Category Archives: dietetics school

Happy July, friends!

I miss blogging. It’s hard when everything seems to go 100 mph at all times with school and I don’t have the brain space to think of a coherent post. Regular bloggers are amazing! So much goes into a good post.

I’m also working on giving my blog a different look. So far I’m stuck on what to use as a header photo, so things are pretty plain for now.

Last time I recapped on my first full-time semester in the program. The second (winter) semester was just as busy and jam-packed with info and new experiences. I found that I liked long-term care more than I thought I would (it helped to have a great facility and RD preceptor) and really started feeling like I could do this RD thing. I definitely still need practice in some areas, like effective counseling and motivational skills and am hoping to get more experience in my second year.

I also had to try my best to get over my fear of speaking in front of people, as I had to do so many presentations for class and  the Office of Nutrition Services on campus. I also helped teach some cooking classes for students and did food demos at some local senior centers.

This summer I just finished an integrative medicine course and am taking an entrepreneurship for dietitians course. Both super interesting and relevant! By the end of summer I will have a functioning business plan for a private practice, which I’m super excited about, whether or not I use it right out of school.

Some things I am loving right now:

  • Stone fruit season. Cherries and peaches and plums, oh my.
cherry berry tart

A fresh cherry berry tart from one of my favorite vegan spots, The Lunch Room

cherries

A favorite snack

 

  • This version of the “Polar Vortex.” It’s been  comfortably in the low 70s instead of humid death heat.
  • Zaalouk! I’m in love with a local North African restaurant called El Harissa and one of my favorite dishes they make is this eggplant dish reminiscent of baba ganoush. I haven’t tried the recipe I linked to, so can’t say whether it’s comparable to El Harissa’s zaalouk. I would definitely roast the eggplant instead of boiling it to get that smoky flavor.
  • Having a bit of time to catch up with friends (and meet new ones).

I’m going to try to be better about writing more consistently, but I’m not promising anything :)

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First Semester Recap

Hello friends!

I hope you’ve been well. If you’ve been experiencing the “Polar Vortex”  like we have been here, I hope you’re keeping warm.

I’m now a few weeks into my second semester in the coordinated dietetics program. The first semester was indeed as busy and hectic as we were promised by the senior students, but I’ve survived and so far this semester is feeling like a breeze. I’m sure that will change once exams come up in nutrient metabolism and nutrition therapy II and projects and presentation due dates creep up, but for now I’m enjoying it!

Some of what I learned my first semester in the program:

  • Many different disease processes and the medical nutrition therapy used to treat them or ease symptoms.
  • Medication side effects and nutrient interactions.
  • How to write ADIME (assessment, diagnosis, intervention, monitoring and evaluation) notes using the appropriate International Dietetics & Nutrition Terminology (IDNT).
  • Foodservice management basics, including passing the ServSafe exam.
  • Counseling skills, motivational interviewing, and the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change.

And much more…

For my supervised practice experiences that coincide with my coursework I:

  • Worked in a hospital kitchen with the food service manager. Along with another student, developed a theme menu (Fall superfoods) to serve in the retail area of the cafeteria, as well as other assorted projects for the facility.
  • Worked with a preceptor at a different local hospital to develop clinical skills in acute care. Began assessing patients and using the electronic medical record system.
  • Worked at my college’s office of dining services and learned the behind-the-scenes of feeding thousands of students with different preferences, needs, and allergies.

This semester I’m spending the first half working at a nursing care center and the second half at my college’s Office of Nutrition Services, where I can learn more about running a private practice (my main interest in dietetics and goal). I think we’ll be doing more food demonstrations at nursing homes and schools, as well as some presentations. One is on fad diets, which should be fun. I already have my fad diet in mind, especially in light of new research debunking it (again). An assignment for my Food and Culture class that I’m looking forward to is shopping at an ethnic grocer and choosing five products/ingredients to write about. I plan to purchase them, though it’s not required, and post about what I make. I already shop at Indian and Asian markets periodically, but it will be fun to challenge myself to work with some new ingredients.

I think I’ll have more interesting things to share with you this semester and intend to post more!

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January 19, 2014 · 5:29 PM

I Can’t be Everyone’s Personal Chef/Are Our Fruits and Vegetables Nutritious Enough?

I am working on a post right now about simple ways to incorporate more vegan meals into your life/make the transition completely if one so wishes. I have had so many friends and acquaintances tell me they would be vegan if they had a personal chef or if I cooked for them. Ha! Well, it’s easy enough to do it all on your own and I’ll tell you how. No more excuses then! I am still working on blogging regularly and having some sort of aim to it all. But really, I think it’s posts like the one I’m writing that meet my desire to help people where they’re at to make changes toward a more healthful, plant-based diet. That’s the drive behind me pursuing nutrition as a career, but if I can be of help now while I’m going to school, why not start? There are already tons of vegan nutrition/recipe resources out there, but hopefully I can still offer my perspective and reach some people without being totally redundant. If there is anything YOU would like to see here, please leave a comment and let me know!

This op-ed article, Breeding the Nutrition out of Our Food, has been making the rounds in my Facebook news feed. The basic rundown of it is that our current fruits and vegetables are lacking in nutrition and we have to choose the very best varieties in order to get the most nutrition benefits from plant foods. While I think this has some merit, Americans are already not eating enough fruits and vegetables as it is. I learned in my Nutrition of the Life Cycle class via the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) that 27% of American toddlers and preschoolers are not even eating a single serving of vegetables per day. I’m not sure making it more difficult and restrictive is the best thing we can do for public health. This article from the American Institute of Cancer Research sums up how I feel in response to that. So yes, eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, seek out high nutrient foods when possible, but really, just make sure you are getting the minimum 3-4 cups servings a day and you’re already doing better than most and increasing your health! Don’t get discouraged and don’t make it harder than it has to be to shop for and eat your fruits and veg.

 

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End of Semester Break

Sorry to disappear for a bit! Winter semester is finally over. I had a pretty light load for finals, so I’m grateful for that. After taking organic and biochem all other classes have felt refreshingly light. I did develop some pretty killer study skills from those classes, though!

I had a little break until yesterday when my summer courses started. I’m taking Fundamentals of Speech (gulp) and Nutrition of the Life Cycle the first half of summer and Fundamentals of Nutrition the second half. So I definitely don’t get a summer break, but that’s okay with me because I do best when I keep busy and my mind is occupied. I’m really excited to start the actual professional phase dietetics courses! In fact, I already downloaded my 1072 page text for the Fundamentals of Nutrition class to my Kindle and have started reading the first couple of chapters out of interest. And that’s how I know I’m getting into the right field. Right now in Nutrition of the Life Cycle we’re working on a module regarding ethics in research involving human subjects. Interesting topic and before there were laws and safeguards in place, there were some horrific abuses taking place under the guise of scientific research (see the Tuskegee Syphilis Study for one relatively recent incident).

Since I’ve last posted, I attended VegFest in Novi, MI. I was too overwhelmed with the amount of people and vendor booths with samples of fantastic food and products to take any pictures. However, I volunteered for PCRM to sell books for Dr. Neal Barnard after his (well-attended) presentation, and of course had to have my picture taken with him after he was all done signing books for people.  What a great experience!

dr_barnard_me2 (2)

I was also able to attend a couple of the events for Ann Arbor’s first Veg Week. I went to the kickoff night where the mayor, who pledged to go veg for the week, and John Salley spoke. There was also free beer(!!) from Ann Arbor Brewing Co. and food from some local restaurants and from VegMichigan volunteers. Notably, vegan sweet-and-sour meatballs and ding dongs, and some delicious chaat from Hut-K Chaats. My boyfriend got lucky and won a raffle prize, which included a bunch of vegan food samples, like a chocolate chip cookie from Alternative Baking Company, a Primal Strip, and Suzanne’s Ricemellow Creme, which he was stoked about. He also won a door-prize at VegFest, which was a similar package, plus a t-shirt. I think he should try to play the lottery soon with his luck!

I also attended a talk given by Pattrice Jones, an ecofeminist, author, and animal rights activist who is the co-founder of VINE Sanctuary. She spoke on “Building Alliances Among Animal, Environmental, and Social Justice Activists.” I enjoyed hearing a bit about her experiences bridging the gap between activist groups and starting the sanctuary. Very inspiring.

Pretty much the last few weeks have been awesome and though I’d like a little more time off, I think I’m refreshed and ready to get back to studying.

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2013 Undergrad Symposium

The symposium was a success! We got everything finished just in time (some handouts with a weekly meal plan had to be printed this morning!) and had a great response to our poster. I don’t know if I said this already in a previous post, but we presented on plant-based diets and human health. We did a literature review of several peer-reviewed studies looking at vegetarian/vegan dietary patterns and heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes incidence. Included were the EPIC-Oxford and the Adventist Health Studies.

We got to meet several students and faculty who are already vegetarian or vegan and were attracted to our brightly fruit and vegetable covered poster and a lot of people who were curious about plant-based diets. I was happy to hear that several people were familiar with plant-based doctors like Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. Barnard, and Dr. Esselstyn. A lot of people enthusiastically took our meal plan that we created.

My partner Erin on the right and me on the left.

My partner Erin on the right and me on the left.

erin-dr.mistry-angela

Erin, our professor who sponsored us for the symposium, and me.

It was a great experience that I’m very grateful to my professor for providing us with. I generally don’t do so well with crowds and talking in front of people I don’t know, but I know it’s something I need to get used to and this allowed me to get some practice.

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Cram week

Please pardon me while I have a very busy week. The symposium I am presenting a poster at is this Friday and my partner and I have been working like madwomen around our already busy schedules to wrap everything up, make all the final edits, and make our poster look great! Earlier in the week we had a (now comical) stressful day of technology mishaps where nothing we tried to do on the computer went right! Luckily, my partner was able to work things out late Monday night and the rough draft of our poster looks amazing. She’s good like that. Final draft should be done tonight!

On top of that I have an exam over the weekend (thanks, art professor!), an assignment due Sunday (thanks, feminist theory professor!), and an exam over nine chapters that I have hardly had the time to read Monday. So even though I’d like to breathe a sigh of relief and have some cocktails Friday after the symposium, I have to get back to work immediately Saturday.

During busy times I resort to eating lots of giant salads from Whole Foods salad bar, majadara sandwiches from the delicious Haifa Falafel restaurant, and things I can throw together in minutes, like wraps made with sprouted grain tortillas with lots of vegetables, hummus, and avocado inside. The thing I always miss most while very busy is shopping for groceries and cooking at home. I know as a future dietitian I should be the queen of knowing how to maintain eating home-cooked, healthy meals even when busy, but I am still learning and trying to find that balance.

If you are great at having a healthy meal routine I’d love to hear how you make it work. I know all about the wonders of slow cookers, pressure cookers, and making a week’s worth of food over the weekend, but again, these are all habits I haven’t established despite my best intentions yet. YET.

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Exciting Mail

Accepted!

Accepted!

This little letter has been much anticipated lately. It finally arrived yesterday afternoon right as I was leaving for my experimental foods class. I was home alone and was so nervous to open it and read whether I had been accepted or not for the dietetics program. This program only has 18 spots per year and I knew that around 44 people had applied this year.

The first word I read was Congratulations and immense relief washed over me. I have been preparing to get into this program for over two years and all the striving to make A’s in organic chemistry, biochemistry, and other assorted science classes I had to take as prereqs finally paid off! I, uh, also didn’t really have a plan B, so I don’t know what I was going to do if I didn’t get accepted. I just didn’t leave that as a possibility in my mind.

One of my best friends called right after I opened the letter and it was amazing to have her to share my insane giddiness with. Squealing ensued.

So, officially I will be in the professional phase of my program starting in September, but I’ll be taking a couple of dietetics courses over the summer to get started. After all this time preparing it hardly feels real yet.  This is a coordinated program as opposed to a didactic program, which means that instead of completing two years of coursework and then trying to get matched to a year-long internship (only about half of dietetics graduates get matched to an internship their first year — odds I didn’t like) which could be anywhere in the country, I will complete my 1,200 hours of supervised practice along with my 2 years of coursework. When I graduate I will be prepared to take the RD exam and then I will be an RD! I’m assuming it will be a bit intense, but I’m anxious to get started.

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