Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tips for Surviving Holiday "Treats" at Work

Last week, a friend lamented to me how this time of year can be rough on the diet. If your office is like hers, and there is an endless parade of goodies and food passing through your kitchen, you may want to read my tips below. They work well for this time of year, and really, any time of year when things get crazy busy and the first thing you do to de-stress is head for the office kitchen.

Plan ahead. Knowing your strategy helps avoid pitfalls.

Have a glass of water.

Count to 10 and take a breath before you take a bite. Do you really want it?

Call or email a friend.

Exercise. Take a walk around the block, do a few jumping jacks, dance, do squats.

Go to the bathroom before eating, see if you still want it while it’s out of sight and you’ve looked at yourself in the mirror.

Write it down. Keep a log, a blog or a journal of what you wanted to eat, when, and what you were feeling in the moment. Look back to learn your triggers, and work to avoid them.

Don’t eat anything standing up. Sit down with plates, utensils, cups, napkins, etc. Be aware when you are eating.

Tell yourself you’re not going to eat it. And then don’t. Announcing it out loud makes it a reality.

Keep your own “candy dish” on your desk or in your drawer with sugar free gum, mints, sugar-free candies or other healthier items that keep your mouth busy. Reach for your own dish rather than your coworker’s when you feel the need.

Brush your teeth.

Put lotion on your hands.

Instead of saying “no” to yourself, say “not right now.” Remember, you can eat anything you’d like, it just takes planning to work it into your diet. You can wrap it up to take home, eat it the next day or freeze it. This works especially well when others are pressuring you to eat or try something. You may discover later you don’t need it after all.

Rank your food on a scale of 1-10 (1 = a food you hate, 10 = your favorite). Given the situation, is it worth eating anything less than an 8? A 5?

Avoid your trigger foods altogether if you cannot keep portions limited. Remember, one bad turn does not deserve another. If you goof, get back on track as soon as you can.

Set an example for others around you. Even when you eat alone.

Be aware that it takes about 20 minutes for a craving to pass, so keep busy.

Clean out the fridge. You be the one to toss the rest of the leftover birthday cake from three days ago. Trust me, no one will miss it. Ditto for the crumbled bag of chips on the counter everyone keeps sneaking into while lunch heats up in the microwave.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Totally Sweet!

Well, it seems as if whenever there is a snowday, that's when I find the time to post. Today's request comes from a bookclub friend who asked that I share a recent recipe from our last gathering. It's adapted from a butternut squash recipe I read about in Good Housekeeping some months ago. Enjoy!

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.

Peel and quarter 6-7 medium sized sweet potatoes or yams. Toss potatoes with about 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 pure maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne pepper. (Do this in a zip top bag and you not only have no bowl to wash, but can coat the potatoes exceptionally well.)

Spread potatoes in a single layer on pan; roast 40 minutes, turning halfway. Serves 6-8.

The dish was inspired by the simple farmed-cooked meals of Wisconsin, eaten by the characters in Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan. A decent read!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What A Crock!

After many years of being a crock-less household, I bit the bullet and requested a crock pot from my sister for the holidays. Sissy picked out the perfect one, and I busted it out this past Monday for dinner. I must say, the pot roast was pretty good. Husband rated it a "This doesn't suck." (Not as high as "Chicken Nuggets!", but not as low as "Can we order pizza?" either. It's a complicated rating system...)

For the Trader Joe fans who read my blog, note that the pot roast came out way better in the CP than roasted on the oven. Just add carrots, potatoes and onions to the pot. I also used wine, not water, because I had some leftover from another recipe, and we go through wine in our house at a snail's pace.

I'm looking for your fave crock pot recipes! Be sure to send them my way...

In other news, one day of class left. Then winter break! Then back Jan 20 full time. Thank goodness I did not have class on Wednesdays this semester. For the past three weeks in a row, someone's intentionally been setting fires in University Hall. Police have not found the perp yet, but as one of my classmates pointed out, "Wouldn't it have been easier for this guy to just study?" So true... so true. The fires/bomb threats/suspicious packages seem to only show up during finals time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The semester is ending, but a new one is coming!

Last night I turned in my final project and breathed a sigh of relief. Folic Acid... It's "4" Your Health!" is done! For all those who assisted with research, interviews, focus groups, and helped me answer a bazillion questions-- THANK YOU!

Here's the short version. Everyone we interviewed knew a bit about folic acid, but had no idea what is was needed for, how much they should have in a day, when they needed to be taking it or what foods were rich in it. Doctors told them to take it- so they did. Knowledge never went beyond that. Our campaign seeks to educated women about folic acid, in the hopes that the more they know, the more likely they will be to take a supplement every day. We used a clever play on words... the whole "4/for" thing to convey our message:

- Take 400 mg a day in a supplement
- Start at least 4 weeks beFORe trying to conceive. Take through your whole pregnancy.
- Eat a diet rich in FORtified breads and grains, plus leafy greens, beans and orange juice.
- It's FOR You! Folic acid can prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke. It also helps your body grow new cells.
- It's FOR Baby!Folic acid prevents brain, spine and heart defects. It also helps your baby’s limbs and face grow properly.

...Folic Acid... It's "4" Your Health!" I will try to upload the brochure we created.

In other big news, I made a tough decision and will be going to school next semester full time, with the hopes of graduating in 2011. I am very sad to leave my job, but it is time to finish the degree. My last day at work is January 16... classes begin Jan 20th.

I am looking forward to the winter break, and to diving in full speed ahead in 2009!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Folate it is!

The final decision has been made! This semester's project will focus on increasing knowledge about folate and prenatal supplements for women of childbearing age. We've already conducted personal interviews and focus groups (many thanks to those loyal readers who also acted as subjects) and the results were overwhelming. Nearly all the women we spoke with know about the need to take folic acid, but have no idea why, how much, what it does, or when they need to take it. Our campaign will aim to change that.

We've jokingly toyed with "Folate--It's Great!", but will probably end up with something a bit more serious:
- "Doctor Knows Best. But You Should Know Too."
- "Before you increase your family, increase your knowledge."
- "Get the Facts on Folate"
Feel free to submit your ideas for slogans!

A word about folate for those who are curious... Folate (aka Folic Acid) is a B vitamin that assists with normal cell growth in a person. During a women's childbearing years, it helps prevent birth defects ranging from spinal bifida to cleft lips, and helps with limb development and digestive system development of a fetus. Aim to get 400 mg a day. Foods that are rich in folate include leafy greens like spinach, kale and turnip greens, orange juice, and dried beans and peas. Many foods like breakfast cereals are fortified with modest amounts of folic acid as well. During most stages of a person's life, folic acid needs can be met with a healthy diet. However, if you plan to conceive, a women should be on a prenatal/folic acid supplement one month prior, and should remain on the supplement through pregnancy and breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor to learn more (or stay tuned!)

Class has gone well so far. It's much more marketing than nutrition, so that's been a little slow for me, but I've enjoyed the pace and the class discussions.

In other news, the husband and I just got back from a long weekend in Boulder, CO and it was fabulous. We biked, hiked, swam and hiked some more. And I learned something new about my body-- it doesn't like high altitudes. My darling husband was halfway up the mountain, while I, gasping for air, trailed behind and cursed my low level of metabolic oxidation. It was steak for dinner for me that night!

I plan to meet with my advisor in the next two weeks and set a course for graduation. I may be (sadly) leaving my job to go to school full time. While this makes me very, very blue, as I love my job and the folks I work with, I need to keep my eye on our long term goals. If only there were more hours in the day...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And the Ideas Roll in...

Some great ideas for my social marketing campaign are below. Add you own through the comments section. Think of a catchy slogan? Add that too!

- Grow With Your Kids! A campaign targeted at pre-K to 3rd graders and their families, encouraging them to grow a garden together, to learn where fruits and vegetables come from, and encourage increased consumption.

-Stamp Out Muffin Tops. Not a likely contender, but funny nonetheless. Are we trying to reduce the obesity rate, or just encourage women to wear roomier clothes?

-Be an Iron Maiden! This thrasher themed campaign is targeted at women 18-34 who tend to have low iron or iron deficiancies. Rock your world -- learn what foods are high in iron and incorporate them into your diet.

-Fight Germs at the Office Water Cooler. (This one DEF needs a better slogan...) Did you know the dirtiest place in the office can be the water cooler? And we're not just talking about the gossip! Encourage office workers to practice good habits when drinking from the cooler.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fall 2008 Semester Begins

Welcome back. Do you hear the bell ringing? School's in session again...

This semester I am taking "Social Marketing in Nutrition" on Monday nights. What is Social Marketing? How is it different than regular everyday marketing?

Social Marketing's goal is to change an audience's particular behavior (usually for the better), and in the end, it is the audience who benefits. This is different from traditional, commercial marketing, where the aim is to sell a product or service, with the industry benefiting in the end, usually because they now have your cash in their pocket.

Traditional Marketing:
-What would you do for a Klondike Bar?
-Test drive a certified, pre-owned BMW today!
- America runs on Dunkin...

Social Market is different. It usually deals with public health or environmental issues, and does not aim to "sell" anything but an idea or behavior change. The benefits can vary-- healthier people, cleaner environments, less sick people, and more. For example:
-Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute!
-Only YOU can prevent forest fires
-Go Meatless on Mondays

This semester, our class will be designing our own social marketing campaign. We'll work in pairs to each come up with a worthy social problem, and design a clever, grassroots based campaign to bring the issue to our target audience's attention. Hopefully, we'll convince them to make a change for the better.

Clever ideas to come... Feel free to submit your own issues you think need solving in the meantime!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer Semester Ends

Writing this post from Mom and Dad's in South Carolina, and glad to report that Mom seems to be on the mend. We've had quite the roller coaster summer, but looks like the score is Mom 1, cancer 0. I was relieved to be finished with class and able to come down.

Special thanks to my professor for being so incredibly understanding! I took the final early and presented my group's research hypothesis last week. Our final study design involved a campus-wide survey of 200 students, asking about their smoking and alcohol habits. We hope to show a link between increased alcohol consumption and tobacco. In other words, the more you drink, the more you smoke... Since this class is a pre-req for a more in-depth research thesis class, some members of my group will actually try to execute and prove this theory in the fall.

I am enrolled for fall classes and plan to take "Social Marketing in Nutrition." Many of my classmates have told me it's a fun class, so I'm looking forward to it. I also decided to only take one class again. It's just too hard to balance everything else when I'm on campus more than one night a week. (After summer session, I was beginning to forget what my husband looked like. ) While this method certainly slows the education down, it probably won't matter much in the long run, when I convert to a full-time student. It's looking like that's going to be inevitable some time soon.

For now, I am happy to be on break again, and happy to be spending some quality time with loved ones. Thanks to all who have reached out to share their love and concern...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Summer Classes: Week 2

Last week in class we began to write our own research hypothesis and study designs. The class has been divided into 5 or 6 groups, and we're all researching something different, so the outcomes should be varied. Our group decided to study if BMI* increases with age. We'll measure the data set of the 100 or so participants we originally surveyed, sort them by age category, then take their average BMIs and compare. It's not the most complex study, but given our time constraints, it should still be worthwhile.

For our design, we were given a bit of leeway and imagination. If we did have the time, our group decided this would make the perfect cohort study. In other words, we'd measure a random sampling of folks for 45 years, beginning at age 18 and following them until age 63. We'd measure their BMI annually. At the end of the time period, we'd have some great data, and we'd be able to (hopefully) show any causal link between aging and increased weight gain.

Our first quiz is this Tuesday, with a focus on the last two lectures, so I'll review notes and study tomorrow. I'd need to know various types of research, what a Type 1 vs. Type 2 error is, and the difference between Inductive and Deductive reasoning. So far, my professor has given very good, clear lectures, and I haven't needed the book at all!

* A quick refresher: BMI stands for "Body Mass Index", and is expressed as a percentage calculating your height and weight. A healthy BMI is around 20-25%. BMI is just one measurement clinicians can use to determine if a person is at a healthy weight.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer Semester Begins

Welcome back to class! This summer, I'll be taking a course on RESEARCH. I'll have class 2x week for the next six weeks, so things will move fast. Luckily, I've had some experience with statistics and the like before, so I don't worry too much about getting in over my head.

Last night was class one, and we all went around the room introducing ourselves. I don't know anybody in the class, but everyone seems nice. There are 16 of us, and we're a pretty diverse bunch. Many of us already have one Master's degree in an unrelated field. Some are mothers. Some are exercise trainers. Many work. I am not the youngest or the oldest. Some are a few classes from graduation. Others, like me, are just starting out.

My husband asked me over (a very late) dinner last night, "Why does an RD need to take a research class?" I'll share my answer... RDs are required to earn continuing education credits yearly upon certification. We are also expected learn about the latest studies and findings in the field. A solid research background allows an RD to identify quality studies, and disregard some of the not-so-qualified junk being published out there. Additionally, as a community, most journal submissions are peer-reviewed, so it is possible that I would be tapped by the ADA every once in awhile to weigh in on a study's findings. And, in the words of my professor"... you never know what direction your career will take you." She started out as a consultant in the WIC program, and never imagined she'd be doing research.

Our professor has spend most of her career doing research on breastfeeding and childhood nutrition (which I find sort of interesting... which might make me a dork, I know...) Right now she is working on a study to determine if mothers who are sent home from the hospital with a breast pump in their goodybag rather than formula samples will stick with breastfeeding. Interesting fact of the night: America is one of the few countries in the world where things are reversed-- the upper middle class breastfeed their children, while lower income families tend not to.

We received our first assignment. Since we plan to conduct our own research over the course, we've been put to the task of creating our very own data set. Each member of the class submitted their answers to a short survey. Now, we must find 5 others to take the same survey so we have a test population of at least 80. Questions included age, weight, BMI, marital and educational status as well as questions about food intake and exercise level. Thanks to those who participated! I will post the averages and other interesting data as it comes in, and you all can see how you stack up among the other participants.

I will not be in class this Thursday due to travel, and therefore, will miss the first group lab assignment. My professor was very understanding and I will have to make up the exercise on my own.

PS. Alaska was fantastic, no we did not try any fish. I got freaked out by the salmon when it still had the skin on it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Final Class for Spring Semester

The Final Goodbye
Last night I took my final exam, and am delighted to say, it wasn't that bad! Perhaps it was the extra time for studying... or the flashcard help from my husband... or the very detailed study guide my professor gave out this time around. Either way, I was relieved to walk out last night after turning my test in. No real stumpers this time to share, but I will leave my readers with some fun mineral tidbits before I depart for vacation:

Be an IRONMAN
- Did you know women between the ages of 18-50 need about 18 mg of iron a day? That's 10mg more than men and women over 50.

-The best source of iron is meat. Yes, you can obtain iron through legumes and leafy greens, but this type of iron is ferrous (Fe++) or ferric (Fe+++), and not easily absorbed.

-Low on iron? Try eating your iron with Vitamin C-- it helps absorption. And skip the dairy... it reduces absorption.

A SALT and Battery
Sodium intake for most Americans is too high. Are you watching how much salt you eat? Try these tips for reducing salt, and therefore, lowing your blood pressure.

- Choose fresh foods over frozen or processed foods. For example, canned or frozen corn can have way more sodium per serving than a fresh ear.

-Go easy on dairy. Stick to 2 serving per day.

-Do not add salt to your foods. Flavor with herbs at the table instead.

- Watch out for salt's accomplices! Salt has a Chinese cousin named Soy Sauce, a southern friend named BBQ Sauce, and a buddy called Tobasco.

Potassium (sorry, no good puns out there for Potassium... "Potassi-yum"?)
The recommended intake for our friend K is 4.7 mg a day. Most Americans get about 1/2 this amount. Getting the right amount is important for healthy kidney functioning, decreasing bone loss and maintaining moderate blood pressure. Up your intake by:

- Eating foods rich in potassium like mushrooms, bananas, potatoes, artichokes and peas.

-Limiting processed food. As foods are refined, they lose K. For example, peanuts have more potassium than peanut butter.

Off to Alaska!
Yes, Alaska is NOT a mineral. But it is where the husband and I are headed for vacation. Looking forward to hiking, biking and kayaking the glaciers and bays of our 49th state. Expecting lots of salmon on the menu. Ahhh, Peanut the Cat will be so jealous.

Classes will resume July 1 for the summer. Taking a research class, so I'm not sure how thrilling the posts will be.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cancer and Nutrition

This week we had no class, but I had a paper due. Decided to focus on "Nutrition and Ovarian Cancer: What Have We Learned in the Past 5 Years?", a study by Dr. Elisa Bandera. Thought my loyal readers might like to know, what IS new in this area?

In 2001, the American Cancer Society (yay us!) came out with a general guideline that a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent cancer. In the last 5 years, numerous studies of cohort groups (that's just a fancy way of saying specific populations) took it one step further and looked specifically at the effects of diet on ovarian cancer.

I am sad to say, the results were inconclusive. Currently, there is not enough data to demonstrate a link between healthy eating and ovarian cancer prevention. Actually, there is no link between poor nutrition and an increased risk of ovarian cancer either. The following food groups were looked at. All had inconsistent or incongruent data:
-Satuarated Fats
-Fiber
-Vegetables and Fruits
-Dairy and lactose
-Soy and flavonoids
-Coffee
-Tea
-Alcohol
-Red Meat, Eggs, Poultry and Fish

All the news isn't terrible. Some foods showed promise and new research is currently being conducted. Those winners were tea (green or other kinds), soy and flavonoids. Additionally, there were a few others that showed a link to INCREASED risk, like beer and liquor.

This made me sad when I did my paper. But don't think you can't take control over your cancer risks! There is still a demonstrated, proven link between nutrition and other types of cancers. So while a diet rich in colorful fruits and veggies may not protect you against ovarian cancer, it WILL protect you again cancers in general (not to mention heart disease, diabetes and more...) Bottom line? Eat right, stay active, don't smoke, and if you drink, drink in moderation.

Oh, and wear sunscreen.

Thanks for this Mission Moment.

Friday, April 18, 2008

April in a (high in Vitamin E) Nutshell

Well, I first must apologize to all my loyal readers for a severe lack of postings. April seems to have slipped away from me. And now it is already Passover, and I am sitting down for a moment to relax while the brisket finishes cooking. Mmmmm, brisket...

Exam updates
In the span of 4 weeks, we have had 3 quizzes and an exam. Which means I have been study, study, studying. Exam #3 was as equally difficult as the first two, but I am getting better at anticipating what kinds of questions I'll be asked. Study guides have also been helpful, as have flashcards. Exam #2 was indeed curved, and I managed to fare far better than I had originally thought. Exam #3 was mostly on protein and the fat and water soluble vitamins.

Protein
Class 9 focused on proteins, which truthfully, was really boring. Proteins give us structure, proteins allow our muscles to move, proteins make up hormones and other chemical compounds in our bodies, proteins act as buffers in our blood to keep Ph levels in check blah, blah, blah. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm about protein stems from my deep distaste for eggs. Ick. Great protein source, I just cannot stand them. One take-away I will share... humans only need about 10-15% of their calories from protein to meet daily needs. The average person in the US eats way more protein than that. So what happens to it? Well, the body does an excellent job of converting excess protein into fat. Even lean proteins.

Vitamins
There are two kinds of vitamins: Fat Soluble (Vitamin A, E, D and K) and Water Soluble (Vitamin C, all the Bs --Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin... etc. and Folate) Vitamins do a TON of stuff. They assist with metabolism, they have antioxidant properties, the assist with growth, development, vision, immunity, blood pressure and more. If I listed each vitamin's properties individually, it would make your head spin. Suffice it to say, they are important, and you need a varied and balanced diet to get them all in. These are the take aways from class:

  • Eat a wide array of fruits and vegetables to ensure you're getting all the vitamins. This means colorful. If you always buy green peppers at the market, swap for red, orange or yellow. Eat strawberries this week, but maybe choose blueberries the next. Honeydew, then cantaloupe. Yukon gold potatoes, then sweet potatoes. You get the picture; eat the rainbow!
  • Fat soluble vitamins are usually found in more protein based foods (but also in fruits and veggies). Be sure to choose low fat dairy, lean meats or nuts and seeds to compliment your diet.
  • I get this question quite a bit... "Should I be taking a multi-vitamin supplement?" The answer varies depending on the rest of your diet and your individual situation. For example, if you are pregnant or trying to conceive, then yes, you should be taking 400mg of folate a day. If you are eating a normal, well balanced diet (and most of us in the US are, since so many of our foods are fortified) then well, honestly, you are paying for very expensive pee. Especially if you are taking a water-soluble supplement. Concerns? Talk to your doc or email me. Every case is different.
In other news
Looking forward to Sedar at my house with some friends and family. Still plugging away at the gym with my new ipod and busy, busy at work. Registered for summer classes, and I'll be taking a research seminar. Hopefully, parking on campus in the summer will prove easier than the current state of affairs. Oh, and if you've heard in the news about the terrorist threat on campus, fear not. All went smoothly the day of April 10, no one got hurt, and a young disgruntled student who made the original threats (scratched onto a campus desk in a lecture hall) was found and arrested. While I do not condone such activities, I will say it was blissfully easy to find a parking space that day.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Class 9: Midterm Exams

The Devil is in the Details
This week we had no lecture and a midterm exam. Once again, I get a sneaking suspicion the test will be curved. Even with an exam review this time around, there were some pretty tricky questions, and I have a feeling I did not do as well as I had hoped. I seem to be studying all the wrong concepts. Test your knowledge-- here's a sampling. I am only posted three because one, it's all I can remember at the moment, and two, the more I think about this test, the more annoyed I get about it. At least there were 80 questions this time as opposed to 50- statistically ups the chances if you miss a bunch to still do well. See the bottom of the post for the correct answers.

1. What percentage of the the total body weight is comprised of blood?
a. 5%
b. 8%
c. 92%
d. 97%

2. Insulin is made in the _____ cells of the pancreas.
a. alpha
b. beta
c. islet

3. Glucagon is made in the ____ cells of the pancreas.
a. alpha
b. beta
c. islet

The Cheating Ring Update
Because I was so engrossed in my test, I failed to turn around and see if there were any missing faces this week in class. Sorry to keep everyone in suspense!

In other News...
Several new developments have revitalized my workouts. First, my new ipod Nano has arrived, and I've been having a ball loading it up with new music. (Any suggestions for workout playlists? Send 'em my way!) I am especially fond of my new ipod case, a little hot pink felt pocket with an embroidered giraffe on the front. This may sound cheesy, but trust me, George the Giraffe has been a cute and wonderful protector of the ipod. Also qualifying me for the Nerd Herd... I am now an official subscriber to 3 --yes 3!-- NPR podcasts. "All Music Considered", "Marketplace" and "Wait, Wait Don't tell Me." Carl Castle is my hero!

Second, this past Monday, the brand new campus rec center opened, and it's gorgeous like a country club. Brand new pool with big sunny windows, clean locker rooms, tons of cardio equipment and weights, an 1/8 mile indoor track, racquetball, basketball and more. I am in heaven! And I pay no additional fees since the gig's included in tuition. I am SO there. So what if I'm the only one there under the age of 23? And the only one not using my tuchas as a billboard for either Victoria's Secret or my sorority? Stay tuned for details on if I'll be able to still do the AM routine or will have to switch to a post work-workout...

Answers
1. b. This factoid was written in the smallest font possible on one of 42 "Circulatory System" slides. 2. Insulin is made in the beta cells, while 3. Glucagon is made in the alpha cells. Once again, tiny tiny print. I could tell you all about the functions and purposes of these hormones, why they are important and what they regulate. Just can't remember the minutia of where they are created. Because IMHO, does it really matter? Apparently to my prof, it does. Sigh...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Class 8: Cheaters Never Prosper

And I'm not talking about cheating on a diet here, folks. I walk into Class 8, eager to take my lipid quiz and learn about the joys of protein. Instead, my professor opens up class with a rant on cheating. Apparently, we have a ring of about 4 people (who my Prof emphatically pronounced, "You know who you are!") cheating their way through the course. This blows me away for several reasons:
1. Now, I realize I am incredibly gifted in the brains dept- I was always the smart sister, not the pretty one-- but come on, the class just isn't that hard!

2. This is GRAD school, not GRADE school, isn't it? Is someone forcing these people to spend their hard-earned dollars on tuition against their free will?

3. Not that I think cheating is acceptable in ANY situation, but let me put it this way... if you cheat in Economics, no one dies. No one is going to hold you at gunpoint and fire away if you cannot explain the theory of the Invisible Hand in 30 seconds or less. Now, let's say you cheat your way through an RD program, and find yourself working in a hospital. I think it might be important to know that Harold, your patient on blood thinners, should be on a reduced vitamin K diet. Too much kale and old buddy Harold might kick it. So you get my point here... this stuff is actually applicable. So, it might be a wee bit important to actually learn it.

The big question remains to be answered-- will there be 4 less people in my class next week? Will they actually be kicked out of school? Stay tuned...

More on proteins later this week...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Class 6 is phat (with an F) and Class 7 is canceled (with a C)

This post is coming to you live from the campus computer lab. Why? Because I checked email around 10:00 AM this morning from work. And sometime around 10:25, my professor sent out a message canceling class due to illness.

So here I am, all ready to learn, with no one to teach. A good opportunity to catch up on posts and study, since I've already fought for a campus parking spot and walked here in the pouring rain.

I never posted from last week's class, so I'll start there. Class Six was all about Fats and Lipids. As delicious as they are, the class really wasn't all that exciting. I really wanted to discuss beefy hamburgers, creamy guacamoles and buttercream frosted cakes. Instead, I got a lot of chemistry. Of which I'll spare my readers. But, here's the lowdown... some fats are better for you than others. This we know. But, what many folks don't realize is that fat is an essential part of your diet. Don't assume that a fat-free diet is a healthy one. Your body requires several different kinds of fatty acids to function. Fats make up a huge part of your cellular structure (see my past post on the importance of cholesterol), plus provide you with transport functions, temperature control, organ protection and energy storage. Learn to love your fat, folks. It serves a purpose.

So, how much fat should we consume? And what kind? Read on...

The Good
When choosing fats to include in your diet, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated are the way to go. These types of fats are considered the better fats, since consumption may be linked to lessening your chances of heart disease. Examples of foods high in monounsaturated fats include avocados, olives and olive oil, and nuts like almonds, cashews, filberts, and pecans. Additionally, if you like peanuts, peanut oil or peanut butter, you are in luck! These are also great sources of monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in some margarines, sunflower seeds and oil, and corn oil. It's also in mayonnaise, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

Also falling under the "good" category are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Good sources of these fats include seafood, and in particular, cold water fish like salmon and trout. Now, many of my adoring fans will be quick to point out I do not eat fish. Neither does my Dear Husband. Fear not if you are not fond of seafood either! Other good sources include flax seeds, canola oil, soy and tofu, nuts, and--to a lesser extent but still in there--mustard greens and spinach. Eat up.

The Bad
Stay away from Trans Fats (often labeled "hydrogenated")! This type of fat has been getting a lot of media attention as of late, and there's good reason why. Because this fat is man-made, and because it has been proven to impact your health negatively, there's a huge push to get it off the market, out of the foods we consume, and banned forever. Current guidelines recommend we get less than 1% of trans fats in our daily diet. It was added many years ago to commercially prepared foods like cakes, cookies, pies and breads to keep them moist and able to stay on the shelf longer. But skip them! Eating trans fats is a bit like sticking an Oreo directly into your coronary artery. Look for alternatives labeled "trans fat free." (And before I get a million emails, Kraft made Oreos trans fat free way back in 2003...)

Also...watch your consumption of saturated fats. These fats are most commonly associated with animal and animal byproducts like meat, butter, lard, beef tallow and whole milk. Try to keep these under 7%-10% of your total caloric intake. That's an average of about 16 grams a day for a 2000 calorie diet. Now, I love a good steak as much as the next guy, so the key is MODERATION. Suggestions to get your intake down include:
  • Switch to low-fat and reduced-fat dairy product like skim milk, reduced fat cheeses and low fat yogurts.
  • Try to eat a vegetarian dinner once or twice a week.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat like rounds and loins, and opt for chicken or fish, but don't eat the skin.
  • Select lower fat ground meats (like 93% beef, turkey breast or even buffalo).
  • Don't fry foods. Instead, bake, broil, BBQ, roast, steam or microwave.
  • Reduce your portions of high fat foods like ice cream, sour cream and butter.
  • Bake and cook with a mono or polyunsaturated oil rather than butter. Or, try substituting applesauce in baking mixes.
The Ugly
So, here comes the part no one really wants to hear. As Americans, we typically don't have an issue getting enough fats into our diet-- rather, the opposite seems to be the problem. Total intake should be between 20%-35% of your total daily calories. So enjoy your fats to an extent, but stock you plate full of complex carbs, lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and veggies. It's still the healthiest diet around.

In other news...
A big hello to friends and family I got to see in my very snowy hometown this weekend. And happy 90th birthday, Grandma! It was mainly you who inspired me to pursue my love of food and cooking, and turn it into a profession. Even if you still insist on baking with butter :-)

Also, if you, loyal reader, want to be on my distribution list, then email me. You'll get notified whenever there's a new post.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Take this Snow and Shove(l) it

When I grow up, I want to be a weatherperson, so I can be wrong all the time and still get paid...If I worked the same way, I'd tell people they could eat cookies, cake and pie for breakfast and then still lose 20 lbs! Last night's prediction was 2-4 inches. The time is now 12:05 pm. We have 9 inches and there's no sign of stopping.

School is canceled, work is closed, gym is shut-down, all appointments are off. My to-do list has suddenly been condensed to shoveling the walk and blogging. And watching the cat nap. So, her day still resumes as normal. But for the rest of us.... Snow Day!

There's nothing better than a big breakfast when you're buried under the white stuff, so I whipped this one up this morning to sneak a little extra fiber into our diet. File it for your next Snow Day:

Snow Day Cinna-Oatmeal Pancakes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or a combo of whole wheat and reg flour)
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
A hearty dash of cinnamon

1 1/4 cups skim milk
1 egg
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil


Whisk together dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients. Combine and stir just until mixed. Ladle 1/4 cup batter into in hot, nonstick frying pan, flipping halfway through cooking time when edges begin to brown and bubbles erupt. Warm pancakes in over at 3oo degrees while cooking the remaining batter, allowing the centers to firm up.

Serve with lite syrup and sliced fruit of your choice. Makes about 6 pancakes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Classes 4 & 5... Snowstorms and Exams

You get a two-for-one deal on this post, since classes last week were VERY brief due to the horrible weather. Campus is about 5 minutes from home, and it took about 20 to get there last Tuesday. Work closed early due to weather, but class goes on! I'm glad I live so close.

Happy to report Quizzes 1 and 2 went very well. Last night, we had our first exam. 50 questions, some fill in, most multiple choice. That did not make it an easy exam, however. I'm quickly learning that my professor is apt to ask something trivial OR over-arching... so be prepared for it all. Sample questions... test your knowledge (answers at the end of the post)

1. Calculate the caloric content of a meal that is 25 g CHO, 5 g PRO and 10g FAT.

2. A patient complains of poor vision. You recommend they eat:
a. tomatoes
b. garlic
c. honeydew
d. blueberries

3. Three hours after a meal, _________ is active within the body.
a. Glycogenesis
b. Glycolysis
c. Glycogenolysis
d. Glucaneogenesis

In other news, we're taking a deeper look at Carbohydrates this week. We reviewed another set of fun diseases and afflictions one can obtain by lack of carbs in the diet, or inability to process carbs in the diet, etc, etc. Of particular note was our unit on fiber... something near and dear to my heart.

Fun fact... women need at least 25 g of fiber a day to keep things running, um, smoothly. But did you know men require closer to 38 grams? Try to beef up your fiber intake by getting 5-9 servings of fruit and veggies a day. Top fiber winners include broccoli, beans, and fruits with skins on (like pears and apples). Also, choose whole grains over refined ones. When choosing breads, look for "100% whole grain" listed on the label. And when looking at a breakfast cereal, opt for 5 g or more per serving.

Here's a shout-out for my Dad-- we also learned this week about Diverticular Disease. While not fun, this condition is also not life-threatening. By age 70, 50% of adults will have diverticulitis. So what is it? Diverticula are little pouches formed along the walls of your colon. Sometimes, matter can get stuck in those little pouches, making the owner of said colon one very unhappy camper. The diverticula become irritated and inflamed, and it can lead to cramping, diarrhea, fever, and on occasion, bleeding. If you experience a bout of diverticulitus, steer clear of nuts, seeds, kernels or any other small foods with a "shell" or "skin" (think corn, almonds, etc...). Also, eat a high fiber diet and drink plenty of water to keep that colon movin'!

And, finally this week, a shout-out to my husband, who wants me to inform the world of why our poop is brown. (He suggested I label this post, "What color is your Pooper-chute?" Get it? Hilarious...) So what gives our poop that lovely, signature color? It's the presence of defunct and used up red blood cell matter, as well as some bile excretion. Ahhh, as much as we joke, if your pooh is very dark, grey, or otherwise off in some way or another, talk to your doctor. It can be an indication that something's not right in your realm. No class discussion about why it smells. Stay tuned, I guess...

Answer key:
1.Carbohydrates (CHO) and proteins (PRO) are both worth 4 calories per gram each. Lipids (FAT) are 9 calories a gram. That's why fatty foods tend to be higher in calories. So, this item is
210 calories.
25 x 4 = 100
5 x 4 = 20
10 x 9 = 90
TOTAL = 210
2. c. Honeydew contains lutein, a phytochemical of the green group. Lutein is found in the eye and may help prevent macular degeneration, as well as lower the risk of some cancers and help build strong bones and teeth. Other great sources of lutein are spinach, green peppers, kale and our good friend and superfood, brocolli.
3. It's a, but it can also be b. Or even c, which is why this test will definitely be curved and gave me a tremendous headache. If you really want to know the processes of all these metabolic pathways, email me offline. I find them horribly boring.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Night Bites

So, a coworker recently asked me the following question:
Out of curiosity, when it comes to calorie intake vs. metabolism maintainance, at what time of night do the texts suggest talking in your last meal or snack, and what should it contain (carbs vs. no carbs)?

Here's the answer, which I thought I'd post if others had the same question...

There is no evidence to suggest that you should stop eating after a certain time... your body is capable of digestion round the clock, and it takes anywhere from 18-72 hours for the process to be completed... so it might be hours or even days before the carbs you ate for dinner get turned to glucose on a cellular level. Also, the old myth that you digest better standing up is untrue. You digest the exact same way either lying down or standing up-- the process is involuntary and regulated by the "autopilot" area of your brain. You can even digest standing on your head.

Having said that and stating the science, we all know that trying to sleep after a heavy meal can sometimes be uncomfortable. But so can going to bed on an empty stomach!

When to stop eating is really a personal choice, and there are lots of factors to take into account:
  • Activity level--how active are you, and at what times of the day are you most active (ie. do you run 3 miles in the morning? or do you hit the gym after work? Do you work the night shift?)
  • Timing of other meals and snacks--What time do you normally finish dinner? Lunch? When else do you snack?
  • Lifestyle and Satisfaction--Do you crave a sweet treat late at night? Do the TV and snacking go hand-in-hand? What else is happening in the house in the evenings?

Every person is different. To use me as an example, I try not to eat past 10:30 PM. Here's why:

  • Activity level-- I work out in the morning, so I try to get the bulk of my calories into breakfast and lunch-- that's also when I'm hungriest.
  • Timing-- Since we don't eat dinner until 8 or 8:30, post snacking is rarely a problem. I'm still full. Also not a problem since I'm usually in bed and asleep by 10:45-11:00. 10:30 for me just shouldn't feel like "eating time", it needs to feel like "bed time."
  • Lifestyle and Satisfaction-- I do sometimes crave a little treat at the end of the day, so I'll indulge in 100-150 calories. Not really because I'm hungry, but because ice cream rocks. So do 100 calorie cupcakes! Because I know how I like to eat, I'll leave room in my calorie count for this end-of-day treat.
To answer your question about carbs/no carbs... there is really no benefit (or harm, either) in restricting certain nutrients at certain times for a normal person. (intensive athletes and diabetics-- a different story). Do what feels right for you. A lot of people swear too many carbs make them feel sluggish. In truth, it's probably not the carbs, but the refined stuff that's doing them in.

Scientifically speaking, your body digests carbs more quickly than proteins. Fats take the longest amount of time. So, what you eat before you rest depends on what you wish to achieve. For example, to not get woken up by a gurgling, churning tummy, you may want to avoid heavy fats (like a 15 oz porterhouse at 9 PM) To not wake up starving, you may want to have a little protein, since combining a carb with a protein always keeps you fuller longer. (So have one less cookie but add 1/2 cup skim milk.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Solved: The Case of the Missing Book (no, the Amish didn't take it)

Well, first off, let me say, Lancaster PA is one of the more fabulous places on earth. The Amish certainly do know how to bake and cook. I am especially in awe of the Central Farmer's market, where the milk is fresh, the produce is local, and the prices are unbeatable. After much window shopping and drooling, my Dear Friend and I settled on homemade sandwiches, fresh pears and the local specialty... Whoopie Pies. Why the Amish made an item called "Whoopie Pie" famous is beyond me. But they also have a town called Intercourse, and another called Virginville. Later that night for dinner, we went to the Bird-In-Hand Schmoorgasboard and, as Dear Friend aptly pointed out, we had a schmoorgasm. Behold the joy of apple butter, baked corn and shoefly pie! Not to worry... we ate our vegetables, too. Kudos to the O'Flahrty Dingledein B&B as well... great hosts, yummy breakfast, cozy fireplace, warm quilts. I recommend it highly if you're planning a trip to the greater Lancaster area.

After 4 weeks now, the missing book is no longer missing. Well, it is missing, but I've been refunded my money and will not be expecting it to arrive, at least. I am very annoyed with this bookseller and look forward to posting a nasty rating on their website. I'll head over to the campus bookstore before class tomorrow and buy the book for $100 instead of $79. Makes you wonder what the value of $21 really is...

Quiz this week on Digestion and The Cell, so I'll be studying a bit more tonight and will then look over notes at lunch tomorrow. As I digest... how ironic.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Class #3 Metabolize!

So, this week started with a quiz, and I'm happy to report I think I only missed one question. When it's graded and returned, I'll post it and see if YOU know the answer! It was 10 multiple choice questions, and took about 10 minutes to complete. I had spent ample time studying, so felt very prepared. Next week is Quiz #2.

This week's focus was on that process we all love to blame for our weight issues... metabolism. Metabolism is really just a fancy way of explaining the chemical reactions that enable our cells to obtain and use energy from the nutrients we eat. The process involves enzymes and coenzymes, all working together in little cycles that are named... the Cori Cycle, the Krebs Cycle, the Citric Acid Cycle, etc. Your liver is the star of the metabolism show; everyone else is just a supporting actor.

Eating is important to keeping your metabolism functioning properly. Ideally, your body should be breaking down carbohydrates (such as glucose) and proteins in a constant cycle. What happens if you suddenly stop eating, or you totally cut carbs out of your diet? Well, once your reserves are gone, your body will starting using ketones as an energy source. Ketones are organic compounds that your body starts to munch on when not enough carbs are available. (This could be muscle, or even organs.) Basically, your body will do anything it can to provide itself with energy. So, to put it grossly, your body begins to eat itself. Like Pizza the Hut! Often times, folks in this situation will have fruity breath or smell like acetone. Yep, the same stuff in nail polish remover.

So, what's the moral of this metabolism story? A healthy diet is a balanced diet. Make sure you are eating within normal frequencies-- every 3-6 hours during the day. Make sure you are eating the proper balance of carbs, proteins and fats in your diet, too. The General Rule of Thumb, per day:
  • Carbohydrates: 45-65% of your total energy intake
  • Protein: 10-35% of your total energy intake
  • Fat:20-35% of your total energy intake
Remember, carbs aren't just breads and grains...they are fruits and veggies too!

Also up for discussion this week, the Endocrine System. Yes, the fun world of glands and hormones! All designed to keep you running at normal levels...
  • Glucagon, secreted by your pancreas, increases blood glucose levels by speeding stuff up in your liver.
  • Isulin, also from your pancreas, decreases blood glucose levels by hurrying along glucose from the bloodstream directly into cells, where it's then metabolized. (This is why Diabetics often carry extra weight-- glucose gets stored instead-- never processed metabolically.)
  • Your heart releases ANH, which reminds your kidneys to get rid of extra sodium
  • Your fat storing cells secret leptin, which tell us how full or hungry we feel
What happens when your endocrine system is out of whack? Well, several things can happen, since hormones are required to regulate your metabolism. There are are number of diseases-- Hashimoto's disease, Grave's Disease and more, all of which result into hyper- or hypo- thyroidism. Most are treatable. See your doctor if you think you have a problem.
  • Hyperthyroidism increases your metabolic rate. You might be hungry all the time but still losing weight, irritable, and you might take on a "bug-eyed" look due to edema of tissue in the back of the eye socket.
  • Hypothyroidism slows your metabolic rate. Later in life, this is also known as Myxedema. You may feel sluggish and tired, might experience hair loss, gain weight without a change in diet, or have a swelling in certain body tissues. (I know, I know, contrary to popular belief, we do not ALL suffer from this as we age!)
Other diseases affect or occur in other glands, like the Adrenal Gland (Cushing's Disease), Pituitary Gland (Diabetes Insipidus, aka. "Water Diabetes") or the Pancreas (Diabetes). Again, if you notice unusual symptoms, but you haven't changed your diet, check with your doc.

An anonymous poster asked if I have received my other book yet... and the answer is no. (Could said poster be Dad or Husband?) I have been unable to track it down. The good news is I'm not missing any education-- all class materials are pretty straightforward, and the readings only suppliment what we discuss in class. However, I paid for the *&%!! book, so I'd really like to have it. My lesson has been learned. Now you know why the university bookstore can charge a ridiculous fee for books.

I'm signing off to study... and will be visiting Amish Country this weekend! Three cheers for the Quilting Museum and the Farmer's Market. Stay tuned to find out what I eat at the Bird-in-Hand Smoorrgasboard!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Everything's going swimmingly!

Sunday night, and the rest of the world is watching the Superbowl. Husband and I hate the NY Giants, so there wasn't much interest for us. Commercials are fun, but they mostly just make me want to eat junk food.

Anyhow, I have excellent news... found my way to the university pool this morning and swam a full mile. (33 laps in a 25 m pool, assuming this is a mile. Leave a comment if you think the math is wrong-- this has been a topic of much debate in our household). Took about 35 minutes, so I'll need to work on speed. Also will need to work on endurance. After swimming, I studied at the campus library for about an hour, came home, had lunch, and spent the remainder of the afternoon having a "nap-off" with the cat. She won, but I came in a close second. I'm pooped!

First quiz is this week, so I'm busy reviewing notes and still trying to get through the backlog of reading from delayed textbook purchases. My second text has STILL not arrived. Tomorrow I'll have to hunt it down via tracking number.

Thanks to dear friends who met us out for a late Italian dinner Saturday night. (Blame the GPS system for the delay-- is there a "find a route with no streetlights" function?) Company and food were both equally wonderful. Nothing is better than smoked mozzarella and re-hashing the glory days of video gaming at the fraternity house. Banana Fantasy!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Class #2: A Sphincter Says What?

Okay, so one book came in. Studied at the public library for about two hours tonight, and came home to a lovely dinner. Thank you, Husband! I have about 7 more chapters to go. No worries though. Our first quiz will only be covering notes from class, so I have a few weeks to catch up.

This week's class was cut short. My professor (and it seems like every else in the world--myself included) has a cold and wasn't feeling well. So it seems quite appropriate that we dedicated this week's studies to The Cell and The Digestive System-- both which play an important role in immune function!

The Cell
It's nice to know the cell hasn't really changed much since Mr. Sewell's 8th grade science class. You've still got the cell wall, the cytoplasm, and everyone's favorite, the nucleus. Also still standing the test of time... the basic components of anatomy. Cells still make up tissues, tissues make up organs, and organs make up systems. I actually wrote this in my notes: "Organs are needed to function." Brilliant. Just brilliant.

One factoid I did learn involves cholesterol. We certainly hear an awful lot about the stuff, and most folks worry about their levels of good vs. bad. But did you know what cholesterol's actual function is? Cholesterol works on a cellular level to keep our cell membranes fluid. It provides stability and regulates fluidity, therefore regulating permeability. Which is a fancy way of saying, it allows stuff (like water and food) to pass in and stuff like waste and bacteria to pass out of our cells. Pretty important stuff if we want to survive. And not get sick.

The Digestive System
So, most of us know how this works... you eat, stuff gets absorbed, other stuff makes its way out. But here's some interesting tidbits:
  • The lining of your small intestine has it's very own name-- the lumen!
  • As we age, we lose sharpness in three out of 4 of our taste receptors-- salt, sour and bitter. We keep sweet, which might explain why Grandma always has a candy dish.
  • We have 3-- count 'em-- 3 sphincter muscles in our Digestive System. The one at the end, well, we're all quite familiar with. But we have one at the top of our esophagus, and another at the bottom that connects with the stomach.
  • Do you suffer from acid reflux? It's because your Lower Esophageal Sphincter is weak. Avoid coffee, chocolate, alcohol, smoking, high fat foods and mint. Pregnancy can temporarily weaken your LES as well.
  • Some ulcers are caused by peptic acid eroding the lining of your tummy. But did you know others can be caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori? And be careful... these ulcers can be contagious!
  • Your long intestine is about 31 feet long... but you can live with a minimum of 6 feet.
  • Did you know your liver can be regenerated? If you match a donor, a piece of your liver can be transplanted, and both you and the recipient will survive.
  • Starvation is unpleasant in many ways, but did you know not eating affects your immune system too? Actively utilizing you gut through digestion keeps you healthier than say, someone on a feeding tube.
  • Digestion can take anywhere from 18-72 hours depending on metabolism and the type of food you eat. That's a long time for that cupcake to hang around.
More postings this weekend. Questions? Thoughts? Drop me a comment!



Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Waiting Game

Well, still waiting on my texts, Nutritional Sciences: From Fundamentals to Food and the ever-popular on the NY Times bestseller's list, Structure and Function of the Body. Since they're not here this weekend, I'll review my notes, then get a pedicure. Does a pedicure count as a function of the body?

Things to do this week:
-Set a meeting with Advisor. Mom had some great advice this afternoon, so before I go and meet, I need to gather up my transcripts, old syllabi (syllabuses?) and old course catalogs. That way, I'll be able to make a better case for waiving out of classes. I may have to bash my head into the nearest wall if I am required to YET AGAIN take Economics.
- Call the university pool and get their lap swim hours. My goal is to swim a mile this winter. And Mom, if you're reading this, it ought to be your goal too. I'm also considering joining US Masters, but I need access to a pool more than 3 times a year for that!
- Read. As soon as the books come in, I've got 8 chapters to go over. Hoping they'll be here by Thursday, as the Husband will be doing dinner that night, and the local library is open til 9 PM. Wondering if studying at home will be hard. I didn't have a cat (whose cuteness alone is distracting) the last time I did the grad school thing.

In social news, had a wonderful Mediterranean dinner Friday night. Great food, great company! Tasted duck for the first time in many years. And yes, it still is dark and gamey, and gives me a guilt complex, since much of my Ohio childhood was spent down by the lake feeding said ducks. Oh, Quick-Quack, my rescued pet duck up in heaven... don't be mad. I ate your brother.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Buying Books

Well, I sure hope my books arrive soon. Can't study without them! I decided to do what the other hip college kids are doing, and instead of paying a fortune at the bookstore, I bought my texts online. This makes me a little nervous... what if it takes 5 weeks for them to arrive? What if they're the wrong ones? What if "gently used" really means "mauled by a bear and then run over with my car"? On a positive note, it only cost me about $100 for both books, I have a newfound respect for the importance of ISBN numbers, and I had a good user experience on www.bigwords.com. So far. The verdict is still out.

In daytime cancer crusading news, I was delighted to hear last night that one of my corporate accounts will be sponsoring this year's golf tournament at the $25,000 level. Yay and thanks to all who made this large gift possible! My job is much easier when people say yes.

Last night's dinner was a mild success with Husband. He suggests we begin a rating system for new recipes, ranging from 1-"That's gross (complete with finger pointing)" to 10-"This is as awesome as Chicken Nugget Night!" Last night scored a 5. "It's not gross, but it's a sometimes food."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The First day of Class

So, my MS RD education has begun! Last night was my first night of classes, and while I was nervous at first, I 'm happy to report that I loved it.

There are about 21 other "RD-to-Be"s in my class, varying in ages and background. I'm not the oldest, nor am I the youngest. Many of us work (some in the field and some not). We're a fairly diverse group, all fascinated and passionate about food.

Facts and Tips for this week:
  • Grapefruit contains Lycopene! Eat it to improve eye health.
  • In the last 50 years, the US has shifted its nutrition focus from a country that used to be undernourished (were kids getting enough to eat?) to a country that is now overnourished (we're all eating too much!).
  • While the USA uses the food pyramid, many other counties use different models based on native diets and customs. In Germany, they use a circular "plate". And in China and Korea, folks are taught with the "Food Pagoda" (complete with rice and eel drawings. Yummy!)
  • We remodeled our food pyramid about 10 years ago to reflect the need for personalized diets and 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Do you know how much food you need each day?
Go to www.myfoodpyramid.com to learn more and customize your own diet.