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Category: Grad School

Whirlwind Week + Sometimes Food Isn’t Exciting

Hello hello!

Oh my goodness, it has been quite the week. Since we last had a chat, Sarah Beth and Cody got married and it was the best weekend ever! The weather was absolutely perfect and it was so fun to spend time with family and friends.  It’s hard to be sad that the weekend is over because they are so happy. I’m thrilled for them!

I returned to class on Monday even though all I could do was stare at pictures from the weekend. I mean, look!!

photo cred: Olivia Suriano via Nancy Ray Photography

They seriously belong in a magazine. Anyway, this week was slammed on the school front. I joked to Grace that getting through this week felt like trying to cross an ocean of peanut butter. I have no plans this weekend, so I’m glad I’ll have time to catch up all the things.

Last weekend I got an email that my HelloFresh box was on its way. I got a free box from mom a while back but decided not to get another one for a while. Well, I forgot to skip this week but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise!

I was happy to have three dinners planned and ready to go, and I was able to make it until Tuesday without needing to go get other groceries. Even though I didn’t want to spend that $ on a box, it was worth it. Since I forgot it was coming, I got the default meals for the week and they have been great. Below is the beef ragu spaghetti we had on Monday. Yumm. I’ve still got one more-quesadillas-that I’ll probably make tonight.

Other than those meals, food was not exciting to me most of this week. It was almost a nuisance to have to break from school work to eat. I didn’t spend time planning dinners or buying plenty of groceries. Several meals and snacks were just “meh.” This included a can of chili that I didn’t really want and an overpriced boring chicken wrap I bought at school on Wednesday. I was shadowing at the hospital that afternoon, so I just ate until I wasn’t hungry anymore, even though it wasn’t satisfying at all. I wanted to be able to focus on the experience, not my grumbling stomach!

The reason I’m sharing this is because I think it can be easy to think you’re doing intuitive eating “wrong” if you eat something you don’t really want or have a mediocre eating experience. (Reminder: intuitive eating is about learning to take care of yourself..you can’t fail!) I usually plan satisfying and tasty meals and have snacks on hand that I like, but sometimes I don’t have time or the mental energy to care. Sometimes I just gotta eat something so I can do the things I need to do. That’s really what food freedom is about, right!? To me, it’s about enjoying food and having it be a fun and delicious part of my life. But it’s just one part. I don’t want it to take up so much space that it steals my joy or adds more stress during a hectic week-or any week for that matter.

Now that things have calmed down, I’m looking forward to planning some meals I’ll look forward to for next week. I really want to break out the slow cooker to make soup and pretend like it’s not still in the 80s in NC. You know you’re getting old when a weekend of studying and making soup sounds really nice, huh!? Anyway, if you have any good fall soup recipes, please send them my way!

That concludes the most random blog post I’ve written in a while. Have a great weekend 🙂

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Book Review, Volume 1

Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a good week. I have a biochemistry test on Monday, so I’ve been studying all week and that’s what I’m doing this weekend, too. It isn’t so bad because I have my sister’s wedding to look forward to NEXT WEEKEND! I can’t believe it’s almost here. I want it to be here already but also want time to slow down because I don’t want it to be over!

Anyway, I’m here to talk about some things I’ve read lately. (Intuitive Eating is just in there for the photo opp, but I discussed it here and here.) By lately, I mean this year. I am a super slow reader, and when school is in session, I barely read. And that’s not because I’m so into all my class readings. I actually do not do a good job at reading those (oops); I just have a hard time using my brain to read at night instead of watching Netflix. Please don’t be surprised if Volume 2 of my book review series doesn’t come until Christmas break… or until I graduate.

Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon

Description from the publisher: “Fat isn’t the problem. Dieting is the problem. A society that rejects anyone whose body shape or size doesn’t match an impossible ideal is the problem. A medical establishment that equates “”thin” with “”healthy” is the problem. The solution? Health at Every Size. Tune in to your body’s expert guidance. Find the joy in movement. Eat what you want, when you want, choosing pleasurable foods that help you to feel good. You too can feel great in your body right now— and Health at Every Size will show you how.”

Y’all. I started reading this book so long ago, sometime in the spring. Then I neglected it for a while and picked it back up this summer. I was already very familiar with the tenants of HAES and the science behind it. However, reading the book is important. It gave me a lot of background information and a LOT of research to digest (there are 437 sources!), and made me even more passionate about this approach.

I wish that everyone would read this book, especially before bashing Health at Every Size. Linda Bacon does a tremendous job of explaining why it is important to focus on health behaviors rather than weight. I’ve told you that the first time I heard about HAES I thought it was crazy, so I understand the pushback. It goes against everything we are taught, or at least much of what I’ve been taught as a future health professional. I thought, “there’s no way you can be healthy at every size,” and I know that’s a common critique. However, the book and practice is about pursuing health (whatever that looks like for each person) no matter what the scale says. Health is about so much more than size.

It’s not up to me or anyone else to decide at what size/weight a person is not healthy. No weight should be pathologized. Looking at someone’s size (large, small, or in between) just tells you what size they are. It doesn’t tell you anything else; you don’t know their story, what their life is like, or what habits they have. Everyone deserves to feel great in the body they have today and to pursue health in whatever way or to whatever extent they choose. Linda Bacon has many more books along the same theme, and I’m adding Body Respect to my “must read” list!

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

Excerpt from publisher’s description: “Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.”

I bought this book when we were at the beach in August and finished it in about a week. That’s a record for me. I loved this book and am already itching to read her newest one, Hunger. Roxane says that she is a bad feminist because she doesn’t want to be placed on the feminist pedestal. She says she makes mistakes often and wants to be up front about that. She isn’t trying to be a role model, she just wants to speak up about what she believes in- flaws and all. Gay talks about loving things that might seem at odds with being a feminist, like the color pink and rap music, but argues that it is important to embrace the feminist label and movement. I really just can’t do her writing justice at all, so see this article of hers if interested- it is a slightly edited version of the introduction.

The book is a compilation of essays, and the topics range from violence against women to how African Americans are depicted in movies to the song “Blurred Lines,” which she admits she finds catchy. Sometimes she discussed writings I am not familiar with, but it was worth chugging through those parts for everything else. I really liked how Roxane tackles complicated subjects but doesn’t give a nice and neat answer every time. This book was very thought provoking. It made me laugh, it made me angry, and it made me think about the ways I contribute to and consume the culture we live in.

Shrill by Lindy West

Part of the publisher’s description: “With inimitable good humor, vulnerability, and boundless charm, Lindy boldly shares how to survive in a world where not all stories are created equal and not all bodies are treated with equal respect, and how to weather hatred, loneliness, harassment, and loss, and walk away laughing. Shrill provocatively dissects what it means to become self-aware the hard way, to go from wanting to be silent and invisible to earning a living defending the silenced in all caps.”

I also bought this book when we were at the beach. I started reading it later, and finished it up a couple of weeks ago. This one was another winner for me! Lindy is very smart and covers everything from being harassed online (she writes for The Guardian and the New York Times) to her personal life. I laughed out loud a lot while reading and felt like I would love to just be in Lindy’s brain for a day. She has really funny things to say even when situations seem dire. My favorite chapter was “Hello, I Am Fat,” in which she eloquently dismantles a lot of the things people have to say about people in larger bodies and how it feels to live in our society when your body is discussed in shameful ways.

So there you have it. I basically read 3 books this year, so that’s about one every three months. I really enjoyed all 3 of these and would recommend them to anyone! Tell me, have you read anything good lately? What should I read next?

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Scenes from the Week

Good morning!

It feels weird popping in on a Sunday. I had all intentions of posting on Friday, but life happened. It was a stressful week packed with lots of visits to the vet, but the weekend has been much calmer. So I’m here to share some of it with you! For anyone in Florida or Texas, my thoughts and prayers are with you in wake of Hurricane Harvey and Irma.

Return of Dog Seizures

After going 4 months seizure free, Livi had two more seizures last Sunday night. The first one lasted about 3 minutes, and the second one was only about a minute or so. She stayed overnight at the emergency vet for monitoring and has been doing well since. Well, there was another day with a vomiting and shaking episode, but I snapped a short video of it and our vet did not think that was a seizure. We are so thankful that her seizures are considered mild at this point. Of course it is still terrifying and it’s an awful thing to witness, but she stays conscious and perks right up after. Even though Chip and I were scared, we felt more confident and calm this time around.

Over the past few months we have run all kinds of tests and as of now, we don’t know what is causing the seizures. Our vet does not they are linked to her liver issues, which seem pretty mild. The vet also discovered a heart murmur this week, but we did another test and found it out is benign as of now. Thank goodness! So yeah, it was a stressful and emotional (and expensive) week. It’s hard not knowing why she has seizures or when she will have another, or if they will get worse. If they do, we will start medications. I remind myself that out of her whole 2.5 years of life, only 6 minutes or so have been really bad and scary. She has a good and happy life, and I know she has many more years of being my sidekick.

We Bought Kayaks! Well, Chip Did.

Onto happier things! Chip and I are now kayak owners.

Last weekend, Chip and I discussed going kayaking but never did. He worked a lot of the weekend, so we planned to go this Friday instead. After all of Livi’s scares this week I was tempted to just hole up inside and stare at her, but I knew I needed to get out. I can’t life my life in fear, and I can’t be with her 24/7. On Thursday Chip called and asked if I wanted to go with him to pick out some kayaks. We had planned on renting them (that’s what we did when we went a couple of years ago) but he thought that it would be a good investment to buy our own if we start going more. I thought he was crazy and after asking, “Where will you store these? What about when we move next year” and getting satisfactory answers, I got on board.

We took them out on Jordan Lake on Friday and had a blast! Someone at work told him of a spot 10 minutes from my apartment where we could park and get in the lake. It was a very quiet area, and we had to carry the kayaks down a path to the beach. That was the hardest part, but at least the scenery was beautiful!

We were out there for a few hours and hung out on a cute little island. I brought the snacks and Chip brought the waterproof speaker for music. It was the perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon! It also made me super thankful for our school schedules-it’s nice to be able to do random fun things during the week. I know, we are spoiled right now.

Free HelloFresh Box=Lifesaver

My mom sent me a free HelloFresh Box a few weeks ago, and I totally forgot it was coming this week! I was so excited to see it when I got home Wednesday night.

That night, I made one meal that had chicken, zucchini, and mashed potatoes. Last night I made burgers and zucchini fries. Let’s just say my pictures haven’t been quite as pretty as the ones on the recipe card, so just enjoy the cute tiny ketchup. Usually by the weekend I’m throwing together random pasta dishes or getting takeout to avoid getting more groceries, so it has been nice to cook actual meals this weekend! I’m making the final meal tonight-it’s a pork + kale salad. I actually hate kale and meant to change that on our order, but I’ll still make the pork and rice or something to go with it.

I do like HelloFresh because it helps me branch out in terms of cooking. Last night was my first time making burgers! It’s nice to follow a pre planned recipe and not have to think about what I’m making for dinner. However, I can’t see myself getting these boxes on a regular basis until I’m out of school and have a bigger budget. They’re about $60/week, and I spend about $70/week for all my groceries and household items. That covers all breakfasts, lunches, most dinners and random things like cleaning supplies and candles that I pick up while I’m at Target. Chip cooks some, too, and we could split the cost of the box, but for now I feel like we can make pretty yummy dinners for much cheaper. See: Budget Bytes, my favorite place to find recipes that won’t break the bank!

A Low Key Weekend

After kayaking on Friday, I went out to dinner with my roommate and another friend. Yesterday I did laundry, studied, and just relaxed at home.

Today I’m planning on going for a run, grocery shopping, and watching the Panthers game with Chip. Ok, he will watch it and I will be doing school work. Weekends lately have been pretty slow and sometimes I feel like a homebody, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m trying to be more intentional about planning to see friends or do something fun so I don’t just turn into a hermit, but I also enjoy having nowhere to be. I know there’s a season for everything, and sometimes life is loud and crazy and other times things are more calm. There will be plenty of go-go-go as my sister’s wedding gets closer- just 20 more days!!! I seriously can’t wait.

Thanks for letting me chat your ear off today-tell me about something from your week!

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First Week of School: Meals, Snacks, Movement

Hello and Happy Friday!

Classes resumed on Tuesday and I’m happy to see the week come to an end. Even though my class schedule is lighter in terms of hours at school, it’s hard to get back into the routine! Since I’m finally back into the swing of things I wanted to share some recent meals, snacks, and what I’ve been up to in the movement department. Please keep in mind that I never share what I eat or how I move as an example of what to do; I share to hopefully inspire joy and peace around both!

Dinners

When I first moved back, I was feeling pretty uninspired by food. My mom cooked most nights this summer and I often had leftovers for lunch, so I got out of the routine of planning/cooking dinner. By this week, I knew I had to get it together, or else I would blow all my money on takeout and/or have to make 5 trips to the grocery store during the week. So I made a loose meal plan.I still didn’t feel motivated to cook by a recipe, so I just went with things I could throw together easily. Of course I didn’t stick to it, but here it is.

I did make Sunday’s dinner as planned. I used a little butter and Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning to cook the chicken. I roasted the potatoes and green beans in the oven at 400 for 40 minutes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. There were plenty of potatoes left over (not pictured-I ate all of those and then some!), so I had them for breakfast the next day with eggs and bacon. Yum!

On Monday, Chip made tacos and they were delicious. I didn’t get a good picture, but you can trust me.

On Tuesday, I decided Wednesday’s dinner sounded better, so I made that. Plus, I was dying to use some more basil from my plant! I made zucchini instead of the broccoli that I planned to make with this meal. I’ve had a lot of broccoli lately so I wanted something different.

To make the tomato sauce (which served 2), I sautéed about 1/2 TB butter and 1/2 tsp minced garlic. Then I added almost a whole can of tomato sauce, along with the chopped basil,  dried oregano, and some Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. I had my pasta with the rest of the chicken from Sunday’s dinner, and Chip had his with some meatballs from the Target freezer section. We both approved and also shared a plate of zucchini and a few straggler green beans leftover from Sunday. To make the zucchini, I diced 2 of them and sautéed it with olive oil and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute.

I was planning on making the tilapia meal on Wednesday, but then fish didn’t sound appealing at all, so I had pasta again. I went to Trader Joe’s last weekend and got their pesto. It’s the best. So I mixed that with some pasta, sautéed some broccoli and that was that. Oh, and I had a few meatballs I heated up in the microwave. I knew I wouldn’t be full with just the small amount of protein in the pasta. I’ll spare you the pictures- it was one of the ugliest meals I’ve had in a while.

Last night, I went to Gonza in Raleigh with a friend! I got the pastor tacos, which have pork, pineapple, and cilantro. That’s what I always get there-I feel pretty confident that nothing could top it.

Tacos twice in one week=a pretty good week on the food front.

For lunch, I’ve pretty much been eating sandwiches every day. I’m not tired of them yet and cold sandwiches sound perfect since it’s still pretty warm out.

Snacks

Usually when I have class, I pack a KIND bar and an apple. Kinda boring, but it gets the job done. When I’m at home, I like to make snack plates with pretzels, cheese, veggies-whatever sounds good.

I go through phases with chips & salsa, and currently we are ON. This salsa below… it’s the best. This picture is from lunch one day recently, but it’s great at any time of day.

Ice cream is another favorite. I walk Livi most nights and it’s still pretty hot out, so I love coming inside, showering off, and getting a mug of ice cream. I think mugs make everything cozier and more delicous.

Movement

I’ve been having fun with all the equipment in my apartment gym lately! It’s not big or fancy, but it has fun things like TRX and different weight machines. Some days I do that, or a yoga video, or just take my dog for a walk. Or nothing at all!

Yesterday I actually ran! I hadn’t run a step since my last post on running. I was finally feeling the itch, and I was #blessed with a 72 degree morning yesterday. It wasn’t too hot, and I didn’t have to get up and go early! Win-win. It definitely wasn’t easy, but it felt good to run again. I’m looking forward to more runs as the weather cools off. Fall running is the best kind of running.

That’s it for me today! If you’ve had an awesome meal or snack lately, please share! I could use some recipe ideas for next week 🙂 

Summer Break + Thoughts on Starting Second Year

Hello there!

I’m coming at you from the beach, because I’m on (a brief) summer vacation! I wrapped up my internship yesterday with a half day, and then I headed to the beach with Chip and Livi.

I had such a wonderful experience in my public health rotation, and I was sad to leave all the awesome people I met there. School starts back August 22, so I have about two weeks off! I’m in denial about being back in school soon. Most people say that this next semester is the toughest in our program, so I need to get ready! So far I haven’t ordered any books and I definitely have not studied the biochem review sheet we were sent this week. Ah, I have time.

I’m at the beach until early next week, then it’s back to western NC to pack up all my things. Then I’ll move back to Durham, and a week from today I leave for my sister’s bachelorette trip! We are going to Charlottesville, VA, and a wine tour is on the agenda.

To say I’m excited is the understatement of the century. Once I get back from that, I have a whole week to get my life together before class. I really can’t believe it’s my last year of school.

Class will wrap up in May and that’s the last I’ll see of a classroom. Next summer I have a clinical rotation, then advanced placement is in the fall. Oh, we are also getting married next fall. Just a minor detail 🙂 Then I graduate in December! I’m doing my best to soak it all up. If this past year is any indication, this time is going to fly by. Pretty soon I’ll be out of school working in the real world. Although I know where my passions lie, I wonder what my career will end up looking like.

I really want to work with clients on Intuitive Eating and healing their relationship with body and food, but I also really like the science/biochemistry side of things. Our bodies are SO AWESOME and I love learning about all of the little reactions that go on all the time just to keep us functioning. I love learning about metabolism and how when we eat, a number of events occur so we can use that energy.

I don’t feel that this is information the general public needs in order to eat nutritiously. Many people who are at diet rock bottom know too much about nutrition and can’t get away from food rules! However, I can’t figure out if this is stuff I just like learning about in school or if I might want to have an avenue to use parts of it in my career.

I really love that the field of nutrition is so varied. I could potentially end up working part time in a private practice and part time in a clinical job. While I don’t think a hospital clinical job is for me, maybe I’ll find I like it next summer. Maybe I’ll find I like inpatient eating disorder work vs outpatient or private counseling, or maybe I’ll find out that’s actually not the field I want to work in. I’m open to wherever my experiences and education lead me.

What I do know is that I’m passionate about Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, and the non-diet approach. My big picture dream is to have my own private practice or work in a group practice doing that type of work. But maybe I’ll discover there’s another aspect of nutrition I can’t let go of, and I’ll do work in that, too. One huge benefit of this program is getting to discover what I like, and what I don’t like. It’s really exciting, and I can’t wait to see where I end up! I’ll report back if I start to figure it out. 🙂

Ok, I think that’s enough rambling for the day! Unfortunately it’s looking like a rainy one here, so I’m hoping it clears up later for some beach time. I hope you have a great one!

Thursday Favorites

Hello hello!

I had all intentions of posting Friday Favorites last week, but then school got really crazy. Our Maymester class ended on Monday and it was such a blur. I really enjoyed the material (public health nutrition) but it was a lot packed into 2.5 weeks! Now I’m out of the classroom until August 21. Hallelujah! For the next two months, I’ll be in my first Dietetic Internship-public health rotation. I moved home on Tuesday and today’s my first day!

To get the day kicked off on a fun note, here are some things I’ve been doing and loving over the past couple weeks.

Celebrating Chip’s Birthday

Chip’s birthday was on Memorial Day, but we celebrated the next day since I was driving back to school. His ultimate favorite restaurant ever is Outback, but to my surprise he wanted to eat at Zinburger! I’ve shared about eating there before, I’m sure. We are pretty boring and tend to stick with the places we know we love. I’m trying to make us be more adventurous, but since we were both moving to our hometown for the summer we decided to hit up all our favorites that week.

Usually we both get the buffalo chicken sandwich, but I had just had that at another place two days before. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I wanted, so I ordered three things 🙂 I got a large wedge salad, then ordered two “sharables” although I certainly didn’t share much mac and cheese. It had this crunchy stuff on top and was so good. Am I a food critic yet?

what a cutie!
Shoutout to intuitive eating, though, because it is so nice to go to a restaurant, order whatever I want, eat how much I want, and enjoy every bite. In my body obsessed days I would have tried to figure out how many calories were in all of it, probably eat something unsatisfying then spend all night trying not to give into my hunger if it came up. Nowadays eating out is fun, not scary.

(Almost) Growing Red Bell Peppers

I might have mentioned this, but a few months ago school was giving out plants as part of some nutrition day celebration. I snagged a red bell pepper plant and then was like… wait I don’t have a yard why did I get this!? So I asked the Interwebs what I needed and then bought some plant supplies. Now I am SO close to having bell peppers! I think. There are 4 or 5 places where you can tell one is going to grow, so I’m just waiting for them to break through. I’ve never grown anything or kept any plant alive, so this is pretty exciting for me. If I’m successful, expect me to never shut up about it.

Yummy Green Beans

A couple weeks ago I found some green beans in my freezer. I made them and was very sad about how watery they were, so I bought some fresh ones and ended up making the best green beans ever. Ok, that’s a bold statement, but they are pretty good. I didn’t measure anything, and it depends on how much you are making and what you like, but here’s a general outline of how I make them.

I fill a pan with water to cover the bottom, then dump in enough green beans to cover the bottom of the pan. After they cook for 5-10 minutes, I drain the water and add butter and minced garlic and stir everything up. The best ones are the ones covered in garlic. I also add a few cranks of my favorite Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning grinder and some salt. I let that cook for 10-15 minutes and eat at least a handful while they cook 🙂 They are best right after cooking, but they heat up well too.

Moving Home for the Summer

Although I’m going to miss living in Durham for the next two months, hanging with my parents all summer is going to be really nice. They have two little pups, and Livi is happy to have some buddies. Plus I have lots of family and Chip’s family here, too, so extra time with them is always appreciated. My parents and I have already established that Friday evenings will be for drinking wine on the porch. They have been cooking with Hello Fresh three times a week, so I’m excited to try it out.

lunch outside with mom yesterday
And on that note, I’m signing off for the day! Have a great one.

Halfway There! Well, Sorta

I took my last exam on Tuesday, so I officially made it through a year of grad school! I say I’m halfway done because technically, we have two years of course work. It’s not quite that simple, but we will go with it for now 🙂

So what’s next?

I have a week off-hallejuah! Today (Thursday) we’re doing some fun wedding planning things, then tomorrow I’m off to Wilmington for a wedding. It’s for one of my very best friends and I couldn’t be more excited. When we got engaged, she and her fiancé drove all the way down from Philly for the night! They’re the best, and I can’t wait to celebrate them all weekend.

Next Wednesday our Maymester course begins. It lasts about 3 weeks, and we have it 9-4 pretty much every weekday. Normally I wouldn’t complain too much, but I am anxious about leaving Livi so much after her seizure! However, I know she will be fine and I can’t be a helicopter parent 24/7. If I wasn’t in school and had a normal job, I would already be leaving her that often!

“Um excuse me, I did not approve of this.”

The Maymester ends June 5th, I move home June 6th, and my summer internship begins June 8th! It’s going to be quite the whirlwind. I will be working 40 hours a week as an intern until August 2nd. Then we get a nice break until classes start again August 20 something.

Then we get to do it all over again- a year of classes, a summer internship, and a final fall internship! It’s a lot to think about, so I try not to get ahead of myself. I can’t believe I’ve already finished a year of grad school, and I know the rest will fly by!

Year 1 Reflections

This year was hard, but more specifically, this semester was hard. The first one wasn’t easy, and we had a lot of assignments, but we weren’t in biochem yet. This semester, we had biochem and medical nutrition therapy, which were hard in their own ways. Many weeks I felt like I was just struggling to get to the weekend, then on the weekend I was catching up on studying. However, I’m obviously thrilled to be where I am and wouldn’t trade it for anything! I feel like I’ve learned so much and come so far in my nutrition knowledge in just a year. My program is wonderful and so are the people in it, as well as our teachers! I’m really excited to be a year closer to being a dietitian. I suppose I’ll have to come up with a new blog name at that point. Suggestions welcome!

I’m also really grateful that I immersed myself in the non-diet/Health at Every Size/intuitive eating world this year. I already wasn’t a fan of diets, but I came across some podcasts in the fall that showed me there is a way to incorporate my values in my approach to health. I’m in this program because I love nutrition and want to help people along their health journey, but I wouldn’t feel right doing it through restriction and rigid rules. (I am discussing clients in general, not those who have a medical condition diagnosed by a doctor that requires a specific plan. And obviously body shame is never warranted.) I’ve enjoyed learning more and surrounding myself online with other people who practice the way I hope to. I read Intuitive Eating this year and it was like a lightbulb went off; it made so much sense to me.

Breakfast at the beach a few weeks ago, courtesy of dad

I started grad school thinking I would become a nutrition expert who imparts knowledge to my clients. I would help them lose weight the healthy way, through lifestyle changes. (Rolling my eyes at former me.) Now I have a much different idea of what my role and work will look like. Of course, Registered Dietitians are nutrition experts, but our clients are the experts of their bodies and lives. It’s not my job to tell them what to do or what their goals should be. I won’t be promoting weight loss. I believe that we can approach health in a kinder, gentler way-without focusing on the scale. As people incorporate healthy changes in their life, they may lose weight, gain weight, or stay the same. Why would I celebrate one of these outcomes over the other? Weight does not = health.

I’m now very interested in working in the eating disorder/disordered eating population, which I would have never guessed for myself. Currently my dream job is working one on one with clients to improve their relationship with food and their bodies. Food is nourishment, for sure, but it is also meant to be enjoyed. I feel like in our current culture we have lost track of that and we are either fearful of eating food (or certain types) or using it to manipulate our bodies. (You can find more about my food philosophy in my intuitive eating posts, or read about why I ditched the scale.)

So yeah, my approach is a bit different from the mainstream in my profession and I do feel like the tide is slowly shifting toward a non-diet approach. I know there is a place for me in this line of work and I’m so inspired by the many RDs I follow online doing it already. It does make me a little nervous about my first job after graduation-what if I have to accept a job that involves me putting people on diets? Or focusing on weight loss? All I can do now is focus on what’s in front of me and keep exploring what I want to do in the future, and do my best to make connections there and make it happen.

Oh, yeah! And this year I started this blog! Thank you so much for reading here. I’ve really enjoyed spilling my thoughts in this space and I’m excited to keep sharing my life and my views on health-related topics. If you have any topic suggestions or requests, I’m all ears!

Embracing Chaos and Uncertainty

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. They have been mostly amazing, but we had a scare with Livi I’ll discuss in a minute. In addition, I’m in the middle of finals and life is just.. crazy. I’m trying to slow down and enjoy the present, but it can be challenging. Chaos and uncertainty are definitely not two things I would like more of in my life, but I’m learning to embrace it.

The best ice cream from my fav place at the beach.

So yeah, we got engaged April 21 which was amazing, as I’ve told you 🙂 Last weekend we went to the beach with my family, my grandma (Hi, Sasa!), and Livi. We had the best time and ate some wonderful food. The weather was perfect-warm on the beach, but not unbearably hot. Between my sister and me, there was plenty of wedding talk and we are just having so much fun in this season in life. She gets married September 30th and I am so excited!

We came home Sunday and on Monday night, our sweet Livi had a seizure. She is two years old and has never had one before, and let me tell you it was the most terrifying few minutes of my life. Maybe it sounds silly, but she really is like my child ha. I’m so glad Chip was with me because I was a complete wreck.

Livi was laying beside Chip and started twitching badly. Sometimes she twitches in her sleep, but it seemed more severe. We sat her up and she kept falling over, so we immediately rushed out to the car and looked for the closest emergency animal hospital (it was like 9:30pm). It was in Raleigh, about a 25 minute drive. While I was on the phone with the woman at the vet, she began seizing badly for about 10-20. Chip is sitting beside me right now saying it was more like 5 seconds, but it felt longer. Her legs were outstretched, and she wasn’t foaming at the mouth or anything, but she was super tense and shaking. I completely panicked and threw her at Chip, who was driving. I am really good at functioning under pressure.

Right after it happened, she threw up alllllll over Chip. Poor guy. After that, she was completely fine which we are so thankful for. The vet said it sounded like a seizure, maybe even a partial seizure, since she was coherent and it didn’t last too long. The whole episode lasted about 5 minutes. We decided the best option was to leave her overnight for bloodwork and seizure watch. On Tuesday morning, we were told she did great overnight but she did have one mildly elevated lab value for liver function after they fed her. I have an appointment with her regular vet on Monday to discuss it all and decide whether or not to order an ultrasound or other tests to rule out a liver shunt. It could be a mild one, or it could be nothing at all. She could have another seizure tomorrow and every month for the rest of her life, or she could go her whole life without having another.

Like most people, I like to have a plan and I like to know what to expect in general. Well, that’s not the case here. I’m doing my best to focus on the present-why use the time I have now to worry about the future and something that I have no control over? All any of us have is this moment so I’m doing my best to stay in it. Livi has been her usual spunky self all week, which has helped me not be so anxious. If she has another seizure, we will do everything we can to figure out why, if possible, or start her on meds if necessary. That’s all we can do!

If anyone can rock a half shaved leg, it’s Livi.

Ok, sorry, I know this is not a dog seizure blog. But it is a big deal to me and is causing me some stress, which is timely because it’s finals week 🙂 I’ve already had one take home final and one presentation, but I have an exam on Friday and my last one on Tuesday. Then we get about a week break and start a Maymester course, but I’m living in denial about that right now. That’s another reason I struggle to stay in the present; in our grad program I feel like I’m constantly looking ahead to the next thing. The next test, next semester, next internship.. it can get overwhelming. I’m going to do my best to focus on being present, and might even start listening to some of my old favorite mindfulness YouTube videos I turned to when my anxiety was worse. If you have any great mindfulness resources, do share!

On a happy note… we are going home to tour a nearby wedding venue this weekend! We have another scheduled for next week, too. I know it’s early, but since we are both in grad school we want to plan what we can now so it’s not as stressful later. In the midst of all of this, I’m learning to embrace the chaos. Well, I already did that before -we all lead busy lives!- but it’s really true right now.

I’m learning that I won’t always get it all done, and I may not be able to give my best in every situation. When things happen, whether they’re exciting like getting engaged or terrifying like a health scare for a person or pet, to-do lists go out of the window. I know in a week this portion of school will be over and I’ll have a short break. I may not get an A on every final, but that’s OK. I’m doing my best, and sometimes that means not doing my best on every single thing. If I need to take time for myself, that’s not selfish. In fact, I’m thinking about going for a run and to get my nails done this morning. The run will help me connect with myself and feel some good endorphins, and getting my nails done will just be nice. Both will help me reduce stress, so I’m going to make it happen.

I know I’m rambling a lot, but it’s almost like therapy for me to come here and spill my thoughts. I’ll check back in soon on the other side of finals and share if I’m successful at staying in the present moment. Wish me luck, and I hope you are having a fantastic week!

Life This Week, Easy Dinner Idea, and Summer News

Hello and happy Friday!

Oh my goodness, this week. It has been crazy and exhausting and fun. I’m paying for it now as I study for Monday’s biochem exam and feel woefully unprepared, but it was worth it. I don’t have a super insightful post in me today, but I do want to share some of my week with you. I’ll throw an easy dinner idea in there too, so I can feel like I gave you something to take with you. 🙂

Coffee on coffee was a necessity this week because…

WE WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!

(Sorry to those who know me in real life, I haven’t shut up about this yet.)

I grew up on Carolina basketball. When I was really young I would put on my UNC cheerleading outfit on and make up cheers and chants for all of the players. When we won the championship in 2009, my mom did cheerleading jumps in our living room while the fight song played. Then I went to college there, and my love for the team and the game grew more. We rushed Franklin a few times for beating Duke, but hadn’t won a championship since 09. Until this year. AND I WAS THERE!

I watched in Chapel Hill with Chip and some friends, and we rushed Franklin where we celebrated with 55,000 other Tar Heels. It was like nothing I’ve experienced before. I didn’t get much sleep that night, but it was so worth it. Then the next day, my roommate and I went to the welcome home celebration in the Dean Dome, and it was a lot of fun. I’m just so proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished, and I’m so glad they were able to clutch this win after the heartbreak of last year.

Found that picture on this guy’s Facebook-don’t know him but gotta give credit! Ok, now that I got all those feelings out, let’s move on.

I haven’t cooked much this week, but I did make some delicious curry.

I don’t think I can even call this curry because it is so far from authentic, but I don’t have another name for it. To make it, I sautéed garlic, onion, red pepper, a bag of cubed sweet potatoes, zucchini, a pack of chicken breasts, and this jar of simmer sauce. I let it all simmer for about 3o minutes and served over rice. It made enough for several meals, which was great. This sauce was good, but not quite as good as my favorite Trader Joe’s curry sauce. It was possibly my fault, though-I didn’t realize the sauce had coconut milk in it, so I added half a can which made it more sweet than spicy. If you’re looking for an easy dinner idea, it’s good and there’s really no way to mess it up! You can put whatever veggies you like and add meat if you want.

I’m moving home for the summer!

Livi cuddling my parents’ dogs at Christmas

I totally forgot to share it here, but I received my placement for my summer internship back in February. It’s our first RD internship, and it’s the public health rotation. I was placed in western NC, about 30 minutes from where my parents live. So Livi and I are moving in for the summer! Chip will be back home for the summer with his parents, too, so it will nice to still be close. Although I’ll miss my apartment, Anna (my roommate), and living here, I’m really excited about the internship and to hang with my parents all summer. My parents are thrilled, although I think they’re just excited because they know I’ll cook for them a lot. Oh, and I’ll be sure to chronicle my return to Crossfit. Pray for me.

Around the web this week

This great blog post by Kylie about fullness vs. satisfaction

The Love, Food Podcast I recently discovered and am loving (if you have an iPhone, just search in the Podcasts app!)

This Nutrition Matters podcast episode: “A Millennial Man living with Binge Eating Disorder” I listened to this episode yesterday and so appreciate Ryan’s bravery in sharing his story. Eating disorders are mental disorders, and they don’t discriminate. Men struggle with body imagine and food, too, and I’m so glad he is sharing his experience.

That’s all for me, folks! I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Day in the Life of a Nutrition Student

Happy Friday!

This was the first week back after spring break, and getting back into the swing of things was tough. But I made it to Friday and I’m so excited for the weekend! My parents are coming to town today and tomorrow is an engagement party for my sister and her fiancé! I’m so excited to celebrate them and hang out with my family.

Today I thought it would be fun to share a day in the life post. I love reading these on other blogs-I’m totally nosy and just like seeing how other people do life. Also, I think it will be fun to look back on this in the future and remember what a “typical” day was like. I say “typical” because yesterday I had 3 classes, but MWF I only have one. Every day is a little different for me. So without further ado, here’s what I was up to yesterday!

7:30 Time to wake up! I took the dog to pee, then went right to the kitchen. Breakfast was oatmeal with cinnamon, peanut butter, and raisins. I eat this almost every morning, and somehow I’m not tired of it. I also eat on the couch every morning while watching the Today Show and reading blogs. Even though I’m all about intuitive eating, that doesn’t mean I eat every meal at the table with no distractions! I love that my classes start later this semester-this time in the morning is probably my favorite part of the day.

8:30-9:20 Study time! I finally peeled myself from the couch to work on some biochem with another cup of coffee. My professor posts audio of his lectures and advises us to listen to them again and take notes within 24 hours of lecture, so I worked on that for Wednesday’s lecture.

9:20-9:45 Pack up and get ready for school. I spend approximately 2 minutes on my appearance for school. I pretty much always just throw on workout clothes, whether or not I’m exercising that day, and a hoodie. Hey, I like to be cozy. I put on moisturizer, pack my lunch, and call it a day. I also HAVE to get my room clean before I leave for the day, or it drives me crazy.

9:45-10:15 Commute to school. I park my car at the park & ride and take the bus from Durham to Chapel Hill. The commute isn’t bad at all, just 20 minutes on the bus.

10:15-11 Put my lunch in the fridge at school, eat a snack (banana, pretzels, cheese), and hang out in the break room.

11-12:15 Class time. My first day of the class is environmental science. After class, I had 15 minutes to get to my next one. Sometimes I rush and go grab my lunch between class, but yesterday I decided to wait.

12:30-1:45 Class number 2-medical nutrition therapy! We learned all about cardiovascular disease. I had a pack of crackers to hold me over until class was over.

1:45-3:30 Break. Yesterday I used the long break to meet with some classmates about a group project and then continued working on those biochem notes. Oh, and I ate lunch. I had a salad almost exactly the same as the one I shared last week. About an hour later, I was hungry again so I had some soup that I made a few weeks ago and froze. I just grabbed the container from the freezer this morning and let it thaw during the day.

Studying view.. not too shabby

3:30-5:15 Last class! On Tuesday, my epidemiology class is a lecture but on Thursday we have lab where we work on an assignment in teams. Yesterday we had the whole time to work on the part of our group project that is due today. Class ends at 4:45, but we stayed a little late to finish up.

5:15-6 Commute, pick up my car, go by Target for a few things. I needed coffee filters, spinach, and chocolate milk. All the essentials.

6-6:30 I’m greeted by Livi when I get home, who promptly leaves me to go eat. Does anyone else’s dog do this? Once everyone is home, she runs away and eats all her food. I also talk with my roommate and swap my leggings for running shorts.

6:40-7:40 Run and walk. I ran 3.5 miles outside and it felt so great! I ran at an easy pace and listened to a podcast. When I got home from class, my head hurt and I just felt blah after being at school all day. After my run, I felt all better. Fresh air and endorphins are a winning combination. I came back in after my run to grab Livi and took her on a short walk.

7:40-7:50 Make dinner. I didn’t want to cook but I was hungry, so I made a sandwich. I used my roommate’s awesome panini press, which I should use more often. I’m super boring when it comes to making sandwiches-just spicy turkey, provolone, and spinach! I finished off a bag of carrots in my fridge and dipped them in ranch, duh. The chips are sea salt and cracked back pepper flavor and so good.

7:50-9:30 I watched the news for a little bit, then showered, started some laundry, and cleaned a bit.

9:30-11 Blogging and Netflixing. I decided to not do any more school work for the day. I thought about working more since I know I’ll blow off studying this weekend in favor of hanging with my family, but I decided relaxing was more important. Sometimes clearing my mind is more beneficial than trying to force myself to study more! So I turned on Gilmore Girls and started working on this post, then went to sleep around 11.

The end. I hope you have an awesome weekend!