Ignorant Internet Round-up: April

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We all know the internet is rife with ridiculous claims, weird hobbies, and memes we wish would just disappear into the throes of time rather than continually show up on our newsfeed. I know from a personal standpoint, I’ve now developed a Pavlovian reaction to the week leading up to my birthday because I’m bracing myself for the inevitable onslaught of “It’s gonna be May” memes.

Ah, the joys of a late April birthday. If you’re not in finals, you’re slapped in the face with Timberlake memes.

So today I thought I’d share some stuff that made me balk, stare at my screen, or turn to whoever was nearby and cry out: ‘have you SEEN this shit?!’

Let’s start with this god-awful thing:

GROSS

Here are my thoughts: incredible way to take two complex, multi-faceted issues in our modern society, and twist them around into your fat-shaming message.

This picture is not a new picture. It’s a “classic” meme photo, and is used in a lot of cries of ‘what is HAPPENING to US!’ despite the fact we know very little about this photo. It’s a classic fat-shaming image used for a lot of fat jokes.

That’s just the tip of the ice berg.

Next, let’s look at the message here. If we REALLY care about children? Why does caring for children have to be either we don’t want them shot in school, or we want to limit a person’s basic freedom to choose what food they want?

There are more issues at play when it comes to “regulating food” just than “hey asshole, don’t eat that, let’s tax it”. You need to look at economics, family dynamics, nutrition education, and the overworking of the lower classes when looking at this.

You can’t just share this meme, think you’re woke, and move on and not do anything.

Here’s another really ridiculous thing I’ve seen:

Brightside’s article on how to lift and keep your ‘feminine body’. 

What the hell is a feminine body?

I grew up big, broad, and was never really considered feminine because of it. I like my body and it took a long time to get there. And my body is perfect for lifting. 

So when I see articles like this I tend to purse my lips and shake my head. Lifting cannot, and will not, make you bulky unless you utilize chemical enhancers to give you a hand.

If you want to lose weight, lifting and cardio is your best bet. Yeah, there are different ways to lift if you want to look a certain way (body building does not an Olympic lifter make) but overall, you’re not going to look “manly” or “less feminine” to anyone except shallow assholes who would rather focus on what YOU’RE doing in the gym rather than staying in their own lane.

If you are really concerned, get a personal trainer or a coach, don’t listen to pseudoscience articles on the internet.

It’s no secret that the internet is the place to go for faux nutrition and fitness news, incorrect assumptions about public health, and the like, so these articles aren’t far from the norm. However, these are definitely the two I thought about the most when I ran into them.

What was the most recent online eye-roll you’ve seen? Share them in the comments below, I want to hear!

As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. See you soon!

Is “Earthlings” OK for teens?

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The documentary Earthlings is a bit notorious in vegan spaces just because of it’s content. Unlike other food documentaries, it has little to do with what we eat. While it’s interesting, it’s certainly brutal, and a quick google search reveals people exclaiming that they went vegan because of the film.

I was already vegan when I watched it back in January, and it didn’t necessarily solidify why I was vegan, just reinforced things I had already heard. However having seen it now, I can certainly empathize with people who went vegan because of it.

If your teen is considering going vegan, there’s a good chance that they already have heard of this film if they’ve been researching on their own. Of course, you can’t dictate what your teen does and does not watch, but it might be a good idea to look into Earthlings a little bit.

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I say this only because of it’s content and what they show is at least worth having a conversation about after the film is over. You don’t have to watch it with them (and if you weren’t keen on the idea of going vegan at all, skip this one), but it has heavy enough content that it should be discussed.

Earthlings starts with the thesis that humans are exploiting animals on this earth for their own gain. They travel through four supporting “paragraphs”: pets, food, clothing, and science.

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Being a dog lover and someone who relies on her pets for emotional support, the pets section nearly made me quit watching entirely. They show dogs being put down, beaten, shot, poisoned, mistreated (most notably, a man putting his dog in a garbage truck that will eventually grind him to death. I still have nightmares about this scene). This alone might be enough to skip this documentary in your home.

Earthlings doesn’t spell out whether owning pets is ethical or not. Most believe these animals provide companionship and the relationship is legitimately beneficial for both parties. I can’t speak for the opposite side, because I’m biased when it comes to pets. But Earthlings will not make you feel bad for owning a pet so long as it’s loved and cherished.

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Next it goes to food, which most emotionally driven vegan documentaries focus on in one way or another. The state of factory farming, of animal slaughter and mistreatment, is the main reason I’m vegan. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can’t imagine harming another being just to eat. Again, the footage is graphic (it is meant to shock you).

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Clothing was a surprise to me, and even though I don’t wear fur, they explain how the fur industry gets its pelts. For science, another reason I went vegan, they do show dogs (beagles, mainly), and other animals being tested on. They talk about how it’s being used, what studies have used animals, and gives you context on it.

Overall I did find it a really interesting and surprising documentary. You always need to be aware of the message when it comes to documentaries, and Earthlings was written and narrated by lifelong vegans.

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To help you, especially if you don’t want to watch the documentary yourself, I’ve compiled a list of things to talk about with your teen if they do want to watch Earthlings:

  • What do you think the main message was in Earthlings?
    • What did the filmmakers want you to know, and feel when you finished the movie?
    • How did they get you to understand and feel these things?
  • What questions do you have now that you’ve seen this?
    • What did you see that felt exaggerated, or you want to look into further?
    • What statistics and stories do you want to learn more about?
    • How will you know if a source where you find these statistics is a credible one?
      • (Shameless self plug way back to “Media Muck” to help them learn more)
    • How did the film make you feel? Did the filmmakers achieve their goal by making you feel this way?

I found this film a difficult watch, not in a bad way, but in a “this is really difficult to realize this is going on” way. If your teen wants to watch it, I would say it’s a PG-13 to R rating, and something you might want to watch first or watch with them to help talk them through what they saw.

What did you think of it? Did you watch it? I want to hear your thoughts!

As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. See you soon!

 

Validating emotions, the Fitbit Versa, and some Gary Vee

Validating emotions,

We had a bit of an upset this past week at our home when my younger sister was told she would not be competing in state this year for her sport, Tae Kwon Do, after she had thought she would be able to go. My sister and I are often on similar wavelengths when it comes to emotions and how we express them, so when she got home after hearing the news we were all on comfort mode.

And, of course, a little bit of familial anger- something I suspect you’re not a stranger to. You know, when someone in your family is wronged and you can’t help but feel a little angry?

My sister took it in stride though and did what we had been raised to do- bitched about it for a while, then set a plan in motion to fix it. And she did it without blaming her coach or team, she took responsibility and went with it. She just needed some time. 

I feel like we discredit the importance of “venting” and “bitching” nowadays because of the over abundance of memes about wanting “positive vibes only”.

In trying to create a positive culture out of the ones filled with jokes about suicide, as well as a world where death feels like it’s lurking everywhere, we forget that people sometimes just want to talk about sad things and get them out into the void and move on to fix the problem.

I’ve been neglecting this question lately, but it’s always good to gauge where someone’s venting is going. “Do you want advice or to vent?” is a nice way to understand where the person you’re talking to is taking the discussion.

This somehow ties into being a nutrition care professional, and I’m learning about that as I go.

Other cool things about this week:

Fitbit is my ride-or-die watch company since like 3 years ago. I currently have the Charge HR with athletic tape holding the strap together (hey, it works), but I’ve also been looking to upgrade since I got this replacement Charge HR.

I tweeted about this today, but Fitbit has a great policy for returns/replacements and that’s kind of what’s been keeping me there for so long. And the fact they found my tweet without me “@-ing” their company means they’re somehow watching me.

Fitbit just announced a new smartwatch, the Versa, that will include menstrual cycle tracking and phone-free music. I’ll be interested to see if I can just use spotify, but considering my sport involves throwing weights over my head, not having to worry about my phone will be nice. As far as the cycle tracking, I currently use Clue, but anything to dial down my phone apps would be nice.

Here’s the article about the Versa.

Next Friday I’m doing a comparison post on Fitbit’s calorie tracker and MyFitnessPal’s!

I’m almost done reading all of Gary Vee’s works. Libby Rothschild made me aware of him a couple weeks back and I flew through “#AskGaryVee” and “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook!”. Currently reading “The Thank You Economy” and love it. I think it’s useful not just in an entrepreneur setting but everywhere- learning to listen carefully, build relationships, and put work into it.

Match day is coming fast. Two weeks from Sunday…fingers crossed for all my “RD2Bs” out there, and keep some fingers crossed for ya girl as well.

This is a much more laid back blog post so let me know what you think of these kinds of posts. The fun part about Center Stage Nutrition is that nothing is set in stone, and I’m here for you, so I want to hear what things you like and don’t like.

You can keep up with me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

As always, do your homework, eat a vegetable, and don’t forget to smile at someone today. Bye!

4 things I learned recording my first podcast

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This week was exciting for two reasons:

One, I did my first presentation and it went pretty well.

Two, I started a podcast and while it has yet to have a name, I’m pretty darn proud of how I’m doing so far. I like writing the scripts and getting to chat- though I can understand the pressure people talk about when they mention that working solo can get daunting- it’s tough not having someone to play off of.

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This is me after 3 hours of recording

Both of these events taught me a lot, as far as the presentation goes I’ve already written about that. So here are 4 things I learned by starting a podcast:

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  1. Script it out

Now I’m a pretty thorough planner. I already have a content calendar getting me through May for this blog with lots of ideas for after that! But for some reason, the podcast came to me at random.

I had felt a bit like I was floundering with the blog and because I’m having a road block when it comes to vlogging, I began to feel like this blog wasn’t going to get anywhere. So a few nights ago, after publishing Nutrition Education and Teen Girls I thought about how I could dive deeper.

Then it hit me…Anchor! (And before you ask, I’m not sponsored, I found them a while back when I played around with the idea of a podcast a few months ago but tabled it due to time).

Thinking that it would be fun to give it a shot, I didn’t realize how recording, re-recording, and just writing an outline would still leave me up ish’s creek.

I needed a script.

By the time I realized I should script what I wanted to say, I was lucky enough to have already been recording for a while so I could just type up the bits I remembered that I said and liked, then flesh those out a bit more.

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  1. Check beforehand

Notice a bit of a pattern here?

I was looking forward to doing something similar to a live radio show, which Anchor used to offer, but their redesign made it so that it was solely focused on podcasting.

So, when it was T-minus one hour when I said I’d go live and noticed that wasn’t an option, I was scrambling to record so I would have something at the time I said.

I ended up being unable to make the deadline but now I know, right?

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  1. Patience

Despite a theatre and improv background, I still would stumble over my words and talk fast. I had to remind myself that the message would make more sense if I spoke slower and really tried to enunciate rather than just chatted into the mic.

I want there to be that casual ‘chat’ feel, but you still need to understand me to have that conversation!

Working hard to speak slowly, think about my opinions and feelings on the topic, and being patient when I made a mistake was something I learned the hard way.

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  1. Trying new things is fun!

I read The Healthy Maven’s post ‘Is Blogging Dead?”  and felt so comforted about my own doubts regarding my own blog. I had been feeling a little nervous that this wouldn’t pan out, and while I don’t do it for a job, shouting into a void only gets you so far.

It was Davida’s post that encouraged me to try new things, and to start living more so I have more to write about. And her advice about trying different avenues to reach different kinds of people gave me a bit of needed courage to try the podcast!

While these four things deal more with the podcast I created, they have a lot of weight as life lessons as well. Especially the whole ‘trying new things is fun’ and ‘patience’ one, amiright?

One of the coolest things about growing up is the ability to learn from mistakes and go on to make new ones to learn from. I know that as Center Stage grows and changes there’s going to be a lot of learning curves, and it’s more important to look at them with excitement like I did with the podcast rather than nervousness!

Mistakes happen, we just need to accept them and learn from them.

Leave a comment below to let me know what you learned this week!

Do your homework, eat a vegetable, and smile at someone if you can. Bye!

 

Nutrition education and teen girls

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For the first time in a long while I had a really week last week.

I had a job interview for a diet clerk job at a hospital some ways away in the morning, I volunteered at my old middle school in the afternoon, and I attended an orientation on human trafficking and how to spot it in the evening.

Not only did I get some good old highway driving in (#suburbiaproblems), but I also biked somewhere for the first time since November. And it wasn’t like my campus biking- this was about 20 minutes of biking through an upper-middle class town while dodging guys in small cars, with darkened windows, wearing HEADPHONES.

Come on, y’all. Please don’t tell me you’re wearing those while you drive. Think of the children.  (And me…please)

That’s why I didn’t write this post on last week- I was out and about for a while. My dogs didn’t like it one bit. Friday was another weird day for me- Grandma came over, and I even went to a theatre performance based off of the stories of male prostitutes in Chicago.

But I did want to address this article, because I was so so happy to see it show up on my Google alerts.

Malnutrition Deeply, an offset of the website News Deeply, published an article the other day titled “Nutrition Community ‘Leaving Adolescent Girls Behind’.”  It’s an interview with Dr. Marie T. Ruel, who is the director of Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division for the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Her main philosophy is that women are often left behind once past what’s called their first 1,000 days, which is the period in which health practitioners work to protect newborns and infants against malnutrition while they grow.

Other points about the interview include agriculture, value chains, and how to urge government intervention. It’s a great read and you should spend some time with it.

Adolescent Nutrition

I think the reason Dr. Ruel discusses nutrition intervention for adolescents designated female at birth/capable of child-bearing because of a few things:

  • Society’s outlook on how teen girls eat
  • The importance of pre-conception nutrition for a healthy pregnancy
  • Nutrition intervention in general towards teens

When talking about this article with people, I noted something my Dad mentioned: when someone mentions they have two teen boys, the joke is ‘How do you keep food in the house’, whereas with girls…you can’t really say that.

Even though all teens are growing at the same rate, it’s only okay for boys to eat to fuel growth spurts. Girls, both through peer and media influence, are already being told they need to eat less and that “fat” is a bad thing.

Using nutrition intervention for teen girls, letting them know it’s OKAY to eat, and that they must eat, already puts us on the right path for helping teenagers have a healthy puberty and adjust to being body positive, intuitively eating adults.

In general, nutrition intervention in teens seems to fall by the wayside compared to adult and child nutrition. Think of the nutrition education you had in school- was it one unit, maybe two in health class? What resources did you have?

Compared to childhood nutrition, where there are a lot of books and resources and TV shows for kids, and adults, who have blogs, dietitians, books geared toward them- teens don’t get much.

And we could save them a lot of stress in adulthood by teaching them now.

What do you guys think? Do you think we need more nutrition education at home, or should the school be more active?

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Getting Salty

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Judging from the WordPress stats, you guys really like it when I write posts like Advice from a New Graduate and Observing Grief more than the more educational posts that I write.

It’s like you guys want me to be human…or something.

I decided after seeing the stats and reading some of my favorite blogs that I was doing you guys a disservice just writing dry informational posts (though I like to believe my writing has improved since I started this blog, thus making the topics dry but the writing witty- at least, my mom says so). I’ll be trying to update my blogs with more posts like Grief, Graduate, and this one so you get a sense of the ‘(wo)man behind the curtain’ so to speak.

My very first post-graduate “big girl presentation” is coming up a week from today and I’ve been hammering away at it since the first week of January. I knew that my first post-grad job (or lack thereof) would be a huge learning curve, since a lot of what I’m learning is currently on the job and without an RD around.

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Not to say that I can’t email my professors questions- of course I can- but it’s difficult to not have an RD mentor in person to ask questions in real time.

The presentation is on how to reduce sodium in your diet. It hits close to home.

My family has been watching our sodium since a health scare a little over the year ago. I want to be transparent with you guys but realize this isn’t my story to tell- at least not for now. One of the prescriptions was to lower sodium to 2,300mg or less my whole family has been sticking to it.

Since I have that experience, making this presentation has been a daily learning experience of taking what I know, putting it in an educational context, and then paring it down to what other people want to learn.

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It’s not that I’m preparing a huge biochemistry lecture for them, but there’s a lot of information out there about nutrition that it can be hard to sort through it all and just grab the Cliff Notes.

That’s something that often goes out the window when talking about nutrition. There’s always been this underlying assumption that studying nutrition is easy, because it’s just telling people what to eat, right?

Not really. There’s science behind the recommendations and formulas and treatment plans and and and…

It’s using the science we’ve learned and studied to turn them into the recommendations you see everywhere. In an effort to make them more accessible, messages can get lost in translation, but the idea of eating fruits, vegetables, fiber, and keeping up with your protein forms the pyramid that becomes nutrition. It’s the personal aspect that makes nutrition education so important.

Working on how to convey that is something  I’ll never stop learning about.

What’s something you feel like you’ll always be learning? Let me know and join the #centerstageensemble by telling me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

Processing Grief

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I’ve tried writing this blog post about a million times.

I’m trying to write either a personal post or something covering what’s been going on this past week in the news. Last week, I covered Weight Watchers’ new teen program, and while that (unfortunately) is still going forward, there’s other concerns on my mind.

On Valentine’s Day 2018, 17 innocent people lost their life at their high school.

For those far away, spectating the event and media whirlwind following, it’s hard to know what to say or do in the event of a tragedy. I felt compelled to write something to help you guys speak to your teens about what happened in Parkland.

For coverage of the event and discussion about where to go from here, I recommend Philip DeFranco’s video on the shooting. If you are against cursing, just a heads up that he does curse- in regard to the Mark Dice tweet- but his argument is sound and he never discusses the shooter’s name, background, or shows his photo.

Using this video as a backdrop, you can use Fuller Youth’s blog on processing school shootings to talk about the event. The first tip includes prompts for questions to ask, to help dissect the incident, and process what this means for us going forward.

Fuller also has a blog post called Good Grief that discusses the process of grief. If your teen, or you, are struggling to process grief, this article can help you. For a nonreligious article, check out the Dougy centers post on grief and teens. Debroah Kenney also has an infographic that will help you plan this discussion with your teen.

It feels so confusing, so painful, to have to talk about this again. Gun control is a public health issue and should be addressed. Talking to your teen about this gives them a safe space to air their feelings, to feel validated, and to speak with you about what happened. And, God forbid, what to do in the event of their school being attacked.

In the end, you know what’s best for you and your family after this. I wish you peace, healing, and comfort in this awful aftermath. I send all of you my love.

Opinion: Weight Watchers…get with the program.

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Recently some news came out about Weight Watchers piloting a free program for teenagers. Rebecca Stritchfield wrote an amazing piece on it, and the circles I inhabit have come forward explaining why, exactly, this is a bad idea.

Teens are a vulnerable population as their bodies are beginning to change and rather than helping them celebrate this step into adulthood, weight watchers seems keen to make it easier to shame girls, and some boys, that their body is bad.

They’re not even an adult yet. Let them grow, learn, and enjoy their lives without the stress of ‘points’ or whatever garbage you decide to shove down their throats because you’re unwilling to change your mentality as to the idea of what healthy looks like.

This news in conjunction with the fact that I’m currently reading When Girls Feel Fat: Helping Girls Through Adolescence by Sandra Susan Friedman has me thinking a lot about my own journey through body positivity.

The journey includes: being metaphorically dragged by my heels down a gravel road, laying by the side of the road refusing to move forward, and somethings rolling backward. There are occasions where I march forward, talk with people on the same journey, and stop and smell the roses of what it feels like to like my body and what it can do.

I don’t identify with girls who only started hating their size and body in high school or middle school. I remember teasing about my weight starting as early as elementary school and using food to cope with the fact that I had very few friends. I read and wrote a lot, liked a lot of non-mainstream nerdy things, and it wasn’t really until middle school that my social circle expanded.

Even then, food was my enemy. Because I was taller and heavier than my peers, and going through puberty sooner, my body felt less of a vessel to be celebrated and more of a neon sign to my faults. I couldn’t tell you when I started my first diet because I don’t remember.

What I do remember is my freshman year diet of five ritz crackers for breakfast, a 140-calorie bar for lunch, and a big dinner after I worked out because I ‘earned it’. Nowadays I know much better than that. It took years of learning, of dieting, and of wondering what was wrong with me to only realize that it wasn’t me.  Even this past summer I found myself thinking thoughts like that which I had in high school at the peak of my Eating Disorder-like behavior.

I don’t agree with weight loss for teens. I feel like now more than ever I can say that, after having a whole summer to come to this conclusion plus years of nutrition schooling.

I believe in healthy lifestyles for teens. But healthy lifestyles don’t include counting points or calories, excluding “”unclean”” food, or avoiding carbs just because some doctor without a nutrition degree said so.

I’ll talk about this more in my ‘should teens lose weight’ post, but teens don’t need a point system to tell them how to eat. They need patience, guidance, and occasionally therapy to help them through this time of intense change. They need adults helping them establish healthy habits (which yes, includes treats every now and again), and to learn that their bodies deserve to be hungry and to grow.

For the sake of girls and boys who, like me, weren’t small enough for society’s liking- don’t sign your child up for weight watchers. Talk to them. Teach them what a healthy lifestyle looks like. Find role models similar to your child’s height and weight and show them that success doesn’t come in pounds. Books such as “I’m, like, SO Fat!” and “When Girls Feel Fat” are excellent resources in helping teens who are having issues with body positivity and healthy living.

Remind them, like Clarence the Angel reminds George Bailey at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, that “no man is a failure who has friends”.

Let me know what you think about this. You can comment, reach me on Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram.