A helpful/encouraging/SUCK IT UP! link of the week

Here’s a link that I stumbled on today. It’s from a fitness/healthy/nutrition/lifestyle blog called Fitness Spotlight, titled “How to Win the Mental Battle.” Summarizing bullet points are as follows (quoted from the article):

  • Health and Weight loss is simple – Follow the basics of healthy eating and be active daily.
  • You have 100% control – Now live your life the way you want to. If you don’t like something the way it is now, either do something to change it up or stop focusing on it. Take action or let it go.
  • No more Excuses, No one left to Blame – Don’t look for someone to take the blame, there is no blame anymore. Don’t beat yourself up, you are not to blame for anything. Forget the past, and focus just on what you need to do right now!
  • “Wake Up” and Live in the Moment – Don’t be asleep like most. Take action on purpose…just don’t react to anything that comes along. Take time to just live and experience life all around you. “Watch” yourself from a distance, and release your attachments. Be Free!
  • All you have is actions and results – Failure or success is non-existent and doesn’t matter anymore. Just keep taking actions and moving forward in life on moment at a time. You will become whatever you focus on….so focus on making things happen.
  • Enjoy the Journey – That is what life is.…and we only get one turn (as far as I know). Don’t live for regrets or be left to wonder “what if”. Make anything happen, dream big, try anything….if you think you can, you will!

I really liked this post because it deals with all aspects of health: physical, mental, and emotional. To some, it may sound a little Jillian Michaels-esque with the “ain’t nobodies fault but your own” attitude. However, sometimes we need that (or maybe I am just speaking for myself?).

That negative self-talk that can occur in relation to healthy mind/body/soul is self-defeating, agreed. But when someone writes it all out in a blog post, ain’t no excuses and ain’t no where to run when they say “you have 100% control of your life.” Time to take a little accountability for our own actions.

Amen, brother!

Sports Nutrition

This morning I did a brief nutrition talk to the Jeff Galloway training group here in Jacksonville. I had beginning runners in the Getting Started program and I received a group who had just finished their run, so it was a mixed batch. I had a big poster that sat on the hood of a car and talked about eating before/during the run and a bit about weight loss. Many runners came

From news.bbc.co.uk

up afterwards and asked specific questions about carb/protein ratios, protein supplements, lycopene, weight loss, and recovery formulas, among other things. I was certainly kept on my toes and was glad that I had a bit of experience counseling clients as these folks certainly gave me some good questions!

The point of this post, what I’m trying to say, is that I really enjoyed myself. It was energizing to be around these 75-100 people and discuss nutrition with them. I felt like I was passing on knowledge and that they were listening, like a nutrition sensei (ha!). Wait, let me explain something. I enjoy counseling patients in the hospital, yes. However, sometimes when we counsel patients in that setting, it’s quite obvious that they are not interested. That’s fine, and there are other factors that influence the patient’s interest level, I understand. I still want to give them the information, talk about it, and leave room for questions before they call security on me (and as I leave kicking, screaming shouting, whole grains for a wholesome you!). You never know if your consult could spur them to think about lifestyle changes and reflect on what their intake is. Maybe we are the catalysts for change, even if we don’t see the change directly. But with this population today, these runners, it was nice that they had that built-in desire to learn more about nutrition.

All in all, I enjoyed myself and had a great time with it. The “presentation” was at 7 and I even had time to work out before hand at 5. Whew!

Why I like Oncology (rotation)

This week we started our clinical rotations, which is where we will be until September. We are still in the hospital and will make occassional “field trips” to other specialities (in which Mayo doesn’t specialize). Examples include pediatrics and community (WIC). Every 2 weeks we change specialities, so like this week and next I’m in Oncology, then after next week I’m in cardiology for 2 weeks. Pretty cool, ja?

I am starting to really enjoy the oncology specialization. Why?

1. I get to see the same patients at least every other day. They are on chemo, so appetite changes, nutrition status, etc changes frequently, thus they need to see us more than once a week (sometimes, not all the time). The average patient stay is 4.4 days, so for several other rotations, you only see a patient once, diagnose them, and never see them again.

2. I like being the cheerleader/encourage to patients. Sometimes patients don’t have a family member or friend to stay with them. Imagine going through chemo, which is already really tough on your body, and not having someone there to support you? Wow. I can’t even imagine. Part of me enjoys the nurture part too. Just talking to a patient, seeing how he/she are doing, what his/her disposition is, etc. I also like to see if they are progressing are not. Maybe it’s because I like people in general (***moves hands in a circle to indicate world/globe***) and genuinely care about them.

Not really in my R.D. job description, but definitely ingrained in my personality. I JUST LIKE PEOPLE, okay?

I haven’t done just oncology this week. I’ve also seen patients with renal, lung, liver, heart (basically, all organ) problems, so we get to see a variety of patients across the board. It’s amazing how many different nutritional needs there are for each disease state. Please keep in mind that we aren’t on staff relief yet, so there is always a dietitian with me making sure that I ask the right questions. I have interviewed several patients, then the dietitian jumps in and fills in the cracks that I left. With time, I’ll get the interview down pat!

Picture found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/araleya/2053280825/

Protein Confusion

Whenever I look up weight lifting exercises for women on the internet, I always stumble on protein powder ads. I do use a scoop of protein powder (only 11g/serving) in my morning oatmeal, but that’s it. It’s a good thickener for my thin oats and has a nice serving of protein to start off the day.

A few weeks ago I had a general practitioner talk to me about my protein intake. I have found this to be common in the clinical setting (MDs giving nutrition advice when they lack the proper training that R.D.s have) but was not prepared for my personal doctor to talk to me about it. Guess she thought that, since I am a vegetarian, I must be starved for quality protein. We talked about the sources of protein, where it comes from, and why I should be careful. Despite my insistence that I got an undergraduate degree in nutrition and am currently studying/doing my internship to become a Registered Dietitian, this meant nothing to her. Unfortunately, I handled the situation poorly and was rather, er, sarcastic with the doctor. It’s all in the delivery, must work on it. I’ll do better next time, promise  🙂

Anyways, I did a little research tonight about the different types of proteins, why body builders use them, etc. As you are probably aware, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts swear by protein

powder. They want that “ripped” look and put protein in everything. Some sites recommend up to 2 g of powder per pound of body weight. That would be 300 g of powder for a 150 lb person. Wow. (P.S., That’s a lot!!)  See the below links for more information. Or just keep scrolling and read my thoughts…

Comparison table

Bodybuilding.com protein type explanation

Contrary to the body builders, Askthedietitian.com says that people fall for the myth because they listen to individual testimonials and not science. She suggests that informed consumers read “The Homocysteine Revolution” by Dr Kilmer McCaulley. “Thirty years ago, he compiled the research on homocysteine (an amino acid) that is an intermediary in the breakdown of methionine (an amino acid). Homocysteine appears cause and advance arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) as a result of high protein diets. Weight lifters or body builders take protein or amino acid supplements, thinking that it will make them ripped. These supplements do not build muscle and combined with an already high protein intake, often stress kidney function. The RDA for protein is 63 g (males) and 50 g (females), based on kg of body weight, not pounds (as mentioned at the beginning). Keep in mind it’s not just body builders that observe a high protein diet. Remember the low-carb craze? Well, if ya ain’t gettin’ calories from carbs, ya probably gettin’ it from protein in the prescribed diet.

Even scarier, once protein is absorbed, the kidneys filter out the remainder and if it’s not used to build/repair muscle tissue, is converted to energy or stored as fat. Thus, if you eat excessexcessexcess X 10 protein (like the 2 g/lb of body weight example), you are making expensive fat.

The infamous fat block

Ew. Cue the picture of the fat block (dun dun DUNNN).

What does this mean for you, the average consumer? No more than 20% of your calories from protein, unless you have some sort of muscle wasting (i.e. a life-threatening illness like cancer). And don’t be giving out nutrition information unless you are licensed to do so. And please let the vegetarians go and don’t harass them. They are probably starved anyways and salivating over your hamburger.

People’s lives are at stake, for cryin’ out loud!

Healthy Eating and Resistant Comrades

It’s a universal truth that it’s hard to eat for your heart when people around you are not. I go to restaurants and sometimes all I see is fried ___, fried ___ ___, and fried ___ ___ ___. That’s when I usually get up and leave, but that’s not always possible when you are with a large group of people or your family on vacation.

Not that I am perfect in my eating, but here is a list of how to fight the resistance:

1. Exercise: wake up early, get it over with. You’ll be very glad you did. Even if you eat more than you usually do, the exercise will help keep you aware of what you’re eating. If you prefer, don’t do your normal routine. Just do what you can and are willing to do. Exercise shouldn’t detract from your vacation, don’t spend all your time exercising, afterall, that’s not why you are on vacation! A 30 minute walk in the morning won’t hurt ya, promise.

2. Water: drink more than usual. Most people don’t drink enough anyways. Carry a reusable container so you can refill once you finish it. Taking frequent restroom breaks is much better than feeling starved mid-afternoon. The water will dull your perceived hunger and help keep your system regular. If you are scared you might overeat at your next meal, drink a full glass before you eat, that way you will be less ravenous when you start.

3. Eat slowly: take a break between bites, put your utensils down after every couple of bites, then drink some water, then eat a few more bites.

4. Eat for your heart: not necessarily a salad at every meal, but go for the healthier options. You know what they are, most likely, but here are some reminders: the marinara sauce over the alfredo, asking for dressing on the side, requesting steamed/grilled/baked food over fried (in that order!), not ordering dessert. It’s ok to ask the waiter questions. If your comrades harass you for asking questions, don’t worry, they’ll forget about it. It’s your health you are concerned with, not theirs.

5. Enjoy the conversation, the sites, and the fellowship: we don’t live to eat, despite what Paula Dean believes. It’s ok to get excited about regional fare, but eating until your stomach bulges is uncomfortable and makes me feel really gross. I have no energy and I don’t feel like carrying on a conversation after I eat too much. Gross. It can also take a toll on your conscience. To prevent this, focus on the environment and the people around you instead of the food.

These aren’t groundbreaking new ideas, but they are good reminders. Eating healthy while on vacation will also helps me feel sane while I am with my crazy family.

Obesity: Where to Start?

Obesity is a huge problem. We know this. It’s no secret.

2 out of 3 Americans are obese or overweight. But this isn’t new information.

So how do we solve the problem?

Ask my dad how to fix the obesity epidemic and he’ll tell you that obese people should “get off their lazy butts and start moving.”

Right, because that kind of thinking  has been really helpful for the last 20 years. It causes a stigma against people who are OW/OB (discrimination), not to mention it doesn’t help the problem…probably exacerbates it.

Our bodies are really smart. Body tells the “owner” when it needs fuel, when it needs water, and when it needs to fight/flight. Body will heal itself when it is injured and lets the owner know when it needs a break. Body also compensates for our mistakes. If we are gorging ourselves, Body knows that. Body takes that extra “fuel” and stores it as fat. There’s part of the problem. All of us over eat at some point, right? What do you do after you binge or have a huge meal…you SIT. Body just wants to digest, which gives us owners a reason not to listen to Body and move it. Obesity can be tied to emotions, negative memories, childhood habits, poor family relationships…the list goes on.

So where to start?

Motivational interviewing. Think of it as teaching a man to fish…except, teaching a man to exercise, eat right, and enjoy life.

Intuitive eating. Listening to body and giving it what it needs, when it needs it.

POINT: Change public opinion about the OW/OB stigma. Motivate people to want to change. Teach them how to take care of themselves.

For more info:

Small Steps program: government program to help people get movin’

U.S. Obesity trends: look at the map, motivated yet?

The Economic Consequences of Obesity

Contemporary “labeled” food isn’t always healthy

For those who don’t read blogs or keep up with food culture in the US, vegan and vegetarian-ism is huge (kind of like 5 member boy band groups in the ’90s). These food movements help decrease the risk of several diseases, save  little animal souls, and minimize CO2 output from transporting animals (for more on this, read Omnivore’s Dilemma). So omitting meat is good for body, mind, and soul, right?

Well, sorta.

Just because a food is vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or made out of space rocks does not mean that it is good for you.

Take a look at gluten-free cookies from FoodNetwork.com. They still use butter substitutes and sugar. There is no calorie slash. These cookies have 24 g of fat and 340 calories. That’s over 1/3 of your daily fat needs…in ONE cookie.

Don’t get me wrong, these cookies are great for those with Celiac disease. But the label “gluten-free” ≠ healthy.

1. You don’t have to be a food snob to eat healthy. I.e., you can still eat meat and be healthy, just choose leans cuts, low fat dairy, and whole grain bread. Eat lots of vegetables.

2. You don’t have to be a food snob to minimize your impact on the environment. I.e., recycle paper, use plastic bags to pickup after your dog, walk to the store instead of driving. There are many ways to minimize your impact other than omitting meat.

If you are concerned about your protein intake…don’t be. Protein isn’t exactly a “struggle” macronutrient for most of us. Did you know, for example, that milk has around 8 grams of protein in it? Bread, especially if it’s high fiber and whole grain, also has about 8-17 grams per slice. Go ahead, look at your food labels! Milk and bread alone have about as much protein as an 1 oz of chicken (and they aren’t carrying around the saturated fat that meat often carries). Okay, stepping off the Americans-already-get-too-much-protein soapbox.

All I’m saying is this: don’t depend on the “title” of the food for your nutrition. Just like organic Oreos are no better for you than regular Oreos (just because they are organic), don’t base a products healthfulness of it’s lack/addition of meat or dairy.