March & April Reading Round-Up!

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It’s been an interesting two months over here at Center Stage Nutrition. I’ve been losing time between work, celebrating matching (yay!), and actually trying to leave my house every now and again that advertising my blog has fallen by the wayside.

I’m actually not too sure how to feel about it. For a while, I’ve had other topics I’ve really wanted to write about, but haven’t really felt like I could write them here since I write a lot about teen health and wellness. Part of me wonders if I should open up my niche just a little bit while I go through my master’s program and internship, letting you guys see the process of an “RD2B” and figuring out what I want to do.

The other part of me is scared, for no good reason, about changing everything around. Maybe it is the idea of change. I’m still Em, I’m still writing here and interacting with you guys, but maybe the teen stuff can wait.

We’ll have to see!

My laptop randomly died last week (another shout out to my Nutrition Writer’s group, who was patient while I panicked during the meeting) so my content calendar is going to be off for a while. I thought I would do another reading round up post.

Books!

I’ve been on a self-help book kick lately, so I read:

How People Grow: What the Bible teaches us about personal growth 

And

Boundaries in Dating

You can read my review of Boundaries in Dating here, and I would recommend How People Grow for anyone who works with people. Even if you’re not particularly religious but go to church and pray sometimes, Grow is a great resource on how humans need support. Cloud and Townstead are Christian counselors, so their books have a great mix of psychology and theology.

I’m also currently reading When Breath Becomes Air, but I’m taking breaks because I learned my lesson after reading The Bright Hour: reading dying people’s memoirs needs to be a slow process so I don’t overwhelm myself with emotion.

Blog posts!

I’m tall and not middle aged, but I have worn heels in the past. So seeing Midlife Drama in Pyjamas post “Is this all worth it just to not be short?!” made me laugh. 

As always, Bite My Words with some wisdom regarding a new study done on how to get kids to eat more greens. 

This is also a great example of how studies are capable of being fallible and the importance of critically reading new research.

The Individuator wrote an interesting post about authenticity and speaking their mind to those who asked. What are your thoughts on this kind of openness?  As I get more comfortable to my coworkers I find I can be more of myself around them, but still tend to shut off. What about you?

Dances with Fat wrote a great piece about that new Amy Schumer movie called I Feel Pretty. 

(You can read the full article here)

My friend Jenna, who founded the Nutrition Writer’s Group, wrote a book review on the Bad Food Bible, and if you’re eyeing a new book to read, give Jenna’s review a look to see if you should pick up a copy of BFB!

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

 

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In Defense of Breakfast

 

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photo credit: jeshoots on PEXELS

It happened again.

Your alarm went off WAY too soon, you’re scrambling to get out the door, and breakfast is nothing but a quick cup of coffee before you get to class.

You’re a little hungry, but you know lunch is coming up soon, and you push through it until your head starts to ache and you get grumpy. As you eat lunch, the symptoms get better, and you tell yourself you won’t do that again until the alarm goes off WAY too soon the next morning…

Breakfast is heralded as “the most important meal of the day”! And despite what you may hear, this still rings true.

Why is that?

Our bodies burn energy even while we sleep, so the food you ate the day before is burned as energy while your body works to repair, rejuvenate, and ready your body for the next day. So when you wake up, your body has been burning energy for a while, even if you haven’t be conscious enough to notice it.

I remember back when I was in high school, it was always advised to drink a tall cold glass of water before even considering the idea you might be hungry. I would eat minimal breakfasts and then wonder why my head ached a few hours later.

Because you were HUNGRY!

Even if it’s just a piece of toast, fruit, and some peanut butter, that kind of energy can go a long way from avoiding that mid class burnout.

Activities that need your attention and brain power, like work and class, can only be hindered by the brain fog that comes on when you start to get hungry. And if you can’t sneak a snack, that can only make it worse.

So eat your breakfast!

Time-Saving Tips

For people like me with ADHD, switching tasks can be difficult. This is, in part, due to executive dysfunction. That difficulty is often due to the overwhelming-ness that comes to moving from one task to another.

A lot of reasons as to why ADHD people have issues switching tasks, here’s an article from Adult ADD Strengths.

How can we apply some of the advice that Pete Quily offers to breakfast?

  • Plan ahead! Make your breakfast ahead of time so you can just grab it the next day
  • Set alarms for when you need to get up, shower, get dressed, so you have an external motivator for staying on task.

Need some ideas?

Feel free to poke around my Pinterest account for some breakfast ideas, and here are a few I rely on when I’m in a jam!

…Get it, jam?

Anyway.

Overnight oats! 1/2c oatmeal, 1/2c milk (or water), and about 1 Tbsp chia seeds.

Combine these into a bowl or mason jar and add any extras you might want (eg, some cinnamon, vanilla extract, cocoa powder) and stick it in the fridge overnight.

It’s better to add stuff like protein powder, peanut butter, and fruit in the morning just so these things don’t get soggy.

Yogurt Parfait: 1c yogurt, frozen or fresh fruit, nuts. Combine all of these in a container and let it sit in the fridge!

Both of these meals are easily transferable to Tupperware to take with you on the go, so if you are running a little late (and let’s face it, we all are sometimes!) it’s a great way to stay healthy on the go!

I’m planning a round up of some other of my favorite recipes I’ve tried and seen around Pinterest, so stay tuned! I’ll include some vegan recipes too!

What are your favorite recipes? Please give me some new ideas!

Til next time, beans!

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Making Sense of Media Muck

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Hey y’all!

Let’s talk about the bond between nutrition science/research and the media.

Why? Good question. It’s because everywhere you go there’s someone writing about how one kind of food is great, the other is bad, etc. It can get really confusing, right?

If you’re neither a nutrition professional/student or a media person, you’ve been caught in the crossfires of nutrition and media every time a new study has been posted.

While it seems like the ammo is only clickbait titles and the same articles on your newsfeed time and again from the same couple big media sources, the ammunition really is faulty advice at best from people who aren’t well read in nutrition research.

It can get confusing for someone who doesn’t study this kind of stuff for a living to sort through. Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to pick up on the “faulty” nutrition articles that are out there.

Let’s start with a hard truth.

There’s no “selling point” for media outlets in saying that food isn’t inherently good or bad, or everything in the right amounts is fine, but consumers are more likely to click if an article promises a get-rich-quick scheme to be healthy or the doomsday headline that all carbs will lead you to a life of heart disease and misery.

 

Plus it’s easier to assign morality to food than launch into the grey area of  “moderation”- that’s left for dietitians and I think we do a pretty good job. No bias, though.

Are you in the same boat as Buster right now? Why would someone lie about something as important as nutrition, right?

Everyone from Washington Post to Buzzfeed has people covering nutrition studies and the most recent one is the PURE study. You’ve definitely heard of it in some way or another recently on your newsfeeds.

Some zingers of a headline include:

  • “PURE Shakes Up Nutrition Field: Finds High Fat Beneficial” (Medscape)
  • “Huge new study casts doubt on conventional wisdom about fat and carbs” (Statnews)
  • “A Lot Fat diet might kill you, new study finds” (Diet Doctor)

What are some common themes you see in those headlines? Doom and gloom, right?

Here’s an insider tip: the PURE study didn’t really rattle Registered Dietitians in the way the media seems to think. And not just because most of the RDs I’ve met are really chill people.

In fact, here are a few articles that are written by doctors and RDs breaking down the study! I’m not at the point where I feel I could summarize it, so here are some sources I look to:

  • New Nutrition Study Changes Nothing from The Atlantic
    • Favorite quote is: “Eating in ways that are good for our bodies isn’t conceptually complicated. It’s complicated by money and time and access—but eating based on scientific findings is not”
  • NutritionWonk’s blog post (Also, her blog is amazing in general. Recommend x100)
  • The Rooted Project’s infographic for my visual learners

If you look into the Atlantic article I shared and remember what we talked about a bit earlier in the blog post, you can understand why sensationalist headlines “sell” better than ones that say more chill things like “Nutrition study changes nothing”.

The idea that everything we knew is being turned on it’s head reads as more exciting. It pulls our attention to it and causes us to want to read more. After all, everyone has some knowledge that food becomes energy and nutrition/food matters. Now the readers, you guys, get the promise of “insider info”. Unfortunately, sensationalist articles tend to be incorrect in one way or another.

Now, why is that?

Look at the authors of the articles I shared for you guys to read.

They’re written by experts in the field, who do this kind of stuff (breaking down research) for a living. They’re open and honest about the study and make it easy for you to find the study to read for yourself and provide further reading. They’re not trying to sell their books, services, or products. Just plain honesty.

When you’re browsing social media, these are the places to go when reading an article about any kind of science. You don’t see a biologist writing about physics. Trust the sources written by nutrition professionals.

Conventional nutrition advice leans more towards moderation than it does extremism.

NutritionWonk, Nutrevolve, and Yoni Friedoff are the places I go most often for help when reading research regarding nutrition. You can always branch off from there to find more places to read about it, or if you stay tuned, we’ll cover how to read nutrition research on this blog in the coming weeks.

Which, along with reading and researching on your own, also helps you determine legitimate sources of nutrition news for yourself.

Much love,

Em

Slow Sunday: Movement and Mochas

Hey, ya’ll!

So, the University gym doesn’t open until 1pm on Sundays. For the most part of my time at school, I’d just wait until the gym opened before I did about half an hour to an hour of cardio.

This semester is a little different.

I decided that I’d give a local coffee shop a try (something you’ll learn about me really fast: I love coffee. Plain, lattes, mochas, you name it, I love it). Only thing is, I don’t have a car, and it was in the downtown area.

Now past me would have balked and stuck to the campus coffee shop (I can walk there) so I could get my cardio in. But current me realized that with my bike I’ve got the freedom to head off campus. So I biked for about 40 minutes to reach the coffee shop, and I loved it! Definitely going to add it into my weekly routine.

 

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Almost done reading Dr. Stephan Guyenet’s “The Hungry Brain” and drinking a really good iced soy mocha!

 

Here’s my IG post about it!

What about the gym, though?

Good question. I want you to recognize what comes to mind first at the word “exercise” or “movement”.

Did you picture going all out in a workout class, or at the gym? For a while I did too.

There was a stretch of years where I really didn’t feel accomplished if I spent a long time at the gym, burning a certain number of calories and achieving a certain level of sweatiness. If I didn’t reach this level, I’d often feel grumpy or wouldn’t acknowledge the fact that I moved at all. I would even sacrifice important healing time from illness to work out.

Over the years though, I’ve come to realize something: while movement is important to keeping us healthy, (the CDC recommends about an hour a day for teens) it doesn’t necessarily have to be the level I had been trying to force my body to perform at day in and day out.

If you’re in the place where you’re at the gym for hours a day to fit some kind of ideal, start peeling back what “head space” you’re in. Ask yourself:

  • What happens if you don’t workout but instead, go for a walk with a friend, family member, dog, or a podcast you really like? (other kinds of movement can go here too: dancing, biking, gardening)

The answer is: not much! 

  • You’ll get movement in and you’ll get out of the house.
  • You won’t be blacklisted on some kind of fitness list.
  • Your joints will get a break from intense exercise and muscles will have a chance to heal.
  • You’ll spend quality time with someone important to you, another key component in living a healthy lifestyle.

My challenge for you guys this week is to find ways you like to move.

Maybe you don’t exercise at all- that’s okay too! Keep in mind that a little movement is always good.

Remember: you don’t have to go to a gym to start moving and living a healthier, more active lifestyle. You can bike to your friend’s house instead of driving! Try a hike with some of your family members or with your furry friend! Give a workout DVD a shot as a break from your Netflix binge!

Side note: If you find yourself still obsessing with calories, I challenge you to take off your fitness tracker and switch displays on cardio machines (if you use them) so it won’t show calories burned. It’s something I do when I find myself becoming more focused on numbers than how I feel and I’ve found it to be really beneficial. 

The main idea is that you pick up a hobby that helps you both short and long term: you get the immediate benefit of movement (mood improvements, some time outside, or even time with friends, feeling of accomplishment afterward) and the long term benefits (combating chronic disease, energy levels gradually increase, improved sleep health, making friends through a shared hobbies).

Next week on Slow Sunday I’ll write about why it’s important to not sit for long periods of time, so until then, my challenge for you is to move a little bit every day and if you can, tag me on Instagram (@centerstagenutrition) to show me your weekly movements! I’ll try and share my movements, too!

If you’re looking for some Facebook groups to help support this new habit, I really recommend Body Positive Fitness with Michele Burmaster. I’ve been a part of this group for about a year and the atmosphere is just fantastic. Michele is someone I look up to, both personally and professionally, regarding body positivity and fitness!

 

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat!

 

Much love,

Em