Life has been absolutely insane for the past year. So many exciting things have happened and I can finally share everything!
For starters, I completed my dietetic internship and passed the RD exam! No more late nights studying, no more long drives and crazy hours, and most importantly, no more "paying to work!" I landed a job as a clinical dietitian and LOVE what I'm doing. Looking back, all the stress, tears, late nights, and early mornings were well-worth it. I knew I wanted to be a dietitian when I was in high school and I think it's safe to say that I'm in the minority because I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I went to college and never changed my major. After completing my B.S., it took me 3 tries to get matched into an internship, and it took me 3 tries to pass the RD exam. I worked my butt off for this, and I feel so accomplished to finally be a Registered Dietitian.
There were countless times when I wanted to give up. Everything about this process was hard. And no matter how many times I thought about giving up, I knew I would push through. I have an amazing support system, and I didn't want to disappoint them, or myself. After not getting matched twice, I told myself I was going to apply one more time and after that, I wasn't going to do it again. I was ready to move on and enjoy life instead of constantly being asked about what I was doing and explaining to people what is required to become an RD. Those credentials don't come easily... And then, it finally happened. I got matched to Nicholls State University. I drove an hour to and from rotations everyday, completed over 1200 hours, and even won The Core Values Award. What!? And after 3 attempts to take the seemingly impossible Registration Exam, I passed. I remember the first time I was really upset afterwards, and the second time, I was really mad. I had a similar feeling about not getting matched, and I was going to give it one more shot. I felt so defeated and discouraged. I had already been hired for my clinical position, and that was my drive. I knew I was smart enough and had what it takes. I just had one last leg of the race to finish. And I finally did. It is such a relief, and honestly a little weird feeling because this is the first time in my life that I'm not studying or working on something to further my education (for now anyway). I'm just so happy I can officially do what I love and now I can focus on planning my wedding!
That's the other very exciting thing that has been going on in my life - Bill and I are engaged! In the middle of finishing my internship and taking the exam, Bill proposed to me! A couple of months before I finished the internship, we talked about going to the Panama City Beach for a long weekend to just relax after this very busy and stressful year. Little did I know, that about a month before we went, he decided that this is when he was going to ask me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was so distracted with finishing my internship and studying that I didn't pick up on any of the hints that I should have picked up on... he asked if I was going to get my nails done, made dinner reservations, and even asked what I was going to wear to dinner. Hello?! Hints were everywhere! He was also on his phone more than usual, which I didn't really pay too much attention to because I was just basking in the moment of having completed my internship. Little did I know that he was going back and forth with his sister because she was also there to help with all of the arrangements (there were a couple of close-calls with almost running into her!)
We spent the day relaxing on the beach (where he was constantly making sure I was re-applying sunscreen to make sure I wouldn't burn since he knew we would be taking pictures later that evening). We went to dinner, where I practically inhaled my food, which is very unlike me. I am normally a slow eater, but I think I was just so hungry from being out in the sun all day that I mindlessly ate my food super fast. He asked if I wanted to take a walk to the beach to take a picture at sunset after we finished dinner, and naturally I said yes. Because I ate so fast, he had to stop in the bathroom on the way out to call the photographer to let her know we were ahead of schedule. We still had 45 minutes before we were supposed to "meet" the photographer on the beach so she asked if he could stall me for a little while, even though she lived close by, he really wanted to wait until sunset so there we were... walking around a half-abandoned strip mall for 45 minutes until it was close enough to sunset to go take a picture. Once we were finally able to start walking towards the beach, we got to the edge of the parking lot and it was covered with red dirt because there was some construction and I was wearing white sandals and did not want to walk in that. He thought this was perfect because it would buy him a few extra minutes for us to walk back to his truck and drive us across the street to the boardwalk (all to save my shoes!). As we were getting out of the car, he told me to grab my phone for the picture because his camera had sort of stopped working the day before. Once we get to the sand, we both went to take our shoes off, and naturally I was just going to carry my shoes with me, but he was getting flustered and told me to put them down with his and then asked why I had my phone, which I then reminded him that he asked me to take it. He told me he'd put it in his pocket until we took the picture so I didn't have to carry it and we started walking towards the water where he turned me around and got down on one knee and pulled out a Little Blue Box! And of course, I said Yes!
After taking some pictures and calling all of our family and friends, we went back to the condo where his sister had gone in and put flowers everywhere, along with bunch of pictures hanging on some twinkle lights from when we started dating. It was so thoughtful and sweet, and way more than I could have ever imagined. It was truly perfect. The photographer he hired, Laura Jennings Photography, to capture the moment was also amazing. She was so fun to work with and would recommend to anyone in the PCB area looking for a photographer. This past year has been filled with so many exciting moments, and none of it would have been possible without the support of my family and Bill. I am forever grateful and thankful for them. Now time to celebrate!
This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend FNCE (Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo) in Chicago for their 100th Anniversary! I learned so much and met so many people who share my passion for food and nutrition. I came back with all sorts of fun new products to try, so be on the lookout for posts about those. Anyone who's ever been to FNCE will understand just how much you get to sample. I left room in my suitcase knowing I would be coming back with a lot.
I attended sessions on Alzheimer's, Intermittent Fasting Effects on Cardiometabolic Disease and Cancer, PCOS, and Food as Medicine in Malnutrition and Eating Disorders. I also attended a job fair to learn about different career paths... and then there was the Expo. There was so much food and so many samples to try - I literally ate all day long (but we walked a lot too, so it balanced out).
Thankfully, my fellow interns and I had some time to explore the city a little too! We had a rough start with our airbnb - but we ended up staying right in the middle of the theater district which was so fun! And of course we had to try the deep dish pizza at Giordano's - DELISH!
Life has been a little hectic lately, so I haven't been able to stick to my usual workout/running routine, and it's driving me crazy! Just a few more days of recovery before I can ease myself back into running after a couple weeks off. I've been suffering with some severe asthma issues and I'm finally almost done with the prednisone (Ugh!) and I can take my time getting myself back to where I was. Like many diseases, asthma wears you out. I have a pretty rough history, but I've come such a far way from where I was. This flare-up brought back some not-so-fun memories from when I was a kid and the countless hours doing breathing treatments and anxiousness that came as a side-effect with the medication, but at the end of the day, I was so thankful. I have accomplished things that I never thought I would, and here I am today, anxiously waiting until I can put my running shoes back on.
As I was laying in bed until 5pm last Thursday afternoon, and after sleeping pretty much the entire day (which drove me crazy because I never do that and it made me feel so unproductive, although I clearly needed the rest), I had to remind myself not to get frustrated because I wasn't getting my miles in. Hitting the pavement in the brutal heat of summer when I couldn't breathe, was probably not going to help me get any better... This is why it's so important to listen to your body. I took the weekend to watch some movies, sleep, and just rest! It's amazing what our bodies are capable of, but that doesn't mean we can just go and go and go...
This minor setback is giving me more motivation to achieve my time goals for the 3 half marathons I'm running this fall. It's going to take me a little time to get back to where I was with my time, but I know it's not impossible, and I know I'll have to push myself a little harder, but I know how amazing it will feel when I cross that finish line!
Who doesn't love pancakes?! I just don't love all the sugar they can provide - What if I told you there is a delicious pancake mix that provides lots of protein, very little sugar, and is a good source of fiber? Well it's true... Kodiak Cakes do exactly that! They are made with whole grains, can provide up to 21g of protein, has 3g of sugar, and 5g of fiber per serving! There are quite a few flavor options, and while I haven't been able to try them all yet, I love the dark chocolate!
You can add plain water to the mix, or use milk and add an egg for extra protein. I like to top mine with fresh fruit and sometimes a little sugar free syrup. And honestly, they don't even need the syrup! It's the perfect amount of sweetness and provides a protein-packed breakfast. They can even be purchased in on-the-go cups - you just add water and heat in the microwave for those busy mornings!
For those of you with a gluten intolerance - they have gluten free mixes, as well as organic and superfood options! Check out their website linked below to see everything they have to offer!
So I guess it's time that I post on here that I was accepted into the Nicholls Dietetic Internship. I'm incredibly excited to finally start this journey to finishing my education to become a Registered Dietitian. This has been a dream of mine and it's finally happening!
I often hear people refer to me as a nutritionist and a dietitian - but did you know there is a difference? While I have my bachelors in dietetics, I'm not a registered dietitian, YET! But once I complete my internship and pass the National Registration Exam for Dietitians, I will be an RD!
"All registered dietitians are nutritionists, but not all nutritionist are registered dietitians"
-Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Who doesn't love an easy recipe?! This is the perfect weeknight recipe when you have lots to do - not to mention, super easy clean up!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes
1 pork tenderloin (season to taste)
1 onion, cut
1 bunch asparagus
2 sweet potatoes (cut as desired - as you can see Bill and I had differing opinions on cutting them)
Olive oil (as desired)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and cut vegetables. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread out vegetables and lightly coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place pork tenderloin in center. Place in over for 45 minutes. DONE!
This article was written by Personal Trainer, Paige Johnson - She offers excellent tips and advice!
Some people look at the beginning of a new year to focus on fitness and healthy eating while others may be motivated by the summer and swimsuit season approaching or a special upcoming event. No matter what time of year it is, there are some great strategies that can be incorporated into your lifestyle to help you achieve your health and fitness goals, and these can typically be applied all year long.
Use the change of seasons as an excuse to try new activities.
Everyday Health points out that different seasons can impact people and their ability to achieve their health and fitness goals in different ways. Some people embrace winter and the opportunity to do cold-weather activities like skiing and snowshoeing, while others are invigorated by the summer warmth where they can get out to run or bike under the sun's rays.
Even if you tend to embrace exercise during one season more than others, it is possible to adjust your habits to be consistent with year-round activity. Adjusting the time of day that you work out might be helpful if you are struggling to stay on track, and if you belong to a gym, consulting with a fitness trainer for a session or two could be the jolt you need to reset your fitness focus if you’re in a slump.
When you are looking for motivation to exercise during a season where you normally struggle, trying a new activity or two might be just what you need for some inspiration. Swimming is a great year-round activity that can be fantastic exercise (especially with some helpful equipment) for all ages and skill levels, and some people utilize what may otherwise be an off-season to try out different types of sports leagues or fitness classes. Shaking things up can keep your fitness routine from becoming too drab month after month.
Make adjustments to embrace what foods are in season
There are numerous approaches you can take when it comes to healthy eating, but Mayo Clinic points out that it is key to choose plans that will fit nicely within your budget, tastes, and lifestyle. Trying to go with an eating style that you hate typically will only backfire and long-term, year-round success comes from picking something that is both healthy and that will suit your tastes.
Typically, choosing everyday items that you can find at local stores is important, and be sure to incorporate a wide variety of whole grains, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins and low-fat dairy items. As you load up your plate, it is important to be mindful of the size of your portions. Experts recommend focusing on vegetables and fruits first.
When you are looking to be fit and continue healthy eating habits all year long, incorporating a few basic strategies can go a long way. Find exercise styles that fit your tastes and can be done in multiple seasons, or try different types of exercise during different times of the year. Embrace the fresh air of the outdoors when you can, but don't forget that many great exercise options exist indoors as well.
Healthy eating habits typically incorporate a variety of foods, making adjustments at times to accommodate what fruits and vegetables are available at different times of the year. Be sure to focus on choices that are easily available and suit your tastes while packing the best nutritional bang for your buck. Many people face some slumps with their fitness and eating plans at various times of the year, but with some determination and strategizing, year-round success is definitely possible.
[Image by PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay]
Now that Mardi Gras is over, and everyone has had their fill of King Cake, fried food, and alcohol, it's time to get back on track - Although the boiled crawfish make living in New Orleans a little easier during Lent! I'm sure it won't be long before we will get on social media and start seeing everyone getting "bikini ready" for summer. This is a good time to detox from all the not-so-healthy things we have been eating the past few weeks. I like using this time of sacrifice as a time to start a lifestyle change. If you're tired of always starting over - don't stop. Once these 40 days are over, why go back to those same habits you were trying to stop or change? And maybe you aren't trying to break a habit, maybe you are trying to start a new one!
I'm using these 40 days, not only as a time of sacrifice, reflection, and prayer, but as a way I want to continue to live even when these 40 days are over. I am constantly trying to improve the way I live and the healthy choices I make, so when I start something new, I go into it with the mindset that it's not just something temporary. This is just the start to an even healthier life!
It's also National Nutrition Month!! So starting those new habits, breaking old habits, and starting to live a healthier lifestyle should be a breeze with all the nutrition posts that will be posted this month! Be sure to check them out at eatright.org!
I proudly accomplished one of my goals for this year this past Sunday - I ran a marathon! I'm incredibly sore, but I am already looking forward to the next one! It was such a rush and I experienced a range of emotions - I was so nervous that I was feeling sick before the race started, and once everyone was lined up in the starting corral, the adrenaline rush that hit me was incredible. As nervous as I was, I knew I was ready - I trained, I was well-hydrated, I had all my nutrition that I would consume during the race, and I got a good night's sleep. My goal for this race was to just finish - I had to make sure I was pacing myself so I wouldn't burn out too quickly. All the continuous cheering from the sidelines, funny posters, shots of beer, and donuts people were handing out to runners was incredible. All that support gave me the motivation to get to the next mile! But the best part was seeing my boyfriend, family, and Lucy (my dog, who started crying after she saw me) throughout the course and at the finish line made it all worth it. I have an amazing support system and couldn't have done it without them!
I've run a few half marathons before and knew this was going to be a big challenge, but I trained really hard and had confidence in myself that I could do it. There were thousands of people participating in this race and I was constantly surrounded by a crowd of people telling each other "good job!" and "keep it up, you're doing great!" That's the beauty of these races. Everyone knows the struggle. Everyone has been there and experienced/are experiencing the pain and knows that everyone needs a push. It's such a supportive group of people and everyone is always helping each other out.
In the beginning of the race, I felt so good and I ran the first 15 miles with no problems, except that I was worried about becoming dehydrated and I was drinking so much water and gatorade that I had to stop to go to the bathroom a few times - and then around mile 16 I thought my toenail was falling off. It was so painful, and I had thought about wrapping my toes before the race, but didn't because that had never been an issue for me before, and I didn't want to try anything different on race day. Luckily my dad had a bandaid, so I stopped to put it on the next time I saw my family on the route, which helped tremendously. Then I made it to around mile 21 and thought my quads were going to explode, so the last few miles I had to walk/run. But I made it. I crossed the finish line. It was an incredible feeling. I accomplished something that I never thought I would be able to do. Although, I felt terrible after the race. I was hurting, I could barely walk, and I was starving. All I wanted was some pizza and some sleep!
Crossing that finish line was huge for me being that I'm a chronic asthmatic. I spent so much time in the hospital as a kid. I went into respiratory arrest at 6 years old and my dad performed CPR on me and saved my life. I spent hours doing breathing treatments and wishing I didn't have this miserable condition. But I found ways to overcome it. And running this marathon was one of them. I was told I could possibly grow out of it, but I haven't. I still suffer with it, although it's nothing like it used to be. Staying active is key. I always carry my inhaler when I run, just incase, but hardly ever have to use it. Running this marathon was a little emotional for me - I never thought I'd make it through something like this. It just proves that living a healthy lifestyle can be life changing - it's not just about eating healthy and exercising a lot. It's about taking care of yourself, knowing your limits, and pushing your limits.
Looking for that holiday treat that is full of flavor, but not full of calories, sugar, and fat? Than this is the recipe for you! I found this recipe on ambitiouskitchen.com and had to try it - the link to the actual recipe is posted below where you can find the nutrition informaiton. This is perfect to take to holiday parties when you think you might want something sweet, but you don't want to completely blow your calories! And more than likely, someone else at the party will apreciate it too!
This was super easy to make, and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your kitchen!
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour - I used whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
pinch of ginger
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed of excess moisture
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips - I used Dark Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
In a separate large bowl combine pumpkin, zucchini, honey, oil, egg, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Whisk in almond milk. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips, reserving a few for sprinkling on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then remove bread from pan and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Another Half in the books! I didn't reach my time that I really wanted, but I crossed the finish line at 2 hours, 17 minutes, and 8 seconds. For me, that's a huge improvement from the first one I ran. I feel like I'm such a slow runner, but I find myself getting stronger with each race. I started out this race out really strong, and started struggling around the eighth mile. And after that I felt like kicking myself for signing up for the Full... All I kept thinking is how am I going to make it 26.2 miles?!
I knew once I reached that point where I was struggling, I was losing focus. At that point, it was just a mental block that I had to overcome. My body was getting tired, but I was more than capable to keep going. I had been training for this, after all. I knew if I regained my focus and kept my goal in mind, I would make it. And I did. I turned up my music, picked a person in front of me and was determined to pass him/her, and then I picked another one, and another one... until I crossed the finish line.
The thing I love most about these races is that everyone is so encouraging, especially towards the end. Everyone is cheering you on the whole way, but when you start reaching the end and the finish line is in sight, you're tired and your body hurts, that's when you need the most encouragement. I saw people slowing down and others running up and grabbing their hands to help them get to the finish. It's really inspiring. Everyone is there to be their best, not to prove others that they are better.
Having my family run the race with me was also encouraging. I don't feel like too many people can say that running a half marathon is a family affair! We all ran at our own pace, but seeing each other on the course is always fun! And having your boyfriend and sister out on the course cheering you on with posters helped give me a little boost too!!
Never in a million years did I think I would be running these races. Or running at all. Being a severe chronic asthmatic isn't easy, and it makes everything you do a little harder. I've come such a long way with it over the years, and I'm forever grateful. During the "bad times" of the year for me, I sometimes couldn't walk far without having an issue, much less try to run... And here I am training to run a full marathon. It gives me a little extra sense of pride every time I cross the finish line.
Kombucha - Maybe this sounds a little weird, maybe you've never heard of it, or maybe you've been skeptical to try it. I've been doing a little research on it, and I now incorporate this into my diet on a weekly basis. It's packed with so many nutritional and health benefits and I encourage everyone to give it a try!
Kombucha is made from green or black tea that has been fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria. It is used for a variety of health benefits because it is rich in antioxidants, probiotics, enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins. It is sometimes called a "magic elixir" because of all its health benefits. So here is short list of some of those benefits and how they can help you!
1. Detoxification - I get a lot of questions about nutrition, and I am frequently asked about detox products/diets, and honestly, if you just eat healthy and drink plenty of water, your body is programmed to do that on it's own! No need for those fad products!! However, there are certain nutrients that help with detoxing your liver - Kombucha helps with this because it's packed with the nutrition (glucaric acid) your body needs to help with "detoxing." Just think of it as promoting healthy liver function! There has been research studies providing evidence of cancer prevention as well due to the detoxing properties. I could go into all the science details of this, but I'll save you...
2. Gut health - Kombucha is fermented by good bacteria - so it helps keep your gut flora healthy and balanced - which in turn makes for healthy digestion!
3. Joint care - This is due to the glucosamines found in the drink. You can buy glucosamines on the shelf in a drug store - Bi-Flex, for example - to help with arthritis and joint pain. As I always say - It's much better to get your nutrition from nutrient dense foods as opposed to supplements. Again, I can get into all the fun, biochemical details of this process, but I won't! But if you are suffering from joint pain - or even trying to prevent joint pain, give kombucha a try!
4. Immunity - Kombucha is rich in antioxidants, so it helps build and protect your immune system and helps boost energy levels!
Since kombucha is fermented, it's got a little fizz to it - it's a much better option than drinking a soda when you want that fizziness! It's low in calories and the calories that are in the beverage do come from sugars, hence, the fermentation process. A serving, about 8 oz. depending on the brand you buy, ranges between 30 and 50 calories. Kombucha can be found locally made and at most grocery stores. There are several different brands and flavors. I try to pick up a new flavor and brand every time I buy it, but I haven't picked a favorite yet!
One of the reasons I enjoy fall is because I love pumpkin! It has so many health benefits and is packed with nutrients, so while everything pumpkin is out right now, I thought I'd share a few of those facts!
And as good as a Pumpkin Spice Latte is from Starbucks... that doesn't count here! However, I do make my own - far fewer calories, sugar, and fat!
1. Pumpkin is packed with Vitamin A (great for your eyes), Vitamin C (not only important for you immune system, but helps with collagen production - keeps you looking young!), fiber, magnesium, carotids, and antioxidants
2. It's a good anti-inflammatory food
3. Pumpkin seeds make a great snack - packed with protein and plant-based fatty acids - so it helps regulate cholesterol, promotes healthy skin, protects against arthritis, and great for brain function!
4. Pumpkin is also high in potassium and zinc - great protection against heart disease and high blood pressure
5. Pumpkin contains L-Tryptophan, which is an amino acid which promotes feelings of well being and fight depression
Enjoy the "Pumpkin Spice Everything" while it's in season - just without added sugars!
Found this recipe and had to try it! It was so good and easy to make, which is a must for me! I love trying new foods, but never really thought about anything like this before, so I figured it was worth a try and I'm happy to say I'll be making it again! Not to mention that it didn't take long and the clean up was easy!
1 cup meduim grain rice (I used brown rice)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
1 pound washed and trimmed green beans
1 tablespoon soy sauce (I used liquid aminos)
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
Cook rice; When rice is about 15 minutes from done, heat large skillet over high heat. Add sesame oil, and sauté green onions and garlic for about 2 minutes. Stir in ground turkey and sauté 3-5 minutes, until meat is mostly cooked. Crumble meat as much as possible.
Stir in chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, and ginger. Add green beans and soy sauce, and stir to coat. Continue cooking over high heat for 7-9 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until beans are slightly tender.
Stir in rice vinegar, and cook one minute longer. Serve over cooked rice.
It's that time of year again... Pumpkin Spice Everything! I was making some birthday cake protein cookies for this week and came up with the idea to add a little pumpkin and pumpkin spice in the batter. These cookies are amazing! It was super easy to make and now when I'm fueling up for my runs this week I get a little taste of fall... even though I'm still waiting on some cooler weather!
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used GNC's Amplify)
3 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp cashew butter
Pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
Drop of vanilla extract
1 tsp ghee (or natural butter extract) - optional
1-2 Tbps almond milk
2 Tbsp pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice - I made my own!
Cinnamon to sprinkle on top (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with greasy proof paper and set aside.
In a small mixing bowl combine, coconut flour, protein powder, and salt. Mix until no clumps.
In a small microwave safe bowl, melt cashew butter with maple syrup until combined. Stir in vanilla extract, ghee, pumpkin, and pumpkin spicet. Pour the wet mixture in with the dry mixture and mix until a crumbly texture remains. Using a tablespoon at a time, add dairy free milk until a thick batter is formed.
Form the batter into a ball and transfer to the lined cookie sheet. Press firmly and spread out into a cookie shape. Top with optional cinnamon and bake for 8-12 minutes - 8 minutes for extra soft and chewy or 12 or so for a firmer cookie.