Race Weekend is Here!

I mentioned a while back that I signed up for my first half marathon, ZOOMA Annapolis.  And then I never really mentioned it again….bad blogger!  Between training and my clinical rotations, I got a little lax with my posts.  But after 3 months of training, the day is finally here and I could not be more excited.  I want to thank everyone who has helped me along.  Eric has been very supportive, always pushing me to do better.  Erica who has been training alongside me yet from a distance.  And Melissa who has had constant words of encouragement, motivation and advice along the way.  She also got me some sweet training swag including Gu to try outs  an iPod arm band and a Nike + bracelet that tracks your mileage.  All of this has been SO helpful and has made this a really great experience.

For training, I also got some awesome new shoes from Asics which now have about 200 miles on them (wow!).Shoes

Last night I hung out at Melissa’s where we watched Spirit of the Marathon, which followed elites and amatures training and completing the Chicago marathon.  It was so motivating!  I wanted to go out and run right away.  Now I just need to hold onto this energy for another 36 hours and I’ll be all set!  If you are doing any long distance race/endurance event, you NEED to watch this movie.

Spirit of the Marathon

I took an note from the movie and laid out everything I could need for the day of and then packed it all.  All in all, I have spandex shorts, a sports bra, tank top, socks, shoes, hat, running belt, Gu, Nike + bracelet and sensor.  Who says you only need shoes to run? 

Running Gear

My good friend Erica is running it with me so she is driving down for Mass with our other friend Emily (I have had so many visitors lately, it makes me feel VERY popular).  We are getting a hotel room in Annapolis so we don’t have to worry about driving in the morning.  I promise I will give a great race recap to make up for the lack of training coverage.  Wish me luck!


My Response to “Fast Talk About Fast Food”

With my fellow interns, I attended the Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting.  There, we presented posters and were able to go to a variety of lectures.  They had three tracts to choose from including Leadership, Public Policy, and Clinical Nutrition.

One of the sessions that I attended was presented by a registered dietitian who works for McDonalds.  It outlined their new health focused initiatives.  She discussed the changes that the company has made including:

  • a vow to reduce sodium. fat, and sugar across their entire menu by 2020
  • now having a whole grain bun option for every sandwich or burger on the menu
  • reduced portion sizes and adding fruit and milk to children’s meals

She also told the audience that there are now more RD’s working for McDonalds than ever before, shaping how the restaurant makes food decisions.

An independent physician attended the meeting and has subsequently attacked this presentation in a recent article in the Baltimore Brew titled Fast talk about fast food.  In this opinion piece, Joseph Adams expresses his disapproval related to having corporate involvement at a meeting of health professionals.  He stated that this “helps explain why we are losing the war on obesity and diabetes.”  He framed his article in a way that makes it seem that RD’s are in the back pocket of big food industry.  This could not be further from the truth.

The fact that the representative was an RD demonstrates that big industry is not influencing us, but rather, we are influencing them.  She has refused to add items to the menu that she feels are unhealthy and is continuously pushing for improved nutrition.  Rather than vilifying the company, she is working with them so that consumers have more choices when they do eat there, a much more productive tactic.

Having a representative from fast food speak in one of over a dozen sessions does not amount to anything more than being informed.  We know that many of those who are overweight and have related conditions frequent fast food restaurants, and 40% of teens eat fast food daily. It would be ignorant for us to ignore the entire industry.  As a profession, we don’t just tell people to eat salads and exercise.  We work with people’s current lifestyles to help them navigate the real world.  And McDonalds is a big part of that world.

We are also a very well educated group of professionals, not likely to be wooed by a 45 minute lecture into thinking of fast food as health food.  We can receive this information, think about it critically and then decide how we want to use it.  We also work in this profession because we want to improve people’s health.  It is insulting that this man thinks we can be bought so easily and that we will disregard our values and ethics in the interest of sponsorship.

I found this lecture to be illuminating and offered a great insight into the food industry.  I feel that the physician missed the point and his reaction was guided by the need to place blame.  As an RD to be, I am confident that not one person in that room ran out and told clients to eat more fast food.  Instead, I feel that because of this collaboration with industry, many consumers now have the option of making healthy choices.

Healthy Vacations

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I got to celebrate with some of my favorite girls who came down to visit.  I haven’t seen some of them since Christmas and I was so happy to be reunited!  They hadn’t been to Maryland so we did all the touristy things and had a blast.  A potential problem with little vacations is that fitness and sensible eating usually take a backseat to fun and new foods.  Fortunately, we were able to have a healthy weekend while still enjoying ourselves.  Here are some of the things we did.

1. Plan to make one meal a day

Before they came down, I asked them what groceries they wanted and I got the order for produce and eggs.  So I was ready for breakfast!  I went to the store and got a wide variety of fruits and veggies including watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, mango, bananas, frozen cherries, spinach and tomatoes.  Sounds like a lot but it only cost me about $20.  With all of this, we made smoothies!  Everyone could customize what they wanted, so it was still a treat.  With the smoothies, we would have fried or scrambled eggs with some veggies mixed in.  Not a bad way to start the day!

Smoothie Collage

2.  Be strategic when eating out

On Saturday, we went into DC after breakfast.  We knew we wanted to go some place fun for dinner, so for lunch we grabbed something small like a yogurt or a salad at Starbucks.  This way, we weren’t stuffed and when we got to eat our sushi at Raku (which was AMAZING) we were able to totally enjoy it.  One of the things on our weekend bucket list was to eat crab because “Football and crab cakes – that’s what Maryland DOES!”.  We went to Buddy’s in Annapolis and all got a different crab dish – pasta, gumbo, crab on salmon and of course, a crab cake.  Everything was great and we all took home leftovers.  On vacation, its tempting to eat out all the time, but to save on calories and money, plan on having leftovers the next day.  We heated them up today before everyone had to hit the road and had a nice final meal together. 

Meal Collage


3. Plan physical activity, not necessarily exercise

Vacations are meant to be fun, and not everyone exercises the same way.  Me and Erica are runners, while Chelsey and Jasseigh are dancers.  So going for a 5 mile run would have pleased half the group and been miserable for the other half.  Instead of choosing something so formal, we opted to incorporate activity all day.  On Saturday we visited DC, went through the art museum and toured the monuments.  Over the course of the day, we walked 8 miles!  Not too shabby for an accident.  That night we also went out dancing and had such a good time.  The next day we walked around Annapolis and today we went to a local park and went around the lake, about a 2.5 mile walk.  This was great because we were able to catch up and just chat while seeing the sites.DC  Collage

Hiking Collage

Everyone needs a vacation once in a while.  It may throw off your normal routine, but isn’t that the point?  Use it as an opportunity to try something new while still keeping your health in mind. 

How do you stay healthy on vacation?

A Vegan Experiment

So today, we are going to visit the Vegetarian Resource Group, a dietetic practice group.  As part of the day, Phyllis asked us to bring a vegan snack that we could share with the group.  At first I was like, “Can I just bring almonds?”.  I have never actively tried to make a vegan dish and was a little apprehensive.  I was worried that I was going to have to buy a lot of specialty ingredients.  But then I decided to use this as an opportunity to try something new.  I did some searching and found 2 recipes.  First, I needed to go to the store, a challenge in and of itself.Weather collage

The store is only 1 mile from my house, so I ventured out! There was definitely some flash flooding.  On the way home, my tires kicked up a wave of water on both sides of the car the entire way home.  Water Wave Car

Yeah, just like that.  But wouldn’t you know, that after I braved the storm for my vegan ingredients, the rain completely stopped. C’est la vie!  On to the actual cooking.

Both of my recipes I found through Pinterest (big surprise).  The first was something light and refreshing, because the temperature has been lingering in the 90 degree area.  It is a simple slice of cucumber with a swirl of hummus and then a dash of chia seeds on top.  I was unable to find chia seeds so instead I bought a spicy hummus to give it that extra somethin-somethin!  Hits the spot with a nice crunch and enough flavor. 


The second recipe was a little more of an experiment.  It was a method of drying out strawberries that made them chewy, almost like candy.  For these, I cut up the strawberries into halves or quarters, sprinkled some salt and pepper over them and then popped them in the oven at 210 degrees for 3 hours!  Definitely a lengthy process, but while they are drying, it smells wonderful.  Its not even like strawberries, almost like a buttery cookie.  Don’t know what’s up with that, but if your trying to sell a house and don’t have cookies, throw some strawberries in the oven… 

The final product was…yummy! They weren’t completely dry so they had a squishy texture and the flavor was amplified a lot. Make them next time you watch a long movie and you’ll have a post film snack.IMG_1159[1]

I would say worth the experiment and the drive.  I never would have attempted the strawberries without this little push. I’ll give an update if there are any strong reactions (positive or negative) when I bring these into what feels a bit like an intern panel! (We all get to sample each others).

Do you have any favorite vegan snacks?