Jan 31, 2011

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

In Summary:
- stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity
- consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood
consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains
- provides action steps such as “make half of your plate fruits and vegetables” and “enjoy your food, but eat less”

There are some other cool sections as well, including a table that lists the 25 top sources of calories among various age groups.

Have any of you looked at the new DGs? What did you think?

Jan 28, 2011

Running A Thousand...

... miles per hour that is. This week has been crazy beyond belief as I piled on meetings, appointments, work, class, studying, and volunteering. It helps the week go by faster, but at the same time you feel like you're never home or get to see the people who matter most to you.

At the same time, the apartment has been dealing with major roommate issues. However, these aren't the same issues that were occurring back at the beginning of the school year. Actually, that situation has resolved itself and I couldn't be happier. This is actually a completely different spat that involves the girl I had originally signed my lease with who I had lived with last year. She has decided that she can no longer live with us and has chosen to move to another apartment in the complex to live with strangers (she officially moves out today, but all of her things are already gone). She is no longer talking to me (I don't know why), but, I refuse to get caught up in that. If someone was really your friend and worth your time, they wouldn't just drop you like that.

I have a follow-up appointment at the University of Michigan this afternoon to check in on the IBS situation, then it's straight back home to pack for this weekend. The boy and I are headed to a wedding. It will be nice to just get away from everything for a couple of days and just be together. Though the prospect of wedding cake is good, too. Since we both work and have meetings, class, and homework during the week, the weekends are pretty much the only time we get to see each other face-to-face, so I live for the weekend.

I've been researching internships for when after I graduate in May 2013 (as long as everything goes according to plan). So far, I've pretty much just settled on the state(s) that I want to be in:  Texas or North Carolina. So, I have my eye set on one in each plus a back-up in each in that didn't excite me quite as much.  I'm hoping to visit with the program directors next spring break and/or summer break, but until then, in accordanence with one of my classes, I'll be working on my reseme, personal statements, and building relationships with my professors so that I can have killer letters of recommendation.

In other news, I had a murderous workout yesterday afternoon. I swear, I don't think I've ever sweated that much in my entire life and my arms sure are sore this morning. Yesterday was the only day that I had time to work out this week, and I won't have time this weekend, but hopefully next week and the coming weeks with allow me to get in more often. Getting my electronic access card fixed so that I can actually get in to the gym would be nice, too.

And now, a request: I'm going to a Superbowl Sunday party and have to bring a dessert to share. I want to bake some delicious vegan cookies and surprise everyone with their awesome animal-free-ness! What is your favorite vegan cookie recipe?

Jan 25, 2011

Taco Bell Truths

Finally, what we all thought was true has come to the light as fact:

Jan 19, 2011

Falling Into It

Things are going marvelously blogger community! I am seriously loving life right now (except for the snow and cold part, but I can overlook that due to the awesomeness that is the rest of my life).

I’m going to the gym 3-4 times a week. I’m not even tracking them or dreading going at all. I just go and give all that I can for as long as I feel like, which has been anywhere from 30-45 minutes spread over one or two machines. The treadmill is a bit too hard on my breathing right now, so I’ve been sticking to the elliptical and stationary bike. I only wish that more than half of the machines weren’t “Out of Order” for the past month with no apparent plan to get them fixed in the near future. What are we paying for then?! Anyway, I’m not aiming for the super-athlete body that I had at the end of the summer. Just staying in shape and maintaining my fitness level and musculature would be amazing.

Classes are great, too! I’m keeping up the extensive amounts of reading that I must do each week, and still have time for things like watching my favorite television shows, playing computer games, and hanging out with my friends and boyfriend. I actually had quizzes in both of my classes today (yes, already we are being quizzed after just two lectures) and I felt pretty good about both of them. Ahh, the luxuries of having social science classes. I’m happy that I am not being tested on straight-up facts rather than concepts and my own thoughts on the matter. I’m also really glad that I’m actually meeting people in my major/program and getting to know them better. I’m sure that there are several friends and scholastic companions in the making there.

I’ve also been making plans to really kick my résumé into high-gear. The club that I’m in for Dietetics majors just had it’s spring kickoff meeting this evening, which I attended and signed up for a few things that I’m pretty excited about (like a fundraising event and a 5K in March). Also, starting this month, I'll be volunteering at the local food bank twice a month helping to distribute food to those who need it. I’m also lining up being a Room Service volunteer this summer at the nearby hospital.

I’ve also been tweaking my four-year plan (now two-year really, eek!), and I’ve found a way that I can work a year’s worth of a language course into my schedule! I’m really happy about this because that was one thing I was really excited about doing when coming to college: learning a language. So, even though I took a few years in high school, next summer I’ll be cramming in an entire year’s worth of Spanish courses and another half a year of second-year Spanish the following Spring. Spanish, while not my first choice if I were just doing it for fun, I think is the most sensible option for a future dietitian in the U.S. to be at least a little proficient in, don’t you think?

I’m really happy you guys and I’m very pleased with my state of mind and my state of being right now. I have so many plans in my head and I can’t wait to see them through…

Tell me something good that happened to you this week!

Jan 13, 2011

A Few Days In and Summer Plans

Howdy, everyone. I'm almost done with my first week of classes for the new semester. Now that I've had some classes twice (but still one not at all), I'm thinking more and more that I will really enjoy this semester.

My Sociocultural Aspects of Food class is really fun. The professor is so adorable and tells us stories about him and his wife. He fell in love with her before he even met her face-to-face! How cute is that? Sorry, I am a girl, after all, and I hopeless romantic at times. Physiology, though easy and mostly review for me right now, seems to prove to at least be able to keep me awake since the professor changes colors when she writes notes, although I'm not a big fan of the way she speaks. Anthropology always seems to whiz right by even though it is an hour and a half long. The readings are really interesting as well.

Now for some BIG news. I'm going to Tanzania for three whole weeks this summer! My university has an amazing study abroad program and I gave myself the choice between studying abroad or joining a sorority. I chose study abroad and received my official acceptance letter on Tuesday. So, for three glorious weeks in July, I will be in Africa learning about food, nutrition, and health in Tanzania with a group of 11 other students and our accomanying professor. I'll be visiting colleges, villages, hospitals, and orphanages. And a national park, of course! Ellen goes on safari.

It will be costly, and I have to start getting all of my official documents in order NOW. So, this Saturday I will be submitting for a new passport (my old one was from when I was 14 or 15, so it can no longer be used since I'm an adult now). I know the money will be worth it though. I am beyond excited for this great opportunity and cannot wait for summer to get here.

I don't suppose anyone out there would know of any good books I could read to learn more about Tanzania, are there? (*Not tourist-y, more of the history and culture*)

Jan 10, 2011

Wake-Up! It's Time For School!

Good news, they did not find any cysts on my preliminary exam this morning, but they are still going to schedule an ultrasound to be sure. Though it is a little weird to be saying that this is "good news", but even if I did I am doing already what the doctors prescribe to control cysts, which is oral contraceptives ("the pill").

The pain has not been too bad so far this year, with only one instance on Saturday when I think I: 1) ate too fast, and 2) did not chew my food enough. I have an appointment at the end of the month, but I'm not sure at all what will be discussed or come out of that discussion.

Today was the beginning of the spring semester here at university. I had two classes as well as work to contend with in addition to the early morning doctor's appointment, so I feel like it has been an extraordinarily long day today.

Here I am, my second semester as a Dietetics major, and I am already throwing myself into the higher-level courses:
ANP201H: Sociocultural Diversity. Not directly related to my major, but I am doing it as a part of the university's general education requirements and using it as a way to get yet another honors credit (I need eight to graduate and currently have five) and, based on the readings that I have done so far, I think I will learn a lot and grow much more outside of my own bubble of knowledge. Unfortunately, though, absolutely no electronics are allowed in class. Which means pen and paper and nothing else, essentially.
HNF320: Basic Skills in Dietetic Practice. I haven't actually attended this class yet, but it seems to be pretty logistical stuff based on the textbook we had to get.
HNF409: Sociocultural Aspects of Food. Yes, I have two classes with the word "sociocultural" in them this semester. Not so sure about this class yet, but I think it will be interesting nonetheless and it gives me a chance to meet and have other professors from the HNF department as teachers.
PSL250: Introductory Physiology. Haven't had this class yet, either, but the readings seem simple enough and it's mostly things that I've learned in past biology courses. Thankfully, this puts more of a focus on functions rather than memorizing what is where (which I can look forward to next year in Anatomy).

It should prove to be an interesting semester. I hope to become more involved in my Food and Nutrition Association club and to make friends with those in my classes and within my major. It was nice seeing so many faces in my HNF class today that I had taken my Food Safety course with and that I will be sharing my other HNF class with as well. I also hope to keep the strong reconnections I had formed over winter break, as I would hate for those to dissimilate once more now that classes have started up again.

Well, I'm off to the gym now. Since I have been able to increase my food intake and feel like my body can handle the additional physical stress, I have decided to start going to the gym at least once every other day from now on. I have a date with a stationary bike and a Cosmo magazine. Don't judge! Trashy magazines are fun/funny! Ta-ta, darlings!

How are other people handling returning to school (for those of you still continuing your education)? Do any of my courses sounds interesting to you that you'd like to read more about?

Jan 6, 2011

New Year, New You

Hello, everyone.

Yes, I am writing an actual, real blog post for you today. After months of stress, and disease, and school, and work, I am here and present and writing.

Over the past few months, the doctors have diagnosed me with Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) as the source of all of my pain and problems (though I find out Monday if an ovarian cyst could also be playing a part in all of this). The pain got to be so severe that it destroyed my love life, my social life, and even touched my work life. The pain prevented me from eating and, as a result, I lost almost 30 pounds off of my already slender frame. Luckily, thanks to a careful eye on my diet and nutrient intake, my body has not suffered the effects of malnutrition or some of the nastier effects of being underweight.

After many visits to the emergency room, walk-in clinics, and regularly scheduled doctors appointments, I am now on a drug regimen that seems to allow me a relatively normal social life with few pain attacks, compared to the past where I was bedridden almost every day. While I am still struggling with coping with this condition, I am taking every possible recommendation and step to control my IBS and become healthier.

The recommendations are simple; things that every human being should be doing in the first place. Things like:
- Eat whole grains
- Eat fruits and vegetables
- Drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Eat small portions
- Keep fat to a minimum
On top of all of these, I also follow a vegan diet (I made the transition from vegetarian to vegan in November), which eliminates common triggers such as meat and dairy.

I have also started seeing my therapist again, because there appears to be a strong connection between your brain and your bowels. Stress may make IBS worse, so I am doing more to talk about what’s going on in my life rather than just to keep it all bottles up. I have, however, decided not to go back on antidepressants. I didn’t like how they made it so that I couldn’t ever cry and that I would be smiling for no reason when really I was extremely upset inside.

Since I have been doing so well with not having any pain and have even gained a few much needed pounds back (thanks to a three-week break from school with zero obligations and relatively zero stress), I have also started going to the gym again since exercise: 1) makes you happy!, 2) has been linked to helping IBS symptoms, and 3) makes your body stronger physically. I was pleasantly surprised to see that, even though I haven’t done a single push-up, sit-up, or bout of jogging since mid-October, my endurance has not gone anywhere. Take today for instance. I was able to complete an elliptical hills workout that logged 4.39 miles and 40 minutes. Not only that, but I did a tiny bit of core work afterwards and many of my times and reps were the same as before I stopped working out!

The human body is truly amazing. I read once that it’s easier to get back into shape than it is to get into shape in the first place. Like, once you’ve already been physically fit and active, it’s easier to stop for a few months and then start back up again and get back to that level you were at than it was for you to get to that level of fitness the first time. Now I think I truly believe it. Of course, I may be rethinking that tomorrow morning once my muscles have had the time to catch up with my mind.

I’m so excited to continue improving my fitness level once again, which I already have a plan in place to help me achieve this goal. Thanks be to God the person who thought up multiple alarm clocks on cell phones. What would I be without one. My phone is literally my wake-up alarm clock, tells me when to take my pills, tells me when to leave for the bus stop, and, now, when to go to the gym. Almost every single person I know in college does not even own an alarm clock and just uses their cell phone instead.

While this is a major post for me, and a picture-less (mostly) one at that, don’t expect to see daily posts from here on out. I have decided that I will not focus so much on taking pictures and relaying the foods that I am eating, though if I go out for a special occasion or get a new cookbook and actually make something out of it then I may post a recipe and/or a picture or two. I will probably not even be posting my workouts; at least not individual ones (more like weekly wrap-ups, such as “This week I ran 20 miles” kind of stuff, if anything).

But, for the first time in a very, very long time, I am optimistic about the future and about the year 2011. With a new semester at university just around the corner (Monday, eek!), I have never felt more ready to take all of my classes head-on and full steam ahead.

Year MMXI, you are not ready for this. Bring it!

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Does anybody else use their cell phone as an alarm clock rather than own an actual alarm clock?