Month: October 2013

The Husky Holidayer: Avoid the Bulge on Your Next Vacation (GUEST BLOG)

New surroundings, hotel rooms cleaned daily, free mini toiletries, and late evenings rolling into late mornings–vacations have the power to decrease cortisol levels, and leave us feeling relaxed; they really can have a positive impact on our health! Yet the unfortunate truth is that these holidays are not always so kind on our waistlines, as it becomes harder to stick to a balanced diet and get regular exercise. Check out my first GUEST BLOG from Cole at Cole’s Mill with his tips for maintaining your healthy lifestyle while on vacation…

Tips for Eating Right While on Holiday by Cole at Cole’s Mill

Eating right and staying in shape is challenging enough in daily life and becomes even more so while on vacation. A holiday in a far away locale often brings high-calorie temptations, and relaxation can cause a person to forgo a fitness routine. Some tips for eating healthy while traveling are outlined below.

Guest Blog Pic

Air Travel

Having a healthy meal before departing for the airport is a great way to avoid temptation. Nuts and dried fruits are good snacks for lengthy flights, and fruit cups, baked chicken and salads make for low-fat eating during layovers. Those wanting a little exercise can explore the airport while carrying luggage as opposed to using elevators and escalators. The San Francisco airport offers travelers a Zen Room, which is a quiet space to unwind and do yoga between flights.

Hotels

When staying fit and eating right is a priority for a traveler, booking a health-centered hotel can make the process easier. Many hotels offer a service that provides a treadmill, dumbbells, a stretch cord and a mat for those who wish to exercise. Shopping around online and looking at review sites can provide more information regarding health-based establishments. I personally use Gogobot because it breaks down reviews based on a number of different aspects. On my latest trip I was searching through a list of cheap hotels in Las Vegas and was able to read reviews regarding the amenities, the restaurants nearby, even things to do. Information like this helps you plan your trip every step of the way. In general, avoiding the minibar will eliminate high-calorie snacks and alcohol, and selecting foods such as low-fat yogurt and oatmeal will keep continental breakfast time healthy. Some travelers elect to bring along a small crockpot to easily prepare foods like chicken, rice and vegetables.

Food and Restaurants

Restaurants that feature salad bars and fish-based entrees are a good choice for low-fat meals. Eating a small portion of fruit prior to going out can prevent overeating or snacking on bread before the meal arrives. When ordering, the focus should be on finding foods that are presented as light, low-fat, grilled, roasted and steamed. Lean meats without skin are a good choice for protein. Using vegetables as a side dish instead of carbohydrates will keep the calorie count down and prevent bloating after the meal, and are a great way to get an extra servings of veggies into your day. Travelers should avoid “all you can eat” type restaurants or any establishment that features food that is battered, fried or stuffed.

*(Quick tip from The Nourished Soul: Going meatless from time to time is a great choice for many, but watch the vegetarian options at restaurants, as sometimes they’ll deliver some serious calories, dwarfing their meaty competitors. Keep it lean!)*

Other Considerations

If a health-based hotel cannot be found, booking one with an extensive exercise room or that is located near a gym can keep a traveler on a fitness schedule. Looking online for local restaurants that feature vegetarian or low-fat fare and also thoroughly checking the menus before going out will save guesswork on arrival. A daily multi-vitamin will replace nutrients and provide an extra boost of energy to help the body deal with the stress of travel.

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, those concerned about exercise and eating well while on the road can follow the tips above to stay on track.

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Thanks, Cole! ALSO: don’t forget to use your FEET! Take advantage of your time in a new city/state/country/continent, and go see some sites. The beauty of most urban areas is that things are walkable. Think of hoofin’ it rather than taking a car. And if you prefer to vacation in more rural locales, utilize those open country roads. Grab an iPod, or ditch it and listen to the sounds of the Earth–whatever makes you happy!

Don’t forget to check back to see how my rotations in Kidney Disease and Labor/Delivery went. Now get out there and enjoy the weekend!

If you would like to be featured as a guest blogger on The Nourished Soul, contact at thenourishedsoulblog@gmail.com.

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An Email Address Means This Is Now a Real Blog, Right?

New contact information! If you have any questions related to nutrition/dietetics/soul searching/the Universe, any comments about the blog, constructive criticisms, or you’d like to be a contributor, you may continue to leave comments on posts, or shoot me an email at the blog’s new address: thenourishedsoulblog@gmail.com.

 

This is me attempting to compartmentalize my life’s never-ending tasks. I look forward to hearing from you all!

 

Also, if you haven’t already, please check out my Twitter and Facebook pages!

 

 

Weeks 4-6: Clinical Management and General Medicine

As is likely evidenced by my online absence—it has been a crazy few weeks! So, here’s what I’ve been up to:

Patient Services/Clinical Nutrition Management Rotation

            I learned a serious amount during this 1 week long, jam-packed rotation. Biggest lesson: I don’t believe management is in my near future. The Morrison-Chartwells internship has a strong focus in management, as does the overarching Compass Group of which Morrison and Chartwells are a part. So that’s why I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to experience RD supervisory roles prior to even becoming a registered dietitian. My primary preceptor for this rotation was a highly-qualified RD, MSc, PhD who it seems loves the management side of clinical nutrition. I was able to see into the world of policies and procedures, interdisciplinary meetings, and personnel management. I have had exposure to this in my experience as Dietary Director of my little 56-bed skilled nursing facility before my time at UCSF Medical Center. But the observation and hands-on days I had at Alta Bates in this rotation were on a much larger scale, as a hospital with greater than 500 beds, working with multiple highly-educated people in various disciplines, and helping to oversee a team of brilliant clinical dietitians.

            As valuable as this experience has been, I will reiterate: I don’t see clinical management as my path at this time.  But hey, that’s the beauty of getting to participate in supervised practice before becoming a dietitian, right??

            The Pros: Having the opportunity to work with such qualified people was certainly inspiring.  I also got to meet people in different departments (i.e. pharmacy, human resources, physicians, etc), and also the movers and shakers within various areas of the Food and Nutrition department (i.e. foodservice directors, patient services managers, and the cooks, diet aids, and nutrition assistants that make the entire operation go). I really enjoyed the time getting to know all of these people. I have always felt it very beneficial to gain knowledge of positions other than your own to really understand why things are done the way they are, giving us the ability to do our jobs better (and maybe with less attitude). So there are the positives!

            The Cons: I missed patient care while in this rotation. Management has a major impact on this, of course. But direct patient care is just not something managers get to do much of—it’s one of the things they’re often forced to delegate in such a large operation. In fact, even as a SNF dietary manager, I found that the tasks I had to do relating to patient care fell to the back burner, as they were often the easiest jobs to delegate, and other issues such as food orders and immediately pressing scheduling problems would arise that needed to be dealt with. I also felt my clinical brain was not being exercised as I had hoped. Having a strong clinical background of course allows a clinical manager to do their job with an appropriate knowledge level, but… I wanted to do a dang TPN calculation! …Whoa, never thought I’d say that.

I will admit that this rotation tickled a nerve that begged that horrifying question, not once but a few times: “Am I in the right field? Have I made a mistake?”

Although the question was asked, I think in my little adequately-nourished heart knew this was just a challenging start to an incredible experience. I love what I know so far from the world of nutrition and dietetics, and I don’t feel it is possible that I could ever give it all up. This rotation reminded me that every field—no matter how ideal—will have its moments that even the most die-hard avengers will dread. For me, it appears one of those moments will involve chart audits and patient satisfaction surveys (ick).

Fortunately, the next few weeks reminded me why I DO love nutrition…

On to General Medicine—I finally get to play DIETITIAN!

 

After 3 weeks of rotations that felt entirely different from my expectations, with days of doubt and questions, I finally got to participate in what I feel I can fairly deem SUPERVISED PRACTICE. I arrived at Alta Bates’ Herrick Campus on the outskirts of Downtown Berkeley for my first day of my General Medicine rotation. This campus is primarily a psychiatric hospital with a residential, IOP (intensive outpatient), and PHP (partial hospitalization) eating disorder treatment program. One lone unit up on floor #5 houses the acute rehab department, and this is where I spent my two weeks in Gen Med.

            I saw a variety of types of patients during this time, although the majority were admitted with a stroke diagnosis. Many of these patients, secondary to their strokes (or CVAs – ‘cerebrovascular accidents’), were experiencing difficulty swallowing, otherwise known as dysphagia, which of course puts them at risk for malnutrition. Swallowing difficulty usually leads to patients being placed on diets that range from pureed to ground to chopped, and may be put on thickened liquids to avoid risk of aspiration or choking. Because these diets can cause food to be unappealing, and stroke patients may already have decreased appetite for various reasons, intake can decrease significantly. In the acute rehab unit, the neuropsychologists, speech therapists, dietitians, along with many other disciplines, play major roles in patient recovery, and it was empowering to be a part of a team with such capable hands.

            In addition to our stroke patients, we saw people with an array of complications from improper nutrition. Sometimes coupled with a CVA, patients admitted to this unit often presented with diabetes, heart disease or congestive heart failure, renal disease, and so many more.

Primary Diets Involved in This Rotation:

Carbohydrate Controlled

Renal (Limiting Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus)

Fluid Restrictions

Modified Texture/Liquid Consistencies

*Many patients were on combinations of these diets—not just one restriction

 

The most impactful situations to me involved patients who had lived with uncontrolled diabetes for years, and had gotten to the point of exhibiting all those dreadful complications that we aimed to warn people against during my first rotation in the Diabetes Center. Meeting with patients who were on hemodialysis multiple times each week for their chronic kidney disease, who sat in front of me with BOTH legs amputated due to uncontrolled blood glucose levels, yet persisted to drive home their points on why their diets should be liberalized was truly eye-opening. What these experiences taught me is that no matter how knowledgeable a practitioner is, a dietitian (or doctor, or nurse, or therapist, etc.) CANNOT create motivation within another person. That truly has to come from within, and sometimes even a bilateral amputation won’t do the trick. So we just have to wait and see if something else does, while in the meantime giving our patients the best in-hospital nutrition care possible, and providing them with any education they will accept.

            I’m now moving on from Herrick, and heading to Ashby Campus. I will be returning to Herrick in January for my Eating Disorders elective rotation—can’t wait!

My time in General Medicine has given me a strong basis to head into my rotations to come, as I learn about some more specialized fields. Renal and Labor/Delivery is next! Stay tuned :).