, served, and loved for 18 months while on my mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Serving 24/7 changed me for the better. I learned a lot about myself, and also learned Spanish. (Es cierto. Español es el idioma de los cielos. Me encanta hablarlo.)

I returned home the end of February, and a few weeks afterwards went up to school to continue my studies. Life is so different than what it was two years ago. This last semester (accompanied with lots of prayer), I decided that I didn’t want to be a physician assistant. I don’t want to give more medications to individuals — I want to help them live happier and healthier through good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management. And while taking my biology class, I felt a huge love for all of it. I want to be a dietitian and gain a further science foundation to then be able to teach others. (Maybe even someday be a nutrition professor.)

These past few weeks I’ve been spending my school break with my family. I’ve been doing a lot of baking. I made homemade bread with my mom. (Homemade bread is to die for!) We use our homemade jam on top.


I also made rolls using my homemade bread recipe, just rolling them into golf-ball size balls of dough, letting hem ride until doubled, and baking them for about 20 minutes at 350F. Those went quick!


While serving among the Latin culture, I learned to make homemade beans, tortillas, guacamole, salsa verde, etc! These will be recipes soon to come.

I go back up to school in a couple of weeks. I’m excited to take Nutritional Biochemistry, Program Planning, and Intro to Dietetics this semester. I will continue working as a class mentor and teacher assistant in the Nutrition Department. (I love learning from and working with my nutrition professors.) I will also be working at the Wellness Center and helping out with the Nutrition consultations.


I’m now a senior and will earn my bachelor degree in Health Promotions this next year. I’m planning to take the CHES exam this next October and then go on to graduate school and study dietetics. I’m excited for the journey that lies ahead: the inside life of a health promotion student.