Wednesday, March 31, 2010

RDs at BU- Sarah Butler and Laura Thompson of NFC

BU is lucky to not only have an excellent nutrition program for Dietetic students, but also provide RD services to the entire university through the Nutrition and Fitness Center. Founded in 2004 by Stacey Zawacki to provide nutrition, health and wellness education for individuals, and groups within Boston University. Their website is full of excellent links, and nutrition information, as well as a calendar of things going on at BU.

I recently was given the chance to interview Sarah Butler and Laura Thompson, two RDs with Masters of Nutrition who now work full-time for the center. They give private counseling within the university, work with dining services and teach 2-credit nutrition courses.

Sarah [SB]specializes in vegetarian nutrition, disordered eating practices and weight management

Laura [LT] is interested in nutrition for exercise and sports performance, weight management, and overall health and wellness, Laura is enthusiastic about teaching and helping individuals make sense of confusing health messages.

And without further ado, I'll let these ladies take it away!
  • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do?
SB: I work at Boston University and spend half of my time counseling and nutrition education and the other half is a mix between administrative tasks and working with dining services on Sargent Choice
LT: We also teach classes at Fitrec such as vegetarian nutrition and healthy eating on a budget. I also do a lot of work with the athletes at BU.
  • What drew you to the field of nutrition?
SB: In high school I had a friend who was an emotional eater and that’s what drew me to it-the comfort and solace you find in food.
I didn’t want to be a biology major in college, ran cross-country one of my teammates was a nutrition major and loved it, checked out one of her classes, fell in love with it. Dietetics really interested me and aligned all of my interests.
  • Talk to me a little bit about NFC and Sargent Choice. I'm, obviously, a huge fan. What has been your biggest successes and struggles within the university setting, trying to implement healthy eating practices?
LT: NFC is a unique place, few universities have any dietitians let alone 4, who offer free nutiritonal counseling to their students.Besides counseling we teach classes on healthy dieting, vegetarian nutirition, healthy cooking on a budget. SC dining program complements these-we can’t tell students to eat more whole grains if there are no whole grains in the dining hall. We have set up a community for success, and create habits and patterns for when they go out into the real world, and how to be mindful. We are so busy right now, we want to expand SB:This center has been very successful. We’re working within the student population, before there’s a disease problem. Often there is no well-visits in nutrition so this has been very rewarding. Making a difference even if it’s just stopping someone from gaining the Freshman 15 by giving students a healthier option, helping them figure out proportions, and showing that nutritious foods don’t have to be bland or boring. Funding is always a challenge, making sure we don’t overwork ourselves to the point that we don’t provide the needed services. With more funding we could expand our services.
  • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian?
SB: Helping people solve problems. “I know I should eat more fruits, how do I do this?” Showing them that eating healthy food does not have to be a challenge.
Oftentimes you can see instant results. You can give someone a recommendation, they realize it’s working for them, and say "oh I get it now." Or taking miskewed ideas about food and correcting them, Nutrition Mythbusters!
  • What's the most frustrating part of your job?
LT: Even though we are nutrition experts very rarely are we the ones that people call for nutrition advice, there are a lot of crazy people who think they know a lot about nutrition, and just advertise diet pills. As RDs we need to face this challenge by using one voice and message about what we say about food.
  • How can we, as current and future dietitians, find more respect and recognition in the medical community and general population?
SB: Get paid more. It’s one of my regrets of being in this field. I think we need to be better advocates, and stop giving services away for free. You can’t, because people associate value with quality and will devalue the service if it is for free. Working with the media can also help us.
LT: The more we can explain the messages the media gives, then we can teach people while being in tune with the media and population. Interviews with media are great ways for a dietitian to debunk some of these myths. Looking at evidenced based research is definitely a top priority as is translating them into something that everyone can relate to.
  • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier?
SB: Worrying about your weight and body image could possibly lead to emotional consequences which could even be more detrimental to your health than being slightly overweight. Just make steps, to care for yourself, which includes eating nutritious foods and exercise moderately. If you continue to worry about your weight and whether or not you are healthy, seek the advice of a registered dietitian in your area.
LT: The more you move the more you get to eat. If you want to eat a lot, then exercise a lot. oh and Don’t eat special k

I really like what Sarah said about Body Appreciation. Emotional eating and the relationship between love, food and self-esteem are very interesting, and close to heart for me. For one example, I work at an artisan bakery and see some very interesting relationships between people and their pastries. While I could go on and on about the characters I’ve interacted with, this day, a man came in, got a loaf of bread, glanced over at the other tempting items, and said “No. I’m watching what I’m eating-It will either cure me or kill me. “

While I don’t suggest that you go on a butter and sugar binge, there is something to be said about excessive worrying about food and how good it is. Orthroexia, or the obsession of eating only healthy and "pure" foods, is now an "official" eating disorder. While it's important to eat your fruit and vegetables the majority of the time, treats are ok in moderation, especially if you're active!

Like Laura, I also enjoy being a Nutrition Mythbuster, and am a firm believer in moving more to eat more!

Thank you Laura and Sarah for being inspiring young RDs who are making a real difference in an university setting!

How is/was the food at your university? Were there healthy options?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Professor Michele Debiasse

I had Professor Debiasse last semester for MNT I and this semester she is teaching Food Service Management. I think she has a refreshing insight on the profession. While being a full-time professor she is returning to school to get her doctorate in nutrition.

  • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? I am an educator and a doctoral student, and I approach learning from both directions. I really believe that getting my doctoral degree will be beneficial to students, as I learn a lot more about what I am teaching. It makes me remember what students up against every day as you study/take tests.
  • What drew you to the field of nutrition? I was originally in psychology and I wanted to be an art therapist working with children. I transferred out to University of Colorado in Denver, and while studying there I was require to take a physiology course. We did surgery on rats, giving them different chemicals and seeing how they responded physiologically. I found it fascinating, and right about the same time I visited friends in California in early 80s when whole organic foods just starting to get 'popular'. I grew up on hot dogs, and tv dinners, and to see fresh fruits/vegetables was fantastic, and really opened my eyes to the role nutrition can play in your life. I told my adviser I wanted to switch into nutrition, but she advised that I finish my psychology major, and afterward I went to UMass Amerest for a Nutrition Master. I am now a doctoral candidate doing brain chemistry and behavior research.
  • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian? I have never been interested in counseling and I was in clinical nutrition for 20 years, with 10 of them being a manager. I reached a point where I didn’t have anything more to learn and it was not challenging. Now am excited about learning how to teach and getting good at being a college professor. So much more to learn. I enjoy being a professor more than being a dietitian I guess. Something that is nice about the field though is that it is constantly changing. This can also be a stumbling block through.Because of that things are changing, recommendations that are there one day will be changed the next. Public thinks we’re blowing in the breeze. It's one of the challenges of being a relatively new science.
  • I know you are currently getting your PhD in Nutrition. How has holding advanced degrees in this field helped you? Masters helps sometimes, but you have to do it for yourself not for the pay raise. Drs and nurses often don’t know what our certifications mean.
  • How can we, as current and future dietitians, find more respect in the medical community and general population? The biggest thing is to put the responsibility on yourself to always be the best that you can be. It’s easy, by virtue of their title, for physician and nurse-you already ascribe a level of competence and knowledge. We have several strikes against us. Old-timer Doctors see us as those who work in the kitchen, don’t know we have clinical knowledge. Don’t ask ignorant questions. Know your information. You are representing a whole field of professionals. Be on your mark, all the time. Especially because if you even slip a little bit many physicians don’t give you the benefit of the doubt. Constantly review. You are the face of dietitians.

  • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? There are so many, but MOVE.
  • Thank you Michele!

    In our conversation we also discussed some of the negatives about the field-the lack of authority in the medical community and general public that RDs seem to have, the poor pay-scale, and homogeneous mix of individuals (98% white women). For the amount of education we receive and time we seem to put into our work, it is hard to be recognized and rewarded. It's just emphasized how much harder I have to continue to work and shimmer and shine!!

    On the complete opposite side of the spectrum I also spent Friday at the MDA's annual nutrition conference with 450 amazing RDs. It was wonderful catching up with friends and meeting new students. Social media and blogging are huge buzzwords right now-and it's a fun environment to be in the middle of! This career is really all about networking-and I love it!

    Midterms are over-and April will provide a mini lull before Finals start, so I'll wrap up the month with a few more interviews, a summary of what I learned from more experienced RDs, new restaurant reviews, and my experiences with barefoot running!

    If you are an RD how do you feel about the ADA and the entire Nutrition Field? If you aren't what are your general impressions/stereotypes? Be honest!

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Nutrition Research with Paula Quatromoni

    Today I'm sharing my interview with Paula Quatromoni, my academic adviser! As a full-time professor, with strong interests in research and epidemiology she has created a niche within the nutrition field, able to use advance degrees in both fields to advance her career. She directs KidSTEPS, a University research study on children's physical activity and has a lot of experience with eating disorders and sports nutrition.
    • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? I am an associate professor with tenure at Boston University. My responsibilities are teaching and researching externally funded research on school-based health promotion for children as well as researching for the Framingham Heart Study about adult diet and chronic diseases. At BU I teach undergard and grad level nutrition and epidemiology courses. I also work in the community with public school districts, consulting, wellness programs and school lunch as well as after school programs.
    • What drew you to the field of nutrition? A passion for food. I grew up in a big Italian family where a lot of time was spent in grandma’s kitchen. But we also had a lot of heart disease in family- my grandfather was 50 years old had his first heart attack.
    • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian? Sports nutrition/eating disorders. Helping people change their lives. My two favorite areas of the field are sports nutrition and eating disorders. In the Eating disorder realm-nutrition is life changing. Athletes are so motivated and great to work with. Even as a clinical dietitian-seeing a patient who you thought would never change, change, that’s an amazing feeling.
    • How rewarding do you find your job(s)? Extremely. Clinicaly the most rewarding has been working with eating disorders. I also enjoy working with students, seeing opportunities that they find within the field, help them with references to grad school and then seeing them become colleagues, as we grow the network of professionals. I am also very excited about research!
    • How did you become interested in nutrition research? In undergrad I did a senior thesis which immersed me in research. I then completed my internship to become an RD and worked as a clinical dietitian until something opened in clinical research at BUMED. It was the perfect move-my clinical skills in a research position. From there I got into school of public health and started Epidemiology research. It was a natural progression.
    • Have you always envisioned yourself as a professor? My father was a science teacher. As a kid I used to love going to his lab. When I was thinking about getting my doctorate- I knew I needed it to do university teaching. However I didn’t know what I wanted my doctorate in. I picked epidemiology which was one of the best decisions of my life. The perfect fit and I created a niche for myself. Most in nutrition professionals don’t have epidemiology background. And a lot of epidemiologists aren’t RDs. It has allowed me to do some really interesting things and gave me a lot of flexibility job-wise.
    • I find that most dietitians are overworked. How do you find time to balance work and your home life? It’s a challenge. I do less and less that’s not paid. This is something you have to learn- while you’re flattered to be invited, all events costs you one way or another.
    • How can we, as current and future dietitians, find more respect in the medical community and general population? Command it. We have to be appropriately assertive. It is always important to be well-read, up on current literature, comfortable with public speaking, have specific nutrition certifications, and find your niche. While many dietitians give free advice one way or another, people are more likely to take recommendation if they pay you. So many people giving nutrition advice, you have to respect, and that means not always telling them what they want to hear. Dietitians are well-read, and give advice based on scientific studies. There are a lot of nutrition myths that have no scientific evidence. You have to stop and say, Wait a minute-can you show me the evidence? Having a strong network is really important, as well as collaborating and referring to others.
    • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? Make the food service industry accountable. McDonalds shouldn’t be allowed to have ad campaigns that say “Eat like an Olympian.” It’s irresponsible and sends a double message. How can magazines like Family circle have covers with a tagline like “how to lose weight” and then feature a picture of a cake? This only makes people feel powerless, confused, and not empowered.
    Thank you Paula!!
    Do you think the food industry should be held more accountable for their messages and claims?

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    Green Love

    This week my Irish eyes were smiling with the gorgeous weather that graced Boston! The lovely days are supposed to continue all weekend, but I'll be in Chicago. Many recaps to come, soon, soon, I swear!

    So, Let's Green up St Pattys Week with some things I'm loving!
    • BikeLoc- Robert and Aaron are trying to win $5,000 for a cross-country bike trip, eating only local foods at potlucks! vote for them here I just love this idea-check out their twitter and blog!
    "The only skills you need to make it in the world are belief in yourself, curiosity about the world, love for people and life, and the passion for being IN every moment. and the real world? What is the real world? The real world should be defined by how many passionate people can we find to do jobs that they adore and skip to work to do. If everyone did what they dreamed in their wildest dreams, forgot about being realistic and just took the leap….How beautiful would the world be?" -Mei Ratz

    Hope You have a wonderfully green and sunny weekend!

    Friday, March 19, 2010

    Clinical Dietitian Kris Mogensen

    Does the thought of doing nutrition support for the critically ill excite you? What about dealing with daily surprises and interesting cases routinely in a teaching hospital? Today I have the pleasure of sharing my conversation with my Medical Nutrition Therapy Professor Kris Mogensen with you. Even though she has a very full schedule she set aside time to answer my questions thoroughly both via email and before our lovely MNT class in the evening:
    • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? I'm the clinical manager of the Metabolic Support Service at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Our service is comprised of four surgeons, three physician assistants, a medical assistant, a part-time dietitian, two administrative assistants, and me! Our surgeons and physicians focus much of their time on parenteral (venous) access and enteral access procedures; three of our four surgeons also act as inpatient nutrition support attending physicians who round with the inpatient dietitians. Two of those surgeons work with me and our part-time dietitian to manage home parenteral nutrition patients. My job is to organize our service, keep things running smoothly, do all of our quality improvement activities, do some research, provide patient care, and teach the trainees who come through our service.
    • What drew you to the field of nutrition? I initially thought I wanted to go to medical school, but I realized that I wanted to get out into the workforce fairly quickly! I always loved food and cooking, so I thought I might be a chef. It seems that my many food allergies would be a barrier to being a good chef, so I had to come up with another option. My initial major when I started in undergrad was "Chemistry, Foods, and Nutrition" but I soon realized that being a registered dietitian would be an excellent career path so I changed my major to Nutritional Sciences and the rest is history, as the old saying goes.
    • How did you discover that clinical nutrition was your calling? I was pretty surprised that clinical nutrition turned out to be my passion. Given my initial interest in being a chef, I really thought that I'd end up doing hospital food service management. My internship at Massachusetts General Hospital was excellent preparation in that area! However, once I started clinical rotations, I realized that I liked that aspect best (I guess going back to my initial interest in medical school). Once I did my intensive care unit rotation with all of those tube feeding and TPN calculations, I absolutely loved it and I knew I wanted to specialize in nutrition support.
    • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian? I think the best part for me is seeing patients respond well to a nutrition plan--it's really rewarding to hear from a patient "wow, I can walk up the stairs to my bedroom without taking a break." Or, " since I started the TPN, I have more energy to do the things I like to do."
    • How rewarding do you find your job? I find nutrition support incredibly rewarding--it requires a team approach to manage such complex patients
    • What's the most frustrating part of your job? Trying to get home nutrition support therapy covered by insurance companies; it can be quite a challenge at times to get coverage for a much-needed therapy.
    • I personally think you are an excellent professor. Is teaching something you anticipated doing in your career, and how do you like that aspect of nutrition?>> Wow, I'm glad you like my class!! I love teaching, and I always enjoyed working with dietetic interns. I had the opportunity to work with medical students at Tufts and Harvard, so I knew I liked the classroom experience and decided that if the opportunity presented itself, I would like to teach nutrition students. I feel very fortunate that Dr. Durschlag gave me the opportunity to teach at BU!
    • Have you had some favorite jobs? I would say that my most favorite job was as the surgical intensive care unit dietitian at New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center). I was really part of the patient-care team and had many excellent mentors there. I wouldn't be where I am today without that experience. Communicate with confidence! Know literature well and be confident that you are the nutrition expert.
    • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? Exercise! Not just cardio, but strength training as well. Dr. Miriam Nelson's research is very compelling in this area.
    Thank you Kris for taking the time to answer my questions. Listening to her talk about preneteral and enteral nutrition has greatly increased my respect for clinical dietitians, and I am much more interested in trying it out during my internship. The things she sees in her hospital are amazing-and she has shared some very interesting case studies with us! The effects of her work can be seen immediately, and literally mean life or death for many patients. It is empowering to see the things she does on a daily basis, with a well-respected medical team. Dietitians do not just belong in the kitchen!

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    A Food Fete with RD Jessica Maillet

    I met Jessica last year through a mutual friend, and she's one of my role models. She did her internship at UCSF, which is definitely one of my top choices, is a certified personal trainer, runs (Boston's her first marathon!), goes to fashion week, and has a great blog at A Fete for Food. She is enthusiastic about delicious, clean, fair, whole foods, and believes every meal should be a celebration!

    In her own words:
    As a registered dietitian, food expert, and certified personal trainer, my belief is that wellness originates from nourishing the body with whole foods that are grown and tended close to home and utilizing that energy derived from this nutrition to move in ways that make you happy. My passion is to inspire people to eat wholesome, local, affordable and delicious food that makes them happy and healthy, and improves the environment and community in which we live.
    I caught up with Jess last week to talk a little bit about being an RD, and here's a little bit of what we talked about!
    • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? I'm a dietitian for Headstart, helping families and kids develop a love for healthy foods.
    • What drew you to the field of nutrition?
      I always wanted to be a doctor and was a premed biology major at umass. I had a really great professor of nutrition, and I realized that it wouldn’t be preventative medicine if I was a doctor-I would always be chasing a problem. I believe disease is something you can prevent through good eating habits, so I decided to become an RD.
    • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian? We’re constantly spreading the same message but the lightbulb goes off at different times for different people. Seeing that lightbulb go off, and interacting with the children is my favorite part of my job.
    • How rewarding do you find your job? Very, the kids I work with are great.
    • What's the most frustrating part of your job? Constantly spinning the wheels. Everyone thinks they’re a nutrition expert, and they’re really not. Everyone’s looking for a quick fix that we’re not going to give them.
    • How do you use social media? Have you found that having a blog and being active twitter user has helped you find more clients/jobs? I keep my blog and am active on twitter to find out about food trends, what’s hot in the field, what diets people are on, etc. I like blogging to practice mywriting skills.
    • Talk to me about being a locavore. How were you first introduced to this concept and do you encourage your clients to buy local produce? 'Animal, Vegetable, Miracle' by Barbara Kingsolver really showed me how all the pieces of our food system were interconnected and introduced me to the benefits of local food. Working in San Francisco really helped. When I consult private clients I talk to them about where they can get CSAs and local produce if they are interested.
    • Where do you see yourself in the future?One day I would love to be a sports dietitian-the next Nancy Clark. I have also wanted to be a writer and am also interested in corporate wellness. I’m still finding out where my strengths and weaknesses are and how I can optimize them.
    • How can we, as current and future dietitians, find more respect in the medical community and general population? Everyone has own beliefs on what they should be eating. You come to it with preconceptions, when someone else is telling you what you should should or should not eat you are put on defense. We need to work on communicating these messages more effectively with the public. I also believe that all dietitians need to take a class about entrepreneurship.
    • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? There isn’t one thing. There is one thing per person, and it's not me telling you what to do, it's what works for you. Oh and eat more kale!
    Thanks Jess for talking with me about where the field of nutrition has taken you and your plans for the future. Keep your eyes on this lady everyone-she's going places!

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Eat Well with Janel

    Several Weeks ago I had the chance to talk with the lovely Janel of Eat Well With Janel.
    She's a younger dietitian who does it all-from working in corporate wellness to racing in triathletes. She has a Masters in Nutrition Communication from Tufts University, and is a blogger, freelance writer, nutrition counselor. She is very interested in social media, and a networking queen. Take it away Janel!
    • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? I do nutrition counseling, corporate wellness, freelance writing and speaking engagements.
    • What drew you to the field of nutrition?When I was 10 I got the chicken pox and then suddenly I became lactose intolerant. I had to start reading labels, and I met with the dietitian. After our visit I told her that I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Growing up, it seemed like everyone else wanted to be a teacher
    • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian?Seeing the lightbulb go off. If my client gets one thing out of our session, and makes a healthy change, then I’ve done my job. i look at it on a one-on-one basis. If I'm able to make one person’s life better then it was worth it.
    • How do you use social media? Have you found that having a blog and being active twitter user has helped you find more clients/jobs? Definitely, my blog and twitter has brought in clients. We already have such a hard time being seen as nutrition experts, if we aren’t at the forefront with social media, we won’t seem current and connected with the public. My focus is communication accurate nutrition information to the public.
    • I know you are vegetarian, do you advocate a plant-based diet to your client? I never tell clients I don’t eat meat unless they ask.I have many clients who don’t eat meat and appreciate my personal vegetarian tips.Some clients know I am and that’s why they come to me. But I don't try to push it. If a client wants to know the healthiest way to eat a diet with meat, then I will help them with that.
    • How can we, as current and future dietitians, find more respect in the medical community and general population? I think we need to make sure that the people knows/cares that there is a difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian. For the medical community- we come from different schools of thought. Dietitians work on the preventative side rather than fixing a problem when it may be too late. You have to find a dietitian who works with your goals.
    • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? Pack lunch and have 1 serving of fruits or veg with every meal or snack!
    Thanks Janel!! Isn't that the greatest 'why are you a dietitian" story?? Keep your eye on this up and coming dietitian ladies and gentlemen. Someone get this woman a tv show!

    Wednesday, March 10, 2010

    Millet-It's Not Just for the Birds

    buy in bulk!!
    Millet is one of my new favorite grains. Its one of the least allergenic and most digestible "grains" on earth-and its been around for thousands of years! Millet is a good source of the minerals phosphorus, manganese and magnesium. Technically it's a seed and its gluten-free. When cooked it has a Fluffy texture-almost puffed, and is a great replacement for couscous or any other grain.

    How to

    • First I soak the Millet for 8 hours to get rid of the phytic acid, then Rinse thoroughly.
    • Add enough water so that you have a 2:1 water:millet ratio. Bring water to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
    The texture of millet cooked this way will be fluffy like rice. If you want the millet to have a more creamy consistency, stir it frequently adding a little water every now and then.

    Cooked millet can be served as a breakfast porridge to which you can add your favorite nuts and fruits. I also use it instead of couscous, or rice, savory-style, with tamari and siracha. You can also throw uncooked millet into bread for a nice little crunch! The possibilities are really endless.

    What is your favorite grain? Have you tried any new foods lately that you now love??

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Love Happy

    With the debut of The Happiness Project and This Emotional Life on PBS I have been thinking a lot about happiness, and what makes me, Elizabeth, Happy. Who knew such a simple word could be such a loaded term?? I'm usually a very happy person, and I love laughter. But sometimes it's nice to make specific lists:
    Happiness to me is feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. Feeling the strength of my legs push against the earth-being rooted and free at the same time.

    Running fast on a mild day. Seeing a friend laugh.Getting a really good cocktail. Timing the T just right.

    Hugs. Raw desserts. Nut butter. All fruits and vegetables. Dancing. Small acts of kindness. Giving gifts. Yoga pilates weights eliptical spinning kick-your butt group ex classes. Old notes/souvenirs. Mustard on everything. Sunrises and sunsets. Hiking. warm soup on a cold day.
    Wandering , exploring.

    and traveling.
    when you read this I will be across the Atlantic in Iceland, with limited internet and no phone access. I may be having crackberry withdrawals, but it will be good for my soul. And I shall be happy.

    what makes you laugh/giggle/smile-wide/happy?

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Stevita Stevia

    Notice something different? Welcome to! It's official! and in honor of this big name-change, I'm sharing my review of my favorite white-stuff-Stevia!!

    I feel horrible because Stevita Stevia sent me a big package of stevia-goodness a while ago, and I have been so slow to post my review. I have been thoroughly enjoying their products, because I am a stevia addict! I don't like to (white) sugar coat it, and stevia is my white powder of choice!

    Stevita has several lines of straight stevia powders. First there is simply stevia- no fillers, just concentrated stevia. Then there is Stevia Supreme which is blended with xylitol for a filler, and less bitter taste. But I thought both lines were very high quality, did not leave a bitter taste, and while it may not be the most sustainable, I love having the little packets to throw into my purse.

    I was so excited to try the gum, peppermint and cinnamon, but was disappointed. It was sweetened with xylitol, an sugar alcohol, and I was hoping it would be only stevia. And the flavor does not last long either, which was a bummer.

    They also sent "Stevita Flavored Powder"- Think Crystal Lite without the artificial sweeteners!! It is very sweet, and can easily be diluted in more than 32 oz. They come in Strawberry, cherry, lime, and orange.

    The final product I tried was their liquid stevia, which was a first for me. They have a wide range of flavored liquids, everything from toffee to mango. I tried the vanilla and the lemon, and I'm using the vanilla every day!! It's the perfect flavor addition to everything from oatmeal to raw desserts!! This was definitely my favorite of the samples they sent.

    I highly recommend that you check out their website for all of their stevia line and definitely give their liquid stevia a try if you see it in your local whole foods or health food store! Thank you Stevita for letting me try your products!

    Do you use stevia? Any brands you like more than others?

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Nutrition and YOU with Joan Salge-Blake

    I am extremely lucky to have a wonderful Nutrition faculty at BU. Our professors are experts in the field of nutrition and hold very interesting jobs in addition to teaching undergrad and graduate level courses. I had Professor Joan Salge-Blake for Community Nutrition last semester and I have never been so awake during an 8am lecture!

    I sat down with her last week to talk a little bit about what she does:
    • Briefly, could you tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do? Primarily I teach full time at BU as a clinical associate. I also have a small private practice, which I keep as a laboratory to keep me clinically sharp. I teach graduate level counseling, and if you teach counseling you have to to counsel. I like private practice to see what the Average Joe is interested in and stay on the public's pulse to see what they are struggling with. I am also media spokesperson for ADA and BU Nutrition and have once a month segments on Fox News Boston [here's a clip of her talking about Freshman 15]
    • What drew you to the field of nutrition? I’m Italian, and our world revolves around food and family. After highschool I had gained weight, and I put myself on strict diet. Anyone who has ever had a weight issue knows the feeling of accomplishment/success associated with losing weight. I have done a lot of things in my life, but this was one of best feelings of success. After that I took a nutrition class, and went into the field saying I was going to help people lose weight
    • What is your favorite part about being a dietitian? Taking nutrition expertise and fitting it into peoples lives I’m here to change lives.
    • How rewarding do you find your job(s)? Extremely and I help on many levels. I help college students, in intro nutrition, and I also help nutrition students to become professionals. I work with clients to make personal changes and help many people via media.
    • What's the most frustrating part of your job(s)? Sometimes juggling too many things, can be difficult. I have excellent time management skills, but I also put a lot on my plate. Also, Media work has deadlines, and because I give over 120 interviews a year, I have to prioritize and make other things more flexible.
    • I personally think you are an excellent professor, and you keep classes very engaging and fun! Is teaching something you anticipated doing in your career, and how do you like that aspect of nutrition? I always loved doing lectures, and it was easy to transfer over to classroom. Obviously I have to prepare more, but the delivery is similar.
    • Did you do a combined Masters/DI or did you finish your internship before seeking your Masters? I did a Combined masters here [at BU]. How has holding advanced degrees in this field helped you? Key, I could not have done without. Why not spend the extra half year doing a Masters/DI rather than a full year doing just the DI? I found that it was an effecticent use of time and it of allows me to write books, and be media spokesperson
    • Have you had some favorite jobs? I love them all. I loved coporate wellness, I love teaching I love writing I love counseling and I adore the media.
    • I know you are a Media Spokesperson for ADA and frequently appear in print and on the news. What role do you see traditional and social media playing for the field of dietetics. KEY. I think more people are looking at it social media, and traditional form of media are changing. Tv/radio stations are also on the web and twitter. There are 30 ADA media spokespersons around the country and credible news sources come to the ADA to find out the latest in Nutrition research.
    • How can we, as current and future dietitians, find more respect in the medical community and general population? Never say that you are a “nutritionist” We work hard for the Registered Dietitian creditials so it is important to make sure that you refer to youself as a RD!!!!
    • What is one thing you wish you could get every American to do to make our country healthier? Eat more fruits and vegetables. I would save a lot of lives if everyone did just that.
    • Another else you'd like to add? It’s a great field!
    Thank you Joan for talking with me! Check out her blog, website and twitter. She's appeared on television and print many times, and there's list here if you are interested! I really love the piece she did on Fox about sugar consumption, check out those visuals!

    Monday, March 1, 2010

    Nutrition Month

    Obviously Nutrition is a huge part of my life as I complete my undergraduate career in Dietetics. In Celebration of Nutrition Month I thought it would be nice to interview some dietitians I know and respect, for my own sake, to learn more about my career possibilities. I decided to share them with you, so that you can know more about what it takes to be a Registered Dietitian, and what day-to-day work can be like as an RD.

    but first, What is an RD?
    Registered dietitians are food and nutrition experts, translating the science of nutrition into practical solutions for healthy living. The expertise, training and credentials that back a registered dietitian are vital for promoting positive lifestyle choices. -American Dietetic Association

    In order to become an RD you complete a four year program at a accredited, respected university, to get a B.S. in Dietetics. Then you embark on a 9 month internship and learn even more about the work of a dietitian, everything from ICU to community garden work. After that you must pass a national exam to get the right to place those two letters behind your name. Many RDs go on to get Masters and Doctorates in Nutrition or other Health Sciences. I am currently in the first "stage"-getting my BS at Boston University. Courses are very rigorous-we're taking Biochem and Organic Chemistry with the Pre-med students, while learning how to write meal plans, and calculate enternal nutrition for critically patients.

    RDs work in the community, with private clients. They also work in a clinical setting, helping those who are terminally ill and with chronic diseases. Some dietitians work in corporate wellness, schools, on community gardens, write, and educate people about a healthy diet.
    The ADA is a great resource, and they have links to help you find a RD near you.
    I think you will enjoy this series of posts, I definitely had fun talking with some of my role models about what my future could look like!

    If you have any questions about what it is like to be a dietitian, shoot me an email at ejarrard [at] gmail [dot] com and I will try to get you some answers!