Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Day The Earth Stood Still

The day has finally come and gone. I finished my internship on June 15, 2012, took a few weeks to relax, and then got my study on. Finally, yesterday was the day I signed up to take the RD exam. After constant heart palpitations for about an hour and a half I walked up to the test site administrator and got my results........I passed! I'm now a Registered Dietitian :) Best day ever!!!!

However, on that note, I have decided to officially end this blogging adventure. I haven't written a post in a long time. I am toying with the idea of starting a new one though. A more informative one with my newly credentialed self. Time to put on the thinking cap and come up with a creative new name.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Did you know supermarkets have dietitians?

It’s been a while. I wanted to write up about my week long rotation before but once I was home I really didn’t have much time. 

The last week of my internship during 2011 I got to spend some time working with Shari Steinbach, the lead dietitian for Meijer (a supermarket chain based out of Michigan but is also present in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky).  One of the very first experiences: a TV spot for a local news program!  Now I didn’t get to actually go on TV but that would have been cool.  I did however get to be behind the scenes and watch them film it.  It was quite a lot of work for 4 minutes of air time!  Shari was doing a segment on quick and healthy holiday meal ideas.  For the appetizer, I actually made a cheese and cracker wreath


cute right?  Shari had made salmon with broccoli and wild/brown rice the night before to showcase.  She also did some on-air prep of the salmon.  For dessert she made a healthier apple strudel.  Everything was delicious! Yes we ate the strudel at 10 AM hehehe Smile




And here’s Shari with the host 30 seconds before air time. Oh and it was LIVE!


The dietitians who work for Meijer do a lot of TV time.  Between the 5 of them, they do about 110 TV spots per quarter!  The job also involves a lot of writing, specifically for the consumer so it is both factual but also creative so that it is not a bore to read.  Shari and I also made a healthy dinner for a local Gilda’s Club.  If you don’t know what Gilda’s Club is, it’s an organization that provides support for those dealing with cancer.

I had an amazing week at Meijer and absolutely loved the job.  I’m really hoping that I can find a job in DC like that. *fingers crossed*  I’m also hoping to be able to spend another week with them towards the end of my rotation since it was so fun. Open-mouthed smile

After that rotation I actually got to go home! I flew home Christmas Eve morning and boy was the airport busy.  My week went by super fast but I loved it.  I spent time with family, had a great Christmas, worked a little bit, and flew back to Michigan New Year’s morning. So yeah New Years Eve wasn’t too crazy for me LOL.

My week was filled with Christmas cookies and other goodies but the only pictures I have are a couple from Christmas brunch.  My handy dandy work from Pinterest – the Christmas Fruit Tree


My nephew Charlie really enjoyed the fruit tree. He kept popping off the fruit before I could even take a picture!  On my tree was cantaloupe, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, green grapes, and dried cranberries.


I also made an absolutely delicious frittata.  I got the recipe from Eating Well: Baked Asparagus and Cheese Frittata. Except I added a little bit of sausage.  I was planning on using turkey sausage but forgot to buy it so I used regular pork sausage instead.  Not too much, just enough for a little bit of extra flavor.  The boys in the family were being a bit pessimistic about my frittata but afterwards I got the seal of approval from my Dad. That’s good enough for me Smile I also forgot to get a picture before it got dug into….. But you get the idea.


Now I’m back in MI and I started my clinical rotation last week.  More on that later since this is long enough!

Monday, December 19, 2011

5 Weeks in School Food Service: A Wrap-Up

Those 5 weeks sure flew by, partially I believe because of Thanksgiving break and then there was also a snow day.  Add in 3 “class days” and I really only got to spend 19 days instead of 25! But I still managed to complete all my necessary competencies and have a lot of fun at the same time.

One of the first things I had to learn was what is considered a “reimbursable meal” by the government.  Of course there are a lot of changes that will be taking place in the next couple of years but as of now they can offer 5 items (meat/meat alternate, grains, vegetable, fruit, milk) and if the student takes 3 out of 5 items, the meal is reimbursable.  The biggest qualm I had with the video I watched was that 1 egg counted as 2 meat servings. What is that all about? For breakfast, 4 items must be offered and 3 chosen for a reimbursable meal.  In this instance, a student could choose 1 hardboiled egg and a milk carton and it would be counted because according to the national school breakfast program that is equivalents to 2 meats and 1 milk (3 items). However, if the student chooses a bagel and a milk, it only counts as 2 items because a whole bagel is considered 1 grain serving.  Alright now, bagels these days are twice the size they used to be, about 6 inches in diameter and the equivalent of 3-4 slices of bread. How can that count as 1 grain serving, yet 1 egg is going to be counted as 2 meat servings? I’m so glad these rules are getting revamped.

Done venting. Kind of Winking smile

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my rotation. But I think there is a lot that needs to be changed.  The menu rotated the same items monthly so there was a lot of variation from week to week but the options weren’t the greatest. Chicken Nuggets, Popcorn Chicken, Mini Corn Dogs, Pizza Sticks, Nachos, Hamburgers. And that’s just the elementary school! The middle and high schools have those items on the main menu as well but they also have “specialty bar” daily consisting of a rotating schedule of taco bar, country chicken bar, burger bar, deli bar……. And EVERY DAY if the kids don’t like the main entrée or the specialty bar they have the options of cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, and pizza.  Now they do have salads, yogurt, string cheese, fruit, and vegetables to offer but I did not witness many students taking these options.  The vegetables were typically frozen which nutritionally is great but they looked unappealing. Overcooked broccoli stems and asparagus bits. Even I didn’t want to eat it just by looking at it.  And the fruit was often hard to see amidst the rest of the options. Oh but don’t worry there are cookies right before the end of the line.  And they put out more chocolate milk than anything else. Heck they didn’t even have skim milk at all because the kids wouldn’t take it!

Oh the work that needs to be done in getting kids to like healthier foods……

I did have some breakthroughs.  I held a taste test for maple roasted sweet potatoes which were a hit (among the kids brave enough to actually try it).  The food service director was so pleased that he added it to the menu the next week.

I also had to do a theme meal while I was there so I took over the specialty bar and had a Mediterranean meal.


I prepared Chicken with Tzatziki


Pitas with Hummus, Tomato, & Lettuce


Cucumber-Tomato Salad


Greek Pasta Salad


and even had small servings of Baklava. We also set out grapes because I noticed that is the one fruit the kids go crazy for.  The meal went pretty well.  The kids were interested in trying something new and some were even glad to see fresh vegetables.

Besides spending time in the kitchen and serving the kiddos, I also had to do some education components.  My first week I actually had to give a presentation to the high school wrestling team! It was my first time teaching older kids and I thought it went well. You just gotta take what they throw at you and throw it back to them.  Don’t let them walk all over you, otherwise you’ll get nowhere in presenting the information.  Later in my rotation I also gave a lesson on MyPlate to a 3rd grade class.  That was a lot of fun – they were so smart!  We made lists of foods to go in each group and they came up with some amazing ones like artichoke and pomegranate. I had no idea 3rd graders knew what those were!  I also brought some food for them to make their own trail mix with chex, sunflower seeds, and raisins.

So of course there was more but those were the major projects.  When I was learning about food service in school, I was so bored and it was my least favorite.  When applying for internships, I thought that food service would be the worst out of the the three areas (food service, community, and clinical).  However, now that I’ve finished both food service rotations (hospital and school) and ABSOLUTELY LOVED both of them, I know that it’s not as bad as I once thought it was.  In fact, I could totally see myself as a school food service director one day!  Of course I’ll be that kick-butt one that strives to give the students healthier options. Smile

I’ve got a pretty special rotation going on this week too which I’ll fill you in on later. Then it’s back home for a week, first time since I started my internship in August!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Run Like the Dickens – Round Two

Last year around this time I made my way to Michigan for my internship interview and it happened to be the weekend of the Run Like the Dickens 5k in Holly.  Shortly before (less than a month I’d say) I begun “training”, really getting into running for the first time.  My first 5k was more walk than run and I finished in 41:14, a 13:17 pace.

This past Saturday I decided to go for it again.  Now this will have been my 4th race (Run Like the Dickens 2010, Warrior Dash 2011, Great Turtle Run 2011, Run Like the Dickens 2011).

I awoke bright and early on Saturday, ate a slight of toast with p.b. and a banana, drank a cup of coffee and checked the temperature.  It was an extremely chilly 12 degrees.  I ended up wearing two pairs of yoga pants because I don’t own any running tights, a running turtleneck, and an active wear coat.  Many many layers, but after freezing my butt off last year and it was even warmer then, I figured I would need it.  Turns out I was right.


Don’t I look cold? That’s me with my Uncle Steve by the way.  He wasn’t as cold as me Smile

It was so cold in fact that at the start of the race, they announced that we needed to be careful because the salt wasn’t melting the ice. Oh joy.

It turned out to be a great run though.  At the beginning my feet were numb and I was a little worried.  But by the time I got to the first mile I could feel my feet and by the time I reached a mile and a half, my whole body was feeling good.  Even my breathing was fine which is unusual for me when running in cold water.  I was warmed up and feeling great.  Until I hit mile 2 when my left knee started to hurt.  That darn knee always screws me up.  So I did some speed walking and tried to run some more but I didn’t do much until the last 0.1 where I sprinted.

I came in at 35:54, a 11:34 pace.  That’s 5 minutes and 20 seconds taken off my time from last year!  I was so excited! But I could only imagine what my time would have been if I didn’t have to stop for my knee.

So I’m pretty darn proud of myself for that one.  I bought a knee brace the other day to see if that will help me from now on.  I’m not signed up for any more races at the moment but I hope to be soon Open-mouthed smile And who knows, maybe I’ll have to make it an annual trip to MI to relive my inaugural race.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So Far So Good…..Except For One Little Thing

It’s been two days since I set new goals for myself and so far I’ve been pretty good, though since I’ve been home all weekend that has made it easier to eat better. Meaning I’ve had lots of time to spend in the kitchen (my favorite room of the house)!

Yesterday for breakfast I enjoyed what I consider my trademark eggs – Spinach & Feta.  There’s even a diner down the street that has a spinach and feta omelet and guess what it’s called???? The NEW YORK omelet! How appropriate Open-mouthed smile


MIne is less omelet, more scramble due to the fact that I always seem to get the stuff to the bottom of the pan.  I can only work with non-stick. Stainless steel hates me.

+ 2 clementines since they’re in season!

And this morning I enjoyed a couple more clementines along with another delicious item


Last night I made PreventionRD’s Vegan Pumpkin Gingerbread! I made a lot of good things this weekend but this is the only snapshot so far.  Whenever I try to take “the process” photos they just look awful. I’ll have to work on that.

I also made tzatziki and roasted garlic hummus last night, all while listening (and slightly watching) Christmas movies.  I know I said I was limiting tv time to less than 2 hours but since I was really in the kitchen with the tv on in the background I didn’t think it counted LOL. I listened to Babes in Toyland while cooking, actually sat down and watched It’s A Wonderful Life (my first time seeing the whole thing at once), and then listened to A Christmas Carol (the Jim Carrey version) while cleaning the house.  I didn’t pay full attention to A Christmas Carol obviously, plus the vacuum was loud, but I didn’t really like it.

My kitchen adventures continued today (even overnight actually) with my black bean soup.  I had to soak the beans overnight, cook them this morning, and then finally make the soup.  What a long process!  This time I just turned on the Christmas radio station Smile. So I’ve got a lot of healthy, homemade options to eat this week after all the kitchen love.

I did get my booty to exercise today despite the gloomy weather.  I took advantage of Netflix and did Crunch: Bootcamp.

…………..Now for the bad news. Awful news. For me at least.  I let the direct domain that I bought for my blog expire back in September and I just never renewed it.  It’s only $10 for the year but I’m unbelievably broke and just didn’t do it.  I honestly didn’t think anyone else would buy.  But when I looked yesterday, someone did.  I’m mad, disappointed, frustrated.  I came up with the name and someone basically just stole it.  It doesn’t even seem like a legit site either.  So from now on DO NOT go directly to .  To get to my blog you have to go to

It won’t be bad forever anyway because I was considering starting a new blog next year once I get my RD licensure.  When that time comes, I’ll let ya know.

Alright, tomorrow is Monday again. Only 2 more weeks left of my school food service rotation and lots to do! Full re-cap will follow completion of the rotation.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why Wait Until January 1st?

So it’s been a while, almost a month, since my last post.  Honestly I’ve been lacking inspiration about what I wanted to write that wasn’t going to be just “this is what I ate today” or something to that effect.  I still don’t take as many pictures as I used to (I swear my camera battery dies in 2 seconds) and I just want to write more meaningful posts.  With that said, although today is the second day of December, this morning I came up with what I wanted to do and what I wanted to write.

I’m going to give myself some goals for December.  Why wait until January 1st?  If it’s something I really want to focus on, I’m not going to wait until the new year to make a resolution that is just going to discarded like it was never even thought about.  I honestly believe that since I’ve started my internship I’ve eaten more fast food and pizza (out of convenience) than ever before.  How is that going to work if I’m telling other people not to do that?  I’ve been seriously slacking and need to take responsibility.

Goal #1: Re-focus on whole, unprocessed foods.

I’ve already begun this by loading up on my fruits and veggies the past few days.  But I tell ya, a big ol’ bowl of cold salad greens is not exactly what I crave in the winter.  So this weekend, it’s soup making time!  As for this snowy morning? Well I had a delicious bowl of pumpkin oats.



In the mix:

  • Steel cut oats
  • Skim Milk
  • Pumpkin
  • Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, & Nutmeg
  • Walnuts
  • Secret Ingredient

What’s my secret ingredient? CHOBANI! I was fortunate to get 2 large containers, a 0% Plain and a 2% Plain, a little while ago and have been incorporating it into my meals.  Using it in my smoothies was another thing I did last week.  It’s also great in mashed potatoes instead of using sour cream!  And my next plan? Making Tzatziki! I’m setting up a Mediterranean themed meal at the high school (I’m in my school food service rotation) and one of the items I will be making Chicken Kabobs with my Chobani Tzatziki sauce.


Now back to my goals.  The other thing I have to be honest about is my lack of exercise.  In the spring, I was doing P90X and feeling great.  Now I just haven’t been fitting it in.  I make excuses.  I drive 2-3 hours a day for my commute (round trip) depending on which location I’m working at.  It’s a lot of driving.  I get tired. I’m just plain lazy about it.  While I did do the Great Turtle Run in October and am going to be doing a 5k next weekend, I really haven’t been going out running much.  There’s lots that need to be adjusted here.

Goal #2: Re-focus on exercise.  Work-out at least 3 days per week.

My next goal ties in with the last one.  I’ve been watching way too much tv lately.  I come home and plop down on the couch, basically staying there until I go to bed, even eating dinner in front of the tv.  I must be there for 3-4 hours at least.  Usually I’m multi-tasking by working/playing on my computer too.

Goal #3: Limit tv time to less than 2 hours per day.

I was going to say less than 1 hour but come on let’s be serious.  Especially if I want to watch a movie Smile


So those are my goals for this month.  It’s always nice to feel a little recommitment and drive to do something.  Here’s to starting off with a re-focused, re-energized, re-evaluated, really great weekend!  TGIF!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breastfeeding is definitely not basic!


The past two days my fellow MSU dietetic interns and I were required to attend a “Breastfeeding Basics” class held by WIC.  Honestly, I thought it was extremely interesting but I think I might be more overwhelmed now than before!  We started out discussing the attitudes about breastfeeding.  While I was not breastfed (and I do rag on my mother for not doing so), many in my family have breastfed so it is not a new concept to me.  In fact both of my nephews and my niece were breastfed for some time.  I also hope that when it’s my turn to start having children, that I am blessed enough to be able to breastfeed too.  But not everyone has the same belief and attitude about breastfeeding as I do.  I know that there are people who are very uncomfortable with it, especially about the whole “breastfeeding in public” thing.  I mean seriously, if the woman is doing it discreetly then don’t have a hissy fit about it. Just my opinion. So no one better give me trouble when it’s me Winking smile .  Newsflash – my breast is not some sexual object when I’m feeding my child. Grow up.

Our second topic of discussion was the consequences of NOT breastfeeding.  This one is huge.  Breast milk and formula are not equal. Not even close.  Here’s a quote from the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding 2011: “There are health risks associated with formula feeding and early weaning from breastfeeding.”  You read that right – “RISKS.”  In fact, infants who are NOT BREASTFED are at INCREASED risk for:

  • Otitis Media (Ear Infections)
  • Gastroenteritis (Diarrhea)
  • Severe lower respiratory infections
  • Atopic dermatitis (Eczema)
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Childhood obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Childhood Leukemia
  • SIDS
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)

But it’s not just baby who gets the short end of the stick.  Mothers who do NOT BREASTFEED are at INCREASED risk for:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Postpartum depression

There are also non-health related consequences.  Formula feeding means more laundry stains, more bottles and nipples to wash, and more prep time.  There’s increased environmental waste (formula canisters end up in landfills + transportation costs).  The big hitter is the economic impact.  Formula costs about $1200-$1500 per year not including more doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospitalizations, and wages lost due to staying home with a sick baby.  You know how much you hear how obesity costs our health care system?  It’s not alone.  “If 90% of US families could breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, the US would save $13 billion per year

We also learned about the anatomy and physiology surrounding breastfeeding.  I won’t go into too much detail about this one but basically a huge hormone party going on.  And we learned the importance of the first milk produced, Colostrum.  It’s low in volume but has high levels of antibodies for the baby, more protein and vitamins and less fat and carbohydrates than mature milk, and it coats the baby’s gut to keep out proteins that are too large and may cause allergies.  After the baby is born, the hormones prolactin and oxytocin help to produce mature milk by day 3 to 5.  I guess  a lot of mother’s get nervous when they are not producing a high volume of milk as soon as the baby is born.  This is actually not a big deal, the colostrum is enough for baby in the very beginning.  On Day 1, the baby’s stomach can only hold 5-7ml (size of a shooter marble).  By Day 3 it increases to 22-27ml (size of a ping pong ball) and by Day 10 it increases to 60-81ml (size of a large chicken egg).  We got these things called belly balls for examples.


If you’re worried about milk production, frequent feedings in the first few days helps milk production increase.  Some risk factors that may delay production include:

  • Cesarean delivery
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Mothers in their 40s
  • Retained placental fragments

Using a breast pump might be a good idea to keep the milk flowing as well.

Another part of the class was about mother and baby together.  Here we talked about the importance of skin-to-skin.  I had no idea about this prior to taking this class.  Apparently if the mother holds her baby skin-to-skin after giving birth it

  • Warms baby
  • Decreases pain and stress
  • Helps immune system
  • Reduces infant crying
  • Improves attachment and breastfeeding

Baby has been attached to Mommy for 9 months, they don’t want to be abruptly taken away and passed around with all sorts of weird smells and sounds and scary surroundings.  This is something I plan on demanding when I have children.  Nurse you are not taking my baby away to complete your little checklist of to-do’s.  I’m going to hold my baby close to me, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Another one of the big things that I got from this training was that baby knows what its doing.  They have an inborn ability to know how to breastfeed.  It’s pretty amazing if you think about it.  However, a good latch is the key to success here and mommy can help baby with that.  There are different positions and techniques so you just have to figure out what works best for you and baby together.

The last thing I’ll discuss is our review of nutrition.  Our breast milk is unique and the composition is constantly changing. If you compare breast milk with formula the differences are pretty vast.

Breast Milk


















Growth Factors












For optimal nutrition, mommy should take prenatal vitamins.  However those who are very restrictive vegetarians, have Crohn’s disease or other malabsorption disorders, or have a history of gastric bypass/bariatric surgery, should see a dietitian.  Baby is going to need some supplemental nutrition as well.  When they are first born they will get a shot of vitamin K.  Those babies who are exclusively breastfed should also be given 400 IU of vitamin D per day because it is highly likely that mommy is deficient and already has a low supply.  Fluoride may need to be supplemented in babies older than 6 months if it is not in the water supply and Iron will be in solid foods starting at 6 months of age.

There is a lot more information but I think this post is long enough and you get the picture.

While I am neither pregnant nor breastfeeding, I’d say my nutrition was pretty good the past two days.  The Kellogg Center in East Lansing has some really good food!  For breakfasts I had oatmeal with berries, extra fruit on the side (pineapple and grapes), a couple eggs, and coffee.  I was too hungry for pictures at that point in the morning!  Lunches were very colorful and delicious as well.

DAY 1 – Caeser Salad, White Bean Salad, & Sundried Tomato, Zucchini, & Goat Cheese Pizza. (Dessert unpictured: a mini éclair!)


DAY 2 – Caprese Salad, Caeser Salad, Veggie Mix (mostly zucchini), Penne w/ spinach, & Garlic bread (Dessert unpictured: tiramisu!)


It’s okay that I had dessert at lunch two days in a row. Not only did I go to the gym, I also danced my booty off with the other interns on Tuesday night. Oh the memories!!! Open-mouthed smile I’m sure those pictures will be up on Facebook later hahaha


Hope you found some of the information today to be as interesting as I thought it was.  *Fingers crossed* that I have no problems breastfeeding when I have children!