12/28/11

New Year Resolutions

I was given the opportunity to be challenged this week. Challenged in a good way, that is.
Working as a clinical dietitian is always challenging, for each patient (regardless of diagnosis) has his/her own past medical history. Over the past 6 months, I have learned an amazing amount of information about the body as well as healthcare in general. I've gotten to know many of the nurses at BMCB as well as a few of the doctors. I started out seeing patients in med surge and once I got a bit more comfortable, I worked my way to seeing patients in the PCU (Progressive Care Unit). With each change in unit comes more difficult and complex cases and just this week, I was given the opportunity to assess, follow and treat patients in the CCU (Critical care unit).
Accepting this challenge also comes with responsibility as I am assessing and following patients who are on tube feedings, TPN, with decub ulcers, undergoing chemo/radiation, are sedated, are inbuted or are with a trach. I suppose you could say that the most critical patients are in the CCU.
There's a lot to understand when it comes to working with patients in the hospital and while some cases seem "easy", there's nothing simple about being admitted into the hospital after a visit to the ER.

I absolutely love being a clinical dietitian and I can't express the amount of info I have learned since wanting to become a RD. Thinking back, I told myself that sports nutrition and having my own business were the two driving forces in obtaining my RD credential, alongside writing a book and advancing my speaking and writing career.

I would never take back my experience as a dietitian intern and with only a few more days before I enter a new chapter of my life, with a New Year, I am extremely thankful to my friends and family for not giving up on me during the last challenging year of my life.

If you know me, you know I love a challenge. For my challenges are not too extreme but rather life-changing. I enjoy putting myself into situations that will make me a better person and most of all, allow me to really understand what life is all about.

For the New Year, I welcome you to give yourself a few resolutions that will challenge yourself to be a better person. While diet and exercise are two great habits to keep balanced in your life, it is important that you not be afraid to take yourself out of your comfort zone in order to become a better YOU.

1) Become a better planner...in all areas of your life.
2) Have a flexible schedule. Don't be afraid of change.
3) Relax. No really, RELAX!
4) Walk more, drive less.
5) Use your brain more and depend on/use electronics less.
6) Write more..with paper and pencil (if you don't have that, I think the stores still sell them)
7) Volunteer or give back
8) Do something that gets you out of your comfort zone, at least once a week
9) Don't be afraid to come in last or to fail with a new sport. Just by signing up, you are already a step ahead of others who are afraid to start.
10) Smile more often.
11) Don't judge people, gossip less.
12) Watch at least 1 reality show (or show that makes you laugh) per week.
13) Support, motivate and encourage those who you care about. Don't preach, just be a good friend.
14) Simplify your life so you have more time for you.
15) Worry less and have fun more often.
16) Say I love you and thank you...if you mean it, it can't be said enough.
17) Talk less, listen more. You can't listen with your mouth open.
18) Be less opinionated. Accept others for who they are.
19) Be more responsible, challenge yourself.
20) Never look back and say "I wish I would have". Live in the moment and make smart choices that will make for a productive tomorrow.


21) Cheerish your true friends and be nice to everyone else.

12/27/11

Too busy or too hungry?

One of the most common complaints (err, excuses) that I hear from individuals is that they don't have enough time to cook meals. Over the past month, I have found myself wishing for a few more hours in the day and wondering where the time goes and if I can find it..... and get some back.

Two things that I prioritize at the top of my daily-functioning list are sleep and exercise. Both make me feel great, allow me to re-charge and help me feel productive. As my good sleep habits make for a consistent exercise routine, I must prioritize the food in my diet in order ensure optimal health and performance gains.

If you are coming home extremely hungry because of a rushed/busy schedule or you are coming home hungry after work, I would completly agree with you that it would be hard to cook a 30 or 60 min. meal. Sure, some meals can be prepared and consumed within 15 minutes but it's likely that most meals involve a little time for prep and cooking (or assembly).

Sometime ago, our society dismissed the idea that we need to make time to cook and eat at home. We (society) suddenly decided that there wasn't enough time in the day to take time for our health...but there is plenty of time for X (fill in the blank with what keeps you too busy to create a wholesome meal to provide nutrients to your body to help reduce risk for disease, help maximize performance and improve well-being). For my parents made time to cook for me and my grandparents surely cooked for my parents. I believe that it is necessary for our health to know exactly what we are putting into our body and to have control over how much we eat.

Earlier today, one of my former nutrition athletes sent me a picture of her lunch. She said that that it was yummy and it made her smile. I love these emails and I get them often. You have no idea how much I love it that people are taking pictures of homecooked meals because they are impressed or inspired by their own personal creations.

I think we all have an hour in the evening. No matter how busy we are, if you are cleaning the house, watching TV, playing with kids or catching up on emails...it's like you can find an hour in your evening (or morning) to prepare a few meals.

If you have an hour, that's great! However, can you spend that hour cooking a meal when you are extremely hungry after you come home from errands, work or extracurriculars/workouts? NOPE!

You must set yourself up for good behavior. One of my easiest suggestions is to plan for a pre-meal snack. Nothing big but enough to curb cravings and hunger. I like to snack on veggies as they are nutrient dense and don't pack a lot of calories (but rather a lot of nutrition). However, I am also a big nut lover and enjoy snacking on a few walnuts and almonds as I am chopping produce for my upcoming meal. The idea is to not obsess about calories in the pre-meal snack but to keep it small and satisfying enough, to hold you over to ENJOY cooking a dinner meal (as well as preparing extra for lunch the next day).

Although a pre-meal snack can help calm down your tummy as you look forward to making a yummy creations, preventing cravings, overeating and quick eating start as soon as you wake in the morning.

In a former blog post I discussed about making a plan for your eating...just like you have a training plan. I recommend focusing on your "sports nutrition" in order to properly fuel and recover from exercise FIRST and then plan the rest of your day. As you focus for balance in the diet, with 3 fabulous meals (starting with breakfast or a protein-rich snack within 90 minutes of waking if not working out) and several snacks to fill in nutrient-gaps, always think back to previous meals and snacks to keep your diet filled with variety.

As I was cleaning my place, folding laundry and packing for our trip to the NC mountains this weekend, I prepared the most simple and best-tasting meal (no joke, it was SO yummy!) with NO ADDED INGREDIENTS!

I hope you can find a little time in your day to prepare a homecooked meal. Remember, aim for progress, not perfection....if you struggle with cooking at home, start with 1 simple meal with a base of frozen veggies (which offer similar or sometimes better nutrition value compared to fresh) or pre-chopped produce.

I hope you enjoy my fabulous meal....so glad I made leftovers for work tomorrow (for both Karel and me!).


Ingredients:
Brown rice (cooked in water on stove and then "browned in oven" for 10 minutes
Red potatoes (tossed in olive oil and cooked at 425 degrees. Sprinkled with parsley, chili pepper and a dash of sea salt)
Veggies (Green and Red bell peppers, onions and steamed broccoli - tossed in olive oil, cooked at 425 degrees and sprinkled with sesame seeds and no salt seasoning).

Because Karel and me both have different nutritional needs, this meal allows for everyone in your family to choose their own portions. I added 1 hardboiled egg to my meal to go with the brown rice (I didn't have beans but that would make for a complete protein) and then served mostly veggies in the middle of my plate and added the red potatoes to the side of my dish. YUM!





12/25/11

Veselé Vánoce and Happy Hanukkah!

Wishing everyone a happy holiday from the Sumbal household!

Sporting my new LG jersey...hopefully by now, you know how much I L.O.V.E. Louis Garneau!


Karel rocking one of his two new pairs of Oakley's and his new Road ID Elite.


We had a very merry Czech, Jewish celebration last night and it was filled with yummy homemade food, family traditions, a few special gifts for Karel and me (I feel like I have everything I need in life..can't ask for much more!) and Campy getting way too many gifts :)


Homemade Czech cookies and candy from Karel's family in Czech. Thank you (Dekuji)!





My homemade Vánočka (Czech Christmas bread) which is nothing compared to the real thing but at least I try, every year. Karel also made his mom's traditional potato salad w/ pickles, parsnips, celery root, carrots, potatoes and peas...which is SOOOOO good! Carp is the traditional fish in Czech but Karel made a breaded tuna steak for him and breaded tofu for me. YUM! I added asparagus for a little color to the plate, made with olive oil, garlic and sesame seeds (my mom's recipe).




Presents!









Karel's new book...made for a European bike lover!

A page just for Campy!!


I guess he was a bit too tired...


I guess after my morning group ride and Campy miles, we were all a bit tired!




Hope you enjoyed the weekend!