Tuesday, May 31, 2011

on holiday

***Blogger has had some major hiccups recently. You should now be able to comment on posts; sorry for any confusion.

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I spent most of the holiday weekend outside, which made me incredibly happy. On Saturday, the farmers’ market was busier than I’ve ever seen it, which was weird because we don’t even have that much produce out yet. Mostly root veggies and plants. I bought basil plants and local eggs.

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I left the basil for my mom to take care of…we all know that I’d probably kill it. I’m hoping it will grow a lot in the next couple of weeks, so I can make pesto when I visit again.

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Visited Oddside Ales. a tiny brewery in Grand Haven, MI. Coffeehouse feel, good selection of craft beer (I sampled a raspberry wheat), and good company. I would definitely visit again.

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Monday was pretty much the only nice day out of the holiday weekend, and at 82 (heat index of 90), this called for ice cream.

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We also took a family outing to the driving range. Let it be known that I have no patience for golf. I can drive decently but not always straight, and my putting skills are more appropriate for miniature golf.

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Also, it should be noted that I don’t even remember the last time I swung a golf club, and today my back and shoulders feel like an elephant crushed them. Yoga is probably in order.

So sad that the holiday weekend had to end…it’s back to the grind but thankfully only a 4 day week.

What did you do this weekend?

It’s 91 in Ann Arbor today…time to get out my best salad recipes.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

a conglomeration of randomness

First of all, thanks for the bday wishes! I now have high expectations that 26 will be even more fantastic than 25…

At the farmers’ market this past weekend, there was definitely a musician with a parrot roost attached to his bicycle. And said parrot danced to the music.

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There were so many plants and vegetables seeds that I got kind of sad because I really have no space to grow anything…and then I remembered that I kill plants anyway.

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We ate black bean burgers and drank local beer at the Upland Brewing Company. I’ve had a lot of veggie burgers, but the best ever award goes to the Northstar Cafe in Columbus, OH.

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It has rained pretty much everysingleday this month, which is awesome for white noise but not so awesome for being productive. It makes me want to drink coffee and sleep, which really don’t go together?

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You might be curious about what a clinical dietitian does all day…we usually don’t set foot in a kitchen, which is a shocker to some.

A lot of my nutrition interventions involve nutrition support, which includes enteral (tube feedings into the stomach or small intestine) or parenteral nutrition (nutrition into the veins).

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Examples of situations where enteral nutrition would be used include: a patient who can’t eat enough by mouth to meet his or her caloric needs (failure to thrive, prematurity, cardiopulmonary disorders, etc.), has problems digesting regular food, or has a neuromuscular disorder that prevents safe swallowing.

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First, we calculate estimated calorie, protein, and fluid needs. We then choose a formula based on the patient’s age and medical condition.  Next, we determine if we will feed continuously or do several bolus feeds over the course of the day. We figure out the rate per hour for the tube feeding and feeding volume.

Once these things have been decided, we monitor our patients closely to ensure they tolerate the feeds. We start off at a slower rate and gradually increase to full feeds to avoid gastrointestinal upset. Things get trickier when we have to add electrolyte supplements (sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, etc) to the formula and adjust based on laboratory results. Being a dietitian actually involves a lot of math!

So that’s a little slice of my day…different than what you visualized a dietitian doing in the hospital setting? Are there things about your job that people find surprising?

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

[time]

Time is the biggest issue most people have when it comes to cooking and eating healthfully. It’s even hard for dietitians, who deal with early mornings and long days, to be excited about cooking a meal after work. I try to do most of my meal prep during the weekend, to save time (and energy) during the week.

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Dave (who is now famous) is more of a kitchen adventurer than I am these days and recently recommended this lentil dish. I have to admit that my fave part was actually the lentils + cinnamon and cumin. And you probably shouldn’t make this unless you like onions…or have an intense fear of vampires (6, count ‘em, 6 cloves of garlic in this dish!).

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Super easy to make, but you should plan to get at least 3 pans dirty, spill rice (or quinoa in my case) on the floor multiple times, and end up with tomato sauce in your hair. Or maybe I’m just talented like that…

Is it ironic that a plate of non vegan cookies (so, sometimes I bring cookies to work. newsflash: dietitians eat cookies) are sitting next to JSF’s Eating Animals? Still digesting bits and pieces of this gem…ethical eating for me is (and probably always will be) a process. I’ve had a lot of convos about this recently, and it’s always interesting to hear responses to questions like, “what are your thoughts on GMO crops?”

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Mini SLU dietetic intern reunion slash wedding this past weekend (congrats R & J!). I honestly cannot believe it’s been almost a year since I finished my dietetic internship. Crazy. It so was good to catch up with these ladies, who are all now dietitians and colleagues.  I promise my hair looked halfway decent before all of the dancing started.

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And…I just got back from a rain run. In St. Louis, it rained so often in the spring that I promised myself I’d never use rain as an excuse not to run. It’s funny, but I actually like running in the rain now…as much as I’m addicted to my ipod, sometimes it’s nice to take a break and run without.

Speaking of time…this is my last post as a 25 year old!

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

magical fat burning foods

The week is more than halfway over, but I still haven’t blogged about last weekend! Yes, things are still a little crazy around here.

Anyway, my sister visited Ann Arbor for the first time, and it was good to catch up on life in person. She just finished year 2/3 of her MFA in poetry at Indiana University and writes super cool stuff that I am not good at interpreting.

Banana pancakes from scratch are the perfect start to the weekend.

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Find of the weekend: 2 vintage Nancy Drew books at a tiny, extremely cluttered bookstore in Kerrytown. I was pretty obsessed with becoming a detective when I was 10 and read every single book in our library.

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We saw Jane Eyre (pretty sure I read it in high school British Lit) with a friend, and it was kind of depressing but also refreshingly not completely cliché. And eating delicious Mediterranean food made things slightly better.

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Saw these gorgeous tulips on the way to the farmers’ market. Probably my fave flowers. Things are definitely starting to warm up around here, so I’m crossing my fingers for no more snow.

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Recently the NY times ran this article about foods that can serve as appetite suppressants. Researchers found that adding 1 gram of chili pepper (I’m guessing this is just over half a teaspoon) to soup caused subjects to burn 10 extra calories. [Whoop de whoop.] The effect appeared to be greater for those who didn’t regularly consume spicy foods. Subjects not accustomed to consuming spicy foods also ate fewer calories (mean reduction = 143 calorie) after receiving a dose of red pepper.

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My opinion: I don’t really like spicy foods, so why would I purposely eat them to burn an extra 10 calories? I think going for a run sounds like a much more enjoyable idea. Also, the study found that the calorie burning effect was lesser in subjects who already regularly consumed spicy food, meaning there is a chance you could develop a tolerance and consequently not burn as many calories (as if 10 is a huge number, anyway). I did think it was interesting that subjects ate fewer calories 4.5 hrs after consuming a spicy meal. Heartburn, maybe?

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The article mentioned another study which found that adding vegetable puree to recipes (see 2 of their sample recipes here) caused subjects to consume 200-350 fewer calories per meal.

My opinion: Subjects likely consumed more calories because a) vegetables are low calorie, so they naturally displace higher calorie ingredients when using them as substitutes. b) vegetables contain fiber, which increases satiation. I also appreciated how one of the study authors mentioned that it is important to offer whole vegetables on the side to children, so they learn to develop a taste for them.

So all this to say…I don’t believe in magical fat burning foods.

Thoughts?

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

survival skills

So this week is seriously punching me in the face….enter my best skills for survival. [btdubs, I feel like I do a post like this at least once a month. But hey, probably a sign I need constant reminders of these things, right?!].

Green smoothies. The trick is using super ripe bananas. And a shake of cinnamon…don’t let the green scare you.

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Good Food. Channa masala is super easy to make and actually tastes better as leftovers, which is a bonus.

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Tea. Lots of it. Conveniently brewed in my coffeemaker. I should probably invest in a tea kettle, yes?

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Schedules, nice pens, paper chain countdowns, moleskin journals. And my iphone, which I’m kind of in love with right now.

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Running.Even a 3 mile loop after work does wonders for my energy levels and motivation. Somehow I always feel like I can conquer the world…after a run.

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Sleep. I’m bad at this one, but I’ve fallen asleep before 10 pm every night so far this week. By that I mean laying in bed with ipod on and eyes shut. That counts, right?

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What are your best survival skills? Please share so I can selfishly add them to my list. ;)

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

health halos

My favorite thing about Saturday morning (besides sleeping in, duh) is visiting the farmers’ market. I used to go to Soulard in St. Louis every weekend, I love my hometown’s market, and I’m slowly getting to know Ann Arbor’s market, too.

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I was joined by about 60 billion other hipsters this morning. You will seriously not find a bigger conglomeration of skinny jeans, crossbody bags, and Tom’s shoes in one location (unless you live in Portland).

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I have my favorite vendors in my hometown, and I’m glad the vendors here also don’t mind when I ask them questions like, “how are your chickens raised?” or “do you use pesticides on your plants?”

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And there is just something fantastic about interacting with the people who grow the food you buy. Grocery stores are so intangible, and sometimes I just really enjoy the relational aspect of letting farmers know I appreciate them by buying their produce.

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I really wish that a) I was good at growing plants and b) I had somewhere to grow them. I’d love to at least get a herb garden going, so I can have fresh basil and cilantro whenever this summer.

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Roos Roast Coffee is really good. I tried the Cowboy Blend last time and picked up Lobster Butter Love at this visit. Plus, I think their artsy bags are pretty awesome.

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I read a pretty interesting press release from the American Society of Nutrition recently talking about health halos or labels/characteristics of certain foods that cause people to think they are more healthful. A graduate student from Cornell found that people were more likely to perceive foods with an organic label as significantly lower in calories, lower in fat, and higher in fiber. Organically-labeled chips and cookies were considered to be more nutritious than their “non-organic” counterparts.

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This seems to suggest that people are interested in organic products or know there is some potential benefit to them but don’t fully understand the labeling term. And then you have the whole debate of organic vs. local. The other day, I noticed my organic cucumber was from Mexico; I wonder how many nutrients were left by the time it got to the US (and also about the carbon footprint…yikes). It seems to me that more education is needed.

And even if it has less preservatives or additives, an organic cookie is still a cookie…thoughts?

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