Where did the time go?

Today seemed to fly by. We got  new equipment in the hospital kitchen, which was very exciting, since the original equipment was probably close to 40 years old! Definitely time for an update. The renovation/installation required a change to the menu, which led to the weekly hamburger day being moved to Thursday. Hamburger Day is a HUGE thing in our hospital, people seem to crawl out of the woodwork and come eat in the cafeteria, and everyone marks their week by when burger day is/has been. So the fact that we moved it this week was big news. We even had to post a sign that read “due to cafe renovations, Hamburger Day will be observed on Thursday this week”. I love how we make it sound like a national holiday. haha

After work, I stopped by the Habitat for Humanity thrift store for some vintage zippers, for a new sewing project of mine. I’ve never sewn a zipper, so fingers crossed! Maybe I should get out the goggles in case needles start flying :)

Harley’s first obedience class was tonight, although it was humans-only, mostly an introduction class. What are the chances, that out of 6 dogs in the class, there is another Harley??? haha. I hope it doesn’t confuse him. But by the sounds of the other dogs, and the topics we’re going to cover in class, I think Mr. Harley will easily be valedictorian.


Dinner was slightly less pathetic than the past 2 nights (both of which were Morningstar Black Bean burger on a bagel thin, with laughing cow cheese and an apple) – Morningstar Chik’n Patty and vegetarian baked beans. Oh, and did I mention that I had a Morningstar Sausage Patty this morning with my breakfast? Yes, maybe Morningstar needs to contact me and sponsor this blog. haha. I’ll admit, they have great vegetarian products. I’ve always stayed clear of Boca products, haven’t had any luck with Gimme Lean, occasionally use Gardenburgers, but I can’t go wrong with Morningstar!

And now, somehow it’s already past 9pm, Bend it Like Beckham is on, and I need to get to bed. Good night everyone!!


Random Day Off = Fun

Happy Thursday afternoon!

I thought I’d write a little about vacation days today. Next week will mark my one year anniversary at work, my first “real” job. I have been told that the number of PTO days I received was very “generous”, compared to other of my new-grad friends.

Still.. anything less than 30 seemed rough. Think about it – when you’re in college, you must have at least 80 days off from school. 1 week for spring break (5 days), 2-3 weeks for Christmas/winter break (10-15), 3 days for Thanksgiving (3), we had a 2 day fall break (2), a good 3 months for summer (60ish), and a few random holidays throughout. So the thought of going from 80+ days off, to less than a quarter of that… well, it’s an adjustment.

Being the Type A person that I am, I immediately started planning how to use my PTO days, and used them sparingly – only really for recognized holidays and travel. Luckily, I haven’t been sick in the past year, so no sick days were needed.

With my company, our PTO days expire at the end of September, which is roughly 2 weeks from now. According to my “PTO tracker” in the back of my planner, I still have 4 days unused. Wow! I was impressed with myself for being so careful, yet a little regret crept in for not using them all. There’s no saving or cashing in for unused PTO days; they just go to waste.

And so…. I decided to take today off. It was the first day I’ve taken off work for no real reason. It’s been fun so far!

Unfortunately, there was no sleeping in, as I had a 7:30am appointment at the Toyota dealer for Matrix’s big 75,000 mile service. Luckily, he passed with flying colors. I brought a bag armed with Rachael Ray magazines, some new books, and a snack of Quaker Oatmeal Squares to keep me nourished :)

After the car dealer, I headed to Hobby Lobby to stock up on supplies for some Christmas crafts/gifts, Panera to cash in on my free cookie (sign up for a MyPanera card if it’s available in your area!), and TJMaxx for… well, just to look around :)

At lunchtime, I met up with my Coordinated School Health colleagues at one of our local elementary schools for their Go, Slow, Whoa Kick-Off celebration. We had staff dressed up as Grapes (GO), Mac’n’Cheese (SLOW), and a stick of butter (WHOA), and got to talk to the kids and make sure everyone knew about the program.

I was impressed that most of the kids had already heard about the program from their teachers, and many could even identify/categorize the items on their lunch tray.

The fact that a super majority of kids were drinking chocolate milk instead of white milk didn’t surprise me, but still disappointed me. There were just a handful of skim-milk-drinking-kids – and I wanted to go hug them all. And then, for the kids who brought their lunches from home, they all had Kool-Aid or Capri-Sun pouches. What happened to a water bottle??

But overall, at least the kids were getting a balanced lunch, with all food groups represented. It’s better than I can say for my lunch (the Panera cookie….). I promise my dinner will be better, with lots of GO items!

Now we’re in the middle of a nice afternoon outside. The dogs are enjoying me being around, and have been sleeping out in the yard. I’ve enjoyed an episode of American Pickers, an old Julia Childs show, some cross-stitch, and of course catching up on blogging. Sorry there’s no exciting pictures for today.


1 year RD-versary

Today marks my one year anniversary of passing the RD exam and officially becoming a Registered Dietitian. Thought I should dedicate a post to the occasion.

People always often ask “What made you decide to become a dietitian?”. Not that I’m complaining; I frequently ask others (or at least wonder). The stories behind anyone’s career path always fascinate me, and dedicating yourself to teaching others about food and nutrition usually was motivated by some story of interest.

I actually made my decision to study nutrition back when I was in high school, which seems like eons ago. I never changed my mind once I started class, although my plans for a double major or minor changed almost monthly (biochemistry, linguistics, child and family development, before settling on food science).

My dietetic internship at Vanderbilt (when I first started this blog) was an intense but rewarding post-college 10 month experience, and opened my eyes to all types of avenues for dietitians to explore.

Did I ever think I’d work in mental health? Heck, no. The only exposure I got to anything remotely close to mental health was a few patients who would end up in the medical ICU, which I chose as my “staff experience" rotation, post-suicide attempts, and we’d get them back up and running, medically, and then send them to the psych hospital for further psychological treatment. I can remember how unstable they were, yelling, crying, threatening, and the thought of having to sit down and talk to them about nutrition seemed impossible.

And in many cases, it is impractical and not a top priority. Since starting this job last fall, I have certainly learned to “meet the patient where they are”. Some patients do actually have questions and want to talk to you – those are the highlights of my job, where I can sit down and really teach them. Other days, you can barely get a patient to listen to you. Of no fault of their own, they may be completely depressed, anxious, psychotic, sedated, feeling horrible from detox symptoms, etc. So you do what you can.

My work on the side with the local school districts is a little more stimulating, refreshing and exciting. I would bet that if I worked with schools full-time it could become frustrating fairly quickly, dealing with difficult budget restraints, USDA regulations and overworked staff. Honestly, the only way schools make big changes in nutrition is with an entire community of motivated and determined staff and parents. My infrequent visits and recommendations can not do it all. But again, you do what you can.

So maybe that’s my lesson learned from being an RD for a year: just do what you can.

Who knows what I can do in this next year? Kind of exciting to think about it :)

Turbo-Charged Day!


I started the day with my free sample of Dunkin’ Turbo this morning. 2 cups and I was wide awake!! Also… my writing today at work may have looked a little like this, and I hope everyone was able to read it! I felt somewhat like a physician with illegible handwriting, haha.


A little too much for me – the rest of the sample pack is going in the compost, to turbo charge our garden!

But the day has been pretty successful –

  • saw bunches of patients
  • prepared an inservice/training session for tomorrow (reminding the staff about how many carbs our diebetic patients should be getting at mealtimes and that you cannot serve corn, stuffing and fettucine alfredo as one balanced meal!)
  • hit the gym after work
  • continued to hunt for a place to stay in Atlanta over memorial day
  • picked up discounted Biltmore tickets for this weekend, courtesy of AAA

Oh, and Bess got a new look today with a brand new pink collar, and this cute floral bandanna that her collar slips through (preventing her from pulling it off … or from the other dogs pulling it off her!). Adorable, right?

DSCN0420 I think she’s saying there “Come on.. I know you want to adopt me!”

Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! We’re having a little south of the border dinner tonight with homemade quesadillas and leftover vegetable soup. yum yum. And some embroidery to go along with it! My current project involves stitching on paper rather than fabric, and has been a fun challenge :)

I am happy to report that:

  1. I finished off my brownies that I baked last Thursday. Yes, that means the brownies lasted a full week. Maybe the pre-portioned method of baking in muffin tins was smart after all :)
  2. I got caught up on patients today. Between a patient who reportedly can only eat 5 foods (hamburger, pork, oats, grits, rice) without throwing up from allergic reactions, and a homeless man who claims our food isn’t good enough, it was a fun day, to say the least.
  3. A coworker complimented me on my sweater today. It’s not very often when my outfits/clothing/fashion is complimented. As someone recently so-nicely put it “you dress kind of dumpy”. Whatever. Cheap and comfortable is my motto, and when you live out in the country by yourself and work with psych patients, what is the point in dressing nice?!?
  4. The power bill arrived and is a full $40 less than last month. Thank you spring weather!
  5. I received the last Flight of the Conchords DVD in the mail today, courtesy of Netflix. I’ll be sad to have them all finished! :(
  6. The thermometer is reading 75 degrees right now. Repeat: thank you again spring weather!
  7. I finished mowing the back yard this afternoon. Question: why does my border collie choose the piles of freshly mown grass to roll around in?
  8. My allergies are still in remission. Thank you Nasonex :)
  9. Sheff’s Thundershirts arrived in the mail today! As a reminder, this is our latest attempt to relieve his anxiety, which I think is mostly driven by East Tennessee’s wind and storms (he never had this back in Texas).

We ordered both a large and extra-large, to see which fit him best. Luckily, the company has free returns and a money-back guarantee if this doesn’t work to relieve his symptoms.


They’re made out of really nice, soft, stretchy fabric. Really feels just like a nice t-shirt. Sheff seems to like them too :)


Unfortunately, he seems right in the middle. Too big for the large, and too small for the extra-large. I know that the shirt needs to fit somewhat snug to provide the calming effect of pressure, but I can’t tell which is best. We’ll keep working on this :)



Today’s Lesson

I’ve been doing lots of reading/researching today on nutrition news, partly for my high school presentation that I’m still working on.

Some really interesting things I’ve come across:

A study out of Austria has shown that young adults with beginning signs/symptoms of schizophrenia might benefit from taking fish oil, possibly prevent psychotic episodes. That would be such a wonderful alternative prevention, rather than relying on antipsychotic meds that all my patients take, with such messy side effects. High cholesterol, obesity are my #1 reason for doctors to call me in for a patient… and yet those are all side effects of their drugs. Not that I think we could prevent everything (and certainly not reverse schizophrenia) with fish oil, but it’s such a healthy and simple thing to try!

We’ve seen girls reaching puberty at earlier ages these days… seems to be affected by the obesity epidemic, and possibly on the hormones in our food production (although that’s fairly controversial). A study shows that obesity may actually have the OPPOSITE effect on our young boys – by delaying their onset of puberty. So now we’ll have even more mature girls, and even less mature boys. Oh this is so not going in the right direction!

Today is day 3 of Snobby Joes week. Loved the tater tots last night, but loved tonight’s roasted broccoli, perhaps even more. I chopped up one crown of broccoli (probably 3 cups raw florets) and ended up eating the whole thing… roasted vegetables are so much better than any other prep method!!

I wonder if I could introduce roasted vegetables into the local schools here. I’ve spent most of tonight analyzing the elementary school menu, reading through their recipes and scrutinizing their food labels. I was impressed to see butter buds in place of butter for their vegetables, but I wonder if the kids would try them roasted. I was semi-impressed to see their choice of bread “made with whole grain” (it’s a step in the right direction at least… although I bet we could get the kids on 100% whole grain). But definitely NOT impressed by their using full-fat mayonnaise in coleslaw, tuna salad, chicken salad, pasta salad, etc; full-fat cheese (come on!! there are so many 2% cheese slices out there), full-fat salad dressings, and margarine filled with trans-fat. Those are some seriously easy and important changes to make!

Alright, Sheff has been whining at me to stop work and watch last night’s episode of House with him on the couch. Sounds good to me!


There’s a great bake sale going on online by a bunch of prominent food/health bloggers. All the proceeds go to the Red Cross. I’ve already found myself bidding on double chocolate brownies, espresso hazelnut truffle cookies, and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I hope I win something!

Work today was good. It’s always nice when you hear this:

Hey Elizabeth, you have a consult for this guy with high cholesterol. But I’m not sure you want to talk to him today… he’s pretty sexually-obsessed and strips off all his clothes every time he sees a female. And with you being young and pretty…. yeah maybe not today.

I checked his lipids – 10 points high. Not worth being exposed to!

There’s talk of some big snow storm coming Friday afternoon/evening. Everyone at the hospital is talking about how to prepare – who should plan to spend Friday night there, etc. I filled up my car with gas today, and am about to load an emergency kit of blankets, water, change of clothes.. just in case. I figure as long as I can get out of work at a decent time Friday and make it home, I’ll just stay put. I had some fun plans for Saturday, but it’s no biggie if I can’t get there.

Now… if I lose power, that’s another story altogether. I should load up the fireplace with some wood, but I think I only have enough for a 6 hour fire, maybe. Oh winter weather….