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WIAW: Being Vegetarian

So I’ve been doing this partial vegetarian thing for a while now and it’s getting easier and easier to make vegetarian choices instead of meat. I think the one thing that I’m learning is that if you want to adapt a new diet of any kind it’s important to start slow. I tell this to patients all the time when I’m giving them education about a diet appropriate for diabetes or heart disease, but I seemed to completely overlook it myself while trying to be vegetarian.

I didn’t really eat much meat to start with but I found myself wanting to eat less of it. Initially, it was hard because I was trying to just completely cut it out altogether and obviously that didn’t work that well. One of the biggest challenges for me has been making substitutions for meat that are providing me with enough protein.

I’ve heard before that the average American consumes more than the recommended amount of protein so it shouldn’t be as much of a concern…but then I’ve also read lately that maybe our recommendations are providing enough protein. Honestly, I don’t really know which is true. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out in the future that our recommendations are incorrect in someway just because nutrition is ALWAYS changing.

One thing I’ve really tried to focus on is making sure I have a satisfying breakfast that will hold me over until mid morning when I like to have a snack.

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Over the weekend I made some crock pot pumpkin oatmeal that I’ve been eating for breakfast this week. I used steel cut oats which are nice and chewy and threw some chia seeds in too which thickened the oats and add some healthy omega 3 fatty acids. I’ve been topping my oatmeal which cashew butter, coconut butter, and pumpkin butter. I’ve found that if I get some whole grains and nut butter in the morning that it keeps me full until my morning snack.

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For snack I had my favorite yogurt. I like Greek yogurt because it has some extra protein in it. Lately I’ve been having some problems tolerating yogurt so I’m thinking I might trade my yogurt out for 2 hard boiled eggs, which has the same amount of protein. I also don’t always feel like a sweet snack so something savory would be nice.

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For lunch I had a burrito the size of a baby from the cafeteria. I debated not getting a tortilla and I basically ended up digging the insides out of the last half anyways because I didn’t want the entire tortilla. Instead of meat I just got rice and beans and all the fixings, cheese, jalapenos, salsa, guacamole, olives…so good!

This baby held me over for quite a while! I was actually at work a lot later than I usually am so when I left at 4:30 I was hungry for a snack before the gym. I didn’t really think it through and only brought an apple and crackers for a snack. No protein at all. Luckily, I still wasn’t super hungry so I wasn’t starving at the gym. I forgot to take a picture because it was raining on my way home so it wasn’t safe anyways.

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When I got home from the gym I wasn’t starving so I just threw together a skillet meal of sun dried tomatoes, a couple handfuls of spinach, half a can of white kidney beans, and some parm. It was good! I’ve been trying to get myself to eat larger volumes of vegetables at dinner to fill me up more but today just wasn’t a good day to do that. As long as I make sure there is a protein source in my dinner, like beans, I’m usually not starving later.

As soon as I publish this I’m going to have a little bit of pumpkin ice cream with some milk and chocolate chips, yum! Gotta have a little sweet treat to end the day 🙂

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How I Studied from my RD Exam

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I should have posted this about a month ago when studying was fresh in my mind, but I’ll do my best now. I’ve gone kind of MIA this week I realized because I’ve been really busy working and helping with sorority recruitment. I spent 9 hours at work yesterday…on a Saturday. Luckily I have today off but then I go back to a 5 day work week tomorrow.

Being an adult is exhausting!

Anyways, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t passed my RD exam, so I think my experience might be worth sharing.

Before my internship even ended I purchase the Inman’s review with the study notes and the lecture CDs. Yes, it cost me $385 but it was worth it. I chose to purchase Inman’s because it was the review I had heard the most positive reviews about and I felt like if I didn’t purchase it I would be worried the whole time I was studying about not having the best review out there. So I took the plunge and purchased it.

After I finished my internship, I took a two week break, went home, relaxed, and let my brain rest. I was starting my new job in the middle of July so when I got the email at the beginning of July telling me I could schedule my test, I took a while to think about when I could be ready to take it. I decided to schedule it for the end of August, 6 weeks after I started my job.

My advice would be if you are working full time right after your internship to make sure you are being realistic and giving yourself enough time to study. Yes, you will do better if you take it sooner rather than later, but you also need to give yourself adequate time to prepare. There were so many nights during the week where I was only able to dedicate 1-2 hours to studying because I was so worn out from work and my brain would just shut off at that point.

Once I returned from my vacation and started my job, I started studying. Inman’s has 4 domains and because I am OCD I started with domain I and went in order. I know other people who started with the subjects they were least familiar with. I would listen to the lecture and take notes on the note sheets at the same time. I paused the lecture quite often to write or relisten to sections.

I am a flashcard person, so after making it through a chunk of material that I didn’t know well at all, I would make myself flash cards.

I think I made it through all the lectures and domains in around 4 1/2 weeks. It took me a while!

The last week I mainly focused on flashcards and practice test questions. I had a breakdown of % of the test coming from each domain so I also tailored my studying that last week around that. I didn’t focus as much on food science because it was the smallest portion of the test. I focused more on management because I couldn’t get my brain to remember any of it.

I took my test at 8AM on a Monday morning, so by 7PM Sunday night I stopped studying. I think this was an excellent idea because it gave my brain time to rest.

I think the keys to success for studying for this exam are purchasing a review that you personally feel comfortable with and having a concrete study plan. Had I not been working full time I probably would have only needed 3 weeks to study.

Bottom line, take studying seriously, prepare yourself adequately, and you will be successful on your RD exam!

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Chickpea Curry Stew

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I found this recipe in the latest recipe of Food Network Magazine and I knew that I needed to make it. The original recipe called for chicken but I knew it would be easy to just leave the chicken out and make it vegetarian.

I ripped this recipe out of the magazine and saved it for a rainy day, literally. It started raining earlier this week so I knew it was time to make this. It is more of a stew than a soup and I decided to serve it over cous cous because I’m a little bit obsessed with cous cous right now and I don’t know why.

This recipe also reheats really well, I took it to work and it was delicious!

Chickpea Curry Stew

Original recipe from Food Network Magazine

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh okra, chopped
  • plain yogurt and naan bread, for serving

Directions:

  1. Pulse 3 chopped tomatoes, the onion, ginger, jalapeno, curry powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the tomato mixture and cook, stirring often, until darkened and paste like, 10-12 minutes. If mixture is sticking, add some water.
  3. Add 2 1/2 cups water to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the chickpeas and cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens slightly, 8-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the okra. Cook, stirring gently, until okra is crisp-tender, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Divide among bowls and top with yogurt and remaining chopped tomato. Serve with naan.

If desired, prepare cous cous using package directions and add to bowl before adding stew.

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Drunken Noodles

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I’ve been on kind of an Asian food kick lately. I think it’s probably because most recipes are really easy to make vegetarian either by taking out the meat and adding more veggies, or by subbing tofu for meat. Luckily, this recipe was vegetarian to begin with!

I don’t have a wok, just a really big skillet, and after making this I think I’m really going to buy a wok and just find a place to store it. I had far too much stuff in the skillet and it ended up making a huge mess on the stove, which is why there are no pictures of the process of making it.

I wasn’t sure what this recipe was going to be like, but I ended up really liking it!

Drunken Noodles

Recipe from Eats Well With Others

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 12 oz extra firm tofu, patted dry and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 thai chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb string beans
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sriacha
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 8 oz whole wheat rice noodles

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large wok. Add the tofu to the pan and fry, turning a few times, until browned on all sides.
  3. Add the red bell pepper, chili pepper. garlic, and string beans to the pan. Saute for 4-5 minutes, or until crisp tender.
  4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, stir together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, Sriacha, and sesame oil. Add to the wok and stir until all the veggies are covered in it.
  5. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Drain and add to the wok. Saute for a few minutes and then serve with extra Sriacha and soy sauce for seasoning.
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WIAW: A Different Kind of Day

Hello all! I had a very different day of meals today. Usually I eat the same thing most days, but today I felt like breaking out of that mold, apparently!

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Breakfast: Accidental baked raspberry chia oatmeal and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. 

Today got a slower start than normal. I had yesterday off since I worked the weekend and today I was the float dietitian, so I didn’t have to be at work until around 8 AM. I just couldn’t get myself out of bed and ended up not showering until around 6:25 this morning. The slow pace continued when I sat down to enjoy this delicious breakfast! I attempted to make these granola bars yesterday, but they were doomed from the start and I knew it. Luckily, they cooked into a delicious baked oatmeal that was super filling thanks to all the chia seeds! 

When I finally arrived at work at 8:30 I already had a list of patients to see. It was a busy day for the dietitian team at the hospital! Normally, my tummy starts rumbling around 10 AM telling me it’s time for my yogurt. That was not the case today…my breakfast held me over until lunch time! 

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Lunch: Today I packed leftover veggie curry that I made a few nights ago and had a nectarine on the side. I swear, the curry tastes better than it looks! Usually, I eat an egg salad sandwich, a small salad, and a piece of fruit. Honestly, I’ve gotten really tired of the same old routine and now that I have more time to cook dinner after work I’m trying to take more leftovers when I can. I will say, everyone was pretty envious of my lunch today. It just smelt so good! 

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Snack: Yogurt and granola. Not having my morning snack meant yogurt in the afternoon today. I got this yogurt for free at Safeway with my club card and since I can never pass up free I had to try it. I will say, it was not my favorite. I didn’t realize there was coconut goo at the bottom that was meant to be stirred in so when I got there it was way too sweet and I just had to toss the rest. The non coconut part was sweet enough that I thought it was coconut! 

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On the drive home I munched on a small baggie of carrots that I packed for myself. Yes, I ate carrots. I will say, I don’t really like them that much. I have gotten over the fact that they have a dirt after taste and I had no idea how crunchy they are but I am slowly learning to accept them. They fill me up and I like that.

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Dinner: Fruit salad, bread, artichoke dip, greek quinoa salad, mexican chicken salad (that I picked the chicken out of), mexican quiche with a brown rice crust, chipotle yams with bacon (I died, they were so good!) and tortilla chips, because they are a tribe staple. Tribe (small group) split up to do separate guys and girls groups tonight and I was so impressed with the potluck the ladies pulled together! I brought the fruit salad and some sugar cookies for dessert. We also passed around a bag of dove dark chocolate as we chatted about life. 

Today was a different kind of day in so many ways, but it was such a good day! Full of good food, good friends, and good thoughts 🙂

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I Passed My RD Exam!!!!!

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That’s right, I passed my test! I’m officially a registered dietitian!

These last few weeks have been such a rollercoaster. I had a lot happening in my life to deal with while I was studying and there were a few points when I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to study enough to pass.

But I did!

God is so good, I could not have made it through without lots of prayer. 

I’m looking forward to having time to post regularly again. Not sure what that’s really going to look like, but at least now I have time to do something besides study! 

GAHHHH I’M SO EXCITED!!!!!

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Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

 

032Why can’t I remember to take pictures of the food I make? 

I made these muffins with the intention of sharing them on here, and somehow, during the 4 day time period that it took me to eat these 12 muffins, I never paused to take a picture of them. So I’m left here with this horrible picture of them in the muffin pan that I took while I was waiting for them to cool a bit before I popped them out. 

Anyways, this recipe called for mini chocolate chips, but I had chocolate chunks on hand so I used those instead. It was an excellent idea! I personally really like chunks of chocolate in pretty much anything, and with the texture of these muffins the chunks worked great!

This, like the banana bread I recently posted, was the result of too many overripe bananas. Dang heat! It’s a very similar recipe, also using oat flour that I made in my food processor. I’m really going to need to get a new food processor soon…mine sucks. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I managed to eat all of these in just a few days time. They are yummy!

Plus they can be vegan if you use non dairy milk and gluten free if you use gluten free oats! Always a plus.

Chocolate Chunk Banana Muffins

Recipe from The Real Life RD

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups of oat flour (just grind up some old fashion oats in your food processor)
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3 extra ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add your applesauce, vanilla and milk on top. 
  2. Then mash your bananas and add them in.
  3. Now mix it up your ingredients until almost combined. Some clumps of flour will still be there and then fold in your chocolate chunks with about 10 stirs. Pour into greased muffins tins.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Now, try to aim for an area of the muffin that doesn’t have a chocolate chunk in it. It took me about 5 toothpicks before I was able to stab a muffin and not have it come out covered in chocolate. 

Enjoy! These are really good with some peanut butter on top…