12/10/10

Fresh versus Frozen?

On my first day of interning at a Long Term Care facility/Nursing home, I took an hour break to be interviewed for HealthSourceMag.com. My interviewer asked me to prepare for an online article on Fresh versus Frozen re: fruits and veggies. I spent much of last week doing my research and although I would have preferred to write the article, I thought this was a new and exciting opportunity for me. I have never been interviewed for an article so it was a great experience to provide my thoughts and research to the author.
Because I did a lot of research for this interview, I will be expanding on the topic and writing my next (Jan) Iron Girl article on the topic. My deadline for Iron Girl is the 15th so I better start writing!

I hope you enjoy the article. Katie Whiteman did a great job with the article!

Veggies: Frozen, Fresh or Fried?

12/8/10

Staying Warm

Unfortunately, it is not warming up in Jacksonville, FL. We are cold here and I have a chihuahua that refuses to take off his sweater.



So while it is cold outside, you may find yourself having trouble getting going in the morning when it comes to working out. And at the end of a long day, you may find it hard to get to the gym or change into working-out clothes (as oppose to your PJ's) for a late evening workout. Not to mention, it is easy to warm up with sugary sweet drinks (hot chocolate) or holiday drinks at Starbucks, Mcdonald's or Dunkin Donuts. Oh yeah, and then there are sweet treats like cinnamon rolls, bakery deserts and warm brownies to warm up your insides.

Considering it is the off-season and really cold outside, you may be struggling when it comes to finding balance in your life. I don't believe in making excuses or telling yourself that you will start tomorrow or that all is ruined because of one "bad" choice.

I have a few tricks for the cold off-season to make sure you are keeping your muscles and body healthy.

1) Tea - I am more of a coffee drinker in the morning (1 cup pre-workout and 1 cup with breakfast) but once I heat up some hot water, I am a big fan of warm tea. Tea is perfect any time of the day but I especially like it in the evening after dinner. My best suggestion is to find a tea that you enjoy drinking. Here is a good read by a RD regarding the health benefits of tea:
http://www.healthcastle.com/tea.shtml

2) Circuit workouts/Strength training/Plyometrics - What better than doing a 20 min, high intensity workout...without having to leave your house? Whether you have no equipment or a few hand weights, you can get in an effective, muscle-building workout in your very own home. I am a big believer in core work so I highly recommend a Swiss ball (stability ball) and/or a BOSU or joining a gym so that you can access one or the other (or both). Oh how I LOVE working the core.
So, considering that this is the off-season, there is no better time than now to build weak muscles, prior to the build part of your season. Specifically, weak or small muscle groups such as the glutes, lower back, core (although the foundation of the body, it is often overlooked with training), wrists, calves, shoulder, hips and inner and outer thighs.
As for cardio, I am a big fan of tempo work, mixed with short lactate-threshold intervals, in the off-season, in order to gradually teach the body to tolerate lactate, thus forcing the body to become more efficient (faster pace at a lower HR) with training. It is important that you save the high intensity specific workouts for the build and peak part of your season when you have spent the time trying to increase your lactate threshold and VO2 max. There is no better chance for injury than doing aerobic workouts all winter and then wanting to get right back into high-intensity training...with a specific speed or pace in mind. Therefore, by prioritizing some form of strength training (2-3 times per week, for around 30 min), alongside focusing on a mix of tempo/lactate and aerobic workouts, into your weekly routine, you will decrease your chance of injury as you progress with your training intensity and volume over the next few months. It's ok to replace a day of cardio for strength training. You will only gain fitness, not lose it. Be sure to focus on your recovery nutrition as high-intensity, tissue damaging training requires a healthy mix of protein and carbs immediately post workout.
Here's my fav. site for plyometric exercises:
http://www.sport-fitness-advisor.com/plyometric.html
(I also have a few video's on Beginner Triathlete as well as on my blog)

3) Warm food - Oatmeal, potatoes (white and sweet), bread, warm fruit (fresh or frozen, heated in the microwave for 30-45 sec.) and soup. All great foods to keep me warm inside. Because comfort food can often be high in carbohydrates, it is important that you keep balance in mind in the winter. Be sure to not neglect your post workout protein (whey, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese as examples) and to focus on balance when it comes to meals and snacks. My best suggestion is to plan your meals ahead of time (especially if you are working out), likely the day before, so that you can anticipate what it is that will fuel your day, as well as keeping you warm throughout the day.
Here's a list of healthy comforting recipes from Eating Well
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_comfort_food_recipes


I'd love to hear your suggestions of how you like to stay warm in the winter? Any great workouts or recipes you'd like to share? Feel free to leave a comment or email me! :)

12/7/10

Last First Day!

Today was my first day of my clinical rotation. For the next 2 weeks and for 3 weeks in January, I will be spending time at a few nursing homes for my Long Term Care rotation. I haven't fully looked over my modules and assignments but I know this rotation is going to keep me extremely busy. Lots of papers, assignments, projects, etc. Oh yes, the life of a dietetic intern. I know the finish line is coming soon and I can't wait to soak up as much info as I can in the next 14 weeks.
After looking at my quiz schedule for the next 4 months, I know I have some heavy-duty learning to do...
Quiz 1: Diabetes
Quiz 2: CVD
Quiz 3: Gastrointestinal
Quiz 4: Nutritional support
Quiz 5: Cerebral Accidents and HIV
Quiz 6: Pediatric
Quiz 7: Renal
Quiz 8: Liver
Quiz 9: Metabolic Stress
Final!

Karel and I took a quick weekend trip to Washington DC this past weekend. With 3 days of no working out, we are completely exhausted. So much walking, despite a bit of metro riding. The wind was brutal and it was cold!! (although, we came home to freezing temps in Jacksonville, FL).
We had the opportunity to stay with some new friends whom I met on Facebook. We attended a Czech Xmas party on Sat evening with the Czech society in DC. It was fantastic for Karel to be around so many Czechs and I haven't seen him so happy to talk Czech in such a long time. The food was great for Karel, bringing back so many childhood memories. Even for me, they had some great Marni-friendly foods. And as usual, I just LOVE the Czech desert cookies. I can't wait til Karel's mom sends us our yearly x-mas box, full of homemade cookies!
The children sang songs and were greeted by St. Nicholas (Czech tradition). Karel loved the beer selection and reminded him of his home in Znojmo. After a few museum trips and a quick stop at the USDA-United States Department of Agriculture (being the good future RD that I am), we went to the Czech embassy in DC on MOn to pick up Karel's Czech passport. We've waited a long time for it and finally....we can travel to Czech! Perhaps we need to wait a bit to save some money for our big trip to Czech but we can't wait!

Early this morning, before I left for my first day of interning, I made a quick detox salad (the salad has nothing to do with detoxing) to fill my body with some yummy vegetables. Karel and I enjoyed our time in Washington DC but it is always nice to be back home, back to the every-day diet. As always-if you eat well most of the time, you don't have to worry about the rest of the time. :)

Detox salad-perfect after a trip away from home
Carrots
Spinach
Green Peppers
Broccoli
Peanuts
Veggie Burger (heated and then crumbled)
Chives
Olive oil + balsamic dressing (homemade)
Leftover rice + lentil mix

12/5/10

The Bottom Line

1 more day...Tuesday is the BIG day. I guess there is always a last first day so on Tues I will be able to officially say "This is my last first day of my dietetic internship rotation" My very last rotation starts on Tues and in 14 dietetic weeks (448 hours) ...I will be finished with my dietetic internship. OMG...this is super exciting. I think in the last few months I have had dreams were RD pops up behind my name, just behind M.S. I never thought two initials would make me feel so happy but wow, these initials are sure hard to get. So much work and I know this last rotation will not be easy but I can't wait to learn as much as I can about clinical nutrition. In 1 day I will be a clinical dietitian (in training).

So, in my last issue of Nutrition Action (Dec 2010) I just loved the article on pg 7, taking an in-depth look at the latest on diet and disease. There was a quiz that helps you cut to the chase for when you just don't have time to read what the researchers are finding or thinking. I love reading research but I know for my blog readers, it might not be the first thing you want to do after a training session or after a long day of work. So don't you worry, I will always be here to keep up with current research and I will do my best to keep you updated on anything and everything current with exercise and nutrition.

Here are a few questions and answers....(the number corresponds to the number in the quiz)
2) Which is least likely to protect your memory
a) take ginkgo biloba
b) lose excess weight
c) exercise at least 30 min. a day
d) keep your blood pressure under control
e) stay mentally and socially engaged
Answer: a
Ginkgo has failed to boost memory in most studies. In the latest, 1500 people aged 72 to 96 who took 240 mg of ginkgo every day for six years had no better memory, attention or any other measure of thinking ability than 1500 similar people who took a placebo. On the other hand, people who exercise, avoid weight gain in middle age, keep their blood pressure under control and stay mentally and socially engaged appear to score better on memory tests as they age. Although that's not proof, there are plenty of other reasons to take those steps.

5. Which is most likely to lower breast cancer risk?
a) eat more fruits and veggies
b) eat more soy foods
c) lose (or don't gain) excess weight
d) take vitamin D
3) eat less red meat
Answer: c
lose or don't gain excess weight. You can also lower your risk by getting more exercise and limiting alcohol.

6. Coffee drinkers have a lower risk of all but one of these conditions. Which one?
a) Parkinson's disease
b) arthritis
c) Kidney stones
d) Type 2 diabetes
e) gout
Answer: b
People who drink either regular or decaf coffee have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, gout, and kidney stones. Lower Parkinson's risk is linked only to regular coffee. A small number of studies also find that people who consume more caffeine have a lower risk of Alzheimer's and other types of cognitive decline.

9. What's the best way to avoid catching a cold?
a) take vitamin C
b) take Airborne
c) take echinacea
d) don't share food
e) keep your hands clean
Answer: e
Sharing food is unlikely to spread colds because the virus needs to go from your hands to your eyes or nose. So wash your hands frequently. Taking high doses of vitamin C (1000 mg/d) before and while you have a cold may shorten the duration by half a day or so, but there's no good evidence that vitamin C products like Airborne or echinacea can prevent colds.

19. Excess pounds raise the risk of all but one of these cancers. Which one?
a) colon
b) brain
c) kidney
d) pancreatic
e) esophageal
Answer:b
Excess weight also promotes cancers of the uterus and breast, as well as fatal prostate cancer.

20) Getting too little sleep can do all but one of these?
a) lead to bone loss
b) make dieters lose less fat and more muscle
c) make cells resistant to insulin
d) make you hungrier
Answer: a
In a recent (though small) study, people lost more muscle than fat when they got too little sleep (less than 6 hours a night) while they were dieting. Sleep deprivation also makes you hungrier, especially for high carbohydrate foods. And lack of sleep may make your body respond poorly to insulin.